Challenges from the ground in Jharkhand during COVID-19

Why we came together

This is an extremely difficult time that we are facing personally, in the communities we work with and in our organizations. We this realization, the 10to19 Dasra Adolescents Collaborate felt the responsibility to resonate the need for connection, coordination, and camaraderie.

Following the first meeting of key non-profit organizations coming together to share their experiences, the Collaborative also saw the need for a more targeted conversation to understand the on-ground scenario in the state of Jharkhand. Our local community-based organizations in Jharkhand have played a key role in the responding to the needs of communities in Jharkhand and continue to remain a critical part of the Collaborative.

Given that the second wave has had an especially devastating effect on states like Jharkhand, this free-flowing, no-agenda session was a space where we could manage some of the isolation and helplessness all of us are feeling currently, with the hope that coming together, and sharing would help us better understand our role in responding to the impact of these times on the people and communities we serve.

Participants

The Jharkhand community of practice meet was attended by 12 organizations from Jharkhand, each of whom shared their current organizational responses and experiences of the pandemic

Dream a Dream

NEEDS

Jan Lok Kalyan Parishad

Plan India

Jan Sarokar

Pragati Educational Academy

Jharkhand Gramin Vikas Trust, Dhanbad

Prerna Bharti

LJK Lohardaga

Sahayogini Ho

Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra, Hazaribagh

SWADESH Organization

Key Highlights and Learnings

The session began with a set of polls to gauge the actual impact of the pandemic on organizational health, staff and programs. Results of the polls indicated that while some organizations have had flexibility and support from funders, all organizations have been able to put in place adequate mechanisms for supporting their staff during this time. Most organizations were in the process of or had already made shifts in their programs and strategies to address the pandemic, and a majority of them felt that there would be a medium to long-term impact of the pandemic on their programs and core mission values.

Organization Level Impact: 

Further discussion also opened up the floor to organizations to share their experiences of how the second wave has impacted them. 

  • Impact on Staff: Team members and families were getting affected by Covid, to respond to this, organizations took a pause to support members through this time. 

  • Impact from funding shifts: Funding cuts from FCRA/CSR have impacted organizations in different ways, including scaling back of program as well as number of staff.  However, most organizations have repurposed current funding to Covid response and funders have been supportive of this. 

  • Lack of mobility: Travel restrictions have affected organizational work and many have pivoted to using WhatsApp as a way to engage with communities.

These challenges are also accompanied by the continually developing situation on the ground. 

Community Level Impact : 

Partners also shared several key issues that are currently affecting the communities they work with, that included:

  • Increase impact on vulnerable groups: Rise in child marriage, limited access to education as well as mental health issues have been the biggest challenges for young people and adolescents.  Health systems have been disrupted specifically maternal, child and adolescent health as all health infrastructure is Covid focused.

  • Reverse migration and loss of livelihood:  Restricted mobility for migrant workers due to discontinuation of the Jharkhand e-pass as well as reverse migration has led to loss of income & livelihoods. 

  • Vaccine hesitancy and myths: Vaccine hesitancy is on the rise due to lack of awareness, myths and fear (from a few reported deaths) There is high degree of misinformation and lack of awareness about Covid and Covid appropriate behaviors. In rural areas, people are likely to be treated by unqualified doctors which may lead to further complications. 

Emerging Need Areas: 

Partners further shared some priority need areas that require to be addressed in response to the evolving Covid situation on ground  

  • Focus on education: An urgent and immediate response to gap in education services needs to be addressed. As students have been out of school for a year, there is a serious gap in learning which will impact in the long term.

  • Building awareness and busting myths:  It is important to drive the uptake of vaccination by building awareness and addressing hesitancy and myths that continue to circulate. This is specifically true for the rural and remote locations. 

  • Need for medical infrastructure: Rural areas have limited medical facilities which can provide timely care and response. With the anticipation of a third wave, it is essential to bridge this gap of missing infrastructure to address this to prevent rise of third wave in rural areas.

  • Policy response: There is a need to strengthen the state disaster management policy, and create a cadre of staff that can respond to Covid waves.  

  • Focus on Mental Health: Scalable solutions to address mental health issues and isolation among young people is needed

  • Further investment into girls and delivery of health and nutrition services especially now as funds are getting diverted to Covid.

Next Steps

This session was a first step towards understanding the many challenges that the sector and our partners are currently facing, in light of the second wave. All participants expressed the importance of such forums and consultations with a view of combining efforts, encouraging cross learnings and sharing to address the key needs of communities. 

The conversation highlighted not only several key priority areas, but also the need for a coordinated and shared response from stakeholders across the sector and the need for further attention to be paid to organizations facing the brunt of the pandemic at the grassroots. 

It is clear that we will need to continue pushing to prioritize the well-being of each other and the communities we serve, and to ensure that the conversation is open to and highlights the perspectives of vulnerable communities and populations. 

 

The Collaborative will continue this series of consultations with various stakeholder groups, including members of our 10to19 National Community of Practice. Our next consultations will be held on Tuesday, June 1st and Thursday, June 3rd, and will be open to all.

Reference Example for easy understanding

Table 1

The policy gap(s) addressed by the program

The exclusion of young people in the decision-making process for policy issues surrounding adolescents

Community need(s) addressed by the program

Greater awareness and understanding of adolescent issues regarding their education, sexual and reproductive health, and early marriage

Opportunity for innovation addressed by the program

The opportunity to bring and work together with critical stakeholders on a single platform

Table 2

Day-to-day program activities

Stakeholder management, vendor management

Periodic program activities

Monitoring, Reporting, Training of Personnel

One-off program activities

Government advocacy, designing campaigns

Tools/frameworks/systems & processes/ways of working from the program

Systems Change Framework

Table 3

Program practices

Is the practice impactful? If yes, list down why?

Is the practice sustainable? If yes, list down why?   

Is the practice scalable? If yes, list down why?  

Is the practice innovative and/or unique? If yes, list down why?  

Youth-led social audits and presenting youth-centric priorities directly to decision makers

Yes, as it allows young people to directly engage with decision makers and contribute to the decision-making process

Yes, as it equips young people with leadership skills. It is also cost effective due to the long-term gains it offers upon initial investment

Yes, as such training modules can be replicated across multiple initiatives by other practitioners & organizations. In addition, trained young people can also train other young people

Yes, as it follows an approach which centers its design and delivery around young people, in an end-to-end manner

+

+

+

+

+

Table 4

Promising Practice

Youth-led social audits and presenting youth-centric priorities directly to decision makers to: (i) create a platform for youth to exercise their agency (ii) effectively engage decision makers

Source

  • Verbal evidence from community
  • Verbal feedback from on-ground team members
  • Project report & surveys

Details

Community feedback of adolescents feeling confident, understood, and acknowledge

On-ground team feedback on creation of government champions for the project’s objectives

Project report and surveys observe greater youth involvement and efficacy in engaging directly with decision maker

Table 5

RECOMMENDATIONS

Promising Practice

Youth-led social audits and presenting youth-centric priorities directly to decision makers to: (i) create a platform for youth to exercise their agency (ii) effectively engage decision makers

The demographic it addresses

Adolescents from the age of 10 to 19 years

The gap/ need/ opportunity it addresses

The exclusion of adolescents and young people in the decision-making process for policy issues regarding adolescents and young people

Govt stakeholders

Holding consultations with critical stakeholders and young people from the inception of a program

Funders

Taking inputs from all stakeholders and young people before initiating a new project to ensure a deeper visibility and understanding of their demographic and its needs

Other Practitioners

Engaging young people in decision-making processes to adopt a more collaborative approach between stakeholders and young people

Community Stakeholders

Undertaking youth-led social audits and engagement with decision makers to engage directly with young people, understand their needs & concerns and influence change at the community level

5

Objective Review

Outcome

Promising Practices and recommendations ratified by at least one member/ partner organization/ community/ MEL partners outside of ‘the team’

5

Objective Review

Objective

To validate the final promising practice and recommendation(s) by at least one person/ partner organization/ community/ MEL partners outside of the team.

4

Document

Outcome

2-3 promising practices documenting:

 

  • What gap/need is addressed
  • How it is addressed and the change that is created
  • The potential for replicating along with recommendations for implementing

4

Document

Objective

To document the promising practices in a detailed manner

3

Develop into a recommendation

Outcome

Well-articulated recommendation(s) addressing:

 

  • Demographic to cater to
  • Gaps/needs/opportunities addressed by the practice
  • The change brought in by implementing such a practice

3

DEVELOP INTO A RECOMMENDATION

Objective

To construct a recommendation in a brief, specific and clear-cut format which would assist other initiatives in implementing the same

2

CALIBRATE & SUBSTANTIATE

Outcome

Obtaining qualitative and/or quantitative data to assess the promise of the shortlisted practices according to the five guiding factors

Arriving at first list of promising practices

2

CALIBRATE & SUBSTANTIATE

Objective

To substantiate the shortlisted practices by collating gathered data in the form of:

 

  • Feedback from the community
  • Verbal accounts of the ground team
  • Documentation reports
  • Other valuable data

1

List & Shortlist

Outcome

Identifying:

  • Policy gaps
  • Community needs
  • Opportunities for innovation and other aspects that the program is addressing.

    Creating a list of program practices that are working on-ground in bridging gaps/needs/opportunities.

1

List & Shortlist

Objective

To identify gaps/needs/opportunities and to shortlist program practices that are impactful, sustainable, scalable, innovative and/or unique.