Standard Chartered and Sajida Foundation have recently joined forces for a job placement and business development support programme for extreme-poor urban communities.
The first phase of this initiative will support 300 beneficiaries from Dhaka, Chattogram and Chandpur who have lost their livelihoods due to the impact of Covid-19.
A recent survey by Sajida Foundation shows that 77.5% of the urban extreme poor population have either lost their jobs or are working with reduced income due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
41.9% of them will not be able to afford the cost of treatment if they contract Covid-19.
This new initiative will target these communities, building on the successes of Standard Chartered's entrepreneurship, employment and reskilling training for vulnerable communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, reads a press release.
Till date, the bank has supported over 1500 beneficiaries, in partnership with UCEP Bangladesh and Brac.
Naser Ezaz Bijoy, CEO of Standard Chartered Bangladesh said, "The ultimate battlegrounds in the fight against Covid-19 lie amongst our grassroots communities. Beyond the health challenges, this pandemic is reshaping the patterns of livelihood for the economically vulnerable, leaving many without the recourse to reintegrate within the evolving economic landscape. We are pleased to be announcing another cohort of our reskilling and re-integration program and would like to thank Sajida Foundation for partnering with us on this ongoing journey."
"We remain committed to sharing our tried and tested interventions as widely as possible, so that other socially responsible organisations can build on them and join us in tackling the challenges that lie ahead," he added.
Zahida Fizza Kabir, CEO of SAJIDA Foundation said, "Globally Covid-19 has shown to be not only a healthcare challenge but also a major challenge for the economy and livelihoods of vulnerable households. It is critical that we take approaches to increase resilience of these households so that they can withstand future shocks."
She said, through the partnership with Standard Chartered Bank, they aspire to deliver the right intervention, to the right individual at the right time. "Alleviating urban poor communities require collective action and we thank our partner for coming forward to make a difference."
This new initiative will provide job placement opportunities to the beneficiaries, after empowering them with a combination of employability-focused skills training, apprenticeship, and institute-based training, depending on the needs and capabilities of the beneficiaries.
Employability skills training will be provided by Sajida Livelihood officers and will cover financial and basic literacy, soft skills development and improved awareness of employee's rights, the release added.
For apprenticeship, the beneficiaries will be trained for three months in different trades like tailoring, welding, electrical and more. Institute based vocational training will be provided in Chandpur in partnership with Bitac to train members in the trade "Electrical installation & maintenance". For the business development support, beneficiaries will be trained on various tools to set up and succeed in running their own businesses, including access to finance for these potential entrepreneurs.
The bank's commitment to support Bangladesh's continued journey of prosperity even in the face of the Covid-19 challenge saw the bank secure 30 major international awards in the past year.
For 2021, Standard Chartered Bangladesh had announced a Tk135 Million (USD 1.6 million) strategic Covid-19 response action plan that supports healthcare and immediate assistance, regenerating livelihood and catalysing long-term growth.
In addition, Standard Chartered Bank continued regular community engagement initiatives in the areas of education, health and environment, among others.