Vital for vulnerable communities

Watershed Organisation Trust has been distributing essentials and conducting awareness drives on COVID-19 in rural pockets of seven states in India.

Published on December 19, 2020 at 2:05 pm

Updated on March 20, 2021 at 06:47 am

Distribution of essentials in 4 villages of Chhindwara district in Madhya Pradesh.
Watershed Organisation Trust has been distributing essentials and conducting awareness drives on COVID-19 in rural pockets of seven states in India.
For the past two months, since the COVID-19 outbreak, WOTR has been organising the distribution of essentials – grocery kits, sanitary kits, facilitating PDS, and conducting awareness drives on COVID-19, including virtual workshops and training sessions in rural pockets of India, apart from mobilising our staff and community-based organisations, SHGs, along with the active support of gram panchayats and staff from local civic bodies. We are actively involved in generating employment opportunities for those returning to the villages in our project areas and through MNREGA. These activities are supported by our donors and implemented by our ground staff in our regional centres in the seven states that we have a presence. We are active in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha. We have reached out to 1,23,203 households in 646 villages spread across 25 districts across the seven states in the country till date.
Speaking with The Good Sight, Prakash Keskar, Executive Director, Watershed Organisation Trust, said, “Our teams across seven states are working hard to help the communities we serve – sensitising on protective measures, sharing crucial COVID-19 information, providing essentials such as soaps, face masks and food kits to the vulnerable. Creation of employment/labour is another area where we are working in collaboration with gram panchayats. Besides these rapid response measures, we are adopting a medium-to-long-term strategy to support small/marginal households in agriculture, providing on-site and digital advisories, resource materials, marketing of farm produce, implementation of MNREGA, support for farm/non-farm-based livelihoods, watershed development and water management, capacity building of gram panchayats, local institutions and resource persons.”

Mask distribution to MNREGA workers in Narayanpet district of Telangana.
Case study: ‘It’s a service to God’
Geeta Raitaa is a 22-year-old woman who resides in Tirlida village, which falls under the ambit of Kulusing panchayat in Gunupur block, Rayagada district, Odisha. In 2018, she joined WOTR as a Wasundhara Sevika. She is now playing a vital role in creating awareness and preparedness among the community in her village as COVID-19 wreaks havoc across India. She remains in touch with WOTR field staff and follows the instructions given to her. She has now conducted at least 11 training sessions for the villagers on handwashing and on the importance of maintaining social distancing. Besides, she stitched 850 protective face masks and distributed those in her village community while also helping in providing rations and sanitation kits to the needy in Tirlida. She also helps the local gram panchayat in the registration of returning migrants who had arrived in Tirilda. They are now kept in quarantine.
“I find immense pleasure in working for the people as I feel it is a service to God. I want to make my village an example of development in the entire country,” Geeta says.

Geeta Raitaa with protective face masks stitched by her.
Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) is a globally recognised organisation dedicated to transforming the lives of millions across India in participatory watershed development and ecosystems restoration, adaptive sustainable agriculture, integrated and efficient water management, and climate change adaptation, with a special emphasis on vulnerable communities, farmers and women.

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