Published: 16th April 2020
NIRDPR, UNICEF train 28.33 lakh community leaders on 'Risk Communication’ to prevent COVID-19 spread
Panchayati Raj institutions, SHGs, NSS, SBM, health workers and community radio stations are being trained on the social behaviours required to control transmission of COVID-19
National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) in collaboration with UNICEF, Hyderabad Field Office, is training over 28.33 lakh Community Leaders through online programs to practice social behaviors required to control the transmission of COVID-19 cases in villages. NIRDPR’s Communication Resource Unit (CRU) and UNICEF are working closely with the State governments of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in preparedness and responses to contain the pandemic.
This initiative, under the leadership of Dr Gyanmudra, Director, Communication Resource Unit, and Head, Centre for Good Governance and Policy Analysis, NIRDPR, is a joint collaboration between NIRDPR and UNICEF’s preventive measures and reaches out to key stakeholders in rural communities. The online training program was initiated along the lines of a detailed Risk Communication Plan to build capacities of Panchayati Raj Institutions, Self-help Groups, National Service Scheme officials volunteers and Community Radio Stations on the role that they can play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in their groups and village communities.
Speaking about the impact of this initiative, Dr WR Reddy IAS, Director General, NIRDPR, said, “We recognized the exceptional role that Leaders of Panchayati Raj Institutions and village organizations in dealing with the crisis of COVID-19 by disseminating reliable information. Hence, we decided to build their capacities by endowing them with facts about COVID-19, common symptoms, modes of transmission and key behaviours, among other things.”
The Communication Resource Unit (CRU) of NIRDPR and UNICEF, Hyderabad field office developed and shared relevant materials such as Handouts, Posters, FAQs and Audio-visual documents with all trainees in order to be circulated in their respective rural communities.
Highlighting the response to this initiative, Dr. Gyanmudra, Director, Communication Resource Unit, and Head, Centre for Good Governance and Policy Analysis, NIRDPR, said, “The response from the States and participants has been very encouraging. The participants are in turn communicating the messages further down to the Panchayat level. In most of the training programmes, which extends to about two hours over video conference calls.”
The programme is being conducted via a digital app for enabling video conference calls with District Master Trainers from Rural Development, Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) of Telangana, officials of National Service Scheme (NSS), Health Functionaries of Andhra Pradesh and Community Radio Stations functioning in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Dr. Reddy, who also arranged Training of Trainers (ToT) for faculty members of NIRDPR, added, “States have been directed to organize more online training programmes in COVID-19 management in the coming days so that the pandemic can be contained. We have also planned to rope in Nehru Yuva Kendras to join and help the Panchayat leadership in this effort. The Gram Panchayats, the Local Governments are playing very active role in this effort. NIRDPR is also chronicling the innovative effort of motivated Panchayat leaders and sharing their stories through our online learning platform, gram Swaraj. Leveraging the strength of local governments can alone ensure the pandemic management with less collateral damage revival of the rural economy.”
CRU-NIRDPR and UNICEF personnel coordinate with Heads of various departments and authorities and implement processes such as developing a database of phone numbers and email IDs of district/block level trainees to conduct ‘Training of Trainers’ (ToT) on anxiety management, disseminate basic information on COVID19. They also create awareness on key practices to promote, role of stakeholders. Further, there are also follow ups undertaken on the next level of training to PRIs/Self-help groups (SHG)/Village Organisations (VO) members through digital social media applications.
A total of 28,33,744 key stakeholders from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have been briefed on the key practices to adopt to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in village communities and groups.