The programme aims to make village communities more aware of COVID-19
Nearly 2.8 million community leaders in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana participated in online workshops on April 16, 2020 to practice social behaviours necessary to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in rural areas.
The initiative was carried out by National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Field Office in Hyderabad.
The online training aimed at building the capacities of panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), self-help groups (SHGs), National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers and community radio stations.
The programmes also built awareness on the role these institutions can play in making village communities aware of the disease. Participants were also briefed on the risk communication plan that these institutions can utilise to boost their role in spreading awareness.
The programme was conducted through a digital application for enabling video conference calls with district master trainers from the three states.
873 district resource persons from the rural development department of Telangana were trained, according to a press release by the NIRDPR.
Approximately 2,528 NSS project co-ordinators from the three states were trained as master trainers. They, in turn, disseminated information to 2,179 NSS volunteers in Andhra Pradesh, 12,040 NSS volunteers in Karnataka and 6,816 NSS volunteers in Telangana.
“The response from the states and participants was very encouraging. The participants are in turn communicating the messages further down to the Panchayat level,” said Gyanmudra, the director of Centre for Good Governance and Policy Analysis, under whose leadership the programme was conducted.
Personnel from the communication resource unit (CRU) of NIRDPR and UNICEF implemented several processes for the proper conduct of the workshop, including developing a database of phone numbers and email IDs of district/block level trainees for anxiety management and spreading basic information on COVID-19.
Follow-ups on next levels of training were also conducted for PRIs, SHGs and other village organisations through social media applications.
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