WOTR COVID-19 Rapid Response


September, 2020

WOTR COVID-19 Rapid Response

Based on Data gathered up to August 31, 2020

As of 10th September, 2020, India has crossed 4.5 million cases and 75,000 deaths from the COVID-19 virus. While there is no let up in the rising figures, we at WOTR are continuing to support communities across our project villages.  As the pandemic spreads further into the country, the vulnerable communities are trying to rebuild their lives and cope with the pandemic.

WOTR with its presence across the seven states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, are working for the vulnerable communities who are hoping to rebuild their lives through this pandemic. WOTR and its partners have been collaborating on all fronts and are stepping up its relief efforts to ease the undue pressure.

Distribution of cono weeder by WOTR in Asmathpur village of Ranga reddy District, Telangana

Our regional resource centres are working 24/7 with the help of community-based organisations, gram panchayats, self-help groups and local civic bodies among others to provide relief and implementation support.


WOTR is on the ground, mobilising informed and measured rapid responses to the pandemic through various modes such as the distribution of essentials, creating awareness, social messaging, generating employment and other livelihood support in seven states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Telangana.

Field teams are at the ready and constantly in touch with the local communities through phone to guide and motivate them in these challenging times.

WOTR is doing everything it can to support communities in its project areas to cope with COVID-19. According to data gathered until August 31, we have reached out to 124,268 households, 657 villages, 26 districts in seven states.

Distribution of sewing machine at Takavali village, Raigad, Maharashtra


A women SHG meeting at Chakhalewadi village of Karjat block, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra.

WOTR through its field team has ensured that awareness is created in the project villages on prevention and safety measures of the coronavirus, while also instilling the importance of wearing a mask and maintaining social distances at public places. The field team is also encouraging the local communities to support their action, guide them and motivate them in these challenging times.

Since April 2020, 3,126 awareness sessions were organised by WOTR, impacting 164,647 people.

63 structured and formal training sessions were attended by 2,305 participants, of which 1,493 were women and 812 men. 246-gram panchayat members, 446 Village Development/Health Committee members, 1,183 SHG members, 184 community members, 211 Wasundhara Sevikas/Sevaks and 35 government officers attended the training sessions.

Employment / Livelihood

Line transplanting of paddy crop in Hariabadi village, Ganjam, Odisha

As millions of migrant families returned to their native villages, not hoping to go back anytime soon, providing the much-needed lifeline to these people and rekindling their hope is of utmost importance. While the dependency on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or MNREGA has increased manifold and with the partial lifting of the lockdown across many parts of the country, WOTR has been creating employment opportunities in villages where our projects are underway.

Since 1st April, 2020, WOTR, along with MNREGA, has created 348,619 labour days employing 21,000 labourers.  12,418 families have benefitted from labour. The collaboration of WOTR- MNREGA has led to 8.38 Crore rupees being spent in the form of wages for the communities involved.

Providing employment opportunities for migrant workers
Soil and water conservation work in Damoh district of Madhya Pradesh

Kevlari Upadhyay is a small village of Damoh district of Madhya Pradesh. The village is not easily accessible via road, and the villagers used to migrate to the neighbouring villages in search of work. During the COIVD-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, they were forced to return to their villages and were facing unprecedented hardship as they didn’t have any source of income.

WOTR has been working in 24 Villages of Damoh district under the “Livelihood Improvement Of Indigenous and Marginal Farmer Communities through Management of Natural Resources to Adjust to Climate Change and to strengthen the Resilience”, and Kelvari Upadhyay is one of the villages.

The villagers then approached the Village Development Committee (VDC), and after mutual consent, they were employed for soil and water conservation activities under the project.

Initiating labour work opportunity in the village when even government labour oriented programs were closed, provided a big relief and succour to the households of Kevlari Upadhyay village. Project team, with the help of VDC provided work to these families. The average incomes of these families were around Rs 9,000, which was enough for their survival and to meet the cash crises that these households were facing.

Migrant Returnees

As agriculture became less profitable over the decades and agricultural labourers were increasingly replaced by machines, migrating to the cities for work was the only means of survival. However, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, migrant workers from across the country have been forced to return after nationwide lockdowns left them without an income

Besides, providing a means of livelihood to the migrant returnees, WOTR has been keeping a record of the return migrant in its project villages. As of August 31, 18,335 returning migrants have arrived in WOTR’s project villages of which 3,612 are in quarantine. We have provided support for 1,023 migrant returnees as of August 31.

Climate-Resilient Agriculture

Preparing of organic formulations — jeevamrut and amrutpani, at Ozar Manik village of Maharashtra

As the Kharif sowing is underway, WOTR has been working to make its communities resilient to the climate crisis. Below is the list of few measures adopted by WOTR in its project villages.

  • SCI crops in 3,369 acres of 5,189 farmers
  • SRI paddy in 787 acres of 1,198 farmers
  • 14,314 farmers adopted organic formulations
  • 2,231 farmers benefitted by composting
  • 1,366 farmers adopted green manuring
  • 3,071 farmers received seeds
  • 1,135 acres under micro irrigation

As per data gathered up to August 31, we have helped 21, 674 farmers undertake plantation. Of which 3,220 farmers planted fruit species like Mango, Guava, Sapota, Custard Apple, Drumstick, etc.  on 365 acres of land and 18,454 farmers planted forestry species like bamboo, gliricidia, banyan, bhendi , neem and many others on 818-acre area. Apart from this, 41,472 saplings of various species were planted by individuals wherever possible making the total plantation of 123,988 trees in the season. Weather-based crop advisories were issued to 15,701 farmers. 11,682 farmers are registered in the FarmPrecise mobile app developed by WOTR.

Distribution of Essentials

Across the rural parts of the country, the lives of small traders, smallholder farmers, migrant returnees, daily wagers, their families – children, women and the elderly, depend on the revival of economic activity, for which the supply chains are crucial. With the ongoing pandemic, a lot of problems are being faced by them as the economic activities have come to a grinding halt

WOTR is assisting in the distribution of essentials and helping needy families who are struggling to get rations while distributing sanitisation kits.

Since early April, WOTR has distributed 9,755 grocery kits, 41,175 sanitary kits, and also provided 89,926 face masks made by 392 tailors.

Distribution of cotton face mask at Gangira village, Murhu Khunti district, Jharkhand

Sustenance Support

WOTR’s kitchen gardens and multilayer farming initiatives have proved to be beneficial for the small and marginalised farmers. The initiatives improve household food security, making people self-reliant during crises like COVID-19.

As of August 31, 42,534 households have benefitted from 22,868 kitchen gardens and 1,220 multilayer farms.

A backyard kitchen garden in Aredul village of Gunupur block, Odisha

Marketing Farm produce

As supply chains are hit, and farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to sell their produce especially at the peak of the harvest season, WOTR has been facilitating the sale of these farm produce goods, thereby generating a means of income for many farmers.

In the states of Odisha Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Telangana 1,973 families have received support through FPOs selling over 12,895 quintals of rice, wheat, paddy, fruits and vegetables amounting to Rs 2.5 crore.

Distribution of lemons through collective marketing via SHG in Gunupur block, Odisha

Community Mobilisation

A training at Wadgaon Tanpura village, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. The training provided a platform for the villagers to come together to address their social and economic issues by extending support to each other

Our ground staff which includes Wasundhara Sevaks/Sevikas, Panlot Sevaks, Jal Sevaks and Mahila Pravartaks are providing whatever help the communities require to tide over the massive losses suffered by the villagers. They are provided with lifesaving hygiene essentials, critical awareness campaigns, protective face masks and sanitisation kits, besides essential supplies.

Since April 2020, 3,587 active personnel have been on the ground of which 2,064 are women.

Media coverage

WOTR’s response to COVID-19 has been extensively covered by the media. Until August 31, 39 news articles have appeared in local newspapers and 12 news stories in local television networks.


WOTR is grateful for the generous support of our donors, friends and colleagues who have made possible all of the above interventions. We would like to thank Becker-Cordes Stiftung, Bread for the World, EATON India Foundation, Education for Employability Foundation (E2F) through Rapid Community Response to COVID-19 Group (RCRC), Hindustan Unilever Foundation, IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative, IndusInd Bank Ltd, AXIS Bank Foundation, Khandke Wind Energy Pvt. Ltd, Rotary Club of Pune, Supraja Foundation, Tata Steel Foundation, Andheri Hilfe-Bonn and American Friends of WOTR, and WOTRians who have spontaneously contributed a part of their salaries.

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