Introduction to SONJO

SONJO is a humanitarian movement that focuses on helping vulnerable and at risk of being affected by Covid-19 citizens in the Special Region of Yogyakarta. The word Sonjo in Javanese means friendship, and specifically for this humanitarian movement, SONJO stands for Sambatan Jogja. The term sambatan itself implies a form of mutual cooperation mostly done in rural areas in Java to build houses or public facilities. SONJO uses WhatsApp Group (WAG) as the main medium in coordinating various programs.

 SONJO was established on 24th of March 2020 and has developed rapidly ever since. As of July 2021, 24 WhatsApp groups have been formed, 20 of which are SONJO’s internal groups, and 4 are cross-region collaboration groups with communities or companies in other areas. Each WhatsApp group focuses on a specific area. There are approximately 2000 SONJO members and each contributes according to their respective abilities. Programs in SONJO are divided into three sectors, namely health, economy, and education. The SONJO movement is inclusive and includes all elements of society in the Special Region of Yogyakarta.

SONJO’s Internal WhatsApp Groups

As of July 31, 2021, 20 SONJO internal WhatsApp groups have been formed, each of which focuses on a particular field. These groups include:

  1. SONJO HQ. The first WhatsApp group formed at the beginning of SONJO’s development. This group is the coordination center for all activities conducted by SONJO.
  2. SONJO Database. This group focuses on discussing the technical execution of SONJO’s programs.
  3. SONJO Pangan-1. This group was formed to help solve food security problems in the Special Region of Yogyakarta. The problem was caused by the implementation of Work from Home (WFH) that disrupts the supply and demand in the food and food ingredients market.
  4. SONJO Pangan-2. This group is the extension of SONJO Pangan-1 group because more than 256 MSMEs have joined, which exceeded group participants’ limit.
  5. SONJO Inovasi. This group gathers medical device innovators that created various tools needed to overcome Covid-19 spread. Innovation funds are obtained from the innovators’ universities. SONJO facilitates the need of medical equipment to carry out testing and creates posters for product dissemination and promotion.
  6. SONJO Legawa. This group focuses on distributing food assistance to vulnerable groups, as well as medical equipment and logistics assistance to at-risk groups (medical personnel and vulnerable communities). This group brings together hospitals/health centers, humanitarian institutions (ZIS UGM, LazisNU, LazisMU, etc.), medical devices manufacturers, donors, and innovators of medical devices.
  7. SONJO Media. This group consists of SONJO’s volunteers and mass media activists. The group is used as information dissemination to journalists regarding SONJO’s various achievements and useful public information.
  8. SONJO Pembelajaran. This group accommodates colleagues from outside the Special Region of Yogyakarta who want to establish a humanitarian movement similar to SONJO in their respective areas. This group’s program is called SONJO Observer. This program provides an opportunity for colleagues from other regions to participate in SONJO’s WhatsApp group for 7×24 hours to learn how SONJO works. Then, fellow observers will take turns with observers from other regions to exchange opinions and share experiences on the complexity of establishing a humanitarian movement like SONJO in their respective areas.
  9. SONJO Pendidikan. This group focuses on resolving educational issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic, specifically for primary and secondary education. This group was formed on the 22nd of June 2020, after SONJO Angkringan #10 that discussed the complexity in teaching in primary and secondary education during the pandemic.
  10. SONJO Wedding dan Wisata. This group focuses on wedding and tourism businesses in the Special Region of Yogyakarta to revive their activities by implementing digital concepts and strict health protocols.
  11. SONJO Kebijakan. This group consists of public policy experts who focus on formulating appropriate policy recommendations taken by the central and local governments in response to conditions in the field (evidence-based policy).
  12. SONJO Rewangan. This group consists of hospital directors in the Special Region of Yogyakarta to assist the referral process for Covid-19 patients between hospitals.
  13. SONJO Tangguh. This group gathers the head of village (Lurah), head of district (Panewu/Camat), shelter coordinators, and volunteers to discuss the implementation of handling the Covid-19 pandemic in the field, including the construction of shelters in villages.
  14. SONJO Rukti Jenazah. A group for experts and volunteers in disposal of Covid-19 corpses and mobilization of logistical assistance needed by volunteers in the field.
  15. SONJO Pertanian. This group discusses the latest breakthroughs of agricultural contribution in future economic growth.
  16. SONJO Srikandi. This group consists of Family Welfare Program (Program Kesejahteraan Keluarga) activists at the regional level of Special Region of Yogyakarta to maximize the role of families and women in handling the Covid-19 pandemic in the Special Region of Yogyakarta, especially related to the 5M principle, vaccination, and Integrated Healthcare Service Post (Pos Pelayanan Terpadu).
  17. SONJO Ekspor. This group consists of MSMEs and producers of certain export goods in the Special Region of Yogyakarta to discuss various strategies in developing the quality of MSME products in the Special Region of Yogyakarta.
  18. Database Shelter. A group for village shelter coordinators and head of villages (Lurah) in the Special Region of Yogyakarta to discuss shelters’ development and latest data updates on the availability of village shelter beds for Covid-19 patients.
  19. SONJO Saras. This group consists of student volunteers and health experts who focus on shelters’ quality assurance to ensure that their quality meets health standards.
  20. Komando Tes PCR. This group was formed as a discussion panel to resolve the PCR testing reduction problem in the Special Region of Yogyakarta due to the large number of laboratory employees indicated to be infected by Covid-19. 

Cross-Region Collaboration WhatsApp Groups

  1. Sambatan Lingkar Muria. A collaboration between SONJO and field volunteers, along with the community, in the Muria area (Pati, Kudus, Jepara) in response to the increase in Covid-19 cases that occurred in the area some time ago.
  2. Rereongan Jawa Barat. A collaboration between SONJO and field volunteers, along with the community, in the West Java region to discuss the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in that region. This group underwent several expansions, starting from Rereongan West Bandung, then Rereongan Bandung Raya, and finally expanded into Rereongan Jawa Barat (West Java).
  3. Sambatan OTO. A collaboration between SONJO and PT. OTO Bogor as an effort to build a Covid-19 shelter in the PT OTO area.
  4. Rupil Ancol dan SONJO. A collaboration between SONJO and the management of PT Pembangunan Ancol to establish recovery houses, such as self-isolation shelters, for asymptomatic Covid-19 patients in the Jakarta area.

Compliance Committee

SONJO is an informal organization. However, regardless of the fact whether an organization is formal or informal, when an organization develops, the potential for free riding, moral hazards, and misinformation often occurs. Hence, to mitigate this risk, a Compliance Committee for SONJO was formed to ensure that all programs and activities at SONJO comply with all applicable provisions.

The focus of the Compliance Committee is to mitigate risks related to potential free riding, misinformation, and moral hazard activities. Related to this, the Compliance Committee involves five members who have competency and long-standing reputation related to risk management and anti-corruption. The members of the SONJO Compliance Committee are as follows:

  1. Prof. Sigit Riyanto, PhD (FH-UGM)
  2. Prof. Ova Emilia, PhD (FK-KMK, UGM)
  3. Wahyudi Anggoro Hadi, S.Farm. Apt. (Lurah Panggung Harjo, Bantul)
  4. BM Purwanto, PhD (FEB, UGM)
  5. Dr. Oce Madril, (Pukat-FH-UGM)

SONJO’s compliance with various government regulations is important, considering this is a part of the integrity aspect that SONJO upholds. The history of SONJO’s establishment cannot be separated from the important role of anti-corruption activists who are also lecturers at University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) and members of the UGM Integrity Movement (Gerakan UGM Berintegritas). As an informal organization, SONJO is not allowed to obtain funding from any institution, according to OJK regulations. Trust is SONJO’s main asset and trust is a function of integrity and transparency.

In its development, SONJO has facilitated the distribution of humanitarian aid from donor agencies to community groups in need, such as self-isolated patients, isolated patients in shelters, volunteer team for funeral services, volunteer team for corpses disposal, etc. However, no funds were obtained by SONJO because SONJO’s actions were only to bridge donors and beneficiaries. All the facilities available at SONJO can be utilized by the community without any charge. This is indeed in line with SONJO’s strategy of providing public goods for the people in the Special Region of Yogyakarta to reduce transaction costs that arise due to the Covid-19 pandemic.