During the lockdown, the prominent role played by Whatsapp, and technology emerged as an alternative tool for human communication. From farmers to service sector employees, people stuck in their homes started using Whatsapp as a means to communicate regarding work, training farmers for the upcoming sowing seasons or just to stay informed about COVID-19. Many state governments used the app to connect with people and educate about the pandemic.
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), an NGO, that is also the world’s largest cotton sustainability program being implemented by Welspun Foundation, used its network to create multiple WhatsApp groups of farmers to educate them about the virus and its updates.
“Welspun created WhatsApp groups for all 253 BCI Learning Groups (small groups of BCI Farmers who receive training together) that were responsible for reaching 3,528 farmers. We have been using the platform to share regular up-to-date advice as per the World Health Organization and Ministry of Health guidelines,” the BCI blog notes.
Companies are using WhatsApp because of a prominent role played by Whatsapp to educate farmers and train them for the sowing season. Fertilizer and Seed companies are conducting an online training session with farmers to sell their products for the new season. A virtual meeting with farmers has picked up rounds on social media, during the lockdown.
“We have created WhatsApp groups for farmers, and in these groups, we are sharing videos and audio messages in the local language. We are even planning on making training materials accessible for farmers with smartphones,” said Chandrakant Kumbhani, General Manager at ACF, a BCI Implementing Partner in India.
Karnataka launched a pilot program of delivering essential products during lockdown where people can call and place the order through WhatsApp and give the list of essential items required. Once the order is given, people receive a confirmation message on WhatsApp, and the delivery partner delivered products from local Kirana stores. This program was implemented in Bengaluru.
Domestic violence COVID-19 cases have increased during the lockdown. With the law and order situation being a little difficult to cater, violent acts can go unreported. Mahima Commission set up a WhatsApp number and helpline number to report these incidents. A total of 144 cases were reported of which 93 were reported using WhatsApp.
The Agriculture Department of Himachal Pradesh, during the lockdown, used digital technology to connect with its farmers. Through Whatsapp, the state stayed in constant connection with 5,676 farmers to solve their problems and issue necessary advisories when required.
Whatsapp has more than 400 million users in India. The app is in the works to launch a digital payment services, like Google Pay, which will help companies provide better customer service at the touch of a button. This will also help them grow their customers and conduct the existing business operations with ease.