familyCHF Volunteers at the Center of Rebuilding in Indonesia

The progress made by Indonesian families in rebuilding their homes after a devastating earthquake over three months ago provides hope for the current disaster in Haiti.

In response to the September 30th, 2009, 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck 30 miles northwest of the Indonesian city of Padang, CHF International quickly began implementation of a transitional shelter program in several earthquake affected communities. The Building Indonesian Livelihoods and Transitional Shelter (BUILT) program, funded by USAID/OFDA, is providing 5,000 households in areas in Padang Pariaman with transitional shelter kits while supporting community recovery with initiatives in disaster risk reduction, water and sanitation, economic recovery, and infrastructure rehabilitation. CHF is also building the capacity of communities to recover quickly and strengthen both household and community preparedness for future disasters. At the center of this work is the importance of the time and effort invested by local volunteers.

Community contribution and investment is a pillar of the BUILT program, demonstrated by the large number of student and professional volunteers who work alongside CHF teams to select beneficiaries, provide technical assistance to shelter recipients, provide training and awareness for sanitation and disaster awareness issues, and conduct monitoring and evaluation. CHF’s volunteer corps currently consists of nearly 30 volunteers from the Engineering Department at Andalas University, and from independent community members in Pariaman town. Additionally, CHF has recently entered into a new partnership with the Civil Engineering and Planning Department at the University of Bung Hatta in Padang, to provide additional volunteers for disaster risk reduction awareness. Mr. Ir. Hendri Warman, the Dean of Civil Engineering and Planning at Bung Hatta, expressed support for the BUILT program. “This partnership will help communities to build back better. Our work with CHF is part of our commitment as an academic institution to encourage community resilience after disasters. We are happy to have this partnership because we believe that CHF International has a lot experience working with the community, and this can be a model for our future activities in earthquake recovery.”

Volunteers participate in an orientation and training session, and receive a volunteer kit for field work to prepare them for interactions with the community. They are a critical element of BUILT activities, and CHF greatly values the services and time provided by the dedicated volunteer corps. “My volunteers are the frontline of outreach and mobilization, and we couldn’t accomplish our goals without them,” says Media Firzamon, CHF’s Outreach Manager for the BUILT program. Likewise, the volunteers display a strong sense of dedication to recovery in Pariaman. Faisal Ferara, volunteering with CHF’s construction team to train and assist shelter beneficiaries, says, “I want to help because this is my hometown area, and I want to support my people.” Firzamon adds, “For those of us from the earthquake affected areas, we are motivated by a moral responsibility to assist our greater community.”

Chartis Indonesia, a subsidiary of a global leader in property-casualty and general insurance, is supporting CHF volunteers by donating a generous insurance policy to CHF’s field-based volunteers and casual laborers for the BUILT program. Peter Meyer, President Commissioner of Chartis Indonesia, suggests that the insurance policy donation follows in the spirit of solidarity with recovery programs for emergency affected populations throughout Indonesia "In Indonesia, we have actively supported reconstruction efforts during Tsunami in Aceh and the 2007 Earthquake in Yogyakarta." The policy protects volunteers and laborers who are exposed to injury from tools, rural roads, and other construction risks. Chartis’ insurance coverage protects over 70 individuals with a comprehensive Accidental, Death, and Disablement policy, 24 hours a day for six months. The coverage provides over $20,000 of insurance protection per person. Chartis Indonesia 's President Director, Michael Blakeway said, "Chartis Indonesia is always committed to becoming a socially responsible company. We have been working together with Non-Government Organizations, including CHF International, to help support communities impacted by natural disasters."

Volunteers will remain an integral component of CHF’s community relief and recovery approach, not just in support of BUILT program activities, but as a means of encouraging community support and social commitment. Mory, a community outreach volunteer says, “As a BUILT volunteer, I feel proud to help people and to be part of a dedicated team of people giving their own time in the spirit of service.”