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Open Up India

Relief to the informal sector workers.

The COVID-19 pandemic with its devasting impact in India essentially halted its economic activity, particularly the informal sector, bringing about 450 million people, or more than 80% of the labor force to a standstill. Workers such as rural entrepreneurs, Safai Sathis and migrant workers were left in need of urgent help or put at risk of catching COVID-19 through their work. Laxmi, a sanitation worker in Goa, who had to continue working despite the lockdown, was worried for her safety but “more so of her daughter’s.” 

As part of the efforts of UNDP India to Leave No One Behind, the crowdfunding campaign Open Up India, in partnership with the Times Group, set out to provide relief to the informal sector workers. It aimed at raising awareness of the impact the informal sector has suffered due to COVID-19 and helping individuals and families buy basic necessities and enable their children to pursue an education. In doing so, the campaign advocated to provide financial support and prevented these workers to fall even deeper into poverty by ensuring they can recover better and rebuild their lives. 

With initial goal of raising INR10,000 (US$14,000), the campaign ultimately raised over INR 5000 (US$7000) between November 2020 and March 2021 through https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/spotlight/openupindia site. To do so, it collected on the Ketto platform for national donations and Classy for International donations. In addition, it organized a music concert and conducted social media campaigns that reached an audience of over 4 million impressions. 

Through the campaign, funds were able to directly go to the aid of vulnerable communities in several ways.  UNDP India ensured that an increased access to information on entitlements and expanded the reach of social protection schemes. It also provided digital and financial literacy trainings to women and youth, while at the same time presented them with job opportunities. In addition, it restored rural livelihoods with opportunities for women microentrepreneurs, farmers’ and artisans’ collectives. Lastly, it set up innovative digital platforms to enhance the reach of social protection and connect micro-entrepreneurs to markets.