COVID 19 EMERGENCY - Distribution of Food, Protection Materials and Basic Commodities among Communities in Hingalganj, West Bengal, India

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Project location: INDIA, West Bengal
Project start date: May 2020 - Project end date: October 2020
Project number: 2020-014
Beneficiary: Fondazione L'albero Della Vita Onlus

L'Albero della Vita (FADV) was founded in Italy in April 1997 as a Voluntary Association, followed a few months later, in January 1998, by the Social Cooperative up to the Foundation in 2004. Its eligibility as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) was issued by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on 2009. L'Albero della Vita's social activity is focused on change as children and youths' development, growth and evolution, allowing to foster the wellbeing of children and their families. Fondazione Albero della Vita begins responding to humanitarian emergencies 10 years ago after Haiti earthquake. Since then it has intervened in several countries in response to different emergencies
L'Albero della Vita and ACID (local Indian partner) have been working in the area of West Bengali since 2010, implementing both child-centred projects and rural development projects benefiting the weakest and most vulnerable groups of the population. Both the organizations have a deep knowledge of the context, essential while implementing humanitarian interventions especially during covid-19 lockdown.

With the spread of the new corona virus in India, L'Albero della Vita Foundation (FADV) started the identification of needs and constraints of the population together with its local partner ACID in order to intervene with an urgent response action to support the most vulnerable children and families of 5 Gram Panchayat (Kalitala, Gabindokathi, Jogeshganj, Sahebkhali and Dulduli) in the area of Hingalganj, North 24 Parganas District, West Bengal. This remote area, called Sundarbans, is the largest mangrove forest in the world, which stretches between India and Bangladesh, where vulnerability and poverty are extremely high.

There are three main problems in the area:

1. lack of food and basic commodities;
2. lack of awareness of what is happening and how it needs to be addressed;
3. return of thousands of migrants to their homelands from cities, other districts and other states is a treath, Potentially the returned migrants are a vector of spread of covid-19 for their families and the whole communities, which already live in conditions of extreme vulnerability with limited means of livelihood and lack of adequate health facilities not only to respond to the current pandemic, but also to the "ordinary" management of public health.

In order to meet the identified needs, FADV together with its partner intends:

1. Initiate the distribution of food, protective materials and basic commodities among communities. The material will be purchased according to government guidelines, transported and distributed giving priority to the most vulnerable families, with children with disabilities, elderly people, women heads of household.
2. Launch awareness campaigns in the villages where it is explained to the population what the coronavirus is, how it spreads and what preventive actions must be implemented.
3. Initiate the mapping of returned migrants to villages, including them in distribution and awareness raising activities and reporting cases with covid-19 symptoms.

The general objective of the project, which received a grant from the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, is:

- to contribute to the improvement of living conditions during covid-19 spread of the most vulnerable households of 5 Gram Panchayat in North 24 Parganas District, West Bengal.
The specific objectives are:
- To improve the hygienic conditions of 2,500 households of the target population.
- To ensure access to food for 1,000 households of the target area.
- To ensure access of to health and hygienic information of 2,500 households to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases, with a particular focus on returned migrants and their families.

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