As cases of the novel coronavirus continue to surge globally, ActionAid Bangladesh is working to ensure the security and rights of disadvantaged and marginalised people in Bangladesh.
Like all emergencies and humanitarian crises, the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting poor and marginalised people, as well as women, hard. So, the international non-governmental organisation (INGO) is placing the humanitarian needs of low-income and marginalised people, plus women and girls, at the centre of all its interventions.
However, the INGO wants the government to undertake initiatives around Covid-19 relief operations while continuing social distancing. "A national plan of action, including the allocation of adequate funds for its implementation, should be in place," read a statement issued by the organisation on Saturday.
As per the guidelines from the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC), and following a statement by law enforcement agencies last week, the INGO suspended its staff's movement to the Rohingya camps and has been continuing its essential services as per the RRRC guidelines – through Rohingya volunteers – since 1 April 2020, said ActionAid Bangladesh.
Also, the INGO is providing cash assistance to the most marginalised communities in different places around the country, through its local partners, to cope with the lockdown and to help take preventive measures at the family level.
Additionally, the organisation wants the government to ensure the allocation of food support for daily-wage earners, street children, construction workers, and other informal sector workers. This includes socially-excluded groups such as Dalits, sex workers, persons with disabilities, and transgender people.
As the entire transportation system of the country has come to a halt, farmers are unable to get their produce to city markets. So, an ActionAid-Bangladesh-supported group is working to find out the challenges that smallholder farmers and women farmers are facing at this time.
The INGO wants the government to design medium-term programmes to support smallholder farmers and micro and small business entrepreneurs in recovering the losses incurred due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Also, ActionAid Bangladesh said the private sector should play a proactive role in terms of resource mobilisation and innovation of local technology to combat Covid-19.
The INGO formed a Covid-19 Crisis Management Team from the beginning of the outbreak. The team is in constant communication with local partners and project areas.
All local partners of the organisation have formed emergency teams. They are communicating regularly with programme participants, sponsored families, and the upazila administration or upazila disaster management committee, the INGO wrote in the statement.
Youth groups are also engaged in activities to raise community awareness like making announcements about coronavirus prevention, distributing masks and leaflets, plus providing other essential services.
Also, ActionAid Bangladesh is planning to revisit its ongoing activities and communication with donors, considering the urgency of Covid-19 response.
Plus, the INGO is taking all the necessary measures to protect the health and safety of its staff and the communities it works with. All ActionAid Bangladesh offices are closed following the government's directive.