To combat the spread of COVID 19 effectively, a collaborative of organizations and networks representing the public, private, civil society, academic and other sectors have come together to form the #COVIDActionCollab (CAC). The purpose is to support various stakeholders – civil society, private sector, academics, networks, foundations and governments, to rapidly and cost-effectively: 1. Prevent new infections, 2. Diagnose early, 3. Treat appropriately and with care, and 4. Mitigate negative impacts on livelihoods, well-being.
The Collaborative is ideated by the Catalyst Group, a 26-year-old social impact platform, with significant experience in social and economic development as well as humanitarian emergencies. The Governing Council for the CAC has 11 eminent members who steer and guide the collaborative. Speaking on the strategy adopted by the Collaborative, Mr. Shiv Kumar, Co-founder, Catalyst Group said, “The Collaborative is driven by three strategies: Deliver high impact package of services to key communities (12.5 million), where the collaborative members have a direct presence or reach, complementing the government; Setup and operate an information exchange and build capacities of key partners and actors; Solve critical challenges which can have a high impact on response with solutions such as competent resource estimation, nuanced telehealth and tele-counselling networks, infrastructure for community surveillance and more.”
The Collab consists of 150+ organisations, reaching over 12.5 million+ people including the poorest, vulnerable and marginalised across 16 States and 100 districts in India. The Collab is also expanding to other countries like Nigeria, Tanzania on request. Over 20 unique tools, protocols and frameworks have been developed for COVID response and socialised. Several Social Protection Schemes / Programmes have been actioned on the ground through helpdesks. 900 volunteers have been enrolled of which 200 have active projects. 70 vendors who supply life savings materials are identified and on-boarded for members to access.
Further elaborating on the aim of the COVIDActionCollab, Ms. Shama Karkal, CEO, Swasti said,“The collaborative is driven by the belief that by pooling expertise and resources, it can address the problem of COVID and use this opportunity to make the world a better place. The team is undertaking comprehensive and coordinated action, with poor, marginalized and vulnerable people and their communities at the very centre of the response.”
Over the past one-month social protection worth Rs 10 crores has been delivered to poor and vulnerable communities, leveraging Governments. From Taaras Coalition, sex workers in 26 Organizations made and distributed masks to 5705 families. IIFL Private Wealth, supporting Swasti and United Way, donated nearly INR 2 crores to the PM care fund for COVID-19 response, signed up with Give India for India COVID-19 relief fund and has provided INR 25 Lakh so far to the CAC. PHIA Foundation is running a helpline to reach stranded migrants to provide counselling, medical advisory, lockdown information, and connections to local CSOs for food and rations: over 20,000 calls received so far; It is also working with TATA Trusts and Google to leverage Internet Saathi Program to empower villages: tapping into 20,000 internet saathis across 4 states. International Scientific Instrument Co. developed a Personal Protection Equipment Kit and is providing medical supplies to all ICMR approved laboratories, shelter homes etc.