Bangladesh is undergoing a strict lockdown to curb the alarming surge in Covid-19 infections of the delta variant. To tackle the pandemic here, nine private commercial banks have partnered with Brac, one of the largest non-government organisations (NGO) in the world.
Following a Bangladesh Bank directive on launching special corporate social responsibility activities for the people hit hard by the pandemic, these banks have collaborated with the 'Dakcche Abar Desh' and 'Community Fort for Resisting Covid-19' (CFRC) projects run by Brac.
In this partnership, these nine private banks have jointly promised Tk15.92 crore, of which Tk13.57 crore will be spent in cash support for 72,160, families under the Dakcche Abar Desh campaign, said a media statement issued by Brac on Wednesday.
The remaining money will be used to provide face masks and other Covid-preventive services to 18 lakh people and to extend healthcare services under Brac's CFRC programme, to 10,000 people with Covid symptoms.
Amid a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases, Bangladesh Bank last month asked all the scheduled banks to operate special corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs for assistance to poor people severely affected by the pandemic.
According to the media release, the banks that have partnered with Brac in this campaign are Brac Bank, Eastern Bank Limited, Mutual Trust Bank, Standard Bank, Dhaka Bank, Bank Asia, Mercantile Bank,United Commercial Bank and Dutch Bangla Bank.
The Brac campaigns will particularly focus on 20 districts with the highest rate of Covid infections, mostly in Rajshahi and Khulna divisions.
Of the nine banks, the agreement is in process with Bank Asia and Dhaka Bank.
Asif Saleh, executive director of Brac, said, "We welcome this much needed support from these banks. This collective contribution will help advance two of our key Covid-19 projects – CFRC and Dakcche Abar Desh – that aim to build community resilience through emergency medical and hygiene support, and cash support for people in need."
Community Fort for Resisting Covid-19 (CFRC) is a joint initiative of Brac and partners to build community resilience and strengthen the local healthcare system in 35 high risk districts.
CFRC places the highest importance on mask use. Their other major intervention programs include promoting hand washing and hygiene campaigns, Covid curbing coughing practices and etiquette, and social distancing.
It also runs campaigns on vaccine registration and countering misinformation and rumours.
Dakcche Abar Desh is another initiative of Brac's, calling on all to stand by people who have lost their earnings amid community transmission of the delta variant of coronavirus and the eventual lockdown.
With this initiative, Brac is primarily providing emergency food assistance to 50 thousand selected families in 19 high risk districts. Brac is currently running this program on matching funds from one-day salary contributions of its staff and Brac's own funds.