Leveraging Whatsapp groups for better governance
The Covid-19 has proved to be a mammoth challenge for administration and public health systems across the globe. It is not only a problem of unprecedented scale, but is ‘novel’ to the extent that we are having to evolve and adapt protocols every single day. It is natural that such a large scale disruption to supply chains affects many aspects of social life. Also, it is interesting to note that the solution to some of these problems might be rather simple. Perhaps not so easy, but simple.
District Administration Barabanki led by its District Magistrate Dr. Adarsh Singh has come up with some of these simple solutions. Among many others, we created two whatsapp groups:
- Corona Drug help Barabanki
- Charity Barabanki
It is well known that in such times of crisis several people reach out to emergency helpline numbers. Their major immediate requirements may be of food/ration or medicines. In the above mentioned groups were added several big chemists, retailers, social workers, civil society members, businessmen and local public representatives. The District Magistrate ensured that all the communication relating to the requirement of medicines was routed to the ‘corona drug help’ group. Once the message was passed on, several people immediately responded. They not only found and bought those medicines, they delivered it to the person’s doorstep. They later put up the pictures of this exercise, and were lauded by the District Magistrate personally.
Similarly, individuals or organisations willing to come forward to distribute food/ration or make monetary contributions to various relief funds came together in the ‘charity’ group. Here it was made sure that there efforts were equally distributed across the district and not concentrated in certain areas. This has had the positive impact of having resources beyond what was provided through official channels.
The success of these small initiatives was possible only because of the direct involvement and monitoring of the District Magistrate. The speed and effectiveness with which administration could respond in partnership with civil society was rewarded by several heart-warming messages from the citizens whose calls for help had been answered.