Educating Girl Children Under COVID-19 Conditions

Many of our supporters may be wondering about the impact of COVID-19 on the IIMPACT Learning Centres that we support from Australia. This quarterly report shows the resilience and agility of the IIMPACT operations in India.

The learning environment changed suddenly with the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the preventative public health orders of the Governments in India. For the initial three months the lock down resulted in temporary closure of IIMPACT Learning Centres as a physical space.

IIMPACT India and their delivery partners implemented a number of innovative responses to minimise disruption to the education of girls across 1911 Learning Centres spread across the country.

Amongst the first initiatives implemented was a Snakes and Ladders inspired ‘COVID-19 Board Game’ that taught the girls about the disease, good hygiene practices and physical distancing. Teachers started to visit the girls at home, attending to their learning requirements on a one on one basis wherever possible. From July onwards, they started Alternate Learning Activities (ALA) with children coming on alternate days to learn in open spaces.

With the relaxation in restrictions, our Learning Centres recommenced operations while observing required safety protocols: the objective has been to revisit past study lessons and to start new learning materials. This has included home study activities and worksheets, door-to-door individual sessions with girls and open space classes using alternative learning arrangements. Wherever feasible, they also used technology, primarily smart phones, to connect and communicate. In some locations donors provided smart TV’s, overhead projectors and smart phones to aid learning activities.

As on 30th September out of 1911 Centres,1845 centres are running with ALA with average attendance being 23 girls; 45 centres have the teachers visiting girls at home and giving individual work to children.

IIMPACT India launched its ‘Ek Samuday Ek Abhiyaan’ (One Community, One Campaign) program that distributed mats, soaps, hand sanitisers, books and other materials to support our students and teachers. This initiative was generously supported by several stakeholders that include the Good Samaritans, government officers and representatives of village ‘Panchayats’ (councils).

IIMPACT India has also been busy strengthening the educational and social outcomes of the Learning Centres under its Educational Quality in IIMPACT Projects (EQUIP) initiative. To improve overall learning and social outcomes for the girls nearly 3,000 teachers and staff have attended training. Further, head office staff are now undertaking field visits, spending at least one week a month to gain a closer appreciation of school operations to identify improvements.

Over here in Australia, we have been busy extending our outreach and implementing a new digital strategy, led by a new team of volunteers. With a redeveloped website and crowdfunding features, we are commencing social media engagement, including a Diwali ‘Shine A Light’ fund raiser through Facebook. We hope to get more Australians engaged in our campaigns.

We expect to grow our fundraising this year from an exceptionally good result last year – something that we can all be proud of.

A big thank you to our team of volunteers in Australia, our partner IIMPACT India and their delivery NGOs in India.

For a detailed report on IIMPACT India’s delivery of services to our sponsored Learning Centres, see: IIMPACT Educating the girl child Inc. Jul-Sep 2020 Report.

Alok Ralhan, President IIMPACT Australia