RAIPUR: The Bastar district administration has chalked out a new strategy in collaboration with the UNICEF to create a cadre of 6,000 youth volunteers to effectively counter Covid-19.
The initiative ‘Yuvodaya’ (rise of youth) aims to channelise the power of youth towards supporting the government programmes across villages to improve livelihood, health, nutrition, education, sanitation and agriculture.
The volunteers will simultaneously create awareness on the prevention of Covid-19 in families while promoting healthy behaviour.
‘Yuvodaya’ volunteers will also assist the frontline workers in full immunisation of children and lend helping hand towards minimising anaemia among women and students.
Conducting surveys and monitoring of government schemes would be carried out by the volunteers through ‘village information centre’ to be operated by them in rural areas.
Under the ‘Yuvodaya’ initiative, there will be 5-10 volunteers in every village, ward of local urban bodies and slums in the Maoist-affected Bastar district to help frontline workers like teachers, mitanins (village-community health workers) and Anganwadi staff.
The volunteers would be drawn from the sports clubs of Nehru Yuva Kendra, National Service Scheme, self-help groups among others. They would be an addition to the existing 3000 ‘Seekh Mitra’ who are in the field ensuring learning of students in the community in the district.
The UNICEF and the Bastar administration has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Jagdalpur for ‘Yuvodaya’ programme. The MoU for the innovative initiative, that will have its own logo, theme song and uniform for volunteers, will be for 2 years.
“We realise that amid the coronavirus pandemic whatever gets measured can also get managed. So the role of youths under Yuvodaya assumes significance. Nodal officers at district, block and gram panchayat levels will monitor and guide Yuvodaya”, said Rajat Bansal, Bastar district collector.
The Chhattisgarh chief of UNICEF Job Zachariah said the adverse impact of Covid could wipe-out all gains achieved in various sectors during the past 50 years. “We cannot allow the detrimental impact of Covid to fall on our children and marginalised people. Youths are powerful social change catalyst and their energy could be used for social and economic development in such hour of crisis.