Following the outbreak of Covid-19, MJF has been focusing on saving and protecting the lives and livelihood of the most marginalized communities. Through its partner NGOs, MJF reached nearly 1.3 million beneficiaries across the country by providing information services to raise awareness on various aspects of Covid-19 messages such as hand washing, social distancing, fighting stigmatization and fake news.
This 1st e-newsletter highlights MJF’s Covid-19 activities both at national and local level, covering the period 23 March to 06 May 2020.
On 6 May, MJF released the findings of a rapid telephonic survey through an online press conference. It was revealed that 4,249 women faced domestic violence in April, out of which 1,672 became victims for the first time, during the nationwide shutdown induced by the coronavirus pandemic. Terming the situation as ‘gruesome’, MJF Executive Director Ms. Shaheen Anam urged the government to put emphasis on domestic violence besides focusing on other necessities like food assistance and income opportunities amid the shutdown situation. The findings were widely reported in print, electronic and online media.
Earlier, MJF donated one day salary of its all staff to local Gonoshahsthay Kendra for producing rapid testing kit to detect coronavirus. MJF partnered with UNICEF Bangladesh for channeling its key health messages, approved by the government and WHO.
Reaching out to communities
From 26 March to 30 April 2020, through various projects, MJF through its PNGOs provided some 18958 soaps, 15,585 masks, 6286 sanitizers, 42 hand washing devise, 10 disinfecting spray kits and 20 hospital kits (nebulizers). As for food distribution, MJF provided some 14,000 food packs, each containing only rice, potatoes, lentils, oil etc. Through PNGOs, MJF also provided social counselling/legal aid support to address incidences of rising domestic violence against women and girls. PNGO’s various activities are captured in a photo-slides.
Youth power in actions
A strong workforce of youth volunteers, supported by MJF, sprung into actions in various parts of the country since the Covid-19 outbreak. In discharging their duties, these youths tried to cover people from all walks of the society ranging from adivasi, dalit, transgender to other types of marginalized people. Read MJF’s youth volunteers works here.
MJF has been continuing its national advocacy works during the Covid-19 period. Here are few important advocacy actions of MJF during this period.
- On 08 April, MJF urged the Government to take speedy actions for preventing domestic violence against women and children.
- Following the publication of MJF’s call to reduce domestic violence, on 11 April the Daily Star ran an editorial.
- An advocacy letter containing four-point recommendations to prevent domestic violence during Covid period was sent to Cabinet Secretary.
- MJF also urged the government to set up a special Leave No One Behind Fund for helping marginalized communities.
- MJF Executive Director wrote two op-eds: one in Daily Star and daily Samakal drawing attention of the authorities to address concern of millions of workers in informal sectors.
- MJF provided technical input to a draft checklist and safety guidelines prepared by ILO and Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments
Meanwhile, several colleagues of MJF have been active in social media, writing various commentaries on multi-dimensional aspects of Covid-19 challenges the people of Bangladesh have been facing.
- Senior Media and Communication Coordinator Shahana Huda wrote an op-ed in the Daily Star focusing on stigmatization happening in various parts of the country following the outbreak of coronavirus.
- Shoma Datta, MJF’s Programme Manager emphasized on accelerating all typed of productions to maintain economic stability in the country.
- Mohammad Zahed Hasan, MJF’s Programme Manager lamented about the deteriorating conditions of human values, affected by coronavirus.
- On various social media platforms, MJF’s energetic youth volunteers are also engaged in fighting infodemic, debunking various myths around coronavirus and building consensus by spreading genuine and authoritative messages on various aspects of pandemic situation.
MJF also launched a pilot crowd-funding appeal for indigenous Garo girls who have been living in dire conditions after losing their jobs.