Akshara has always believed in the power of strong engagement with the community way before it became fashionable and enshrined in the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP2020). And it was this power that we put to test in the 22-week period between May 1, 2021 and September 18, 2021. Akshara’s Education Volunteers and Gram Panchayat (GP) Team Leaders have been our source of strength across the rural landscape.
In Karnataka, we have nearly 18,000 of them across 24 districts. When we sensed there was reluctance amongst the rural populations to take the Covid-19 vaccine, we put our small army to work in a focused manner – their charter was (a) first to get vaccinated themselves; (b) convince and facilitate the vaccination of their neighbours with the help of the local state administration.
And this group worked wonders. In the 22-week period they managed to facilitate the vaccination of 5.12 million people. Here is a table that shows what they have done. We are now asking ourselves the question – if this group of community volunteers can do so much in such a short time, we think they can be of immense value in ensuring that our children get quality education especially at the foundational stages. Our thanks to this army and we are sure you, the reader, will also feel good about this life-saving performance.
We’ve been asked by many organisations and volunteers on how they can take this forward similarly, in areas where they work. We’ve created this 10-step guide in the hope that it helps them reach out to as many people as we have, and a step forward towards the entire country being vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus.