Appropriate Technology, India an NGO working in hills village of Uttarakhand since 1994 needs support to reach out to 145 remotes and the interior village of the state for awareness generation relating to COVID prevention and vaccination; community health camps; Livelihood support; distribution of Family survival kits and Education kits for school children; setting up oximeter and thermometer banks at the village level, and providing oxygen concentrators to local hospitals.
The impact of the present wave of COVID-19 seems to have abated somewhat in the cities and towns of the mountain state of Uttarakhand. However, the remote and interior villages of the state are currently facing a medical as well as financial crisis:
Due to lack of awareness relating to this pandemic as well as limited access to testing and treatment the hill communities are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Masks, sanitizers and most importantly getting medical oxygen is a major challenge.
Tourism is an important contributor to the local economy – since April 2021 tourism is at a standstill thereby adversely impacting local livelihoods and pushing families to the brink of a financial crisis.
Since April the state witnessed the widespread return of the migrant population to their native villages – these erstwhile migrants have lost their jobs and are currently facing an economic crisis.
In the 145 villages which AT, India is targeting there are a total of 13051 households out of which the organization has identified 4000 households as most marginalized and vulnerable. The following activities are planned over the next 6 months:
- Community awareness on COVID-19 prevention, control, and vaccination through IEC Materials and periodic health camps for regular check-ups and counseling of community members (at village cluster level for the next 6 months).
- Family survival kits – distribution of these kits to nearly 2500 families. Kits comprise dry rations for 30 days (atta, rice, daal, oil, salt, masala, tea, sugar, etc.) and multiple sets of gloves, sanitizers, masks, soaps, etc, for the entire household.
- Livelihood kits – for about 4000 families suffering from economic hardships, seeds of vegetables (a combination of one or more vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, peas, capsicum, beans, etc) would be distributed. The sowing season for these vegetables is from the end of June to July and the seeds would enable households to cultivate vegetables on up to 0.1 ha of land. This could lead to incomes of up to 20000 in next 3 months.
- Education kit – distribution of reference book as per grade, notebook, pen, and pencil for students from nearly 2500 households.
- Oximeter and thermometer bank – setting up of oximeter and thermometer bank at each village (10 sets each). These will be provided as a "loan" of communities and then taken back – this will help in effective monitoring of health.
- Installation of Oxygen Concentrators at Block level Hospital – two oxygen concentrators would be installed at each block hospital for providing oxygen support to COVID patients.
Appropriate Technology India (AT India) is a leading non-government organization of Uttarakhand - registered under the Societies Act 1860, in the year 1994 and has been working with local communities in the state for the last 25 years. It focuses on biodiversity conservation and the development of economic opportunities through non-timber forest products and other natural enterprises.
Over the years AT India has carried out various relief and rehabilitation activities to help the mountain communities. During a major cloudburst in 2012 in Rudraprayag district AT, India directly assisted households in 6 villages. Assistance included removal of debris from individual houses, residential areas, and agriculture fields; construction of drinking water tanks; repair of damaged village roads; construction of temporary shelters.
Later, during the devastating Kedarnath tragedy in 2013, AT, India was instrumental in large-scale relief work in Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts of Uttarakhand – engaging with a large number of households in 252 villages. Support included the distribution of rations and other relief material including solar lanterns. Subsequently, to support community livelihoods, dairy farming, spice cultivation, and processing, beekeeping activities were promoted.
After the second wave of COVID-19 hit the mountain villages, AT India has been actively engaged in the distribution of dry rations to the affected families in the Dehradun and Rudraprayag districts. Till date around 500 families have been assisted.