Tiffany Kharkongor (named changed) is a resident of Laitkor locality of Shillong in East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya. She is a Master Trainer associated with the NEN-SEWA project “Response to COVID-19”. She is tackling issues of gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health & rights and providing psychosocial services. Under the project, she is spreading awareness amongst women regarding COVID 19 and its impact on them, their children and the elderly. This is her story:
“As a person working in the social sector I have been using various tools, be it in a face to face meeting or group meetings or to sensitize the community on the Pandemic. Through the project, I have changed my ways of spreading awareness on COVID19 by using telecommunications.
North East Network introduced an online awareness campaign on COVID19 some time ago and the method was intriguing. It was something I had never done before.
Initially, I was overwhelmed by this new technique of mobilizing people but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Gradually we began the training. I remember asking many questions, especially regarding the ways in which to initiate my end of the training and to convey the message effectively to the participants that are a diverse rural women’s group from young adults to elderly women. It is not an easy task as I have to focus on their capacities and take into consideration the mode of disseminating information as some participants might not have internet facilities. Network connectivity is a barrier, especially in rural Meghalaya.
As a Master Trainer, reaching out to 140 women in just a span of 1 month and conversing on domestic violence, family planning, and Menstruation – a stigmatized topic in society, I don’t win alone, we conquer as a team. Talking about violence against women during the Lockdown has helped create a support system for women in my community where they know that social distancing does not mean they cannot reach out for help if they need it. It has brought about positive change in such societies and ushered in healthy shifts in habits to avoid consequences faced in a later stage.’
After associating herself the women in her community through the project for a month, she will take her work forward and each out to more people by conducting a poster campaign of the sessions in and around her locality. The risks of psychosocial impact of the Pandemic in rural Meghalaya are being mitigated by such fearless and adapting women leaders.