Faced with lower-than-average vaccination rates in Udaipur district (63.9% compared with 78.3% across Rajasthan as a whole for those aged 45+) and desperately low rates in the poorest tribal areas (as low as 6% in the poorest, most remote area in which our NGO works), Seva Mandir launched its Hum Sajag campaign. The name means ‘we are alert, prepared and ready’, and the campaign was a multi-pronged communication strategy focusing on three key aspects: building watch committees, training frontline staff in the use of technical tools and utilising local folk media, including ritualistic dance and street theatre, to combat vaccine hesitancy. The watch committees, consisting of village community members, Seva Mandir staff and other frontline workers, act as eyes and ears in the villages, working to understand the myths surrounding the virus and combat challenges presented by the lack of reliable information.
Designed using songs, dance and drama performed in the local languages, the theatre production was a creative solution devised by Seva Mandir to increase awareness and reduce vaccine scepticism. The narrative of the play was designed to be engaging and relatable to its audience, drawing on the existing caste and gender hierarchies in the villages and encouraging the audience to ask questions in the middle of the act. After the show, the local leaders and frontline workers told the audience where to find the nearest vaccination camps and answered questions.
In the last few months, Seva Mandir has helped set up 1,555 Covid-19 management bodies in the communities, and more than 14,000 people have been persuaded by institution leaders to get vaccinated. In this way, Seva Mandir has been able to support the government in boosting vaccination in the most remote villages of southern Rajasthan. More than 5,500 frontline workers are now equipped with safety and diagnostic kits, which include masks, sanitisers, oximeters and thermometers. Five community and primary health centres now have a diesel generator, which will help provide a steady electricity supply.
Seva Mandir’s Covid-19 campaign has helped strengthen partnerships within the rural health ecosystem, especially with frontline health workers and across all areas of administration. Through integrating awareness and relief efforts with intensive vaccination drives, Seva Mandir has been able to build community preparedness and mobilise people for vaccination.
All thanks goes to you and to all our supporters without whom this success would not have been possible. We hope that you will continue your precious support to our project.
Thank you again for your generous support.
Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team