Inclusion through technology during COVID-19, Odisha based NGO Yuva Vikas showing the way

Bhubaneswar: On 22nd March 2020 as the Janta Curfew was declared, the organization worked with more than 12 women Self Help Groups to stitch 40,000+ masks and gloves to reach out to the people in need. Till date, the organization has been able to support 3000+ families in 43 locations including the people in low income neighbourhoods in 3 cities- Balasore, Baripada and Bhadrak.
Thanks to the spirit of our young community leaders who have been working relentlessly with the very very thought that we may miss few households from relief support, but no one should sleep hungry in these days of despair, opines Gobinda Dalai, Founder of Yuva Vikas Foundation.
Yuva Vikas Foundation, a youth led development organization in Balasore district of Odisha is known for its innovative approach for community work. Started by a group of young people from Maharashtra, Bihar and Odisha and led by a TISS Alumnus, Gobinda Dalai has been redefining the youth led transformation in its unique ways.
As soon as we could sense that the lock down is going to remain for some time, we set up conference calls with our young community leaders and employees to map out the region of their work and got the account details and necessary passes from the local authorities to be reaching out to the needy on a daily basis, says Mr Pravin Mitkar, Co-founder and Director of the organization.
The organization started working on providing psycho-social support with conducing online singing, dancing competition for the children from the slums. For the rural areas, the community engagement in restoration of community assets were done while maintaining physical distance to get people out of their homes and celebrate community cohesiveness.
We were approached by the organization and most of our members who lost their income generation activities got excited about the mask stitching, we were provided online training on the standard protocols of stitching masks and gloves. When we were officially engaged by the local municipal authorities, we saw some of masks stitched by us are being used by our officers. We are really grateful to Yuva Vikas for such timely intervention, says Ms Sandhya Moharana, Leader of Maa Santoshi SHG in Balasore.
The organization took an innovative approach to the problems of migrant labourers. The organization created the database of migrant workers who were in TMCs (Temporary Medical Centres) in the panchayats they work and have taken a major step in engaging them in agriculture by cultivating 1100 acres of land in 15 villages in Mayurbhanj and Balasore district during this Kharif seasons understanding the fact that they won’t be returning to the cities after such difficult return to their natives. They are provided with cash and ration support to support the family in order to address the vulnerability.

The organization has set up a Agrisupport Initiative involving small traders, farmers and Mill owners to see that their produce is sold with little more than Minimum Support Price as determined by government and we are concentrating on growing quality paddy seeds along with foodgrains. The organization has been supported by the award winning organization Sambhav to grow organic and native varieties in 3 tribal villages of Mayurbhanj and Balasore.
The organization has also taken up value addition activities with New Delhi based NGO, Goonj to address the issue of distress sale of groundnuts in Bangriposhi block of Mayurbhanj that will benefit 150+ groundnut farmers and 25 SHG members with 90 quintals of groundnuts getting into the retail market and ration kits as part of the relief work.