Global reports acknowledge the crucial role played by NGOs during the pandemic phase
New Delhi/IBNS: Non-government organizations (NGOs) across the world played a pivotal role during the pandemic situation and the related lockdown period, especially in countries like India.
Although the Union government and the state governments tried their best to handle the pandemic scare, much of their efforts would not have reached the target beneficiaries if it was not for the NGOs and other non-profit organizations spread across the country.
From providing basic necessities to the underprivileged, to supplying medical and protective gear, and assisting with awareness campaigns on social distancing, etc., NGOs pitched in a number of ways.
António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, appreciated the civil society and grassroots organizations for playing a fundamental role in fighting the COVID-19 at local levels.
In the recently launched ‘Report on the socio-economic impact of COVID-19’, he reiterated his faith in NGOs and said they bring economic and livelihood opportunities, and can adapt responses to the community context.
‘Impact of COVID-19 on India’s Non-profit Organisations ’, a snapshot report released by the Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP), Ashoka University in June 2020, revealed that ‘three-fourths of the interviewed NPOs were actively engaged in ongoing relief work, using their embedded presence in communities as a particular strength’.
The report highlighted ‘the work ranged from last-mile delivery of relief material such as dry ration and sanitation kits, community awareness and sensitization, setting up health camps and isolation facilities, rescuing stranded labor, provision of direct cash transfers, to offering rehabilitation of the distressed communities’.
Voluntary Action Network India (VANI) in their recently published ‘Study Report on National Policy on Voluntary Sector’ observed that ‘in a country like India, the voluntary sector bridges the gap between the government and the population of the country. It identifies the needs of the community and provides its support and services, even in the most untouched and marginalized areas, where the government is not able to reach’.
Appreciating the humongous efforts put by the civil society organizations including NGOs to support communities in weathering the pandemic crisis, Puja Marwaha, CEO, Child Rights and You (CRY) said, “The gritty efforts of the CSOs and NGOs become all the more significant, if we keep in mind the fact that they themselves have been reeling under a huge economic stress impacted by the pandemic.”
“In the wake of this deadly pandemic and the lockdown induced by it, our first thoughts were about how to reach out to our children and their communities,” said Marwaha.
“Topmost in our minds were the remotest regions of our operational areas and urban slums, their survival, safety and their health. Therefore, during the lockdown period, CRY’s efforts, along with its partner NGOs, have been concentrated on reaching all households as far as possible, with basic health and hygiene kits for the children and their families,” she said.
She said as an organization, they focused on awareness generation and advocacy programmes with their target communities and local government bodies, primarily through occasional home visits and mainly through phone calls and messages, in keeping with the social distancing protocols.
As part of the recently observed World NGO Day (February 27), CRY said in a release that the world is yet to see the end of the pandemic, and it is key that the civil society organisations collaborate with the government in a constructive and meaningful way to enhance India’s preparedness to face any threat on the development of its society and people.