Rural India is facing a severe second wave of COVID. While it’s important to stem the spread of COVID through widespread education and pandemic management, including vaccination and home care, it is equally urgent that we look at the economic distress faced by wage workers, farmers and vulnerable households in the context of day to day survival.
Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP)’s rural women-led response to COVID 19 began during the pandemic in 2020 when its network of women leaders organized themselves into Community-based Sakhi /Women Task Forces (STF).
Women leaders / Sakhis have been trained on COVID prevention measures and long term approaches: they are taking the lead in distributing food relief kits, helping farmers for seeds and inputs, working with local government in running isolation centers, taking care of hospitalization and mobilizing communities on vaccine drive.
SSP facilitated various initiatives and reached out to over 400.000 families across 15 districts in Maharashtra, Bihar, Odisha and Kerala. They worked in alignment with the Government health systems to speed up COVID recovery and resilience.
SSP’s three key strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19:
- Building capacities of women to form Village Action Groups with knowledge on prevention and quarantine/ control measures.
- Equipping local governments and frontline workers to coordinate mass awareness, food and medical relief and emergency services.
- Working along with the Health Systems to ensure readiness for vaccination and access to health services especially for women and children.
Among the learning that SSP adopted in dealing with the second wave of COVID in 2021, there is the empowerment of grassroots institutions - GPs and women leaders to adopt a holistic approach: continuous outreach, education, assessment, prevention and building community resilience through improving food security, livelihoods and access to social protection for the most vulnerable groups.
To learn more: SSP's Rural Women led response to COVID 19