Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Home Opinions Women-led Self Help Groups: Frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19

Women-led Self Help Groups: Frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the SHGs have done phenomenal work in lending a hand by not just stitching masks and preparing sanitizers, but also in ensuring livelihood to the most marginalized groups. The work done by the SHGs during the pandemic is worthy of being a template for optimal community-led response in times of crisis.

Recently, Prime Minister Modi held a discussion with different banking and NBFC stakeholders. The focus of the discussion revolved around the crucial role financial and banking system play in supporting India’s growth. Among other issues, PM Modi emphasized that banks and NBFCs should encourage the small entrepreneurs, SHGs and farmers to take loans. The mention of SHGs by PM Modi holds significance here.

In the last few years, this women-led movement has become an institution for women empowerment and economic prosperity of rural India. Despite the sheer size of SHGs and the impact, they have on rural economies, their contributions have not been highlighted well. But, these SHGs have shown how they can be a substantial force of rural growth and an important movement to address bigger challenges facing the community through their phenomenal work during COVID pandemic. 

The Self-Help Group movement has helped millions of women of rural India break free from subdued life and become financially independent ever since its inception in 1992. Their phenomenal growth from a small group of 225 to 6.3 million SHGs comprising 69 million women today is a testament to their success. These SHGs have played a crucial role in the social and economic empowerment among rural women and have fostered the spirit of entrepreneurship and financial independence. They have further played a crucial role in instilling among rural women a social and political consciousness thereby gaining a voice which is now heard across all groups of the society.

The impact of this community has been well demonstrated in recent months, ever since the pandemic began its spread. In the fight against this deadly disease, the SHGs have taken up the tasks of providing assistance in numerous ways and alleviated the sufferings of many in their communities. 

SHGs have launched a number of initiatives at the local level since March this year. When the pandemic began, the Indian manufacturers were not able to meet the demand for masks and other protective materials. The SHGs stepped in to fill this demand. As per a report by the ministry of rural development, more than 132 lakh masks were produced by 14,522 SHGs involving 65,936 members in 399 districts (across 24 states) from March 15th to March 30th. In April, 20,000 SHGs managed to produce more than 19 million masks across 27 states (which is in about 90% of India’s districts). By May, this increased to over two lakh women SHGs producing more than 10 crore masks. The masks produced by SHGs were distributed among ASHA workers, ANM and hospital workers and other front line COVID warriors at free of cost. 

Their efforts also included 1 lakh litres of sanitizer and 50,000 litres of handwash; with sanitiser production increasing to 3 lakh litres by May. Again, to meet the demand for PPE kits, the SHGs swung into action. Over 4000 women belonging to SHGs produced more than 2 lakh PPE kits across 12 states from March to May. 

SHGs went on to play a key role in tackling the problems caused due to the restriction of mobility and the loss of livelihoods, especially of the migrant population.The largest of them, – the Kudumbashree network of Kerala comprising  4.4 million womenacross 300,000 SHGs,have been instrumental in running 1300 community kitchens in their state’s panchayats and municipalities. Their efforts continued to assist the stranded and the vulnerable; whilst also delivering food to the quarantined and the bedridden. Kudumbshree spear headed the government’s ‘Break the Chain’ campaign by educating people on social distancing and washing of hands at regular intervals through posters, phone messages and weekly meetings. These women SHGs also started a floating supermarket (in a boat) for delivering essential supplies to the Kainakary residents in Alappuzha.

The SHGs also stepped in to spread awareness on COVID-19 and busting the myths that came along with the disease. The Jeevikas of Bihar conducted door-to-door awareness drives on social distancing, good health, and hygiene. Jeevikas belonging to 1.4 lakh SHGs provided food supplies to the elderly and the quarantined. They used the Mobile-Vaani platform to make public voice messages on safety measures around COVID-19.

Through their vast network of WhatsApp groups, comprising of 190,000 WhatsApp groups with 2.2 million members, the SHGs proactively worked towards countering misinformation about COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the SHGs have done phenomenal work in lending a hand by not just stitching masks and preparing sanitizers, but also in ensuring livelihood to the most marginalized groups. The work done by the SHGs during the pandemic is worthy of being a template for optimal community-led response in times of crisis. 

(The article is written by Akriti Tyagi, who is a lawyer by education but a writer by disposition. Keen on all things historical, cultural and social. An avid traveller and a voracious reader)

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

 

Related Articles

Trending now

Post-mortem of protestor killed during tractor rally confirms he died of antemortem injuries, busts left-liberal propaganda of being shot

Left-liberals had tried to blame Delhi Police for the death, spreading the fake news that the protestor was shot dead by Police.

‘Tiranga ka apman, nehi sahega Hindustan’: Angry villages in Rewari issue ultimatum to ‘farmer’ protestors to vacate Highway blockade in 24 hours

The villagers said that due to blockade on the highway, the region remains jammed with vehicles, which have created difficulties for them

Farmer bodies withdraw their support from ‘farmer’ protest, blame Rakesh Tikait for violence on Republic Day

AIKSCC's VM Singh said he does not want to be part of protests led by Rakesh Tikait.

Red Fort attack: Dear ‘liberals’, here is how a little understanding of physics can help you

The underlying message of holding a parallel parade on Republic Day was always clear. They wanted to showcase a parallel power center on the streets, a republic of mob rule.

The mayhem on Republic Day was planned by these ‘farmer leaders’. Here is how they are lying

From Yogendra Yadav to Rakesh Tikait to Darshan Pal: How the 'farmer leaders' egged the 'farmers' to run a riot on Republic Day

Red Fort Insurrection: Deep Sidhu, his Khalistani links, role in violence and how ‘liberals’, who made him a hero, are now using him to...

Opposition leaders who had supported Deep Sidhu saying it is a farmer are now alleging he is linked to BJP

Recently Popular

Protesting mob enters Red Fort, unfurl the Sikh flag, Terrorist outfit SFJ had demanded Khalistani flag to be hoisted: Details

The protestors have hoisted the flag on Red Fort that appears to be the Sikh Flag. Some believe it is the Khalistan Flag.

‘Flag of Khalistan is waving on Red Fort,’ ‘Historic Moment’: All Pakistan Muslim League celebrates “Black Day” for India

The All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) is celebrating the hoisting of the 'Khalistan Flag' at Red Fort on Republic Day.

Here is how Congress and trolls tried to paint a Khalistani accused of spearheading the Red Fort siege as a ‘sanghi’

Deep Sidhu is accused of being responsible for the hoisting of the Sikh flag at Red Fort on Republic Day.

Rajdeep Sardesai lies twice, says ‘farmer’ was killed because the police shot him in the head: Here is the truth

In this way, those who had shared the fake news once would live under the false impression that it was indeed a case of police firing.

Watch: Protestors throw away Tricolour, place Sikh flag on top of flag pole at Red Fort

Disturbing visuals emerge from the tractor rally on Republic Day.

Tractor rally: Rioting mob vandalised Ram Mandir and Kedarnath tableaux from Republic Day parade

Rioting mob on Tuesday not only desecrated the Red Fort and tried to kill the Delhi Police personnel but also vandalised the tableau from the Republic Day parade.
- Advertisement -

 

US-based ‘Human Rights Lawyer’ Arjun Sethi gives a call to oust the Modi government, spreads falsehoods on farmer protests

A chronic PM Modi hater, Arjun Sethi has ceaselessly whined over the Citizenship Amendment Act since its passage in December 2019

‘Not taking the vaccine is a bigger laughing matter’, doctor responds after video of him scolded by wife during live broadcast goes viral

A video of Dr KK Agarwal getting berated by his wife for getting vaccinated alone is doing the rounds on the internet

Watch: Elderly man tries to cross protest site to see doctor, protesting ‘farmers’ issue him life threat

The elderly man said that he was trying to cross the protest site as he had an appointment with a doctor at Panth Hospital

Reflections on Republic Day insurrection: The government’s dilemma, a blast from the past and ghost of Operation Blue Star

Tractor Rally Protesters stormed the national capital and eventually managed to breach the premises of the Red Fort on Republic Day.

Robert Vadra posts distorted map of India on social media, shows PoK and Aksai Chin not part of India

Robert Vadra used a distorted map of India on Twitter and Instagram while demanding probe for Republic Day violence in Delhi

Post-mortem of protestor killed during tractor rally confirms he died of antemortem injuries, busts left-liberal propaganda of being shot

Left-liberals had tried to blame Delhi Police for the death, spreading the fake news that the protestor was shot dead by Police.

Farmer protests: Twitter suspends 550 accounts for inciting violence, abuse, and threats

Delhi Police had claimed that hundreds of Twitter accounts were created to sow confusion about the tractor rally proposed by the 'farmers'.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh blames Delhi Police for Republic Day violence by ‘farmer’ protestors

While it was already known that barricades will be removed after Republic Day parade is over, Digvijay Singh blamed police barricades for riots

‘You cannot hurt religious sentiments’: SC rejects anticipatory bail pleas of ‘Tandav’ makers

"Freedom of speech was not absolute. You cannot hurt anyone's religious sentiments", Supreme Court of India said to makers of 'Tandav'.

Banned Khalistani outfit SFJ confesses to their hand in Red Fort attack, announces reward for laying siege on Indian Parliament on February 1

Khalistani terror organisation SFJ has announced a reward of $350,000 for those who wave Khalistani flags at the Parliament

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
496,912FollowersFollow
23,000SubscribersSubscribe