Supporting India during the current COVID crisis
Right now India is going through our most difficult moment in the pandemic thus far. Daily COVID-19 cases continue to set record highs, with hospitals filled to capacity and in need of urgent supplies to cope with the increasing number of patients.
Our Google community and their families are feeling the devastating impact, too. We’re asking ourselves what more we can do as a company to ensure people get the information and support they need to keep their families and communities healthy and safe.
Today we’re announcing 135 Crore INR ($18 million USD) in new funding for India. This includes two grants from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, totalling 20 Crore INR ($2.6 million USD). The first is to GiveIndia to provide cash assistance to families hit hardest by the crisis to help with their everyday expenses. The second will go to UNICEF to help get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment, to where it’s needed most in India. It also includes donations from our ongoing employee giving campaign — so far more than 900 Googlers have contributed 3.7 Crore INR ($500,000 USD) for organizations supporting high-risk and marginalized communities.
This funding also includes increased Ad Grant support for public health information campaigns. Since last year, we’ve helped MyGov and the World Health Organization reach audiences with messages focused on how to stay safe and facts about vaccines. We’re increasing our support today with an additional 112 Crore INR ($15 million) in Ad Grants to local health authorities and nonprofits for more language coverage options.
We know the biggest way we can help is through our core information products like Search and Maps, YouTube and Ads. Our COVID features on Search are available in India, in English and eight Indian languages, and we continue to improve localization and highlight authoritative information. That includes information on where to get testing and vaccines; so far, Maps and Search surface thousands of vaccine sites, and we are working to add tens of thousands more. We’re also collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and with organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to support vaccine awareness initiatives.
On YouTube, we are supporting the government in their vaccine communication strategy, as well as working to raise up authoritative information and reduce misinformation. We recently ran a workshop for 200+ health officials to learn how they can use YouTube to reach audiences across Indian languages with vaccine information. And we’ve added support for public donations for several nongovernmental organizations on Google Pay.
I am hopeful that the situation will turn around for our country soon, but as we have learned over the course of this pandemic, hope is not enough. At Google we’ll continue to work with local governments, partners and communities to give people the tools to stay healthy and safe. We’ll get through this tough time together.