Students from the Indian Institute of Management in Indore will be ringing up villagers from all districts across Madhya Pradesh in order to ascertain the pandemic's impact on health and hygiene in rural areas. This initiative is a part of the B-school's Rural Engagement Programme (REP). Earlier, this programme involved students actually staying in the villages for a few days, during this time, they would find out more about the problems faced by the village residents and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of government schemes. However, these visits stand cancelled thsi year due to the pandemic.
30,000 villagers across 52 districts to be contacted
This year, because of the pandemic, the Institute decided to not send the students to the villages. Instead, 648 students will be conducting telephonic interviews with over 30,000 villagers. These students belong to the first year of PGP and PGPHRM and the fourth year of IPM. Two teams of 6 students will cover each district and work on a database of 6-700 village residents. They will be assessing the condition of health and hygiene based on the implementation of and adherence to the Covid guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Finally, they will determine the constraints being faced and recommend solutions for them. They will be submitting their reports on 3 November.
The significance of rural engagement
The orientation of REP-2021 was held on Monday in a hybrid mode. In his Address, Prof. Himanshu Rai, Director, IIM-I, highlighted the importance of this program. He mentioned that over 833 million people don't have access to rudimentary needs like drinking water, electricity, education etc. He underlined that the things which we take for granted are a privilege for them. He further said that the REP is imperative as it enhances the social consciousness, sensitivity and managerial and decision-making skills of the students and helps them understand the ground realities. He concluded by telling the students that the sensitivity they will gain through this program will stay with them throughout their lives.