With the outbreak of Covid-19 epidemic, there is an urgent need for clear, accurate and consistent communication, in regional languages, to build Covid resilient communities. Communication needs to be clear, resonate emotionally and contextually with the target population and take into account the barriers faced in implementing desired behavior. It should enable people to manage the epidemic from a health and economic perspective.
As the spread of Covid-19 increased in India, Swadhaar FinAccess, a section 8 company, transitioned to a work from home model on March 18th 2020 in the state of Maharashtra. From March 23rd 2020, the day after national lockdown was announced, work from home model was applied for the safety and security of all our employees in all other states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Jharkhand. This started with an online training program on Covid Awareness for our trainers and they responded to the current situation and pivoted from providing financial literacy training in communities, to disseminating Covid-19 related information.
Our trainers connected to our tele-calling center and started contacting clients from their homes. The conversations with clients yielded some useful findings that informed our subsequent work. These are published state wise in the dashboards given below for the period March 26th to May 15th 2020.
Bhojpati from Kota, Rajasthan has no income for a month - she had to close her grocery shop due to Covid-19 lockdown. However she is able to meet her household expenses and repay the loan installment from her saving. Bhojpati told our trainer that she had been saving regularly in the bank since she attended our financial education program.
Suman Devi from Karra, Jharkhand was anxious and worried for her husband who works in Goa as a daily wage worker. He lost his job due to Covid-19 lockdown and was left with no money. Suman had transferred money to his bank account which did not get credited. When our trainer called her and understood her problem, he immediately checked with the bank and learnt that her husband’s bank account was deactivated because of KYC updation. Once the couple understood the problem – they acted on it and the husband received the money.
Dhirendra from Dinara, Bihar was in Delhi for work when lock down was announced. When the trainer called him, he was thrilled to receive the call and talk to someone. Till that time he was lonely and frustrated, and not sure what to do. He received information on Covid-19 from the trainer and also downloaded the Swadhaar Saathi app. He was glad to find information on Covid-19 and helpline numbers on the app. He is using the app diligently now.
Yasmin from Anand, Gujarat is our financial education participant. She had opened her bank account seven years ago with the help of trainer. Her habit of saving regularly in the bank account helped her to pull through the crisis. She and her husband both have lost their work after Covid-19 lock down. Yasmin now has got an order to stitch masks. She said that she gives masks free to people who cannot afford them. This is her way of contributing to society.