Waste workers are considered among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection due to the nature of their work, which requires them to be in constant contact with the outside environment. Coca-Cola Indonesia (CCFI) and its partners, in an effort to help protect waste scavengers and waste workers in Indonesia from being further exposed to the virus, as well as helping them survive the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, have distributed much-needed relief assistance to thousands of the workers.

In collaboration with two renowned environmental and humanitarian foundations—the Greeneration Foundation and BenihBaik.com—Coca-Cola has delivered aid packages to 6,290 waste scavengers and waste workers in various regions across Indonesia.

Through the Greeneration Foundation, Coca-Cola Indonesia has, in steps, provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), basic food supplies (sembako) and hygiene kits, as well as COVID-19 education modules for 2.500 waste scavengers and waste officials in 25 regions throughout Indonesia.  Furthermore, Coca-Cola has also made a Rp. 1.4 billion cash donation, which was handed over to BenihBaik.com to be distributed in the form of basic food supplies and medical equipment to 3.790 waste scavengers in Bekasi, North Jakarta, Tangerang, Pontianak, Surabaya, Sidoarjo, and Pasuruan, with assistance from the Dompet Kemanusiaan Media Group (DKMG).

Triyono Prijosoesilo, Vice Chief Executive of the Coca-Cola Foundation Indonesia, was quoted as saying, “We often forget to notice the important role that waste workers play in our daily lives. This initiative is born out of Coca-Cola's desire to care for and protect the waste workers who are working tirelessly to clean up our environment while risking their lives daily by coming into contact with garbage and other hazardous materials during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Between December 2020 and January 2021, Coca-Cola and the Greeneration Foundation’s “Bantu Pemulung dan Petugas Persampahan Aman dari COVID-19” program has successfully distributed Basic Food Packages (Paket Sembako), consisting of rice, cooking oil, sugar, milk, and instant noodles; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as reusable face masks, gloves, hats, and boots; Hygiene Kits, consisting of hand wash soaps and hand sanitizers; as well as COVID-19 Education Modules, which have been edited by the DKI Jakarta Provincial Health Office, to 25 distribution points that include Aceh, Padang, Lampung, Pekanbaru, Palembang, DKI Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Malang Regency, Batu, Surabaya, Banyuwangi, Denpasar, Maumere, Mataram, Ternate, Banjarmasin, Balikpapan, Pontianak, Kapuas Regency, Makassar, Palu, Gorontalo, Kendari, and Manado.

“The number of workers currently employed in Indonesia’s solid waste sector is quite large. According to our records, there are at least 300.000 waste scavengers and 600.000 waste workers, as well as 2.4 million of their family members,” revealed Greeneration Foundation Founder Mohamad Bijaksana Junerosano. “Through this program, we hope to be able to support more waste scavengers and waste workers in various regions who still have to work to earn a living amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Overall aid distribution implementation is supported by 25 local partners, consisting of various communities, organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions that are tasked with assisting every step of the effort, starting from the preparation and collection of beneficiary data, purchase of aid packages, packaging, education, and direct distribution, using either the door to door or distance distribution method.

The aid package distribution process in each distribution point commences with a short session aimed at educating the recipients on important information related to COVID-19 prevention, with materials derived from the COVID-19 Education Module, followed by the distribution of the aid packages to the recipients, and concluding with a brief survey of the packages’ benefits.

Andy F. Noya, Founder and CEO of BenihBaik.com, stated that,  “We can always be a force for good to anyone at any time. What the Coca-Cola Foundation Indonesia has done for as many as 3.790 waste scavengers has touched everyone’s hearts. Nobody should live in hardship, especially during this pandemic. We have the Coca-Cola Foundation Indonesia to thank for the trust and opportunity they have given to BenihBaik.com and DKMG in delivering this relief assistance to those who need it."

“Through this aid distribution program, we hope that we can also educate more waste scavengers and waste workers on how to prevent the coronavirus from spreading even further, allowing them to remain safe and healthy while they work. We are also asking every member of the community to help lighten their burden by managing and sorting the waste we produce from our own homes,” concluded Triyono Prijosoesilo.