Lockdown has changed the way we interact with each other. The existing Digital infrastructure is acting as a crutch for the current economy and society. DEF keeping in mind the current situation is interacting with people in 600 locations across 25 states to analyse the current scenario equally across the country. These interviews are being recorded and are known as COVID-19 DEF Dialogues. With Osama Manzar, the Founder and Director of DEF as the host, these interviews focus on the Digital Foot Soldiers of DEF and what problems their respective communities are facing.
In these dialogues we are also learning about the measures that have been taken to tackle the situation. Our host also speaks to the experts from the industry in order to ascertain the situation and measures that can be taken.
Until now DEF has come up with 11 such episodes in which Osama has spoken to our Digi- foot soldiers and industry experts across states and have gathered information. There is a myriad of topics which are discussed in the series and has brought in light how unconnected India is surviving in the current situation by opting the facilities provided to them through our community-specific relief programs.
The industry experts like Saleema Razvi, Sharadha, Gaurav Vats, Kalyan Akkipedi, Arun Maira have also given insight into what India’s current situation is, the possibility of how the virus can peak in India in the months to come, the current state of migrant labourers, the effect of COVID-19 on the inter and intrastate supply of farmer’s produce, Farmer’s harvest going waste and what can be our aspirations for coming future, how can we return back to our basics to create a better world.
Girish, a nomad from Karnataka runs a community radio. He has travelled about 50 villages in Karnataka to gather real stories from the ground amid COVID-19 and has given a voice to their stories. He has busted myths around COVID-19 and has also provided internet facility by setting up a small bandwidth bundler-connecting 3 dongles.
DEF’s aim is to reach over 60,0000 households and 3,00,000 individuals by facilitating them with Public schemes, Tele support, spreading awareness about COVID-19 in the remote villages, creating alternate livelihood opportunities for very poor communities, food delivery to the most affected, consultation and counselling etc.
The adverse and wholesome impact of COVID-19 is such that, this catastrophic situation has made the low-income groups, daily wagers, poor, vulnerable. Distribution of masks, food packets through our Digital Foot soldiers is helping them survive in some way or the other.
In Places like Barabanki, the weavers’ community is badly affected with no work. The payments to previous orders have not been made. In order to support them, a new set of order to weave Indigo Saris has been made by Utkarsh Rawat and his team.
In Nuh, a remote village, the lives of migrant labourers who are stuck, daily wagers, and auto-rickshaw drivers have come to a still. They eat what they earn and since there exists a financial crunch, such people are the ones adversely affected. Our digital foot soldiers such as Samar has provided ration and have helped them.
Arun Maria, member of DEF’s advisory group has talked about how the whole world is experiencing a shift from the economy serving the humans and society to human beings serving the economy and urges that in order to have a better world, the human beings should return back to basics.
Through these special series, DEF brings out different perspectives from across states to its audience.