UN Volunteer Calvin Koenig (Switzerland) was part of the UN team for the Jakarta Marathon in 2022. The team ran for Sustainable Development Goal 14, life below water.
UN Volunteer Calvin Koenig (Switzerland) was part of the UN team for the Jakarta Marathon in 2022. The team ran for Sustainable Development Goal 14, life below water.

Bridging health and financial gaps in Indonesia

Helene Ries and Calvin Koenig are United Nations Volunteers serving with the World Bank in Indonesia. They advance the efforts of the World Bank in the health and finance sectors in the country. Their assignments are fully funded by the Government of Switzerland.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Health, Nutrition and Population team of the World Bank has extended several projects in Indonesia. These range from improving the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitating access to vaccines, increasing detection and treatment for tuberculosis, to finding ways in which the national health insurance system can cover the population with even more efficiency.

Helene Ries completed her volunteering assignment in November 2022 as a Junior Analyst in Health, Nutrition and Population with the World Bank, also in Indonesia. She is part of the team in Jakarta supporting the health sector and social security apparatus through lending operations and results-based financing.   

She is inspired to be contributing to health sector reform and achieving the targets set. For years, Helene has wanted to help people live long and healthy lives. Her volunteering assignment has given her that opportunity.

In one meeting, I would work to ensure every pregnant woman has access to adequate supplements, and in the next one, I would discuss changes in the national health insurance system that impact dozens of millions. --Helene Ries, Junior Analyst in Health, Nutrition and Population with the World Bank, Indonesia

With its mission to fight poverty around the globe, the World Bank provides loans and grants to low and middle-income countries that require financial and technical assistance. This is where Junior Analyst Calvin Koenig comes in. He is placed with the Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice, which brings together expertise in the financial sector to foster private sector-led growth and help create markets in client countries.

Starting in July 2021, Calvin has supported the Bank in advancing Indonesia’s financial sector, which is not yet sufficiently well-developed to fund the country’s development needs and boost inclusive economic growth. For instance, Indonesia’s financial system excludes half of the adult population, does not serve small and medium-sized enterprises adequately, is unable to provide funds for critical infrastructure and leaves the country more exposed to global shocks.

Calvin has been a strong asset to the Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation team in Indonesia. He has played a key role in capturing knowledge across the team’s various activities, providing operational support to flagship initiatives, conducting research on various issues, and supporting overall coordination and management of team activities. --Francesco Strobbe, Lead Financial Sector Economist with the World Bank in Indonesia and Calvin’s supervisor

To address such structural issues, the World Bank’s financial sector programme focuses, amongst other things, on providing technical assistance in the areas of financial stability and inclusion, as well as long-term and disaster risk finance. Part of this engagement is carried out under the SECO-funded Indonesia Financial Sector Support Programme, which forms the centerpiece of Calvin’s assignment. By assisting successful delivery, he promotes increased access to financial services for the poor and underserved in Indonesia.

I was eager to utilize my skills and the knowledge I had acquired during my studies in a real-world setting and believed that UNV was the perfect way to do so. The World Bank is an institution which I was convinced would be rich in opportunities for young professionals who want to support inclusive and sustainable growth. --Calvin Koenig, Junior Analyst with the World Bank, Indonesia

Helene Ries, International UN Volunteer with World Bank Indonesia during a turtle release to the sea with the World Bank staff

Helene Ries, International UN Volunteer with World Bank Indonesia during a turtle release to the sea with the World Bank staff

This article was prepared with the kind support of Online Volunteer Kathakali Das Bhaumik.