July 2022: Latest Update on Indonesia


  • Indonesia is in 19th place for the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide and 7th in Asia (Worldometers, June 2022).
  • Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, it qualified as an upper-middle-income country (World Bank, 2021). Between March and September 2020, official statistics reported an increase in the national poverty rate from 9.78% to 10.19%, translating into an increase of a million poor, turning back three years of progress in poverty reduction, amplifying the impact of COVID-19 (World Bank 2021).
  • Youth unemployment has been reducing over the last two decades yet is nearly double than that of other countries in Asia Pacific.
  • The pandemic has resulted in significant reduction in incomes for lower income households and additionally a widening of the income gap between women and men. Although men’s incomes have also significantly declined since the beginning of the pandemic, data suggest that they benefit from a broader range of income sources.


EBPP is working in the mountainous and remote areas of Bali, in 6 remote villages of East Bali, and runs a very holistic and multifaceted empowerment programme for young people 12 to 19 years old. A part of EMpower’s grant to EBPP is to promote gender equality, prevent Child, Early and Forced Marriages (CEFM) and sexual harassment as well as to advance health (e.g. via participation in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and nutrition classes or in participatory research projects). This programme has seen an excellent turn of events. 16 months into the programme (in May 2022), the young participants of the programme presented their findings and actions on multiple issues including CEFM to the village leaders and adults of the 6 customary villages of the EBPP programme and invited them to collaborate. The village leaders requested them to expand the programme to include all 19 customary villages in Ban. They argued that the involvement of all villages and leaders would send a strong signal that CEFM is no longer acceptable and augment the impact of a change in customary law. This is a huge momentum for youth-led advocacy.

ROLE Foundation

Unemployment in Indonesia is higher for young women and their employment opportunities in the formal sector are often marred by engendered discrimination. EMpower’s grant to the ROLE Foundation based in Bali is therefore supporting 160 marginalised young women 15 to 19 years old to access vocational skills for the hospitality sector coupled with an on-the-job training creating a pathway to skilled employment. Moreover, the 6-month training programme focusses on intensive life skills training to support the trainees to grow their confidence and agency for the future. At the end, they access income in the formal sector for them and their families and become strong role models for other young women encouraging them to get an education. With our grant, the ROLE team additionally wishes to set up and pilot a new training offer in digital marketing.

Although hospitality is the dominant industry in Bali, it is also one of the most volatile industries. This became clear during the COVID-19 pandemic when the sector essentially shut down.