LeaN On Caseworkers are Bridging Access to Social Protection, in Addition to Providing COVID-19 Prevention Education

LeaN On by INVEST DM collaborated with Empowering Access to Justice (MAJu) to organize a workshop in response to the feedback collected by our caseworkers regarding access to social protection for persons with disabilities and other marginalized community members during the pandemic. Through the workshop, LeaN On aimed to build capacity on bridging access for program participants to available social protection schemes mainly for caseworker coordinators, caseworkers, and implementing partners.

LeaN On held the virtual activity on 24–25 February 2021 with 35 participants from the six outreach areas of LeaN On. We had Maya Rostanty, a senior advisor at PATTIRO with public financial management expertise, and Muhammad Maulana, a researcher and lecturer in public policy as source persons and discussion facilitators.

Maya kicked-off the workshop with a presentation and discussion on various social protection schemes available to Indonesian citizens, from the ones that are managed by the central government to the ones at the village level. She also presented a summary of publicly available information on the country’s COVID-19 response budget for economic recovery, including health incentives, social protection, and business incentives among others, along with its policy bases and regulations.

Maulana who facilitated the discussion and plenary session between the outreach areas-based groups highlighted some of the main issues encountered by the caseworkers. In addition to the classic citizen identification administration issues and inaccurate registration of potential beneficiaries, the caseworkers also found that information on social protection schemes/ services did not reach some of the program participants. Furthermore, there is a discrepancy between the amount of aid received by the beneficiaries and the amount announced as the official schemes.

Some of the participants during a group photo session at the end of the workshop

After an insightful session on the gaps in social protection deliveries which LeaN On team found in each of the program locations, the caseworkers shared stories of successful linkages and advocacies they have conducted on the same affair. In a relatively short period of service, the LeaN On outreach team in each regency has taken the extra miles to bridge marginalized communities with various social protection schemes they need.

We heard from Umi Salamah, a caseworker in Kediri, East Java, who succeeded in collaborating with private enterprise to have some of the program participants produce premium quality Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for health workers which help them generate income. From Sleman, Yogyakarta, we had Ratna Dewi who pursued access to social protection facilities for a participant with mental disorders. We had Dian Aditya, a caseworker in Bandung, West Java who not only assisted a participant who lives with HIV to get COVID-19 test and supportive treatment. Aditya also helped negotiate a discount for the participant’s rental residence cost to help him cope with his loss of income while resting to fight COVID-19.

Some other good practices were more systemic that they can be referred to in improving social protection policy. For example, the effectiveness of community involvement in registering data on persons with disabilities in Jakarta, or the success in advocating a local government in Yogyakarta for adjustment in social assistance distribution system for persons with disabilities can be replicated to promote more accessible and inclusive social protection at the national level.

The workshop ended with a presentation and group discussion on social assistance advocacy strategies to explore four important elements in advocacy, namely stakeholders mapping and identification, constructive approach with stakeholders, tailored strategy to present findings and recommendations, as well as preparing materials for hearings and local advocacy dialogues. The total of eight hours of virtual sessions was surely not enough to jot down every single aspiration for more inclusive pandemic management but the participants seemed satisfied nevertheless, with the knowledge and exchange of experience on social protection advocacy strategies.

Rino Subagyo, MAJu’s Deputy Chief of Party, in his closing remark, conveyed MAJu’s appreciation to the participants, “Excellent work from our friends (caseworkers) who have succeeded in capturing the complexity of issues on the ground, then opening the widest possible network to finally achieve some solutions… This is an extraordinary knowledge production process, and if we document them, it will inspire many people.”

Lean On by INVEST DM outreach will end soon but our caseworkers are still eager to optimize assistance for people with disabilities and marginalized communities around them through march 2021.

LeaN On by INVEST DM is an inclusive RCCE program that aims to provide access to risk information and education on COVID-19 prevention, including information on available social protection services, for 165 thousand people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups in seven regions in Indonesia. This program is supported by the American people through USAID, and in partnership with BNPB, Kemenkumham, MAJu (The Asia Foundation) and a consortium of partners consisting of Mercy Corps Indonesia, ASB, ThisAble, Human Initiative and AtmaConnect.

LeaN On by INVEST DM is a USAID funded COVID-19 risk communications & engagement of people with disabilities & vulnerable groups in seven regencies in Indonesia

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