Published: 12th May 2021
This disaster-response network's young volunteers help people register on CoWIN and get the vax shot across 13 states
Set up in 1994, the Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society has been working with communities to respond to major disasters
How does someone who cannot read register to take the shot or access information on the CoWIN app? Well, if you've got a SEEDS volunteer nearby, you have nothing to fear.
Since 1994, SEEDS has been building a community that is equipped to deal with natural disasters. The Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS) is a family of sorts with members across 13 states where they respond to major threats to human life - handling everything from floods to hurricanes. Since last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has led the organisation to band together and function as a link wherever the system is broken.
Last year, SEEDS’ COVID response was largely focused on providing ration, hygiene support, medical equipments and PPE kits across states. Meals were offered to more that 4 lakh people. Thanks to the experience, this year, they stepped up their game with a 4-pronged strategy to offer critical resources in the most remote parts of the country. They have also supported the central and state governments in rolling out vaccination drive, having successfully organised them in the national capital.
WORK UP: They support state governments across the country
The founder of the organisation, Dr Manu Gupta who has a doctorate in community-based disaster management from Kyoto University, Japan says, “Our efforts are largely focused on the most marginalised communities who don’t have access to technology or resources that are available to other sections of society. The approach is to always reach out to the bottom 1 per cent of society.”
The four areas they are focusing on include supporting state and local governments with their work, launching a nationalised helpline, counselling services, doctor consultations and home-based hospitalisation facilities. Most recently, SEEDS has been working towards setting up COVID centres, which is expected to come up in the next few months.
SEEDS functions with a network of volunteers, in addition to a 100 permanent staff across the country. “We identify and select volunteers after we train them. Volunteers come from the same community that we are catering to. This way, the acceptance and reception of messages are even better,” says Manu.
He concludes, “With these efforts, we are also generating awareness and helping people register on the CoWIN app by ensuring that people are aware of the three required health conditions before registering, handholding them and helping them get vaccination done. We follow a community driven approach. If a whole community is involved in a certain thing, then the acceptance and sustainability it has is multiplied. This is followed across our interventions, be it COVID, cyclones, floods or anything.”