Centre for Social Research: Programmatic Response to COVID-19

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.

  1. 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
  • Mahipalpur
  • Rangpuri
  • 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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/
  1. 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:

 

 

  1. 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.

Best Regards,


Dr. Ranjana Kumari

Director

Project Launch Event for Office Assistant Training Program on 8th July 2019

On 8th July 2019, Centre for Social Research (CSR) in collaboration with German Embassy, New Delhi, had launched a unique Office Assistant Training Program at their Training Centre at Plot-98, Sector-44,Gurugram.CSR, is one of the leading Women’s Institutions working in the field of social action since 1983. The launch event was graced by the presence of H.E. Mr. Walter J. Lindner; German Ambassador to India, Dr. Ranjana Kumari; Director, Centre for Social Research,Ms. Theresa Moosburner; from the Political and Protocol Department, German Embassy, New Delhi, Col. Anil Pokhriyal; CEO and Executive Board Member of Management & Entrepreneurship and Professional Skills Council (MEPSC), Mr. Rajesh Malhotra; Managing Director of Greenwood Developers and member of Ba’hai, Col. K. K. Singh; Director, Olive Heritage Education And Welfare Society Gurgaon and Mr. Rahul Mukand; Policy Advisor ofNew Zealand Embassy, New Delhi. Additionally, on this occasion more than 100 participates gathered, including Office Assistant batch-1 trainees, other potential candidates and ex-trainees from Women’s Security Guard Training Program joined us to celebrate the launch event.

It’s not about reservation; it’s about our rights

With all the talk about reservation for women, and continued headlines surrounding sexual assault and harassment of girls and women alike, let’s ask one simple question first: why do we care? Beyond the fact that all genders are equal and deserve to be treated with equal respect, empirically why should we worry about not having enough female politicians in our country? Research has proven that have more women politicians in legislative bodies improves health and education indicators in a country, with the additional benefit of paving way for more women in politics.

“let’s ask one simple question first: why do we care? Beyond the fact that all genders are equal and deserve to be treated with equal respect, empirically why should we worry about not having enough female politicians in our country?”

A recent paper by Ross Macmillan, Naila Shofia and Wendy Sigle used mortality related data from 155 countries, collected over the span of 24 years. It highlighted that nations with 30 percent or higher female representation, especially those that were lesser developed and weak democracies, experienced significant downturns in four indicators of mortality. These four indicators were neonatal, infant, child, and maternal mortality. India’s mortality rates have generally been higher than the world average, and if there is a direct correlation between having more women in decision-making bodies and improving mortality rates, why shouldn’t we encourage more women in politics?

“nations with 30 percent or higher female representation, especially those that were lesser developed and weak democracies, experienced significant downturns in four indicators of mortality”

In addition to simply have more women in politics, we should try and encourage more women from lower castes to run for elections. Another study by Irma Clots-Figueras showed that female legislators who were elected from seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes/Tribes and Other Backward Classes in India invested more in health, early education and tended to favor the passage of more “women-friendly” laws. Given that the cases of sexual assault and harassment against women and young girls are becoming more and more prevalent every day and that India still lags far behind in achieving gender parity in education, careers or politics, it becomes imperative that we advocate for more women in politics.

Above all this, having more female politicians has a compounding effect on future female representation in legislative bodies. Two different studies, one by Rikhil Bhavnani, and the other by Thushyanthan Baskaran and Zohal Hessami, suggest a similar conclusion: that seats or constituencies that previously had female representatives, are more likely to elect another female representative in the following election. What this tells us is that watching female candidates run, win elections and then act in power changes the mindsets of local communities. Just by seeing more women in power, people become more amenable to the idea of the same. Bhavnani’s study was carried out in India, looking at the electoral data from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, proving that such an effect is produced in our home country.

None of this is to say that India hasn’t made progress. The results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are an indication that not all is stagnant with respect to how this country views women. Association for Democratic Reforms published their analysis of the 17th Lok Sabha elections in which they stated that this parliament will have 77 women members. This number is the highest it has ever been for India. Two major states, Odisha and West Bengal, saw local parties, BJD and TMC respectively, give 33% tickets to female candidates. This action of Chief Ministers Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee has been appreciated and hailed by women around the country. Even apart from the elections, conversations around the Women’s Reservation Bill have constantly remained in mainstream news, reflecting a rising consensus and awareness about the same.

“this parliament will have 77 women members. This number is the highest it has ever been for India. Two major states, Odisha and West Bengalsaw local parties, BJD and TMC respectively, give 33% tickets to female candidates”

So, how do we increase female representation? The first step forward would be to encourage all political parties to field 33% female candidates in local and state elections. If every political party managed to achieve that mark, the number of women MLAs in state legislatures will definitely see a rise. In addition, now that the original Women’s Reservation Bill has lapsed, women’s rights organizations, locals, politicians, and political parties should unite to reignite the call for a new bill. This bill shouldn’t ask for reservation but rather for the rights of women, as political representation is just as much a right as access to education and sanitation in India. But more importantly, as equal stakeholders in the future of the country, the bill should ask for 50 percent reservation, and not 33 percent, for that will be true equality.

“women’s rights organizations, locals, politicians, and political parties should unite to reignite the call for a new bill. This bill shouldn’t ask for reservation but rather for the rights of women, as political representation is just as much a right as access to education and sanitation in India.’

World Economic Forum released a report on the gender gap in various sectors in 2018. According to WEF, the gender gap in politics will take 99 years to bridge. The little girls who are brutally raped don’t have 99 years. The girls who don’t get access to or quality education don’t have 99 years. The women who deserve their share of power in politics, in society, in careers don’t have 99 years. We’ve already waited 23 years, let’s empower our women now.

“We’ve already waited 23 years, let’s empower our women now”

She Guards for All

With over 40 years of experience in individual advancement and female empowerment, Centre for Social Research, in collaboration with Honda Two Wheelers, launched its Women’s Security Guard Training Program in the Mini Secretariat, Gurugram, on 29th October 2018.

We are happy to share the great success of our short film on the occasion of #CSW63- ‘Access is Empowerment’!

“It is a powerful story of courage and resilience.”- Director Of UN Women who was there to release the film.

The film lead to an extremely engaging discussion by the international community-
US, Taiwan, Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Canada, India, South America and representatives of the African subcontinent among many others.

We are extremely encouraged by appreciation and the demand of many to further screen and share the film!

CSR at 63rd UN CSW

Access is Empowerment – Narratives of Indian Women

Event Host – Center for Social Research (CSR)

Come watch our film about how digital empowerent has changed the lives of Indian women!!!

Feel free to join our dynamic open forum discussion after the film screening!!!

Venue: 8th Floor, Church Centre for the United Nations
Date: 12th March 2019
Time: 18:15 hrs
Duration: 1 Hour

CWG meeting in Rawalon village, Ambala (29th January 2019)

Through establishment of Community Watch Groups and Committees against Sex Selection, CSR created systems that can monitor communities’ sex-selection activities and raise awareness about related issues. The main objective of Community watch groups (CWGs) is to conduct an initial interaction between community members and Anganwadi workers. The CWG setup aims for quarterly engagement with the community members to evaluate changes in the Child Sex Ratio and to monitor the Sex-Selective activities taking place in the village.

On 28th January, the CSR team conducted the CWG meeting at Rawalon village in Ambala-1 Block of Ambala district, Haryana. The meeting was held at the anganwadi center with the help of the Anganwadi supervisor; Mrs. Chandrakanta. Rawalon village has a child sex ratio of 167 per 1000 boys. Approximately 100 people joined the meeting alongwith Sarpanch; Mr. Daljeet Singh and Anganwadi workers. The CSR team provided them with informative brochures along with the various governments’ schemes designed to benefit the future of a girl child in Haryana.
The event gathered a lot of attention of the audience. Towards the end of the program a little girl from the audience called Harmandeep Kaur also recited poetry in Hindi on BBBP. The poem indicated that one should not differentiate between a girl and boy; rather both should be given equal opportunities.

PRI Training Programme, Kurukshetra (30th January 2019)

CSR being the nodel agency for implementing Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Program conducts the PRI training program which aims for advocacy for Government Engagement at the Village and District Level in addressing BBBP. As part of the advocacy program, CSR works with Elected Representatives at Panchayat level to ensure setting up of Gudda/Guddi board, with grassroots level health workers such as Asha Bahu and Angadwadi for pregnancy registration, institutional birthing on quarterly basis.

On 30th January, the CSR team conducted the Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) training program at Panchayat Bhawan, Kurukshetra. Kurukshetra on “National Girl Child Day”, that is, 24th January 2019 was awarded under BBBP for their work in PC/PNDT activities. The training program was presided by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO); Dr. S.S. Malha, District program officer (DPO); Meena Kapoor, Nodal officer of PC/PNDT Act and Deputy Civil Surgeon; Dr. R.K. Sahai and District Child Protection Officer (DCPO); Indu Sharma.

The PRI members for the training program were the members of the Panchayat of these villages. The objective of the training program was to make the PRI members aware about their multi-pronged roles and responsibilities under BBBP particularly involving the” Guddi-Gudda” boards, their regular maintenance and up-date, nutritional intake for girl children, preventing child-marriage and early marriage issues at their village level. For the PRI meeting the following villages were identified based on the list shared by Dr. R.K.Sahai: Helwa, Bilochpur, Azmatpur, SainaSadan, Barachpur, Bhaller, Birmangoli, BargatShahpur, Daulatpur, Khaspur, Jirbari, Khararsi, Narkatari, Dodakheri, Hingakheri, Machrolli, Bibipur, Padlu, Basantpur, Nairaingarh.