Dhaka, March 29, 2020: Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) has taken various initiatives to rise to the occasion of facing multi-dimensional challenges, posed by corona virus in Bangladesh. MJF quickly mobilized its partner NGOS to ensure that public health messages reaches to affected communities to ensure that people stay inside to prevent the spread of the disease in their localities.
Minutes before news broke out that three cases of corona patients have been detected on 8th March, MJF alerted its staff about the impending danger of the spread of virus by sharing various public information material from WHO and government sources, including information dispelling various myths around the virus.
MJF’s rapid response team, formed earlier, quickly disseminated similar messages to more than 100 partner NGOS and suggested taking precautionary measures such as hand washing, the use of sanitizer and disinfecting office spaces. Similar message was posted on website and Facebook page. MJF set up hand sanitizing facilities at its office entrance and on all floors.
For better coordination and quick communication, Whatsapp group was formed for Senior Management Team while all staff were placed under Messenger group channel.
MJF management also decided to donate one day of all staff salary to local Gonoshahsthay Kendra for producing rapid testing kit to detect corona virus. MJF’s move was widely appreciate by general public including congratulatory feedback on its Facebook page.
On 23 March, MJF Executive Director Ms. Shaheen Anam addressed all executive directors and programme coordinators of more than 100 PNGOs via live Facebook video and outlined the seriousness of the country and global situation.
Urging all to abide by official instruction of staying at home and maintaining personal safety, she further answered various programmatic queries from partners. MJF would stand by its partners and beneficiaries at these hours of need, she said urging all for concerted efforts to overcome the current situation.
Meanwhile, MJF held meeting with DFID and got assurance that necessary support will be provided to marginalize communities to offset the impact from corona virus. MJF has drawn up a plan of reaching out to nearly half a million beneficiaries in more than 50 districts, directly providing them with hand washing and sanitizing facilities. In Rangpur City Corporation area, ten such facilities were set up by NGO Forum, a partner of MJF. People of low income settlements are taking services from those devices.
Eco-Social Development Organization (ESDO), a partner of MJF in Thakurgaon district, has reached out to some 20,000 people in project areas through a strong 6000 plus youth volunteer network and have provided them much needed health and safety information about the virus. With the support of district and upazila administrations, the youth have also set up washing facilities, distributed soaps and masks to marginalized communities which included among others, persons with disabilities, ethnic and Dalits, conducting public announcement through miking at community and religious sites.
As part of behavioral change communication, MJF has partnered with UNICEF Bangladesh and channeling its key health messages, approved by the government and WHO, through its PNGOs and websites.
From 24rd March, MJF begun implementing work from home and will continue till 4th April bycomplying with the call of Bangladesh Government and health authorities. Tools such as Facebook’s Workplace and Office 365 of Microsoft which were secured earlier free of cost, will help better connection, coordination and collaboration during remote working.
MJF is constantly evaluating the situation in line with the government guidelines and will draw up dynamic response plan to meet future challenges in the field.