To CSR’s Partners and Friends:
Almost five months into the spread of the COVID-19 across the world, it is clear the impact of this pandemic will have a long-term effect on society as a whole, how the Centre for Social Research operates as an organization, and the needs of our target groups.
CSR is taking this change seriously, and we have been reviewing and modifying our programs to reflect both the realities of the lockdown and the needs of the communities we serve.
Since the start of the lockdown in India, CSR has shifted the delivery of its training programs online, is partnering with service organizations that provide direct aid to struggling families, and is preparing for the long-term implications of this crisis for women in India.
I want to share an overview of how CSR is responding to this crisis and how we are moving forward with our program in the near-term. As a valued partner, I invite you to connect with us regarding programs in which you would like to partner and extend support for this work. We need your support now more than ever, as do the communities we serve.
- Humanitarian Support
With the restrictions of the Indian lockdown to stop COVID-19, we’re witnessing in the country a lack of awareness, panic-buying, lack of food amenities and health-care facilities for the labour class, migrant workers, community dwellers, daily-wage earners, and community members who live in remote areas. The community members from these areas have faced multiple crisis’ amidst the lethal wave of the virus.
To fill this immediate need, CSR is working with local partners to support food distribution and services to underserved communities in Delhi and target groups within our existing programmatic areas.
Food distribution has taken place in the following areas:
- Katwaria Sarai
- Harijan Basti
- Sangam Vihar
- Gurgugram – in collaboration with Mera Parivaar
- Zomato’s Feeding India Initiative
Health supplies are identified as a pressing need in:
- Sanganer, Rajasthan – Partners from our water conservation project informed us about the lack of medical kits and supplies in their area. We are currently in discussion with GVNML to partner with us to supply health kits which include sanitizers and masks. We are currently seeking partners to fund this direct aid activity.
Outreach to Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) districts of Haryana:
- Our team is reaching out to the five gender critical districts of Haryana where our project is being implemented through online messaging, Whatsapp communication, and direct telephonic conversation. NGOs are posting their unique efforts from all the districts particularly from Jhajjar & Gurugram. Our team members are encouraging them and guiding them in maintaining social distancing while conducting community level activities such as cooked food distribution, hygienic kit distribution, blood donation, etc.
The CSR team has been actively engaged in supporting local efforts ranging from contributing to the RWAs, Gurudwaras, donations to the various organizations and continuing our food distribution in various areas well.
We are open to partnerships to reach communities in need and hope you will contact us with ways we can engage in direct support for communities.
- COVID-19 WASH Training
Through our water conservation project in Rajasthan, our partners and women trainees have identified the need for awareness generation on COVID-19 and understanding of proper hygiene and prevention practices. Within the communities in Sanganer, we are working with multiple groups of women trainees who have access to smart phones to provide basic COVID-19-focused hygiene training for women who can extend information and training to the rest of the community.
This training includes:
- Basics of how COVID-19 spreads
- How to properly sanitize hands and other household equipment
- Importance of wearing masks and how to make one at home
- COVID-19 response in context of local water conservation requirements
- How to discuss and raise awareness within communities
CSR has been training on issues of water management and hygiene extensively and is open to replicating this training with partners that are working in these areas in other communities and states.
- Support for Survivors of Domestic Violence
Now more than ever, with social isolation, the number of domestic violence and child abuse cases is seeing a continuous spike all over the world. The Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, called for a “ceasefire” to address the “horrifying global surge in domestic violence” that is affecting women around the globe during this time of social distancing and sheltering-in-place.
In India, The Hindu reported that the government helpline received 92,000 calls on violence and child abuse in 11 days. With fear and anxiety spreading in the country, frustrations are growing and even in the time of pandemic, women and children are the victim of additional abuse in homes that are, and should be, safe for everyone.
CSR is working to respond to this surge of violence through our core counseling and domestic violence services.
- Tele-Counseling Services: CSR is making our crisis counseling available by telephone for anyone suffering abuse at home during this crisis:
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic
violence or harassment at home, please contact our
Crisis Intervention Counselors at:
Kamlesh Premji: +91 9810999398
Rakhi Sharma: +91 9213732208
CSR Crisis Intervention Centre (CIC) counselors are available on phone to provide help to anyone facing abuse at home. They have also organised online mobilisations to publicize the access numbers across communities and groups that work with domestic violence.
Though there is a restriction of traveling and women cannot be redirected to our CICs due to health precautions and government mandate, our counselors are currently handling cases and have been providing regular counseling through the telephone.
Please share the message above among your community communication channels so women can access the resources they need.
Additional Support Needed:
While are counselors are handling cases as they come in, there is much greater need of tele-services and links with resources to support victims of abuse during this time. CSR seeks support to create a 24-7 online domestic violence support centre, providing:
- Legal resources and access to psychological services
- Added counseling support for online and digital abuses
- Expanding online resources and training on Sexual Harassment and its application in modified work environments
- Access numbers available to women at essential service points of access within their communities including: chemists, dairy shops, and food shops.
CSR is actively supporting the efforts made by NCW and BPR&D in creating a database of the nature of violence inflicted on women during the COVID-19 lockdown, legal provisions to deal with it, list of NGOs active under present condition and suggestions to improve the situation in dealing with DV/IPV survivors.
At this time, I request that our partners also consider how they can best address this dire need for effective and accessible response to violence at this time. Please reach out to us with your ideas for collaboration.
- Online Communication – for Health and Wellness During the PandemicDuring the lockdown restrictions, CSR is using its robust communication channels to promote dialogue and conversation about staying safe and healthy during the lockdown and identifying the impact that this crisis is having on women.
Our online communication activities include:
- Tweet Chats and Online Dialogues: CSR has been continuously hosting online discourse and discussions with experts and our followers through Tweetathons about online safety, domestic violence, mental health wellness, and India’s problem of an infodemic of misinformation in times of a global pandemic.
- Online Content and Resources: We make daily posts through our dedicated social media handles about our skill based programs, the condition of education for girls, their lack of extra-curriculur participation in fields like sports, the online violation of human rights against women, lack of representation and opportunities in politics, the disparity present between the way natural calamities affect men and women, the role that women play in conservation of resources and changing the narrative about typical ‘male professions’ by providing training to women in the same sectors.
- Art for Good: While engaging with all our followers online, and with our staff members through video calls, we discussed ways in which can have a positive impact on our mental health. With fear of the virus having swept us like a large wave, people have taken to various forms of recreational activities to alleviate stress and maintain a routine of wellness. To encourage our followers to share their work with us so it can be an inspiration for others, we created Art for Good as a section that will showcase blogs, videos, artwork, graphics. Through Art for Good, we want to spread positivity and encourage creativity in all forms. The principal motives of our projects, as well as our values and beliefs, will be highlighted through this initiative through different images, videos, gifs and other multimedia sources. https://www.csrindia.org/art-for-good/
- Online Safety and Security Training
During this lockdown, more and more children and parents are coming online to lead their routine daily lives. Now, education, business and pleasure are intrinsically linked with our online presence and communication. The Internet has become a major platform for gathering and spreading information during these restricted times.
Since the lockdown and the advent of COVID-19, there are a range of digital issues that are pressing to address. The first is the high volume of misinformation about COVID-19 that is circulating across social media platforms. The critical skill of assessing news sources and understanding the damage that fake news and misinformation can have is more vital than ever. Secondly, the closure of schools is creating a need for teachers and students to connect in online spaces.
CSR has been working on issues of digital safety for over four years, and is offering a range of resources and online trainings to support students, teachers, and parents navigate online spaces.
- Online Safety and Security Toolkit – This toolkit is designed to empower all internet users with knowledge of the threats they can face (children and adults), and the various tools that they can use to not fall prey to online abusers, trolls or scammers.
- We Think Digital: Student Safety Training– CSR is partnering with Facebook’s We Think Digital program and is now providing webinars for school children designed to help keep their online presence safe and responsible. The core objective of We Think Digital is to provide youth training in digital citizenship and provide them the tools they need to stay safe online. The program will continue this objective by adapting the student training program to an online platform and developing engaging content for our social media channels. These trainings are available on a weekly basis and will be advertized on our social media platforms. We also to offer custom trainings for schools and educational platforms and can schedule a private session for your students.
- Teachers and Parents Online Safety Trainings – CSR is also working with Facebook and its government partners to develop and host online digital safety workshops for teachers and parents, so that they are better able to manage the online environment and keep their children safe and informed as we all rely on online platforms to keep us connected, productive, and informed.
You can access our training and digital resources at the following links:
- Online Skill Training for Employment
Since 2018, the Centre for Social Research has been offering skill training to support women’s employment and economic empowerment in partnership with the German Embassy and Honda2wheelers India. When the pandemic struck, we were mobilizing students for our third batch of Office Assistant trainings, certified by the MEPSC.
We have launched this program as an online course and are currently hosting a batch of 18 students to pursue this comprehensive 45-day course in professional communication, organization, time management, and digital skills.
As we move forward, we anticipate that we will be developing and offering more of our skill training content for employment and entrepreneurship through an online platform. We will be connecting with our partners in this space about our plans and encourage other interested collaboration on skill training to contact us.
My Request to You
These are the immediate adaptations that CSR has made to address the impact of the pandemic in the short term. We are also continuing with our long-term planning for our work on climate change, skill development, gender training etc. and are reviewing how pandemic response and education can be integrated into our agenda. We are also reviewing how the needs of women will evolve as a result of this pandemic and how our programs can adapt appropriately. I will be communicating more about our plans as they evolve and request you as a partner to reach out to us with your needs and ideas so that we can jointly plan and develop our collective response.
Dr. Ranjana Kumari