TISS COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 has led a trail of devastation around the world. India is no exception to this. We are in the midst of a much-needed lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Tata Institute of Social Sciences has always led from the front when it comes to crisis management. The battle will likely be long and hard and will have manifold ramifications. The TISS COVID-19 Response Task Force is actively working on the following key focus areas and solicits support going forward.

  • Advocacy and Policy: Be it local, state or national, we are working on strengthening and expanding our existing networks and inform and be informed by policy for health, supplies, care for the underprivileged such as slum dwellers and migrants, etc. The School of Public Policy and Governance has prepared a Policy Tracker and is working on creating a series of newsletters. The Response team will be working towards V2.0 of this tracker studying how public health crises like pandemics differently affect urban poor groups and how a public health response can plan for and take into account the diverse, heterogenous needs and risks faced by India’s large concentrations of informal populations across cities/villages.
  • Direct Intervention: Households and migrants are suffering in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown and need urgent help in the form of food, water supplies, personal, protective equipment and access to health care. The various field action projects of TISS such as Prayas, Koshish, M-Ward and TANDA have protocols in place for and are coordinating and liaising with the administration, NGOs, and other actors in this space at local, state and national levels to activate a unified, organised disaster management plan. Repurposing public spaces to organise shelter for the homeless and quarantine facilities for COVID-19 affected are the need of the hour. These efforts require the activation of three key networks: (a) civil society in the ward (b) state institutions and (c) grass root organisations.
  • Educative Communication and Dissemination: The TISS COVID-19 Response is working to source and where required create resources informing the public of viable social distancing practices, aimed at especially the underprivileged sections of society that have limited access to space and/or hygiene products and facilities. In the event of an expanded transmission, the team is also working on creating educational materials on both the disease and coping stratagems for the frontline workers, the lifeline of all our efforts and will be disseminating the materials and conducting virtual educational sessions for the same.
  • Mental Health Related and Other Support – The pandemic and the impacts of the lockdown have created complex and interconnected issues – from psychosocial issues to those linked to the economic and health related that are exacerbated in resource-poor contexts. People are dealing with panic, confusion, frustration and helplessness. Hence, iCall – the TISS helpline – is now also working as the COVID-19 helpline to deal with the multiple social and mental health issues in all their interconnectedness.
  • Learning Resources – To enable students, teachers and student teachers continue to learn and engage with the online medium using technology, the ‘Connected Open and Online Learning’ (COOL) team is releasing resources for the BEd students and teachers mapped to the NCTE curriculum, curating Open Education Resources released along with the CLIx OERs, and hosting multilingual webinars and webquests for teachers and students.

What is Needed for the Way Forward?

  • We would like volunteers for at least three activities (a) mobilising and systematising resources for food relief and its systematisation (b) preparing materials for helpline and volunteering time for running it and (c) dissemination of educational materials.
    • Volunteers can include faculty, students, but who will operate with prior training.
  • Liaising with other domains of TISS work.
  • Resources, including financial, required for makeshift infrastructures, food and other provisions, health education materials, masks for frontline workers, and such other, where necessary.

TISS Covid-19 Response Newsletter 01 – 23 April 2020

To donate please visit https://support.tiss.edu/donation/