Tata Steel leads the fight against COVID-19, leverages digital to connect with grassroots India

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    Jamshedpur: Much before the intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic was understood and acted upon in the country, Tata Steel through Tata Steel Foundation had already extended its arms ‘digitally’ to bring its communities on board with what was coming and what it meant for one and all.

    On March 19, 2020, the team activated a mass awareness campaign meant to touch nearly 64 gram panchayats around Jamshedpur through pre-recorded messages in Hindi, Bangla, Ho and Santhali. As many as 10 vehicles were deployed playing pre-recorded and customised audio capsules that served to advise on precautionary measures, debunk myths and inform people of steps taken by local administrations.

    In addition, the customised IEC (information, education and communication) material was also put up across highly visible spots. In a span of three days from March 19 to 21, as many as 34 Gram Panchayats in the peripheral areas of Jamshedpur were covered.

    This was strategically followed by a digitally enabled and structured audio/video conversation with the Sarpanches and other individuals including Mukhia, Pradhan, Ward Members, SHG members and other community members within each Gram Panchayat, intended to provide detailed information and clarification to an empowered group of individuals. This initiative began on March 20, and has intensified since the country lockdown from March 24.

    While the mass awareness campaign aimed at myth busting and encouraging people to stay indoors, the digital campaign went a step further in informing people on critical issues including lockdown, its requirement, dos and don’ts, precautionary steps and thereby helping phenomenally in preventing panic within the communities. This was actioned through a series of identified questions to the communities which brought to the table a set of queries, expectations and anticipation. All of this was collated and looped back to the district administration to ensure that there was a seamless flow of communication from the district to the grassroots. These measures were undertaken as per government and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

    Till now, 55 Gram Panchayats have been covered reaching out to a total of 169 people and there is a target to reach out to 38 more.

    As a follow-on, Tata Steel Foundation (TSF) has also collaborated with Ghaghidih Central Jail authorities to manufacture cloth masks for distribution amongst the needy communities of Jamshedpur.

    Besides Jamshedpur, the exercise has been rolled out to all 11 locations of Tata Steel operations as well as to our communities along the Jamshedpur-Kalinganagar corridor.