YEU Launches Volunteer Website on International Volunteer Day

Picture 1: YEU Volunteer Website was launched in celebration of International Volunteer Day on 5 December 2022 through the talk show that discusses volunteer management.

The YEU Volunteer website was launched directly by the Director of YEU, dr. Sari Mutia Timur, and witnessed by representatives of YEU volunteers on World Volunteer Day 2022. A total of 35 participants attended this event. Most of them are volunteers who had worked with YEU in various activities such as disaster emergency response, COVID-19 vaccination, and data collection volunteers. In addition, this activity also invited YEU’s partners who are members of HFI (Humanitarian Forum Indonesia) who have experience in managing volunteers, namely Dompet Dhuafa (Maya Nuraini), Habitat Indonesia (Dwi Agustanti), and Human Initiative (Agus Triyono). World Volunteer Day 2022 was also filled with discussion sessions about the management of disaster volunteers who involved the Chief Executive of BPBD (Regional Disaster Management Agency) of DI Yogyakarta (DIY).

Ahmad Salahuddin Mansur, a Postgraduate Student of the Faculty of Theology at Duta Wacana Christian University which focuses on human rights issues became a Facilitator for Young Interfaith Peacemaker Community (YIPC) Indonesia. From his perspective, there are many things that can be explored in the world of volunteerism and the main thing was that being a volunteer is ultimately the process of empowering oneself to empower others.  This reflection comes from the learning of disaster emergency response management which is still flooded with volunteers who come with "euphoria" to help but do not think wisely about what the survivors really need and whether their actions will have detrimental consequences. Researcher at the

Amartya Yogyakarta Knowledge House and volunteers in various social activities and organizations also became YEU volunteers in vaccinations for vulnerable groups. They also shared their reflection on their volunteering experience at this event. Mr. Birawa Yuswantarna, the Chief Executive of BPBD DIY, and Dwi Agustanti as DRR and Response Manager of Habitat for Humanity Indonesia agree that in the context of disaster, Indonesia has enormous potential for volunteers. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers managed by BPBD were not only from civil society but also from the Indonesian National Army (TNI) and Indonesian National Police (POLRI). Volunteers were involved in various activities such as fast burials, vaccinations, ambulance management, and others. This proves that all resources are attached to volunteers, but if it is not managed properly this can have consequences that are detrimental to the people affected by the disaster. In the context of disaster emergency response, ineffective management of volunteers can lead to a buildup both in terms of numbers and capacity. Even when volunteers are not equipped with sufficient knowledge,  they may have the potential to put survivors in more risky conditions.

Picture 2: YEU volunteers were trying to register themselves on the website.

To overcome and minimize this risk, BPBD as the institution responsible for disaster management in Indonesia has developed 26 basic volunteer skills in the context of disaster management, for example, Search and Rescue (SAR), rapid assessment, logistics, and Emergency First Aid (PPGD). In addition, humanitarian organizations have also developed mechanisms to manage their volunteers to be not only in the context of a disaster (emergency response), for example, Dompe Dhuafa which manages more than 19.000 volunteers, and Habitat for Humanity Indonesia which has volunteers in all over Indonesia manages their volunteers who work with them in non-emergencies conditions either in the fields of environmental, educational, social, development, and organizational.

Volunteer management under humanitarian organizations allows volunteers to gain basic knowledge and values ​​such as training in organizational and volunteer codes of ethics, core humanitarian standards, protection of children and vulnerable adults, and others. The pattern of relationships and interactions between humanitarian organizations/institutions and volunteers is very important to be maintained so that humanitarian work can be carried out effectively and with quality. In addition, inclusivity in disaster management is proven to be a strategy for addressing specific needs. For example, in the context of handling COVID-19, volunteers with disabilities are at the forefront and have reliable potential in helping to accelerate data collection of vaccination and education for people with disabilities, older people, and other vulnerable groups.

Picture 2: As many as 30 YEU volunteers were invited to the launch. The volunteers have been working with YEU in several emergency responses.

However, volunteers with disabilities state that access to information that allows them to involve as volunteers is still very minimal, and hope that humanitarian organizations will open as many opportunities as possible for people with disabilities to participate according to their capacity. The volunteers who attended the Volunteer Management talk show agreed that good intentions and readiness to serve are not enough, however full awareness of what is being done and a willingness to learn and develop are needed, so that both volunteers and the humanitarian organizations that oversee them can work together to create dignified services and empower each other.