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Distribution of Covid-19 Relief to the Most Affected Indigenous Peoples of Nepal

Friday, April 16th, 2021

The world is in a state of panic due to the current situation of the covid-19 i.e. Corona Virus, which is spreading like an epidemic all over the world. Millions of people worldwide have been affected by this epidemic and millions of people have died. Even Nepal could not remain untouched by this epidemic. Although lockdown is the only effective way to prevent the Corona epidemic, the adoption of that measure has had a direct impact on livelihoods. The indigenous people’s communities deprived by the state are highly affected by the Corona epidemic and are at the forefront of risk. In particular, the situation of the indigenous who earn their livelihood from daily wages is critical. There is no access to the state system and any service facilities and information available. In addition to social, political and economic deprivation, the risk and suffering of the Corona epidemic is affecting these communities more and in many diverse ways.

In this context, the Climate Change Partnership Program of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) organized a relief program for the most affected indigenous peoples with the financial support of the Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP). The main objective of the project, which was conducted from July 01 to November 01, 2020, was to help the indigenous peoples who were greatly affected by the Covid-19 epidemic in difficult times.

On September 28, 2020, the NEFIN Climate Change Partnership Program team distributed food (relief) such as rice, pulses, salt and cooking oil to different age groups by adopting safety precautions amid the Corona epidemic. In which 67 men and 68 women, 135 people were directly benefited.

Similarly, in conjunction with NEFIN Climate Change Partnership Program and its affiliated organizations like Youth Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (YFIN), Nepal, National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF) provided rice, salt, pulses, cooking oil to 143 people consisting of 3 men and 140 women. Soap and other foodstuffs were distributed; while the Nepal Indigenous Disables Association (NIDA) distributed rice, salt, pulses, cooking oil, sugar, beaten rice, soap; face masks, etc. to 76 people including 49 men and 27 women. 357 men, 705 women and 90 persons with disabilities totaling 1152 and their family members were directly benefited from this relief distribution program. The Climate Change Partnership Program of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities also published important documents related to Covid-19 to inform and empower the indigenous people’s communities.

Lessons learned from the implementation of this project:

1) It is difficult but important to help the most affected indigenous people’s communities in this dire situation of Covid-19.

2) Such relief items not only fulfill their daily needs but also provide the benefit of psychological strength for survival.

3) Limited resources must be distributed wisely.