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COVID-19 pandemic threatens livelihood security of village communities

NEWS

By GV News Desk

20 March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to joblessness and a looming fear of livelihood insecurity amongst the rural poor from Gram Vikas villages.

A large number of men have been forced to return to their native villages in Ganjam, Gajapati and Kalahandi districts from other states like Kerala and Karnataka. Most of them were engaged in productive employment in these places, primarily in the construction and services sectors.

The decision to return was abrupt and made in reaction to the rising panic and increasing controls in their places of employment.

This sudden development is likely to give rise to a variety of difficulties including health risks. Since the workers have come from places with confirmed COVID-19 cases, there is the probability of them being affected and passing on the infection locally.

Many of them left their workplaces abruptly, hence may have not received their salaries/wages for the work done during the last few weeks/month. With little productive employment available in the native villages, they are staring at a very uncertain immediate future. For most of these families, these workers were the sole source of income.

The peak summer season is when the entire area is short of productive employment opportunities. The return of the ‘more secure’ earning persons will cause difficulties in the communities as a whole.

Gram Vikas teams on the ground are working closely with the local governments and the communities to make sure that all are safe. We have started liaison with the local public health authorities to help identify those who have returned from their workplaces and motivate them to be under strict observation. We are also creating awareness among the villagers about the precautions to be taken to avoid a possible infection.

We are actively working on a livelihood response plan for the short, immediate and long term.

Gram Vikas provides masonry training to men and women to enable them to have sustainable livelihood opportunity.

Photograph by Ajaya Kumar Behera

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