COVID Relief Operations – Behind the Scenes

Most of the NGOs in India are engaged in COVID relief. Implementing a relief program at a big scale entails systematic and coordinated efforts. More so, because of the type of pandemic dealing with. The need of the hour is to reach out to most needy people urgently, but with absolute safety and protection to avoid the spread of infection during relief.

How do we prepare for relief distribution?

IGSSS’ is extending relief to more than 50,000 families in 13 states. The relief operations are carefully planned and implemented by the trained team of staff and volunteers.

Identification of most needy

Finite resources should reach the neediest first. Reaching the unreached is the approach. Since IGSSS’ staff and volunteers are familiar with the field, they identify the neediest. The list is then vetted by community leaders. For example, in one state, we decided to distribute ration to the families having SAM/MAM children in rural areas. Similarly, priority is given to daily wage labourer’s, single women, elderlies, transgender, small farmers, street vendors, domestic workers, migrants and the homeless.

Content of Relief Kit

The kit contains things as per the local choice and preferences. The content of the dry ration kit in Assam may differ from what is being given in Madhya Pradesh. The choice of the community is given due consideration and accordingly, the material is decided.

Coordination with the district/village administration

At every step of the relief operation, we work closely with the local administration. All required permissions are being procured. Many a time, the administration themselves become part of the relief distribution work. We also take their suggestions to make our operations more effective.

Orientation on the COVID safety protocols to Volunteers and Staff

IGSSS has COVID relief protocols in place to ensure that relief operations in anyways should not spread infections. Staff and volunteers are oriented before every operation on how to select distribution point, manage distribution by following safety protocols, and resolve the conflicts happening at the site. They are also provided with a safety kit with masks, sanitisers and disinfectant spray.

Going Digital for Relief Operations

Because of the lockdown situation, the whole procurement process of relief material has been digitized. Vendors are registered on the portal and they submit their competitive bid for every procurement. The procurement committee issues the purchase orders to selected vendors after due diligence. We take care to have a good mix of local and national vendors. IGSSS uses its app for distribution. Volunteers and staffs are trained to use this app. We can track real-time distribution data through this and it also reduces the paperwork at the distribution site.

Arrangement at the Distribution sites

Finally, on the day of distribution, the staff and volunteer ensures safety protocols. Social distancing, marking and less/no contact precautions are followed diligently. People are informed in advance and coupons are issued to them. Their id proof as recorded earlier are matched to ensure that relief is received by the bonafide person.

Accountability and Transparency
This is a very important part of our distribution. The resources are for the community, and they have the right to know about the relief kit and also the process of selection. On the distribution sites, a complaint number is displayed for the community to share their grievances and suggestions. The complaint number is handled by a staff who is not part of relief operations and is neutral. All complaints are recorded and resolved.

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