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CSOs' role instrumental during pandemic

Vijaya Development Resource Centre (VDRC-Nepal) – a civil society organization based in Gaindakot-8, Nawalpur – has marked its 42nd establishment day amidst a virtual programme on 11th July, 2020. At a zoom-enabled social dialogue 'Accountable response/recovery of COVID-19 crisis: Role of Civil Society Organizations' held on 11th July, 2020 on the occasion, key note speaker, Hari Sharma, a noted social-political analyst, said the CSO role of questioning was always instrumental in protecting democracy, citizen freedoms and people's lives in any crisis including pandemic. "Democratic institutions and freedoms are always under attack in the pretexts of crisis and emergency. Social dialogue and consultations are a must to counter such assaults which demands the civic groups and organizations' role in raising questions against authorities", he stressed. As an intermediary force, the community-rooted and trusted CSOs can bridge the citizens and democracy through dialogue and deliberations, Sharma said, noting that the democratically communicated and engaged communities can exercise self-discipline and decision to fight against any pandemic such as COVID-19. "Germany and South Korea, among others, democratically took the people into confidence to tackle the pandemic and successfully handled the situation. They dealt the situation by emphatically giving space to public aspirations manifested through dialogue and consultation in formulating public health policy", the political analyst added. He further spoke the need of a new social contract and unconventional way of social dialogue to approach people so as to protect society in the wake of the present crisis. "This is the time to have a new social contract between the home returnees and social-political structures such as local governments, trade unions and CSOs. New perspective is imperative to allocate resources to address the emergence of problems with changes in human institutions and structures in the current context". Sharma also highlighted the urgency of putting into consideration the principles of equality, freedom, representation and community fraternity in framing and implementing the public policies by placing the social dialogue in the centre. As bigger architecture of democracy has the root of family democracy and governance the public education – which is only possible in open society should be massively put in place, he further said. Also speaking on the occasion, former President of NGO Federation and CSO activist Basudev Neupane said the civic organizations like VDRC and its network should impart message to the entire country by converting the threats of COVID-19 into opportunity. "The migrant returnee workers could be an asset for the organization to design and deliver its initiatives in engaging then in productive sector". At the programme presided over by VDRC Chair Laxmi Gautam, its Executive Director Keshab Sapkota said the social dialogue was initiated to connect Nepali Diaspora with homeland and also to build on an idea of developing Gaindakot as a knowledge hub. Among other speakers were VDRC ex-presidents Basanta Raj Lamsal and Khem Raj Sapkota. As many as 95 members and well-wishers of VDRC had attended the programme from Nepal, Canada, Denmark, the United States, and the United Kingdom. To mark its anniversary, the organization had also planted as many as 250 saplings of various species in its greenery park on the bank of the Narayani River in Gaindakot on Friday, shared VDRC chair Gautam.
Source: RSS, Kathmandu.

Covid-19 crises in manifolds: How VDRC leverages multiple support to advance its philanthropic response?

In the second wave of all-pervasive coronavirus pandemic, Nepal did not only witness an upsurge of coronavirus infection cases but also came across the crisis in manifolds in terms of health, economy, education and livelihood. With the crises posing serious threats to the hard-earned country systems, the contagion continued to devastate the lives of the people which had presumably widened and deepened the vicious circle of poverty and inequality. The poorly-managed health systems and response mechanisms perpetually took a toll on the lives of the people, especially the most underserved and disadvantaged communities. Furthermore, the situation invariably went worse owing to the negative impacts on the economy which had a direct backing of the agriculture production system and overall supply chain. The devastating damages caused to the health, economy and food supply chain systems warned the level of our preparedness over disaster and pandemics, and also ignited to tailor and deliver some social innovations to stem the raging outbreak of coronavirus.
Against the backdrop, Vijaya Development Resource Center (VDRC), a preeminent non-governmental organization pitching for building a dignified, prosperous, and equitable society took the lead to help and support the fragile and unprivileged people of Gaindakot Municipality – the central part of federal Nepal. The Civil Society Organization instantly shrewdly observed and mapped the need of vulnerable people because of growing risks. With this, the organization came up with a support package of food, financial and non-financial aid and medical help. Further equipment like oxygen cylinder, oximeter, mask, sanitizer, and other indispensable equipment were provided to Gaindakot Municipal Hospital and Madyabindu District Hospital. Major help and assistance in providing services and goods were prioritized by VDRC to fight against the pandemic. The multiple crises very indeed demanded a coordinated and concerted effort from the government, CSOs, citizens and other sectors at the local level. Preparedness in terms of health, food production and distribution, employment, local-level economic upliftment and the market system was the urgent need. Timely addressing of the issues was crucial to prevent the vulnerable people and the communities from being marginalized and prone to Covid-19 impacts. To ramp up joint efforts from all sides, VDRC appeals to different actors and stakeholders at the local level before calling for support and cooperation from VDRC well-wishers at home and abroad under its motto of ‘Connecting Gaindakot between and beyond Crisis’ to heal the wounds of Covid-19 crisis through a coordinated response. Besides this, VDRC-Nepal managed to coordinate supports from different windows and placed several interventions in an attempt to respond to the crisis to the best of its capability.

Disaster and Pandemic Response Interventions:

Food Balance Sheet Project:

Nepal was hit hard by the first wave of the pandemic in March 2021 and the situation of the health systems was near to collapse. The food production system and management were thrown out of gear. The prior data and information on agriculture production, distribution, and consumption have many limitations and to draw any sort of conclusion from such data is impossible. Thus to identify the current trends and to project the strategies for addressing the existing and upcoming problems in agriculture Food Balance Sheet Project was designed and implemented. The municipal food balance sheet project was funded by the Open Society Policy Centre, New York, USA. It was implemented as a Covid-19 response project for a year. The food balance sheet is used as a tool for evaluating the overall status of food production, distribution, and consumption which is supposed to act as an alerting tool for preparing a safe and sound environment even in havoc condition.

The food balance sheet project has been launched by four municipal bodies of Nawalpur and one ward of Bharatpur Metropolitan. The municipal bodies adopting the food balance project are Gaindakot municipality, Devchuli Municipality, Binaya Triveni rural municipality, and Bulingtar rural municipality while Bharatpur-14 ward was the only ward adopting the food balancing project. The project aims to construct a food balance sheet of all the above-mentioned municipal bodies that will help them to project changes in the required aspects of food production, distribution, and consumption patterns. By determining the sectors to be changed or anchorage, it is hoped that it will help in dealing with the food production and supply crisis in severe cases and pandemics.

Child Dedicated COVID-19 Emergency Response Project

Uncertainty was looming large amid the prevalence of the pandemic with various speculations on the emergence of the third wave. The first and second waves have already inflicted a whopping loss and damage of the lives and property of the people as well as to the multiple affairs which have a direct bearing on the lives and livelihoods. There is an immense need for relief packages from the governmental and non-governmental side for the health system and the economic upliftment of underprivileged people. To address the situation, VDRC-Nepal with financial assistance from Americares, a Child Dedicated COVID-19 Emergency Response Project is going to be launched in Gaindakot Municipal Hospital, Gaindakot Municipality and Madyabindu District Hospital, Kawasoti Municipality. This includes the development of infrastructure in the form of a Covid ward for the children who are subject to higher risks during the third wave. Likewise, dissemination of information as part of community awareness on Covid-19 is planned through radio programs and child-focused Covid-19 awareness graphic animated video. The project aims to reduce the level of severity of the Covid-19 infestation and minimize the risk especially for children with the assured health care facility. This project is funding by the Americares Foundation, USA.

Covid-19 Risk Minimization and Support Program

The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe and the emergence of different variants have worsened the situation. The second wave has engulfed one of the Least Developed Countries, Nepal, posing a serious threat to the public health systems and subsistence-based economy. The lack of different indispensable materials like oxygen cylinders, PCR, ICU beds, ambulances and health consultation had led to the loss of many lives. Regarding the situation, VDRC took a lead and collaborated with the Vijaya Group of Institutions (VGI) comprising eight diverse organizations for providing services and goods to needy ones. This included the provision of food commodities to poor and vulnerable groups, free transportation to Covid-19 patients for health check-ups, Covid-19 doctor consultation services and dissemination of awareness information about the severity of Covid-19 and preventive measures.

For the provision of support, the information about the needy people was gathered and aired via Vijaya FM– a community-based radio and other 5 radio stations set up under the aegis and leadership of VDRC. The people with physical and mental disabilities were more prioritized for the provision of food and other services. Medical equipment and PPE support were provided to the district hospital and municipal hospital. Health appliances and equipment worth amounting to Rs 185,000 were provided to both the hospitals. The health consultation facility was provided free of cost to the indigent population of the locality. The provision of transportation facilities to the Covid-19 patients and daily incentives to the driver was also delivered. The overall objective and approach of VDRC and VGI are to reduce the risks and provide enough support to needy people in troubled times. This program is still undergoing which has been supported by helping hands of VDRC who are living abroad (USA, CANADA, SOUTH KOREA and PORTUGAL). This program is running named by "Connecting Gaindakot".

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Vijaya Development Resource Center

Gaindakot-8, Vijayanagar, Nawalparasi Nepal

Tel: +977-78-501100 / 402 / 172

Mob: 9845024465

Email: vdrc@vdrc.org.np

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