The fight against COVID-19: keeping communities safe in India

UNV District Youth Coordinators (DYCs) are placed in 58 districts across India, under the joint project “Strengthening Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS)” supported by India’s Ministry Of Youth Affairs and Sports (MoYAS)  and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). These UN Volunteers have been working with the local administration and other partners to design local solutions to the on-ground challenges. The project reached out to more than 700 thousand people (online and offline), within the first two weeks starting 22 March 2020.

Supporting frontline personnel

Frontline personnel, essentially healthcare workers and technical staff, are the main response pillars for COVID-19. UN Volunteer District Youth Coordinators in project districts are supporting local health authorities by imparting training and deploying community-level volunteers in support of those who are tirelessly serving the country, in order to reduce their burden.


UN Volunteers under the NYKS assisting the medical workers during the screening process in Bahraich, India. ©UNV, 2020

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Monitoring the lockdown

Joining local authorities on the frontlines, UN Volunteers in India’s Khammam district are supporting the police to monitor the lockdown. ©UNV, 2020

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Creating awareness

To facilitate proper sensitization and capacity building, UNV District Youth Coordinators in the 58 project districts have been conducting awareness campaigns (online and on the ground) with support the of the district administration.  


UNV NYKS Volunteers in Haridwar, India, introducing people to social distancing circles. ©UNV, 2020

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Ensuring safety

Practical initiatives to create awareness have been vital in ensuring the safety of communities outside of their homes. ©UNV, 2020

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Leaving no one behind

Door-to-door awareness drives are being organized to leave no one behind. Volunteers are playing a key role in making people aware, promoting social distancing measures and countering social discrimination to people affected by the pandemic. ©UNV, 2020

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Spreading information

Publicity material is being designed in regional languages for both online and onsite dissemination of information. ©UNV, 2020

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Countering misinformation

With the overload of information circulating in social and other media channels since the COVID-19 outbreak, volunteers are sharing information only through authentic and verified sources which are helping in countering misinformation, fake news and busting myths. ©UNV, 2020

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Sanitation of facilities

India’s Health Ministry has issued guidelines on disinfecting public places and facilities. To expedite this process and to make it more efficient, UN Volunteer District Youth Coordinators and other volunteer groups have been supporting local authorities and sanitary workers in a sanitization drive in the project districts. They are also mobilizing and distributing sanitary material and other sanitary equipment to people to ensure their safety. ©UNV, 2020

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Food distribution

Due to the lockdown, daily wage workers are losing their income, with a severe impact on the poor sections of society. The supply chain has also been disrupted. The government is trying to ramp up the supply and distributing essential food items. ©UNV, 2020

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Preparing safety gear

UN Volunteers at the district level have been working with the medical officers and youth clubs to make this equipment in-house. The process follows proper research and development channels in order to comply with medical guidelines. These initiatives aim to address the recent concern raised by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the shortage of personal protective equipment such as gowns, masks and gloves, posing a serious challenge to the health of frontline health workers. ©UNV, 2020

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Safety for all

UN Volunteers placed with UNDP in the state of Odisha have been supporting state and district authorities in the coordination of the response. Through their efforts, they have been bolstering efforts towards ensuring the safety of all, including animals, in their communities. ©UNV, 2020

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Support through India’s V-Force

UNV India has used its V-Force – an online taskforce promoting volunteerism and civic engagement among youth, with more than 12,000 registered volunteers – to sensitize people in the community. V-Force has been using social media as a primary mode for the dissemination of information, with several campaigns designed to encourage people and create awareness. To build the capacity of the V-Force volunteers, webinars have been conducted by experts in the field of healthcare, mental health and social work. V-Force has successfully reached more than 100,000 people through the campaign to fight COVID-19. ©UNV, 2020

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Watch how UN Volunteers and Online Volunteers are supporting COVID-19 response efforts through the network of UN Volunteer District Youth Coordinators. (Video development support by Online Volunteer Disha Kabra)

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