Covid and Community

Please read the direct updates from Action Village India’s partners received over the last week.

ASSEFA, Tamil Nadu

The lockdown has already had a lot of implications for ASSEFA’s programmes.

Education: All ASSEFA run schools have been indefinitely closed untill further instructions from the government and teachers have been asked to work from home.

Dairy programme: Although the milk processing factories are functioning as normal, sales have decreased of around one-third and the factories have been forced to ask for loans to fill the gaps in the capital.

Drinking-Water Project: This is functioning and hasn’t faced any restrictions so far.

Converting into Small Finance Bank: These initiatives have come to a standstill.

Credit programme: As credit assistance has stopped due to the lockdown and the Reserve Bank of India has given a 3 months moratorium period, ASSEFA’s cash flow has faced constraints which led to discontinuing the assistance to women and farmers groups.

Social Security: ASSEFA recently introduced a scheme assisting 233 widowed, destitute and deserted women with Rs. 500 (£6) each month on an experimental basis. The assistance provided came out of the interest earned by the SMBTs (federated body of women Self Help Groups) concerned. As the credit operations of the SMBTs have been stopped, ASSEFA hasn’t been able to continue this service.

CRUSADE, Tamil Nadu, From Disability to Stability Project

The livelihood of poor people is badly affected due to the complete lockdown. However, the immediate response of both central and state government has been encouraging. CRUSADE has set up communication links to ensure that all the communities they work with are aware of the government response, so they know their entitlements. As you can imagine with any scheme, there are always people who fall through the gaps. CRUSADE is filling these gaps by distributing grains. CRUSADE has also offered to work with local Government and Panchayats (village councils) to bridge the gap and provide simple medical equipment such as masks, gloves and sanitary products.

Covid & Community – Action Village India
Covid & Community – Action Village India

Ekta Parishad, Jai Jagat 2020

The sudden outbreak of Coronavirus has forced Ekta Parishad (EP) to suspend the Jai Jagat 2020 March for a while but still bringing forward the same message that the destructive development and economic model  humankind are pursuing at the cost of nature are not sustainable. Although the March isn’t moving physically, EP is continuing the Jai Jagat campaign in whatever ways possible.

At the moment, Ekta Parishad is setting up with thousands of volunteers an ‘Immediate and Long Term’ response systems and coordination points in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar, Uttar  Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Kerala,  Tamil Nadu, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, West Bengal and Maharashtra. Apart from these states, Ekta Parishad is also trying to collaborate with many grassroots organisations. The operations are divided into 3 levels of responses:

  1. Production and Distribution of Khadi Masks to the villagers;
  2. Provide food to migrant labourers hundreds of whom are going back to villages;
  3. Relocation of Migrant Labourers in a protected centre.

Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra (NBJK), Jharkhand and Bihar, Girls’ Education and Community Action

All the schools, as well as coaching centres, have been closed since the end of March. All 6-9th classes were passed but the girls in the 10th class are still waiting for their exam results, which were sat in February. The girls were given homework on their last day of school and tuition but because the girls are from rural areas, and the villages are in lockdown, it has been very difficult to continue providing homework to the girls. Teachers are receiving regular weekly updates from the students through phone calls and, in case the lockdown will be extended, homework will be assigned to students through a phone call.

In terms of the Community Action Project, the tailoring training has been stopped as well as the tree nursery. Teak seeds are currently being collected and will be sown after the lockdown. LSSK isn’t able to continue its activities as most of these are dependent on public gatherings. LPK’s community health centre was initially kept open. However, as the the government passed the order to close private clinics in rural areas, the centre had to close as only government-run health centres will operate in rural areas for now .

NBJK’s eye hospital and school in Chauparan are currently functioning as a quarantine centre for migrant workers who have come back from cities in the country. NBJK has also supported government hospitals with gloves, masks, thermometers, and gowns while also providing food to people who are unable to access governmental support.

Regional Centre for Development Cooperation (RCDC), Odisha, Securing Livelihoods and Land Rights

In Odisha, it is the poor and marginalized who have been hit the most. They earn by day by day being either daily wage earners or daily traders in small produces including vegetables, fish, meat, and eggs. With the lockdown strictly enforced, these people are facing starvation as they have been denied scope to earn. They desperately need help with items of daily use. People are unaccustomed to such measures and need further support to understand how to deal with the new measures. Odisha has a large population who migrate to other cities and states from both coastal and interior regions for employment. This population is now in dire straits. Those who have returned face self-isolation and quarantine. Those who are stuck in other states are in need of support and evacuation. RCDC intends to create awareness among marginalised women and men; to take care of the essential needs of poor and needy families; and to facilitate and help the migrants address the issues they face.

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