COVID-19 has presented humanity with an unprecedented challenge. Social isolation of this magnitude has never been experienced by the current generation. As a direct consequence, stress levels have increased multifold for low-income communities living at the intersection of intergenerational, multidimensional poverty in India.
Diminished means and elevated parental stress has created a massive caregiving challenge, especially for children living in difficult circumstances. Hundreds of millions of children around the world are likely facing increasing threats to their safety and well-being.
‘CHILDLINE 1098’ received 3.07 lakh calls in the first 11 days of India’s nationwide lockdown
A situation like this has a direct impact on a child’s learning and social skills. For younger children, stressful homes directly impacts brain development and impairs cognitive and sensory growth.
With schools and pre-schools shut for an indefinite period of time, primary caregivers are currently the “first-responders” to a child’s stimulation, socialization, language, care, and security needs. Through our extensive work with caregivers over the last 4 years, we believe that capacity building for caregivers, especially under considerable stress, is a crucial need of the hour.
As a result, Meraki’s primary response to COVID-19 has been building (and providing access) to a technology-led, research-based, digital intervention for parents to enable a positive, responsive and learning environment at home during and post the COVID-19 era.
Learning at Home
In April 2020, Meraki launched it’s Digital Parent Margdarshak Program (DPMP) in partnership with the Delhi Government. As a result of the partnership, we pioneered Parenting in the times of Corona with CM, Delhi (Mr. Arvind Kejriwal) and Deputy CM, Delhi (Mr. Manish Sisodia).
Building on our work with the Delhi Government, DPMP evolved into a set of “micro-courses” that leverage simple, practical ideas to address the challenge of childcare and learning for parents. These micro-courses are delivered to parents via feature-phone based ‘IVR calls’ or as WhatsApp messages on smartphones.
The micro-courses part of DPMP tackle 3 aspects:
Meraki invites partner organizations to support parents and implement the Digital Parent Margdarshak Program in their contexts. If you’re interested, drop us a line here.