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A collage depicting various training sessions in progress, for training women from rural areas about making masks. Employees from AKRSPI, a nonprofit, are conducting on the job and virtual training using laptops.

A non-profit empowers marginalized communities in rural India to tackle COVID-19 with virtual trainings

Spread across 70 locations in India’s hinterlands, 400 employees of AKRSPI collaborate virtually on Microsoft Teams to empower rural communities fight COVID-19

自1983年以来,印度阿加汗农村支助方案(AKRSPI)一直走在提升边缘化社区的前列,在古吉拉特邦、比哈尔邦和中央邦的2200个村庄建立了由社区领导的机构、雇员和实地志愿者组成的网络

在过去的37年里,这个草根非营利组织通过在多个领域提供支持影响了150多万人的生活,这些领域包括赋予妇女权力、集水、创造生计、数字扫盲、自然资源管理和微型企业发展。它还向政府机构、捐助机构、非政府组织、公司和社区组织提供能力建设、研究和直接实地支助。

老Vivek Singh解释说:“我们与来自农村部落和边缘化社区的青年合作,培训他们各种职业技能,并支持他们通过安置获得全职就业或创办自己的企业。”。青年经理Development, AKRSPI.

为了完成任务,阿克斯皮建立了一个内部培训和能力建设平台,名为Vadvai,古吉拉特语中的榕树。本组织的培训人员利用这个平台培训雇员,使他们对各种倡议有敏感认识,并让雇员培训接触最终受益者的实地志愿人员。

But the pandemic brought AKRSPI’s activities to a standstill. With the entire country under lockdown, there was no way for them to conduct trainings either for employees or volunteers in the field.

“我们过去经常对新员工进行多天的亲自集体培训。但随着封锁的实施,我们所有的训练都被搁置了。我们不知道什么时候才能恢复训练,”尼扎里·拉贾万希说,他是一名来自西部古吉拉特邦被森林包围的小镇内特朗(Netrang)的训练师。

With the threat of COVID-19 looming large, AKRSPI’s activities especially around “Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene” (WASH) and educating communities about the pandemic had become even more important. They also wanted to impart training around mask making to make them self-reliant considering they were unlikely to be the first ones to receive aid.

在大流行期间弥合数字鸿沟

虽然许多大城市的组织正在向远程工作转移,但考虑到他们的大多数现场员工都在三个州的一些最偏远地区工作,AKRSPI的管理层不确定他们是否能够弥合数字鸿沟。更重要的是,只有少数人有笔记本电脑,大部分的协调和培训都会在面对面会议上进行。

由于封锁没有放松的迹象,总部位于艾哈迈达巴德的30名员工组成的核心团队试图让微软团队看看是否能帮助他们合作。没过几天,这就成了一种习惯,他们开始进行每天上午10:30的团队会议。在不到一周的时间里,300多名员工加入了威廉希尔体育官网团队,并开始迅速扩展他们使用该平台的方式,从基本通信扩展到远程协作和协同工作。

关键成果之一是将Vadvai平台转移到团队中,并为新员工进行在线培训。

“Even though it was a new platform, I found Teams to be very intuitive to use,” says Rajvanshi, who manages trainings. “However, we had to improvise. Instead of training large groups, we broke them down into smaller groups and even individuals. But now we can do trainings on demand and don’t have to wait for a group of employees.”

Technology has played a big role in helping not just our volunteers stay connected, but also for planning and operationalizing relief operations for rural communities. Microsoft Teams has played a central role in bringing together field teams across the country, enabling our staff to respond with agility and urgency.

–AKRPSI首席执行官Apoorva Oza

使Vadvai成为一种虚拟体验的一个更大的关注点是,它是否可以复制到偏远地区的地面志愿者身上,他们中的许多人并不精通技术。

阿普瓦·夏尔马位于比哈尔邦最落后地区之一的普萨村,负责管理阿克斯皮当地的尤瓦枢纽(青年枢纽)和培训中心。由于网络连接薄弱,经常停电,她大部分工作都依赖智能手机,其中包括培训当地青年和实地志愿者。在智能手机上安装了团队后,她可以像其他地方的同事一样,开始在Pusa当地中心的培训课程。

“The Teams experience on a smartphone is great and I’m able to conduct all my trainings and meetings effortlessly. I take volunteers through presentations directly from my phone and am able to interact with them remotely,” Sharma says.

“One of our volunteers, who can’t even navigate social media and instant messaging apps was also easily able to connect with us,” she adds.

The new reality

虽然有人在地面上并没有失去它的重要性,但将瓦德瓦伊和尤瓦交界处转移到团队中,大大改善了AKRSPI在这一关键时期的运作和影响。

印度农村妇女在COVID-19危机中准备口罩。
Rural women learning to make masks at an AKRSPI training center.

通过团队合作,AKRSPI能够根据政府的指导方针,远程为面具制造业企业家提供强制性培训。他们现在正准备在未来几个月内生产100万个口罩,以便在流感大流行期间帮助这些社区。

AKRSPI’s move to Teams might have been necessitated by the unprecedented crisis, but the new way of collaboration is here to stay.

“转到团队后,我们意识到我们可以大大节省运营成本。例如,我们不再需要让每个人都去任何地点参加团队会议。对于我们这样的非营利组织来说,这是一个游戏规则的改变者。

对于像Rajvanshi和Sharma这样的训练员来说,团队让他们的生活变得轻松,训练课程也更有成效。

“Teams has significantly brought down the time we used to take to coordinate with multiple employees. Now I just block their calendars to schedule a training. I am also able to train more people and we record the training sessions on Teams so they can revisit it later too,” says Rajvanshi.

“我可以给志愿者发送一个链接,让他们直接通过手机参加培训,”夏尔玛补充道。

Moving to Teams has also had an unexpected benefit. Participants don’t hesitate in putting forward questions on Teams that they wouldn’t have asked before in a classroom session. For instance, in a session on gender, Sharma was asked why AKRPSI has not yet employed a transgender professional.

“在内部培训中,这样的问题永远不会出现在我们面前,”她解释道。

该组织不仅能够在国家处于封锁状态时继续提供培训,而且志愿者的参与也有所增加。在组队之前,最多有30人参加培训。相比之下,最近一次由AKRPSI首席执行官阿波娃•奥扎(Apoorva Oza)参加的辅导会议有250人参加。一些人通过办公室电脑收听,另一些人通过智能手机从乡村收听。

“When the lockdown was announced, we realized that more than 400 of our staff were spread across 70 locations in the country and in the absence of mobility, staying connected on a secure platform became super critical,” says Oza. “Technology has played a big role in helping not just our volunteers stay connected, but also for planning and operationalizing relief operations for rural communities. Microsoft Teams has played a central role in bringing together field teams across the country, enabling our staff to respond with agility and urgency.”