Masker Untuk Indonesia: Assembling the Creative Forces to Normalize Mask-Wearing

Written By
Annisa Puspa Andira

Edited By
Fazrah Heryanda

Photo Source
Masker Untuk Indonesia

Take a deep breath, you may need to wear a face mask for a long time until the unforeseeable future! With the recent confirmation by World Health Organization (WHO) on the possibility of airborne transmission of COVID-19, governments around the world scrambled to implement compulsory mask-wearing in public spaces to curb the spread. Several studies, such as ones by The Lancet’s Journal and Oxford’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, have repeatedly acknowledged the effectiveness of face masks to prevent virus transmission when combined with social distancing protocols.

But this call for compulsory mask wearing has given rise to social issues.

Early in the pandemic, insufficient supply of medical masks in Indonesia led to unscrupulous hoarding and price inflation. This significant imbalance between supply and demand left medics without the proper protective gears to combat the virus and a public outcry for the public to don on cloth masks instead. While this situation has relatively eased with the increase in medical masks production, another urgent problem was individuals who refused to wear a mask in public be it due to discomfort or an unwarranted God Complex.

Observing the situation, Kevin Osmond, a seasoned techpreneur, realized the importance for a collective movement. “The Government has urged the public to wear a cloth mask every time we’re involved in outdoor activities. But, there are still many who choose to ignore it as people don’t realize that wearing a mask is a way to protect from the deadly virus. Meanwhile, masks availability and distribution are still limited. So, to normalize mask-wearing and also help create jobs for printing companies and freelance tailors who are affected by the sudden halt in the economy, Masker Untuk Indonesia decided to produce non-medical masks using printed scuba fabric.”

To stimulate public interest in face masks, Masker Untuk Indonesia adopts a creative method of collaborating with artists, musicians, local brands and creators to create unique mask designs distinct to each collaborator. Some of the many prominent names who have partake in this movement include Raisa, Afgan, Kunto Aji, Abenk Alter, Roby Dwi Antono, Lala Bohang, and local brands such as Argyle & Oxford, Kamengski and Yajugaya. “All involved collaborators possess an extraordinary spirit to curb the spread of coronavirus, and have been very open to the movement due to the far-reaching impacts of the pandemic,” said Inka, a media representative of Masker Untuk Indonesia. Today, Masker Untuk Indonesia has more than 70 collaborative designs that not only serve the purpose of curbing COVID-19, but also as a token of appreciation for local creative works.

“In addition to adopting creative designs to encourage mask wearing, customers who order a mask through Masker Untuk Indonesia also get to donate 3 generic masks with every purchase of 1 mask. This move is intended to improve masks distribution and support the #MaskerUntukSemua campaign by the Government. “For the distribution of donated masks, we are working with several distribution partners, such as, Traffic Directorate of the Metro Jaya Regional Police,, Indonesia Kuat, PPDI, GP Ansor, Building Culture Movement, and Muhammadiyah Student Association.”

"There are still many places that have not been reached, such as in Eastern Indonesia or remote areas. Even though masks are easier to obtain even in Jakarta, some people think there's no point in wearing a mask. So, our movement will focus on that."

As of July 9th, 2020, Masker Untuk Indonesia has successfully distributed 500,000 masks to some regions from Tangerang, Bandung, Surabaya, Batu Bara Medan, Mamuju, Kupang, to Jayapura. Even so, Masker Untuk Indonesia acknowledge that mask distribution is not yet evenly distributed. “There are still many places that have not been reached, such as in Eastern Indonesia or remote areas. Even though masks are easier to obtain even in Jakarta, some people think there’s no point in wearing a mask. So, our movement will focus on that.” Therefore, besides pushing the distributions, Masker Untuk Indonesia is continuously educating the public on the importance of using masks to suppress coronavirus transmission.”

Despite the challenging situation, Masker Untuk Indonesia wants to encourage industries in any field to keep up their optimism and spirit, “We are in this struggle together. We hope that all industries, including the creative industry, can continue to strive for optimism and continue innovating to make real and positive impact.”