One of the local partners of alliance member The Hunger Project is The Hunger Project Bangladesh. This partner has the largest volunteer movement in the country. In almost 4,000 villages in rural areas they reach over 5 million people with thousands of volunteers. In all these villages, The Hunger Project has trained local change-makers and set up volunteer networks. And all those volunteers are now deployed against COVID-19.
For example, Village Development Teams – with trained women, men, young people and influential senior citizens – hand out posters about COVID-19 in the village. They are fighting fake news and ferocious rumours about the virus. And they fill small bottles of soap for their fellow villagers and make sure there are more places where people can wash their hands.
The Hunger Project Bangladesh also approaches former animators with whom we no longer had contact, for example after they moved to another area. Together we see how they too can get involved, in the place where they now live and work.
Volunteers fill bottles with soap
The Hunger Project Bangladesh also makes clever use of the natural familiarity of director Badiul Majumdar. Through Facebook videos, Badiul and an expert provided information about the virus, and on a popular Facebook page he called on the 70,000 followers to be alert and take responsibility.
And Badiul, together with other influential Bangladeshi people, puts pressure on the government. In an opinion piece in the best read newspaper, he writes about the possible impact of the virus on Bangladesh and calls on the government to quickly take firm measures to slow down the spread of the virus and to protect the economy as much as possible:
‘Bangladesh is under greater risk. The reasons include our high population density, the return of our expatriate workers from countries where the virus has already spread, our relatively poor health infrastructure, limited supply of diagnostic kits and protective gear for health professionals, and widespread lack of awareness about the virus and how it is spread.’