Consulting the community on how to respond to COVID-19 in India
Caritas India recognised the value of community input in shaping their crisis response
In March 2020, a nationwide lockdown was introduced across India to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This resulted in mass reverse migration, food insecurity, job scarcity, and unemployment. Odisha was then hit by Cyclone Amphan a few months later, which caused widespread damage in eastern India, destroying housing and farmland.
Despite lockdown measures, there were over 560,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India by the end of June. With funding from Start Network, Caritas India supported 500 vulnerable households (2,000 individuals), targeting low-income returnee migrants, of which recipients were predominantly female. They provided hygiene kits, buckets, sanitary pads, and water disinfection tablets, as well as unconditional cash transfers to selected households. In addition, the agency conducted a mass-awareness raising campaign to communicate the importance of wearing masks, hand washing, and social distancing.
Start Network conducted an independent monitoring evaluation of Caritas India’s response, collecting data in the form of 120 short-form interviews and five in-depth interviews with targeted households. These were phone-based to avoid physical contact and conducted by a third-party consultant in the local language, as well as in English. Participants were asked about the assistance and behavioural messaging received, as well as questions related to community consultation and their involvement in the response process.
Caritas India was one of eight national and local members selected to participate in a dedicated COVID-19 fund, with responses in India, Pakistan, and the DRC.