CCDB Organizational Update on the Impact and Challenges for Coronavirus Outbreak in Bangladesh

Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh - April 1, 2020

Amid the Coronavirus crisis around the world, Bangladesh has been so far moderately affected by the Corona Virus (COVID 19) infection which likely to be spread in larger sphere of the community if necessary measures are not taken appropriately. Until April 1, 2020, 54 person tasted positive with Corona infection, 26 has been recovered, while the total number of deaths with confirmed coronavirus so far is 6 as per Bangladesh Government Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) information. They also informed that 24,113 people were in quarantine across the country while 346 others in isolation. On other hand, as per the media ( The Daily Star, April 1 & March 31, 2020) there are several people died in different locations of Bangladesh with respiratory complication, cough and fever but it is not supported by the Govt yet.

With respect to the government instruction and declaration, CCDB offices have remained closed from March 26, 2020 until April 9, 2020 (extended from April 4, 2020) as per the decision of the Bangladesh Government published today, March 31, 2020.

In this circumstances, CCDB Senior management team members have been working to assess the immediate and long term impact of this Coronavirus outbreak in our different interventions and the challenges we are going to face due to this in near future. Here is the update on that initial assessment .

A. Comprehensive Poverty Reduction Program (CPRP)

Corona situation at CPRP locations (29.03.2020):

CPRP and other projects of CPRP locations have taken several steps to phase coronavirus:
• CPRP distributed 2500 leaflets to the reference people and the local community. In addition to that few projects prepared banner and hanged it at the public place.
• Few forums (People’s organization) distributed 5241 soap to its members for personal cleaning.
• Leaders of the Forums provide necessary instruction to keep safe the general members.
• All area offices procure available cleaning materials and hand wash/sensitizers to keep the staff team and guests in safe.
• Advised staff team and reference people to wash hands by Soap or Hand Wash for 20 seconds
• Advised all the staff members and reference people to stay at home for safe and not to go outside without emergency and to use masks outside of the house.
• Many of the Bangladeshi citizens who have come recently in Bangladesh have gone to the village house. Many of them are staying at CPRP locations. Advised the reference people of those areas to be more careful.
• Until the situation is changed, staff members will get extra vehicle facilities for their personal protection

Programmatic situation:
• Almost all the scheduled programs have been stopped. Considering the situation it is not possible to implement the interventions.
• The government declared that Microfinance institution will not realize their credit money until or unless the situation is not changed. As the Microcredit Operation of the CPRP area is controlled by reference people, if they want to continue their operation at a limited scale, they will be able to do. In this case, our staff team will strengthen their monitoring system using mobile phone so that realized money is deposited into the bank properly.
• Forum leaders will be able to meet maintain social distance for personal safety.

Future challenge:
• If the situation is continued many of our reference people will go again below the poverty line.
• Around 80% of people of the new forum (Phase in Forum) are staying below the poverty line. This situation will transform them into a deeper level from the poverty line.
• Normal livelihoods of reference people have been disrupted and their earning sources have been closed.
• Prices of all essential elements including rice and pulses have been hiked, which has created adverse impacts of livelihoods.

Many of the social organizations have taken some initiatives to do something for poor people. In this context, we need to think about how we can involve CCDB as a credible organization to work for the people during this danger period.

B. Climate Change Program

Corona related update:
• The construction work of Technology park continued until March 24, 2020 but after deployment of military the construction firm decided to stop the work, as any gathering at any place is fully violation of the government order at this moment. We have also discussed this issue with local Upazilla Nirbahi Officer (UNO) and the Deputy Secretary of Home Ministry. They also suggested us to stop the construction work for the time being. Based on these information.
• All official travel has been restricted unless emergency. Climate team is mostly working virtually from home. The whole climate change progarm is working on the soft documents as per planned in the last meeting during Thomas visit.
• Besides the construction work, all of our field activities is closed now but we are trying to provide some food and sanitized support to the poor beneficiaries.

Challenges
• One of the major challenges is to implement the program activities within the stipulated time period.
• In consequence of above, the opening of the Technology park will be delayed as the construction work has been hampered and we had to suspend this for the time being to comply with Bangladesh Govt. declaration.

C. Emergency Rohingya/FDMN and Host Community Project in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar

Sanitization and Cleaning on Corona Virus:
• Sanitization and Cleaning Items (e.g. savlon-30 liters, Wheel powder- 30kg) BDT 8,500) was provided to CIC and Site management.
• Along with CCDB these cleaning items were distributed to certain 30 mosques in our intervention areas 1 West and 1 East.
• 2 staff members are bit sick with common cold who were sent back to home until they are fully cured
• Camp cleaning & de-sludge on going coordination with site management
• Project Manager/Staff members are maintaining close contact with Camp Management/local administration/ Tearfund Cox’s Bazar Office to follow the government circular/compliances in close contact with Coordinator, Rohingya Response/AD-CCDB as and when requires
• Community gathering and meeting are restricted/limited as per camp management instruction due to corona virus situation
• Requested for LoI to Tearfund for 2nd phase of FD-7 along with budget.
• CCDB Ukhiya team are preparing completion report for 1st phase of FD-7 project
• CiC /Site management are facing serious trouble to control FDMN People to avoid gathering like, prayer at Mosque since Rohingya people are very conservative about religion.
• CCDB Project team avoiding community gathering for any survey due to corona virus restriction for IGA in host community
• CCDB’s WASH Committee and cleaning team in camp are maintain close contact with project office.

Challenges:
• For the recent months, projects working with Rohingya and host community including aid agencies/stakeholders has feared the arrival of coronavirus in the world’s largest refugee settlement, the sprawling camps of Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, where approximately about 855,000 people live in overcrowded and dirty conditions.
• Now, the first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the nearby town, as named Cox’s Bazar. Aid workers worry that transmission into the camps is inevitable — and will result in a catastrophic outbreak.
• Bangladesh, with poorest health infrastructure with high density of population in Ukhiya/ Cox’s Bazar, has no options locally without external assistance for responding if there is a rapid outbreak among approximately one million refugees.

D. Micro-Finance Program (MFP)

Recent situation and Challenges :
• Since March 24, the MFP program (loan disbursement and collection) actually stopped in the field except some awareness raising work was going on in a small manner.
• Few work locations like Manikganj and Chapai Nawabganj have become more vulnerable as there are lot of people came back to the villages from different Corona Virus affected countries and region.
• Many of our MFP beneficiaries are micro entrepreneur and depended on their small income generating initiatives : Cow/goat rearing, poultry, fish farming etc. Due to this Corona virus outbreak and lockdown around the country, the prices of their product has severely affected, also lack of transportation to the market, this farmers and entrepreneurs have been affected severely. If not support provided to them, they are going to suffer from food and regular supplies. These people needs emergency support.
• BD Govt has postponed loan installment collection for an uncertain period.
• Loan recovery rate has been impacted in negative way which is going to put organization MFP program facing difficult time

The Head of the program and senior management team of CCDB keeping sharp eye on this program and considering potential measures to face this situation with minimum loss of beneficiary and organization part.

E. Overall organizational Update and Challenges:

In addition to the above circumstances and challenges, there are few other encounters CCDB might face due to this Coronavirus outbreak and its consequences in the country:
• The regular work as well as organizational plan in general are going to be impacted dramatically as the programs have been largely suspended for an unlimited time. Consequently, there will be delays in program implementation with increased cost.
• New projects those were in pipeline will be delayed for implementation since clearance form NGOAB and others concern stakeholders also remains closed as per government circular/decisions.
• The priority of the community and government of Bangladesh will likely be changed due to the crisis and economic recession.
• Multisectoral additional funding will be required to meet immediate and emergency needs of the community particularly at the affected working locations and beyond.
• Collaboration with CBOs might become challenging if they are severely infected.
• Digital/on-line upgradation and capacity building will be needed to meet similar kinds of challenges in future. There will be need to innovate and adapting new ways of implementing programs at the field level as well as in the organization.
• Organization might need to adapt a cost effective way to continue carry out programs ensuring staff safety, benefits within budget limitations and fund availability.

So far, these are the challenges we foresee at this initial stage of the crisis and your kind inputs, suggestions, feedback as well as support will be highly appreciated in this regard.

Thank you very much.


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