COVID-19 Prevention and Resilience
The second wave of the COVID-19 virus has affected Bangladesh more intensely than the initial phase, impeding socioeconomic recovery and reiterating the importance of resilience building. This programme aims at engaging communities to curb the further spread of COVID-19 and enhancing socioeconomic resilience. Drawing upon Switzerland’s long-standing experience in providing rapid response and working on inclusive and sustainable development, it focuses on the disadvantaged segments of the population.
Culture / development awareness
Employment & economic development
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Business support & economic inclusion
Emergency food assistance
Protection, access & security
- Other international or foreign NGO North
|Background||The latest COVID-19 wave has started to spread across Bangladesh in March 2021 at an alarming rate, soon overtaking the number of cases during the first wave. A third wave is expected to follow, based on the more contagious Indian variant that is currently sweeping across Bangladesh’s neighbouring countries. Along with major health challenges, the country faces serious and protracted socioeconomic stresses as it tries to meet the basic needs of its huge population. It is estimated that, since the onset of the pandemic, roughly 25 million Bangladeshi have fallen back into poverty. While the renewed country-wide lockdown is negatively affecting the entire population, it is particularly impacting vulnerable communities. At the same time, prevailing vulnerabilities caused by the yearly monsoon and cyclone season are approaching, thereby exacerbating the pressure on the country’s socioeconomic resilience. Limited awareness and misleading information concerning the pandemic, slow roll-out of the vaccination campaign, inadequate hygiene and sanitation facilities, increasing unemployment that leads to loss of income and livelihoods, and inadequate access to social safety net schemes, are some of the key challenges that need to be addressed immediately. While this is a rapid response modality that allows to react in a timely and effective manner to the pressing crisis via six interventions, it also aims to “build back better” by strengthening the overall resilience of the Bangladeshi society, in line with Switzerland’s present and future development portfolio as well as with Bangladesh’s national priorities.|
|Objectives||Disadvantaged people benefit from social protection and sustainable economic opportunities as well as preventive and responsive measures that limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and that enhance socioeconomic resilience, ensuring that no one is left behind.|
|Target groups||Beneficiaries are disadvantaged communities and people with low socio-economic status nationwide, in particular ethnic and gender minorities, differently abled persons, people who are at high health risk, informal labour, small business owners, internally displaced persons, as well as sex workers and their children. A special focus is laid on women and youth.|
Outcome 1: Socioeconomic resilience is enhanced as disadvantaged people, in particular women, youth and children, benefit from basic social protection services, develop their entrepreneurial skills, and engage in sustainable income generating activities;
Outcome 2: Pandemic prevention is enhanced as at-risk communities know how to adequately respond to COVID-19 infection and behave in a way that prevents its further spread.
- Disadvantaged people, with a special focus on women, have received information on national social safety programs through advocacy for the National Social Security Strategy (NSSS);
- Disadvantaged people, with a special focus on women and children, have received access to protection services, including cash or in kind contributions;
- Disadvantaged people, with a special focus on youth, have acquired skills through entrepreneurship training focusing on sustainability;
- Disadvantaged youth have gained access to enterprise acceleration support for green business ideas;
- At-risk communities have been sensitised on COVID-19 related risks and adopt conforming behaviour;
- At-risk communities have received relevant information and support that encourages and allows them to register for vaccination;
- At-risk communities have received vital information on how to treat COVID-19 symptoms at home without further spreading the virus;
- Local government capacity is strengthened to collect, monitor and utilise COVID-19 data.
Results from previous phases: Following last year’s “COVID-19 Preparedness and Relief” credit proposal, this is the second single phase proposal that aims to limit the further spread of the pandemic and its negative socioeconomic consequences. Past and current interventions have proven to be efficient in delivering timely remedy against the direct and indirect consequences of the pandemic: Amongst others, roughly 1.5 Mio people were sensitized and trained on upholding hygiene standards; 1 Mio people received telemedicine services on how to treat COVID-19; 130’000 slum dwellers received hygiene kits and 80’000 gained access to handwashing facilities; 115’000 people received cash and 60’000 food or vitamin contributions; and four helplines were established offering psychosocial and legal support for survivors of gender based violence. Due to the pressing nature of the crisis, both proposals ground on a rapid response modality that allows for timely and adaptive project management.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
International or foreign NGO
Contribution agreements with:
- Selected national non-governmental organisations:
BRAC, iDE and Rupantar; and
- Selected international non-governmental organisations:
|Coordination with other projects and actors||Relevant Government of Bangladesh partners at national, district, upazilla and union levels as per the Country Preparedness and Response Plan; existing response plans by local and international non-governmental organisations; SDC-supported projects in the Democratic Governance and Income and Economic Development domains; SDC small projects to counter the spread and impact of the pandemic, as well as SDC’s “COVID-19 Preparedness and Relief” modality that was adopted in 2020.|
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 9’999’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 6’521’804|