Combating pandemic: Janvikas-CSJ response mechanism, support to vulnerable sections

A note on Covid-19 response mechanism and support to the vulnerable communities by the civil society organization (CSO) Janvikas, Ahmedabad, with its associates, Institute for Development Education and Learning-Centre for Social Justice ( IDEAL-CSJ) and Institute for Studies and Transformations (IST):

Relief provided by CSOs included food, ration kits and safety kits to 45,804 individuals in Gujarat and Delhi; support to 42,596 migrants in Gujarat, including travel support to 14,000 migrants; legal support to 6,428 persons in Gujarat, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh; capacity building to 1,600 community leaders of Gujarat, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh; cash transfer to 416 individuals; five sanitization tunnel built in Gujarat and Rajasthan; and dissemination of information to three lakh individuals in Ahmedabad.
It all began with advocacy efforts by engaging government with the aim of activating the Public Distribution System (PDS), mid-day meal and ICDS system through state, city and local government engagement. The district collectors of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Sabarkantha were approached for relief work to migrants.

Letters were written to senior government officials, including Gujarat chief secretary, for necessary permissions to reach out to communities regarding provision of cooked food and water to stranded migrant labourers. There was successful collaboration with DCP Zone-5 Ahmedabad for setting up community kitchens for migrants.

Following necessary permissions, dry ration and hygiene kit distribution was carried out in order to support to 37,555 individuals. In all, 7,511 kits were distributed. Loose ration was provided to 1,300 migrant workers at IIM-A construction site and Thaltej. There was also reach-out to vulnerable sections in Ahmedabad, Petlad, Khambhat, Himmatnagar, Panchmahal, Kheda, Nakhatrana, Jambusar and Vadodara, as well as in Delhi, in collaboration with CSOs Aatapi, Sahaj, Muslim Women’s Forum, Dalit Shakti Kendra and KMVS.

Dry food packets were distributed to migrants leaving by trains to their hometowns. As many as 14,040 dry food packets were distributed to migrants leaving by train from Ahmedabad in collaboration with the district collector’s office, Ahmedabad. Also, 20,000 biscuit packets were supplied to migrants leaving by train from Gandhinagar in collaboration with the district collector, Gandhinagar. Further, 5,749 daily wagers were provided with food packets in Ahmedabad and surrounding areas with the support of local donors and community engagement.

Support was provided to migrants leaving for hometown by foot. As many as 2,500 food packets with water, medicine, foot wear, etc.. were provided to migrants who were walking by foot to their hometown via the highway along the Gujarat-Rajasthan corridor along the Gandhinagar to Ratanpur (Rajasthan) route.

Self-help dignity community kitchens were set up to feed migrants in Gujarat. In all, 2,65,200 meals were provided by setting up 12 community kitchens. They fed 4,500 migrant workers twice a day. The entire operation was facilitated by DCP Zone-5 of Ahmedabad. The community kitchen at Gota fed 600 migrants.

As many as 416 persons were offered cash support, with cash transfer of Rs 7,000 each to 61 daily wage earning households in Ahmedabad, supported of the CSO Give India. Rs 1,000 each was given to 16 families for purchasing ration in Sabarkantha district. Rs 3,000 help was given to 31 young girls and boys, who were trained by Janvikas, but lost their jobs owning to the Covid crisis.

As many as 500 safai karamcharis were equipped with safety gears in Ahmedabad. Also, 309 health workers of the government health department were equipped with personal protective equipment kits in Ahmedabad, Panchmahal and Anand districts.

There was technology intervention in the form of setting up smart disinfection and sanitization tunnels. In all five such smart disinfection and sanitization tunnels were installed to contain Covid-19 at Manav Garima, Vejalpur; Sahyog, Vatva; Dalit Shakti Kendra, Nani Devti; Conflictorium, Mirzapur; and Vaagdhara, Rajasthan.

Needs assessment was conducted by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) in South Gujarat’s adivasi areas, in Amreli and Bhavnagar districts’coastal belt, North Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Based on the assessment, representation was made to various departments, leading to government authorities of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat recognizing CSJ’s efforts. The authorities were provided CSJ’s Law Centres’ contact numbers so that people could avail of the support and assistance with regard to shelter and food.

In all, 7,000 non-migrant labourers were directly supported by the CSJ Law Centres in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand so that they could avail of the benefits of state/central schemes. This helped them accessration, safe space to stay, benefits of government schemes like Jandhan Yojana, Widow Pension, etc. and compensation/salaries from their owners.

CSJ activists co-ordinated and arranged travel for more than 14,000 migrants to reach their hometown. They also coordinated and arranged to provide food and ration to more than 3,000 people, even as helping in capacity building to 600 volunteers associated with 40 NGOs across the country. They were trained in using toolkit to monitor the entitlements announced post-lockdown.

There was also legal services support through the disaster victim legal services scheme (DLSA), which was activated for creating evidence for future advocacy. Victims were supported with legal issues related to immediate relief of food supply, shelter, transport and compensation through. In all approximately 6429 victims were supported in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

A mobile solution was developed by a CSO, Awaz De, which was and circulated to more than 25,000 people across the country. All relevant schemes and policies were compiled and widely circulated among various WhatsApp groups. Simplified and translated Covid-19 related schemes/policies were distributed in Hindi and Gujarati.

CSJ developed a tracking app to support igrants in availing their entitlements in order to facilitate and follow up on entitlements to migrant laboures, women, children, Dalits, Adivasi and other vulnerable sections.

In all, 10,000 voice messages were disseminated through 20 voice messages (Awaz De) regarding various entitlements in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Jharkahand. Supported by local police, sound recording facility with the help of community radio, Nazaria, was used for broadcasting educational messages as well as through auto rickshaws and cabs. In all abput three lakh people were reached in Ahmedabad.

Online training and capacity building was carried out for community leaders to develop competency for preventive measures, hygiene, social distancing, combating stigma in communities and psycho-social care required for Covid-19 by collaborating with the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), Gandhinagar in Gujarat, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh.

Community leaders were trained to develop understanding on Covid-19 for creating awareness and prevention about other communicable diseases for sensitizing the communities in collaboration with Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), Gandhinagar. Healthcare training centre in collaboration with IIPHG and IIT, Kharagpur, was set up to serve remote areas along with sustainable healthcare intervention in order to help vulnerable communities to mitigate healthcare risks.

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