Pandemic Brings Local and Global Solidarity

School students are among the groups most disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The choice of face-to-face or online schools both pose risks.

“The risk will be much lower if the children interact with their friends in the community,” explains Imam Prasodjo, a sociologist from the University of Indonesia.

Imam Prasodjo: The pandemic gave rise to a rescue movement at the community level (private dock)

Imam Prasodjo: The pandemic gave rise to a rescue movement at the community level (private dock)

Indonesia, said Imam, has tremendous potential for informal teachers. Community school involves the so-called Imam champion educators, i.e. people from the community, including parents or local level activists.

“It doesn’t have to be teaching elementary-junior high school children, it has to be elementary-junior high school teachers. It could be that young people, lecturers in the community, are involved so that happens movements, rescue at the community level,” said Imam Prasodjo.

If that happens, said Imam, community-based education will emerge. Maybe this is a solution.

“Even if there was no COVID, this is a form of participatory education and out of the traps of formal schools that have been criticized a lot,” he continued.

Dr.  Siti Kusujiarti.

Dr. Siti Kusujiarti.

Siti Kusujiarti, a sociologist at Warren-Wilson College in North Carolina, said during the pandemic she saw many so-called mutual aid organization (mutual assistance organization). These organizations, numbering in the thousands, want to provide solutions to the problems facing society through local social movements.

“One of the most important things is the strengthening of groups that have been marginalized. So, this is not only in Indonesia but also in America and also in the world. This global solidarity also needs to be developed,” said Siti Kusujiarti.

Siti added, the pandemic cannot be solved simply by solving problems that exist in one country, but requires global solidarity. “The problem of the pandemic will not be solved if there is no global solidarity,” he said.

In line with that, the sociologist at the State University of Jakarta, Robertus Robet, saw that the pandemic raised awareness of the importance of cosmopolitanism, which views people from various nationalities and ethnic groups as one unit. “So there is a universal view of humanity that has been thickened by the pandemic,” said Robertus Robet.

Robet said there are five aspects that can be taken as valuable lessons from the pandemic. Most importantly, “The pandemic has made us aware that the health of one party will not be sufficient if it is not supported by the health of the other. Another positive side is the strengthening of solidarity,” he said.

Robertus Robet: Humanity's view thickens due to pandemic (private doc)

Robertus Robet: Humanity’s view thickens due to pandemic (private doc)

Another aspect, said Robet, is that we are asked to appreciate and learn more from nature. In addition, the pandemic makes us increasingly rely on science that collaborates or is guided by humanitarian ethics. The existence of a vaccine, according to Robet, is a new step for the safety of many people.

A prolonged pandemic, said Siti, encourages social change, pulling people out of pre-pandemic habits. Robet points to the many jobs that can be done without needing to leave the house, for example. But Siti also noted the role of women.

“Women have played a lot in developing community resilience,” explained Siti Kusujiarti.

Also in entrepreneurship, said Siti, considering that women are very active in various small businesses. In her research, Siti concluded that disaster entrepreneur (entrepreneurs that develop after a disaster) is an important factor in recovery from a disaster or in dealing with a disaster. [ka/ab]