RF partner Mann Deshi supporting daily wage earners during Covid-19
The worsening Covid-19 pandemic has forced most countries in the world to impose quarantine and lockdown. While this is necessary to break the chain of infection, it has had a terrible impact on daily wage earners in India, as the lockdown has made it impossible for them to provide for their families.
To assist the affected groups, RYTHM Foundation’s partner in India, the Mann Deshi Foundation is implementing several initiatives to assist the local communities.
Mann Deshi is supporting about 5,000 families in Satara district in Maharashtra, India. These families are given essential supplies such as rice, salt, cooking oil, sugar, tea leaves, biscuit packets as well as soaps and washing powder.
Apart from providing the relief items, Mann Deshi is also working closely with the Collector of Satara district to provide masks and sanitisers to the front liners, such as medical staff, health officials and law enforcement officers.
As the spread and concern over the pandemic increases, so does the demand for protective masks. To address this need, Mann Deshi has trained the women entrepreneurs registered with them to make face masks to be sold in their respective communities.
“To date, our women entrepreneurs have already produced 100,000 masks and with 300 women working with us, we expect to produce 500,000 masks over the next three months,” Mann Deshi Champions founder Prabhat Sinha said.
Since the newspaper distribution services in the area were temporarily suspended following the pandemic, the Mann Deshi Community radio plays a significant role in educating people about the current global health crisis.
The Mann Deshi Tarang Vahini 90.4 MHZ available as a mobile app, reaches about 100,000 people in 110 villages in Mann taluka.
“We are relaying important instructions by local municipal councils. These include market timings, locations where vegetables are being sold and the importance of social distancing while queuing for goods,” said Prabhat.
Apart from regular broadcast interviews with experts, doctors, and government officials, the radio also allows people to call in and talk about the challenges and issue they are facing.
“We then forward the information to the attention of the district collector to coordinate help accordingly,” said Prabhat.
Apart from that, to ensure compliance with safety protocols, Mann Deshi provided training on essential healthcare measures and rules to be followed during the lockdown to its team from its Farm-to-Market programme.
“In collaboration with local authorities, we have given the trained workers special ID cards to allow them to support farmers to harvest and provide vegetables to local communities and in the cities,” Prabhat said.
To ensure that essential banking services continue without interruption, Mann Deshi Foundation’s sister organisation, the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank is making sure that all their customers wash their hands when they enter the branches and bank officials are given strict safety guidelines. The bank is also partnering with the community radio team to educate communities and encourage the usage of mobile banking.
Taking into consideration that many crops are being harvested at this time, Mann Deshi is also providing warehousing facilities for farmer’s harvests.
“Many marginalised farmers have no storage facilities. We are providing warehousing facilities for them and our bank is also working on a warehouse receipt financing product so that they can have the finances to see them through this time,” Prabhat said.
RYTHM Foundation initially partnered with Mann Deshi Champions Youth Development Center to help young women in the drought-prone region of Mann Taluka to develop their lives through sports, personal development workshops and academic programming. During this pandemic, Mann Deshi has gone above and beyond to assist the local communities through their humanitarian activities.