As a response to the pandemic and with a mission to facilitate COVID-19 awareness to flatten the curve and support vulnerable households reeling with the negative impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns, E&H Foundation identified distressed communities and areas to incept COVID-relief interventions in the Farrukhabad district of UP in July 2020. Building upon our existing programs, we intervened in our work areas in the rural block of Shamsabad in the Farrukhabad district of UP, reaching out to 28 villages covering over 6000 families and worked on:
- Increasing COVID awareness and reducing its spread.
- Facilitating the linkage of extremely marginalized households to various government relief schemes, reaching out to more than 2000 beneficiaries.
- Providing emergency food kits to about 1000 most vulnerable households along with extending psychosocial support and counselling for extremely distressed cases or families.
Response to the First COVID Wave
In April 2020, E&H Foundation became a member of the RCRC – Rapid Rural Community Response to COVID-19, which is a network of over 65 NGOs collectively addressing situations emerging from the pandemic. In July 2020, 11 of these partners incepted a ten-month long intervention in their respective districts in Odisha and UP to support vulnerable families during COVID-19 in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). As part of this project since August, E&H Foundation’s field teams have met with over 6000 families and carried out detailed interviews, filled questionnaires and communicated about COVID and relevant social protection schemes. Detailed profiles of villages have also been created to identify area-specific needs. During this period, teams built rapport with local authorities and stakeholders like Pradhans, Ex-Pradhans, ASHA-Aanganwadi workers, CMO, CDO, SM, CM, Agriculture Department Officers, Bank Managers, Doctors, Teachers, Religious Leaders and other Community Leaders to support in facilitating camps, building collective understand and mobilizing and accessing vulnerable groups and supporting them.
Between July 2020 until April 2021, E&H Foundation undertook the following :
COVID Awareness Drives – ‘Jarukta Raths’
Teams conducted dedicated COVID awareness campaigns. E-rickshaw campaigns or ‘COVID Jagrukta Raths’ were carried out thrice in every village between November 2020 until March 2021. Awareness efforts about COVID, its precautions and mitigation reached over 4,500 households (~20,000 individuals) and 6,000 families. These drives also included pamphlet distribution via household visits, one-on-one meetings and focused group discussions with communities, attending Chaupal/Nukkad meetings, participating in local, village and block-level camps and collaborating with ASHA workers and Agriculture departments. Local talent was hired to paint motivating murals, conduct e-rickshaw announcements, loudspeaker announcements, one-on-one meetings, GDs, Nukkad Sabhas, camps, door-to-door or ‘Knock the Door’ campaigns engaging with various key stakeholders and community members. Awareness campaigns focused on sharing accurate information regarding COVID symptoms, adoption of new behaviours related to wearing masks, hand washing, physical distancing norms, quarantining norms, hand-washing and general sanitation along with annihilation of fear and stigma among all members of the community. Repeated household visits were conducted to reinforce behaviour change along with dispelling rumours regarding COVID. Such dedicated campaigns focusing on communications regarding precaution and preventive procedures have been carried out in a large number of villages.
Following a rights-based approach under its governance program, E&H Foundation enabled access of extremely vulnerable households to various social protection schemes, namely- PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), Jan Dhan Yojna, Rations under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Indira Gandhi Pension Yojana for Senior Citizens, Widows, and Persons with Disability (PWDs) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) or Ayushman Bharat
Baseline surveys between July and September 2020 suggested that many marginalized households were not linked to a majority of social protection schemes; most marginalized families being deprived of even rations. Through its three-stage strategy of i) Mobilization, ii) Registration, iii) Enabling and Tracking Access and Entitlements, E&H Foundation teams of CRPs – Community Resource Persons – conducted detailed household surveys and analysis of each village to identify individuals deprived of major social protection schemes. They then facilitated linking such individuals with key government schemes, working with stakeholders and communities in a scheme-wise approach. Teams also facilitated information and entitlement awareness drives in villages collaborating with state agents, existing structures and, wherever possible, through groups of vulnerable communities (at scheme-wise level). Overall, about 2300 beneficiaries were linked with social protection and welfare schemes since the beginning of the project. This has been achieved through the direct intervention of filling forms in groups or assisting community members and vulnerable groups in accessing local networks and Common Service Points (CSPs) or participating in government camps. Following are the scheme-wise achievements under our governance program:
- 769 farmers linked with PMKSY (17.42% or 134 out of 769 females)
- 662 Jan Dhan Accounts opened (78.54% or 520 out of 662 are females)
- 88 MGNREGA Job cards created (20% for females)
- 128 extremely vulnerable households linked with Rations under NFSM (78.90% women-headed households)
- In total, 208 people linked with Indira Gandhi Pension Yojna. (151 Senior citizens, 59 widows and 8 for disabled) Furthermore, 182 Certificates in which 164 income certificates and 18 death certificates were generated to facilitate these pensions.
- 250 Golden cards generated for individuals under the Ayushman Bharat scheme – PMJAY.
Nutritional Support Program
Prior to the second wave between March to April, E&H Foundation provided nutritional support in the form of dry rations/food kits to 1000 most vulnerable households in around 30 villages of Shamshabad and Nawabganj blocks of Farrukhabad in partnership with Give India. Teams developed detailed profiles of villages and built rapport with various stakeholders and identified most marginalized groups and households facing food insecurities and other forms of vulnerabilities. Criteria to identify these households was designed after in-depth research and analysis of the area and communities. These lists were then verified by the Pradhans & Ex-Pradhans/ Sarpanch, Ward Members, Aanganwadi and ASHA workers, teachers, supervisors of Gyan Shala field programs and other knowledgeable persons within these communities. Distribution The distribution drive was completed in two phases, tokens were handed out to the people identified one day before distribution to ease the process and follow COVID protocols. Venues for distribution were included Gram Chaupals, Aanganwadi Kendras, Panchayat Bhawan, Chauks, Govt schools and private schools including primary learning centres of Satya Bharti and Gyan Shala (our field partners since 2013). Overall around 70% of recipients were females; out of those 70% females, over 65% were widows, around 30 were differently-abled, ill or and had no support at home. Other beneficiaries included out-of-work Zari workers, labour workers, migrants, senior citizens and persons with disabilities. Over 20% of the kits were distributed to the parent community of children enrolled under our primary education program in Shamsabad who belong to extremely low-income groups-where the parent communities are engaged in manual labour work like Zardozi, construction, hawking or rickshaw pulling.
Response to Second COVID Wave
The second COVID wave was more severe and intensive in India and penetrated the rural areas and small semi-urban towns. The entire nation was gasping for breath to establish timely access of oxygen and medical supplies. Local clinics as well as Primary Health Centers (PHCs) and Community Health Centers (CHCs) were unequipped and unable to meet the needs of communities within villages. 2021 Panchayati polls in rural UP further increased the spread of COVID in April and the situation quickly worsened in Farrukhabad. At the time, reports of distress, COVID deaths, other health concerns and fear were reported. Field teams reported that dead bodies were being secretly cremated in the Ganga. More than 50% of village populations were dealing with health issues and COVID fear. Urgent interventions were needed to address these issues and support communities through uncertainty and facilitate healthcare access at the earliest. E&H Foundation procured 7 Oxygen Concentrators and 100 Oximeters during the third week of May to quickly deploy within Gram Panchayats at various key locations at the village-cluster levels in collaboration with public administration and local doctors/clinics. Oximeters were distributed to front-line workers including ASHA, Aanganwadi workers, govt teachers, local doctors, ward members/Pradhans as well as our internal teams of field officers or Community Resource persons (CRPs). Individuals were also trained on its usage. Furthermore, an agreement was also signed to encourage personal accountability of each user and each community usage.
Ongoing Projects and Preparedness for the Third Wave
The surge of COVID-19 cases during the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has birthed an unprecedented demand for access to healthcare and medical supplies across all health care facilities. As of August 2021, E&H Foundation is quickly expanding its operations to cover 100 villages of the Nawabganj and Shamshabad blocks of Farrukhabad to enabled quality access of healthcare for vulnerable communities. Currently, E&H Foundation is working upon increasing COVID awareness, removing vaccination hesitancy and facilitating vaccination of communities along with providing food support, access to entitlements and essential facilities as well as medical supplies for vulnerable communities. Following are some of the ongoing projects:
Oxygen4Ever: Installing Oxygen Generators to Provide COVID-Relief to Vulnerable Communities
With a step towards support hospitals and governments in installing oxygen generators of high capacities, E&H Foundation partnered with “Friends of PadUp” to set up 10 Oxygen Generators in Artemis Hospital in Gurgaon in May 2021. Based on the success of this pilot, Olam Foundation also joined efforts and the project was further extended to install another plant of 167 LPM at Tauru CHC – a dedicated COVID-19 facility in Haryana. It is a new facility with 60 beds and caters to over 2.5 lakh populations in the Mewat region of Haryana, covering 84 villages with 4 sub-centres. Prior to the establishment of Taaru CHC, critical patients were either sent to Nuh medical college or Civil hospital, Nuh (about 30Kms away) if they needed Oxygen. But now they will be treated right in Tauru. This installation will provide lifesaving oxygen support to approximately 4800 patients in a year, primarily benefiting the underprivileged and marginalized strata of Gurugram. Building upon these pilot interventions, E&H Foundation has recently partnered with HDFC to install one PSA plant with a capacity of generating 500 litres per minute (LPM) of oxygen at the Anjuman Jamea Hospital in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh as part of preparedness to deal with the potential 3rd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in UP. E&H has assessed the need and for enhancing the oxygen generation capacity at the hospital which will benefit low-income groups.
Strengthening Access to Healthcare at grassroots with Give India
Post the second wave, E&H Foundation received 20 Oxygen Concentrators, 50,000 masks and funds to deploy 300 oximeters at village levels from Give India under its India COVID relief fund. Machines are currently on standby as demand for them has significantly reduced post-June. However, systems have been set up anticipating the third wave and once the need arises, machines will be quickly deployed. Teams have identified key accessible clusters and locations such as potential CHCs, district Hospitals and Charitable Hospitals for deployment. Furthermore, all 50,000 masks will be distributed to communities by the end of August 2021. Mask distribution drives are currently underway. As part of ongoing activities, masks have been distributed to community members at vaccination camps, during door-to-door surveys, household visits, during group discussions, within classrooms, at PHCs/CHCs, local camps etc. Most of these masks have been distributed with the assistance of doctors and nurses at CHCs/PHCs in Gram Panchayats. Approximately 5000 masks have been distributed to the families of children enrolled in our education program with the help of teachers, field supervisors, police officers, religious leaders, community leaders like Pradhans etc.
COVID Awareness and Food Relief with Azim Premji Foundation
In June 2021, E&H Foundation partnered with Azim Premji Foundation (ATF), earlier Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives (APPI), to promote COVID appropriate behaviour, remove vaccine hesitancy through community engagement efforts and provide nutritional support to around 600-800 vulnerable families between June to September 2021. The project aims to work with highly vulnerable groups facing food insecurities, providing them with dry rations, and accurate information promoting COVID preventive measures and removing vaccine hesitancy amongst them. Coverage for this is 40 villages in Shamsabad & Nawabganj blocks and 10 wards of the Samsabad block in Farrukhabad district.
Vaccination Drives in partnership with CRYPTO Relief & RCRC
As part of the RCRC network, E&H Foundation is working with CRYPTO Relief to facilitate the vaccination of 25,000 individuals between July to October 2021. Operations are being expanded to 100 villages of the Shamsabad and Nawabganj blocks. Large-scale vaccination and awareness drives are being undertaken in collaboration with health workers, PHC-CHCs etc. In addition to the CRPs, 50 Volunteer will also help in motivating and mobilizing communities to get vaccinated within their villages. Along with facilitating their first dose, teams are addressing vaccination hesitancy, misinformation and providing accurate information regarding vaccination protocols. Over the course of this program, other essential commodities like masks, shields, thermometers, medicines, oximeters, food kits etc. will also be distributed to communities.
Long-Term Preparedness: Access to Healthcare & Education
Continuing with building preparedness for a potential future wave, E&H Foundation has partnered with the American Tower Foundation (ATF) to provide much-needed oxygen and healthcare support to the most vulnerable and needy patients between December 2021. Over the next six months, we are undertaking the following activities:
- Making oxygen concentrators available in the project areas on a rotational basis and providing oximeters to health workers and other motivated community leaders in villages to detect mild COVID cases and identify patients with need for oxygen support and timely hospitalization.
- Supporting better management of mild COVID cases at home by facilitating tele consulting of COVID patients with doctors,
- Supporting COVID appropriate behaviour by increasing awareness, distributing masks and addressing vaccination hesitancy.
- Facilitating linking vulnerable families to government health insurance schemes, which facilitates free hospitalization of poor families in private hospitals.
Along with its COVID-relief interventions, in the ongoing academic year, E&H Foundation is supporting the quality primary education of over 5100 underprivileged children from STD 1-5 in the rural and urban slums of Farrukhabad and Lucknow in partnership with Gyan Shala and Bharti Foundation. Of these, around 4400 students are being covered from STD 1-3 through learning centres within slums of Lucknow and Farrukhabad and another 720 students from STD 1-5 are being covered through three operational schools in the rural slums of Farrukhabad. To know more about the models we work with, visit –Models we Work With