Gopuband Seva Parisad (GSP) is an on-ground partner of Community Action Collab (previously known as Covid Action Collab), and actively works to help the vulnerable people in Odisha. Their relief work mainly focuses on vulnerable groups of fisherfolks, tribals and urban poor from three districts — Puri, Koraput and the arsenic water-infested regions of Dhekkanal. 20 years ago in the year 2002, GSP began to assist these vulnerable populations with emergency relief in response to the natural calamities that have hit the coast of Odisha. Understanding the region, population and the problems of the people there GSP is now helping the groups with livelihood support, health assistance, education and more recently for COVID awareness, relief and vaccination support with CAC.
“Odisha is not new to disasters or emergencies. It is often affected by cyclones and floods,” said Pradip Kumar Moharana, who has been working as the chairman of GSP. “The organisation has been working closely with the communities and however, COVID-19 and the uncertainty that came with it caused disruption in the lives of vulnerable people in Odisha which led to a lot of resistance from them.”, Pradipji added.
“The fisherfolk community is among the most vulnerable people in the region. They are considered migrants from Andhra Pradesh and hence are not entitled to the benefits in the state of Odisha. They have had many altercations with the government and have lost the trust in anyone.”, says Bismay who has worked as a project manager with GSP for 11 years now.Bismay considers GSP his family and is ever ready to help his communities become resilient. GSP has built rapport with the community through community mobilisers like Bismay.
The consistent and sincere efforts by people from the organisation has helped them overcome resistance and successfully connect with the people to understand the problems, conduct awareness programs and mobilize people from the communities. With support from CAC, they understood the technical know-hows of vaccination and facilitated door-to-door vaccination services. The collaborative efforts made the vaccination effort in the communities of Odisha a success.
The knowledge, skills and the expansive network of people GSP could build during the crucial times of COVID-19 is now allowing them access to a wider range of communities, creating a deeper understanding of their problems and helping them mobilise resources swiftly. “The shift in the needs of the community and less incidence of COVID-19 spread in the country is making us think about and solve deeper problems that could make these communities self-sustainable in the future,” says Pradipji.
Gopuband Seva Parisad is now moving forward in collaboration with CAC to work on building economic resilience amongst the most vulnerable populations in Odisha to help them #BounceForward in face of any calamities in the future. Organisations like GSP with their commitment towards the community have been key in Community Action Collab being able to envision and build a resilient future for the vulnerable.