It is almost one year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have been affected in a myriad of ways, from limited access to healthcare and facilities to massive job losses. As an island that is highly dependent on tourism, the pandemic has hit Bali particularly hard. But even during these difficult times, we have seen that Bali and its communities have maintained a strong sense of solidarity and creativity that has brought people together to support each other.
More than half of the Bali population has been dependent on the tourism industry - parts of which have collapsed during the pandemic. Our research conducted in May found that 81 percent of respondents had a negative impact on their income, and 44 percent have either permanently or temporarily lost their jobs.
Communities across Bali have been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways, including job losses.
In the early days of the pandemic, Bali’s healthcare facilities were facing major shortages of basic protective equipment and sanitizing supplies. This led us to collaborate with, and leverage Bali’s incredible natural and human resources to overcome this situation. One of the collaborations we are most proud of is with Diageo, Samsara Living Museum, Utama Spice, IO Glass, and Embun Natural to make hand sanitizer made from arak by working with arak producers in Karangasem. Through this partnership, we produced and distributed more than 16,000 liters of hand sanitizer in Bali and beyond, and provided much-needed work for more than 100 arak producers in Karangasem.
Production of hand sanitizer from arak in Karangasem, Bali.
To support the livelihoods of communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Bali, we have been supporting the agricultural sector by working with the Pasar Rakyat initiative which supports thousands of farmers and provides much needed fresh produce to those in need. We have also collaborated with the urban gardens initiative to support families in urban areas by building urban gardens where people can grow and access fresh and nutritious food. These initiatives remind us of the importance of agriculture in maintaining community food sovereignty, especially in crisis situations.
One of our long-term partners from the creative sector - Navicula - a Bali-based grunge band, who like so many others from the entertainment industry has been significantly affected by the pandemic as a result of the cancellation of events and concerts. The band has used their creativity to support communities affected by the pandemic and has collaborated with Kopernik on various initiatives, from fundraising, sanitizer, and face-shield production, food distribution, as well as supporting the livelihoods of coffee farmers. Navicula shares these and other initiatives in their Arts against the Pandemic video.
Distribution of food aid packages to support people in the entertainment industry who have been impacted by COVID-19.
The collaborations between artists, communities, government, and the private sector during the pandemic have brought positive impact to many people in our community and re-confirmed our belief in the importance of collaboration and collective efforts. We believe these are key to getting through these difficult times.