Nine private banks have joined the non-government organization BRAC to strengthen its public awareness and emergency support campaign amid the new waves of Covid-19 pandemic hard hitting the country.
Under a recent instruction issued by the Bangladesh Bank to launch special corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity for the pandemic affected people, these banks are collaborating with BRAC’s ‘Dakcche Abar Desh’ and ‘Community Fort for Resisting Covid-19’ (CFRC) projects, according to a press release.
Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, Bangladesh Bank last month asked all the scheduled banks to operate "special CSR activity" to provide assistance to the people affected by the pandemic.
These banks are BRAC Bank, Eastern Bank Limited, Mutual Trust Bank, Standard Bank, Dhaka Bank, Bank Asia, Mercantile Bank,United Commercial Bank and Dutch Bangla Bank.
In total, they have committed Tk 159,193,728 to deliver cash support to 72,160 families (under Dakcche Abar Desh) using a fund of Tk 135,740,500.
The rest of the amount will be used to provide masks and other Covid-preventive services to 18 lakh people and reach healthcare services to 10,000 patients with Covid symptoms (under CFRC).
The campaign will particularly focus on 20 districts with the highest rate of Covid spread, mostly in Rajshahi and Khulna divisions.
Out of the nine banks, agreement is under process with Bank Asia and Dhaka Bank.
BRAC Executive Director Asif Saleh said that this collective contribution will go towards two of its key COVID-19 projects, Community Fort for Resisting COVID-19 and Dakcche Abar Desh.
These two projects aimed to build community resilience through masks distribution and medical support, and provide emergency cash support to the most vulnerable households for whom the lockdown continues to prove particularly harsh.
“I hope this will encourage more private actors to come forward to collaborate in this difficult time, so we can work together to combat this pandemic and help the most vulnerable households.”
“Community fort for resisting Covid-19” (CFRC) is a joint initiative by BRAC and partners to build community resilience and strengthen the local healthcare system in 35 high-risk districts.
BRAC is mobilising 41 NGOs under the CSO Alliance, with the support from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and different UN agencies to implement the initiative.
CFRC puts the highest importance on mask use. Other major interventions include campaigns on hand wash and hygiene, coughing etiquette and social distancing. It also runs campaigns on vaccine registration and countering misinformation and rumours.
Dakcche Abar Desh is another initiative from BRAC, calling all to stand by the people who lost their earnings amid the community transmission of the delta variant of coronavirus and eventual lockdown.
Under this initiative, BRAC is primarily providing emergency food assistance to 50 thousand selected families in 19 high-risk districts with a matched fund comprising one-day salary contributions from its staff and its own fund, reports UNB.