11
May

Covid relief by Centre for Development in Ahmedabad

Centre for Development (CfD), our partner in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, has been at the forefront of ensuring that Covid relief efforts reach the last mile. Their efforts are a great example of the interconnected approaches AID has been supporting to tackle the Covid crisis – food and medical support, community awareness and advocacy.
Food Support
CfD has been primarily providing food support to families in distress.
  • Till date they have provided food-kits comprising cereals, pulses, edible oil, sugar, salt, tea,  condiments, masks and soap to 1077 affected households.
  • They have also supported two community kitchens for 298 people in Sarkhej and 303 people in Rakhiyal respectively.
  • The vulnerable families/persons that CfD supported through its relief efforts included daily wage labourers, tailors, domestic helps, waste pickers, hawkers (food carts etc. which do not function due to lockdown), small vendors (pavement or push-cart vegetable and fruit vendors), widows and woman headed families, elderly individuals, auto drivers, and families with critically ill members.
Medical support
On request, CfD has provided medicines to those with non-Covid ailments who have been unable to get their regular medicines due to the closure of medical shops in their areas.
Community awareness
  • During food-kit distribution and distress calls from the community, CfD has been actively engaged in community awareness activities, reminding them of physical distancing, wearing masks and hand- washing/using alcohol-based sanitizers. CfD has particularly reached out to children, and also spread the message to families through the 500+ children they are directly in touch with.
  • In the communities they work in, they have provided area leaders and community volunteers with correct information on COVID-19 and dispel any misinformation regarding the way of spreading and cure for COVID-19.
  • Awareness of COVID-19 symptoms has also been constantly communicated over phone to the community. Correct IEC material and short write-ups in Gujarati have also been circulated through WhatsApp and social media to reach out to all the youth in the areas that CfD works in.
  • A substantial time has gone into counselling people from the communities, especially adolescent girls and children who were gripped by fear and panic at times. This was done through audio and video calls. The CfD staff helped them understand the scientific aspects of the disease and its spread and helped them overcome their fears by helping them and their family members take the right precautions. This helped a number of children to overcome fear and sometime depression, and focus on their studies during these days.
Health surveillance
CfD has been helping a number of people in the community by advising them on steps to take in case of COVID-19-like symptoms. Anyone contacting them with such symptoms have been requested to isolate
themselves from other family members, take regular medication and monitor their health for the next 2-3 days. They have so far received about 77 phone calls from people who suspected they had symptoms;

many of them turned out to be due to fear and panic, but some of them were genuine, but turned out to not be due to CoViD-19. They also observed that people were mortally scared of the quarantine system of the government (in case they were to be taken to a quarantine centre).

Advocacy efforts

CfD has been monitoring the situation of the families in distress, especially in terms of their access to the relief package announced by the government. As soon as the government relief work, especially through the PDS system started functioning, CfD staff were in continuous touch with the communities to know if they received their entitlement of cereals, pulses and sugar. Over 80 people from different areas were contacted over phone to ascertain whether they received their entitlement through the PDS, and volunteers/staff also visited areas to personally see the distribution going on in several areas.

CfD is also part of a national effort along with National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights which has developed a mobile app which is being used to collect information from 15 states including Gujarat – information on whether the marginalized communities (SC/ST/OBC/Minority/DNT, and vulnerable groups among them such as the disabled, senior citizens, single women, sexual minorities and transgenders) have been provided awareness on precautionary measures to be taken and whether these communities have received the relief entitlements. CfD has 10 volunteers engaged in this inclusion monitoring using the mobile app, mainly in Ahmedabad city and some of the rural districts. The data collection would continue for 10 days, reaching out to over 1500 families from marginalized communities (SC, ST, OBC, Minority), following which the app would provide real time information on the number of people

excluded from entitlements. The list of such people and the relevant
applications to the competent authority in the district as well as the state
government would be generated through the app and submitted for
necessary action.

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