[PRESS RELEASE] Digital Activism: Creating Positive Environment during COVID-19 | Difussion #21
Mon, 06 Apr 2020 || By Admin CfDS

Yogyakarta, April 3rd, 2020 – Restrictions on community activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been giving an impact on the decreasing economic activity, especially for the informal economy and small or micro businesses. The existence of people who are only able to live only day by day becomes one of the concerns that continues to attract the attention of the wider community, to contribute more on helping their economy. By adjusting to maintain physical distancing between each other, the presence of digital platforms becomes crucial as a medium for channeling information and even raising support for disadvantaged people.

To delve more on what positive contribution that we can do through the digital platform during this pandemic, Center for Digital Society (CfDS) held its 21st series of Difussion, which was filled by CfDS researcher, Anaq Duanaiko, and social movement “Gerakan Gotong Royong Bantu Usaha Kecil Cegah COVID-19” which was represented by Obed Kresna and Fikri Danurdoro. Still in the spirit of #WorkFromHome, this was another Difussion held via YouTube live streaming platform.


Campaign and Social Movement

Anaq opens her presentation by explaining the differences between social movements and campaigns. To put it simply, social movements can be as any movements that gather the masses to 'go down the road' together and make real changes. "Therefore, at this time we necessarily do social movements because there is a rule for physical distancing," said Anaq. Furthermore, Anaq explained that the most of the movements that are now taking place during the pandemic are called campaigns, because we cannot gather physically together and what mostly happens is the spread of messages and invitations to do good deeds, which are then considered by some to be a movement. The social movement itself has a measure of success that is to bring up or change the system, while the campaign aims to raise awareness about some specific issues.

Digital platforms contribute to the pandemic, as a means of providing information, whether it's an invitation to do good, or information related to the organization of the social movements itself. In a pandemic like this, Anaq encourages to keep doing acts of kindness, no matter how small the scale is. "Small amount of help matters! Even though we may 'only' be able to verify the hoax that is spreading, these kinds of ‘help’ are very influential in our contribution to fighting COVID-19, " concluded Anaq as he closed his explanation.


Social Movement for Small Businesses

Entering the next session, Obed and Fikri shared their experiences in initiating the social movement 'Gerakan Gotong Royong Bantu Usaha Kecil Cegah COVID-19'. Starting with their concerns to the small business community, this movement is based on awareness that the #StayAtHome campaign is a form of privilege that not all members of society have, because there are small business communities with a daily income that must continue to work to be able to live. What can then be done is that they feel they cannot stop the small business community from selling their goods, but this movement aims to 'arm' them to fight the COVID-19, by distributing masks, hand sanitizers, and education for COVID-19 prevention via pamphlets.

The movement which operates in the Sleman area can collect donations up to around 14 million rupiah in just approximately two weeks since its initiation. Not only channeling the donation money to the small business community, this movement also collected data on the location of MSME entrepreneurs around the Sleman area, so that the data could be used for other movements, such as logistical distribution or business promotion from the MSMEs itself.

Talking about the digital platform used in this movement, social media has become a crucial tool to promote donations, to convey information about the distribution of donations, voluntary organizations, and transparency tools about the use and the income of donations. "Hopefully, the movement that has been running for 3 weeks can have a real impact for the affected communities and spread the spirit of kindness to other movements, because the needs of the community are not only limited to health and hygiene needs, but also other logistical assistance such as money, food, and other basic needs," concluded Obed and Fikri.


Author: Firya Qurratu’ain
Editor: Raka Wicaksono