Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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. 

- Advertisement -

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

The international links of Indian Communists: How India’s communists betrayed the nation

The Communist Party of India is one of the most controversial political parties in the country. Founded in 1925, CPI is alleged to have been directly involved in several anti-national activities since its inception.

People who think govt control of temples will rid them of inter-jati conflict assume that a pro-Hindu govt will always be in power

Viewing it through the single lenses of govt control, though, does not do justice to the various other aspects of society within which these temples are situated

DU Professor Apoorvanand mastermind behind the Delhi riots conspiracy, says Delhi riots accused Gulfisha

DU Professor Apoorvanand had already warned the students that riots would ensue and asked them to be prepared with stones, bottles, acid, knives and dry chilli powder

After requesting CBI inquiry in Sushant Singh Rajput death case, Rhea Chakraborty objects to the same, invokes Bihar elections

Rhea Chakraborty insinuates that Sushant's death was being isolated and blown out of proportion in wake of elections in Bihar

Indians, how they get ‘secularism’ so horribly wrong and how the atmosphere changed after Islam and Christianity entered India

Indians are generally highly intelligent. Yet when it comes to secularism, most intellectuals, media and politicians get the concept wrong, so wrong that it looks as if Indians were purposely fed wrong information.

Meet Kanta Murti, the woman who guarded a manhole and saved hundreds of lives as heavy rains flooded Mumbai

Kanta Murti, a 50-year-old pavement dweller, was seen in a viral video guarding an open manhole for 7 hours in Mumbai’s Matunga

Recently Popular

Who really is Binod? Read how one Youtube comment triggered a bizarre meme fest

The name 'Binod', which has now become the talk of the town and trending on Twitter, originated from a YouTube channel 'Slayy Point'

Sushant Singh Rajput’s brother-in-law gives a befitting reply to toxic journalism of Shekhar Gupta’s portal

Sushant Singh Rajput's brother-in-law Vishal Kirti on Sunday slammed Shekhar Gupta and his portal for toxic journalism.

Reports claim Sushant Singh Rajput’s former manager Disha Salian’s post-mortem report says she was found nude after her death, Mumbai police deny the reports

According to the post-mortem report of Disha Salian, her body was found nude, which was not revealed by the police so far

Rhea Chakraborty leaks WhatsApp conversation to accuse that Sushant Singh Rajput considered his sister Priyanka as ‘pure evil’

Rhea Chakraborty tries to prove that Sushant Singh Rajput did not like his family, releases chat messages with him

Pakistan: Maulvi rapes child reading Quran in mosque in Sindh province, caught on CCTV

Muslim Cleric in Sindh province in Pakistan on the run after video of hem raping a child inside a mosque emerges, case registered

“Delete the video or there will be negative consequences,” Chinese embassy threatens India based strategic affairs portal over a critical video on Xi Jinping

Chinese authorities were irked with the portrayal of Xi Jinping in a 'negative light' by Indian portal 'Strat News Global run by Nitin A Gokhale

Naach na jaane aangan tedha: Now Shashi Tharoor refuses to accept Rahul Gandhi could lose one more poll

Shashi Tharoor quoted a Twitter poll with just 7,716 votes, ran by a Congress functionary, to claim Congress should be voted to power

Chhattisgarh: Masarsa teacher arrested for raping a 9 year old girl in Raipur

A Maulana, Mohammed Arshad Rehmani, has been arrested in Raipur, Chhattisgarh for the alleged rape of a minor.

Pilot flies back to home turf? After weeks of political drama, Sachin Pilot says Ashok Gehlot is his leader

Rebel Congress MLA Sachin Pilot has bent the knee before Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and accepted him as his leader.

Rajasthan battles policemen suicides: 6 suicides in 2 months, most recent being that of constable Yogindra Singh

The series of last two months cases in Rajasthan where policemen died of suicide, started with SHO Vishnu Dutt Vishnoi's death

The international links of Indian Communists: How India’s communists betrayed the nation

The Communist Party of India is one of the most controversial political parties in the country. Founded in 1925, CPI is alleged to have been directly involved in several anti-national activities since its inception.

Controversy in Pakistan after actress Saba Qamar shoots song in a Mosque, officers sacked

Actors issue apology in Pakistan for shooting for a song in a Lahore mosque.

Supreme Court refuses to accept ‘regret’ of Prashant Bhushan for 2009 contempt case, says proceedings will go on

While Tejpal offered an apology for publishing the interview in 2009, Bhushan said that his allegations were not referring to the financial status of the judges or their families but the lack of propriety.

People who think govt control of temples will rid them of inter-jati conflict assume that a pro-Hindu govt will always be in power

Viewing it through the single lenses of govt control, though, does not do justice to the various other aspects of society within which these temples are situated

Shah Faesal steps down as president of political party he founded, could return to administrative services

Shah Faesal has stepped down as the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM).

Connect with us

239,751FansLike
425,977FollowersFollow
294,000SubscribersSubscribe