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CRY – COVID INTERVENTION

CRY is committed to changing the lives of underprivileged children and so, our work over four decades has focused on socially deprived communities in the remotest corners of India. We have 4 key goal areas, in accordance with the fundamental tenets of the Child Right’s Convention, which are critical to children’s wellbeing:

* Education: Ensuring that children go to school and complete their education
* Health & Nutrition: Increasing access to proper nutrition and quality healthcare
* Safety & Protection: Addressing issues like child labor, child marriage, trafficking and abuse
* Child Participation: Creating an environment where children's voices are heard and considered

COVID-19 Program intervention of CRY:

As India struggles with the COVID-19 outbreak, children from underprivileged communities are at greater risk. With lowered immunity due to malnutrition and lack of access to healthcare facilities, they are even more vulnerable to this disease. Unable to go to school, their education is also suffering and they’re at risk of dropping out completely.
CRY works across 19 states with over 3.5 lakh children and their families and we are in the process of implementing our COVID-19 program across all these households.

The COVID-19 programming focuses on:
* Providing supplementary hygiene products and ensuring preventative health and hygiene practices within the community for the long term
* Ensuring nutrition and food security that is currently completely dismantled as fallout of the pandemic
* Ensuring that children continue learning even amidst the changed circumstances

Health & Hygiene

Families and children of marginalized communities will continue to be at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to the unsanitary conditions in which they are forced to live as well as the lack of resources to buy soaps / sanitizers which is the need of the hour. Community level messaging to bring about change in behaviour and attitudes towards hygiene and health care is also an important imperative to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Government health care workers like the ASHA and Anganwadi workers and the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife are pivotal people who are out on the field every day in the service of vulnerable children and their families in this scenario. They will continue to be highly susceptible to infection since they will be in spaces that may get overwhelmed by large numbers of beneficiaries/patients.
The most burdened system in this disaster is the health system and at the village levels, the public health center and sub centers are key hubs for medical care for those affected. They are already dealing with limited supplies/scarcity of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for staff and are at a great risk since they have to interact with people on a regular basis.
Children also need to be able to get vaccinated as per the prescribed immunisation schedule to avoid them becoming more susceptible to secondary infections and their consequences. With the closure of ICDS and Primary Health care centers, this is already heavily affected and needs to be addressed. The care of pregnant and lactating mothers is another area that is getting neglected in the current scenario -monitoring their health through the trimesters to ensure a safe delivery is important.

Keeping this in mind, the key areas of intervention/activities include:

* Providing hygiene kits for Families and Communities
* Large scale awareness to sustain a sense of urgency and priority will be done at the household, village and community levels with regard to protective and preventive measures (testing, physical distancing, washing of hands etc.).
* ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives: Providing adequate support so that the access to door - step health facilities for children and families is ensured while protecting the health care workers from personal risk. After an initial assessment of hygiene practices and use of protective gears, they will be provided with soaps, liquid soaps and scarves. Subsequent provisioning till the pandemic and the risk of infection persists will be ensured.
* Public Health Centers/Sub Centers: Assessing preparedness of health service centers and frontline health service personnel in delivering health services in COVID-19 infected environment in terms of knowledge & skills, availability & access to hygiene materials, and protective gears such as gloves, masks, PPE kits etc. and ensure availability of the same. They will be provided with an initial stock of soaps, liquid soaps and masks. Subsequent provisioning till the pandemic and the risk of infection persists will be ensured.
* Immunization schedules of children: Ensuring all children are vaccinated as per the prescribed immunization schedule.
* Pregnant women and lactating mothers: Linking mothers to the AWCs such that they get proper antenatal care, have access to institutional deliveries and postnatal care and monitoring their health through the trimesters to ensure a safe delivery will be done.
* Mapping children and pregnant women in CRY project areas to assess gaps in immunization, IFA tablet intake, PNC and ANC due to the lockdown and ensure the recovery of such gaps. Also register new cases of pregnancies and births with ASHAs and ANMs which could not be reported during the lockdown, so that they have access to all entitlements and services.

Nutrition & Food Security:

Children from marginalized communities are dependent on the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) system (0 to 6 years) and the Government school Midday Meal Scheme (6 to 14 years) for their nutritional requirements. In the absence of this and the food deprivation at home during the lockdown period, we’re anticipating a sharp rise in the malnutrition levels among these children – a situation that will need immediate intervention. If left unaddressed, it will lead to severe malnutrition, anaemia, high instances of infant/child mortality and lifelong poor health that will affect their quality of life.
Since the on-going nationwide lockdown has severely affected the livelihoods of these marginalized communities, most of whom are dependent on daily wages for survival, underprivileged families and their children are not even getting regular meals. We’re foreseeing that this situation will not change dramatically in the coming year and lead to high levels of food insecurity within the household. Keeping this in mind, our key areas of intervention/ activities include:
* Food kits to ensure that there is no hunger and starvation in the families
* Take home rations: Ensuring children, pregnant women and their families get take-home rations as prescribed by the government through the public distribution shops (PDS) and ICDS Anganwadis. Ensuring adolescents have access to take – home- rations from ICDS Anganwadis.
* Mid-day meals: Ensuring children have access to mid-day meal facilities provided by the schools (which are currently shut but mid –day meals to continue).
* Tackling malnutrition among children: Ensuring that acute cases of malnutrition among children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers are assisted in accessing the services of Nutritional Rehabilitation Centers (NRCs) and medical care, if needed.
* Provide supplementary nutrition to ensure malnourished children, who are especially affected due to non-availability of food in the COVID situation, are moved from a state of being severely malnourished to moderately malnourished and then to normalcy
* Awareness about the role of immunity and nutrition in preventing COVID-19: Organizing target group Counseling for malnourished children, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating mothers to ensure that they: i) understand the role of immunity in preventing COVID-19 and the criticality of enough nutritious food intake to maintain such immunity ii) are registered with ICDS centers or have ration, are able to access essential food & non-food items as entitled in schemes and as per standard rates

Education

With the lockdown on account of COVID-19, children are experiencing an unexpected gap in their schooling that has thrown their academic year out of focus. Children who are in Std. X and XII face a risk of discontinuation when they go back to school; they may feel that they cannot cope or may end up lagging behind academically during the year. Providing them with class appropriate, easy to use worksheets will help them self – coach for their exams and practice their lessons. For children in other classes in primary and secondary school, continuous through the next few months with supplementary aids is essential.

Keeping this in mind, our key areas of intervention/ activities include:
* Providing worksheets and supplementary aids to these children to allow them to keep learning even during the lockdown.
* Identifying children in need of special teaching support, mobilizing volunteer support and deploying para-teachers in high stress geographies.
* Conducting awareness and confidence building activities with children and families – especially around necessary precautions against COVID-19 and physical abuse and safety during restricted public movement; particularly for girls.
* Ensuring regularity of children in classes once school re-opens through strengthening school management committees (SMC), interfacing with teachers and improving essential facilities in schools, including sports.
* Advocating with the education department for capacity building of teachers to address post COVID-19 stress, selective cases of trauma, loss of interest in learning due to unexpected gap, identity and occupation based discriminations etc.

Planning, Implementation and Monitoring process:

The progress of the activities to be undertaken will be tracked through the following tools which are already in use in CRY:

* Project logical framework with a developed set of outcome, results and indicators.
* Computerized monitoring and evaluation system (MEAL), whereby data is collected, analysed, and delivers the required information. This will support verification of activities’ progress (against the timeline of planned activities) and provide quantitative data (number of beneficiaries, activities, disbursements, procurement activities etc.)
* Financial, project management, procurement and technical audits
* Regular monitoring of training and institutional strengthening activities
* Participatory M&E activities; including physical follow-up of activities where possible.

Financial Summary: January to December 2020


Budget Breakup 2020

COVID-19 Relief Programs

12,900

86%

Administration

2,100

14%

Total Grant Approved

15,000

100%