Fortum’s support of post-COVID recovery of vulnerable children in Northern India paid off

Fortum’s support of post-COVID recovery of vulnerable children in Northern India paid off

With Fortum’s support Save the Children was able to help 2610 vulnerable children and 8044 adults in India’s poverty-stricken southern Rajasthan, providing access to social programs, parenting training and psychosocial support for COVID-19 orphans, as well as to growth monitoring equipment at health clinics.

Save the Children received a significant funding in June 2021 to support its COVID-19 pandemic recovery work in the project areas of Dungarpur and Udaipur districts of Rajasthan, India. The funding was used during 2021 and 2022 to strengthen the ongoing Child Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP) project, which aims to reduce poverty and vulnerability among children from tribal communities by improving their access to social protection schemes. These schemes are provided by the Government of India and the local government of Northern India, Rajasthan to support children and their families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.

Building on the lessons learned from previous efforts, the project integrated a cash transfer scheme called the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) into its work. PMMVY is a government of India-sponsored scheme that provides partial cash incentives to pregnant women and lactating mothers for their first living child, subject to specific conditions relating to maternal and child health. As part of this top-up intervention, the project also introduced a child-sensitive component focused on maternal health, maternal nutrition, child nutrition, and parenting to enhance sensitivity among PMMVY beneficiaries.

With the Fortum grant, children’s psychosocial support and other activities became possible in Rajasthan. For instance, project staff received training and provided counseling to 100 children who experienced difficulties during the pandemic. Assessments showed positive outcomes for all children. Fortum also supported assessments with 400 lactating mothers to measure child development outcomes and the impact of parenting sessions. As a result, the project formed 55 female groups for parenting sessions and provided health equipment to 80 Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) centers.

Save the Children’s support is increasingly being recognized by the Rajasthan state government, and the organization is actively promoting the government to scale up some of the initiatives.