As part of the Covid-19 emergency response, NEN with the support of SEWA Bharat and APPI took up a community awareness campaign for 3 months (May-July), particularly targeting unorganised women workers and girls. 27 community women leaders from Nagaland’s 4 districts Kohima, Phek, Dimapur, and Tuensang were trained as Master Trainers (MTs) on topics covering: Covid-19, Home Care Precaution, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Psychosocial care in May 2020. The MTs in the last 12 weeks were engaged in awareness campaign and have reached out to 16,623 people in the districts of Kohima, Phek, Dimapur, and Tuensang in Nagaland through phone call, home visits and group meetings. Through this programme, dry ration kits were also distributed to 543 household in 5 districts – the above mentioned 4 districts and Mokokchung.
Below is an experience shared by one of the MTs involved in the awareness campaign:
“I was trained as a Master Trainer on ‘Covid19 Response’ under the banner of North East Network (NEN), a women’s organisation in Nagaland. I was a Master Trainer for a period of three months. I have been assigned to create health awareness covering topics such as COVID19 precautionary measure, psychosocial care and women reproductive health amongst unorganised women workers and girls in the community and this is an awareness initiative to reach out to women workers and girls during this pandemic.
During my journey as assigned for a period of three months, I have covered several villages and a total of 735 women and a number of men folk also have attended. I’m glad to see many women showing concern and dedication on how to stay healthy as women and also on how to prevent this pandemic as an individual.
In one occasion, a mother said to me, “I have many children but none of them had told me the awareness precautionary measures on COVID19 as you have, there are many young educated men and women around who are well aware by themselves but a mother like me knows nothing until you have spoken to us.” She acknowledged me with her simplicity.
What I have learnt from this mother is that in today’s time, the younger generation are well equipped with today’s knowledge through technology but failed to share knowledge with the uneducated elderly people which sadden me. Therefore, I feel the need to share an awareness of this pandemic to everyone irrespective of age and gender in remote areas where NEN is doing a tremendous job through the other Master Trainers across the state.
In one village, on hearing COVID 19 Response initiated by NEN, a group of women requested me to visit their place and share the same but due to the total lockdown in the village, I was not able to visit personally but I have entrusted a friend of mine and the programme was successful and received positive response from the women in the village. I believe, they have gained knowledge on what was needed.
In this pandemic, outsiders are not so welcoming to other villages, therefore proper authorization and permission was necessitated for which I thank the village authorities for allowing me to share precautionary measures on covid19 to women and the girls in the village.
It was not an easy task to enlighten covid19 precautionary measures in different villages over 735 people in 3 months. But, I believe that the harder the task, the more blessings shower upon us for whom I’m thankful and proud to be part of the initiatives by NEN.
Lastly, I would like to thank and appreciate authorities of NEN for letting me to be part of this initiative. During this journey from June- August, 2020 I have learnt many new things and also it has strengthened my leadership skills for which I am grateful for the opportunity. I am looking forward for many more success in the future with NEN” – Ms. Kekuwe-u Lomi,Leshemi village, Phek district.
During the lockdown period between April-July 2020, community women leaders (Agevans) – members of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) Nagaland, have been taking up leadership initiatives in the 4 districts. NEN has played a critical role in organising the unorganised women workers into SEWA, and have been building the leadership capacities of the SEWA Agevans. Leadership initiatives of the Agevans include facilitation of linkages to livelihood rights, social security amongst others. At Kohima, the Agevans secured vending spaces and Vending ID cards for 75 vendors from the Kohima Municipal Council; they facilitated the opening of Zero Balance bank accounts for 36 SEWA members; availed RSBY (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana) scheme and ration cards to 8 person; conducted training on dish wash and detergent making for 15 home based workers; connected farmers produce with vendors etc.
Let’s join hands together in spreading awareness amongst the less privileged to help spread Covid-19. Together in solidarity we shall win this battle and fight against all odds.