In response to the Covid-19 crisis, the British Council PROKAS has been working closely with its partners who have actively responded in pivoting activities that leverage the comparative advantages of trust and strong relationships developed with the government, communities and private sector.
During March and April, PROKAS partners disseminated Covid-19 awareness messages to approximately nine-million people by leveraging tools and mechanisms previously deployed for food safety, labour migration and climate finance including mobile SMS’s, social media, local radio, printed media and public announcements.
PROKAS partners also identified vulnerable households and helped to ensure fair and transparent distribution of government support to 14 districts and 58 subdistricts (upazilas). By leveraging Grievance Management Committees, Consumer Committees and Social Audit Committees PROKAS partners have also formed an important part of the government response in several areas.
By mobilising communities and raising funds locally, PROKAS partners were able to identify vulnerable groups within project areas and provide food support to over 15,000 people and distribute health protection masks and other material to over 9,600 people. PROKAS partners also established 32 washing stands in markets and bazaars to reduce risks of cross-contamination in collaboration with local government – each stand serving approximately 250 people.
To provide advice to vulnerable women workers overseas, PROKAS partners established a migration hotline, responding to calls from migrant women in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the Maldives, helping them to receive food and other support from Bangladeshi Embassies.
PROKAS partners also provided policy advocacy to the government by:
- providing input to the Ministry of Planning with Covid-19 rapid response strategies and emphasising interventions that respond to climate change needs and SDGs. Following partner advocacy, senior officials in the Ministry of Planning have specifically requested our partners to work alongside the Ministry to identify interventions. This will also feed into the eighth five-year plan starting 2021
- policy advocacy to UN Secretary General, Prime Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment to protect the rights of migrants both in country and overseas
- Media engagement (print, electronic and social media) – attracting significant national attention
- policy advocacy on improving the safety of markets and live bird markets
- policy advocacy to reprioritise targets of SDGs related to migrants and Global Compact for Migration to address the pandemic.
During this crises, migrant concerns were also raised with senior government officials through the TV programme Obhibashir Adalot. This included Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, Secretary, Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry joining an episode and exploring ideas with migrants to find solutions as well as government action and strategy to support migrants during C19. The episode was also streamed on Facebook platform and is available here: https://www.facebook.com/RMMRU/videos/1335492983305923/
Our partners have also worked with youth and vulnerable groups through support, capacity building, and providing advice. This included the initiation of national-level awareness campaigns for youth using social media, leveraging existing apps, Facebook and websites; and dissemination of information to youth and vulnerable groups to increase inclusion and participation in the Covid-19 response and reduce risks of radicalisation.
All these activities have been undertaken in the context of strengthening and formalising inclusive processes and improving governance. Below are a few images featuring some of the work PROKAS partners have been engaged in.