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Raising awareness among vulnerable groups in the fight against COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Serving with various UN partners across Bangladesh, UN Volunteers are helping to ensure the safety of their communities as medical officers, engineers, facilitators on the frontline, as well as providing support with communication and advocacy material  in the fight against COVID-19. 

Read part I of this story here. 

 

Photo: UN Community Volunteer Zahidul Alam Bhuiyan distributing food packages at Dhaka North City Corporation. ©UNV, 2020

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Assisting authorities

UN Community Volunteers have also helped their city corporations in distributing aid among people who have lost their daily wages due to the lockdown. They have identified the families who are severely affected by the situation and provided the list to their city corporations to support relief distribution.

 

Photo: Distribution of food packages in Chattogram, Bangladesh. ©UNV, 2020

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With community leaders, the volunteers have been moderating Coronavirus Prevention Committees in different areas to manage the sharing of knowledge and cooperation from the community members. They also supported in creating awareness among the public on measures they can take outside of their homes, such as introducing social distancing circles.

 

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Community encouragement

UN Volunteers in Saidpur, Bangladesh, have encouraged their community to make handmade mask themselves.

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Gender focus 

Tamima Nasrin, a UN Volunteer who is working as a District Facilitator with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Bangladesh, organized an awareness campaign on coronavirus and gender-based violence at different educational institutes of the Bogura District with the support of the district police. During the campaign, she explained the symptoms of the flu caused by COVID-19 and demonstrated necessary preventive measures.

Leaflets were also distributed among the participants with all the necessary details and emergency contacts. They were also made aware of the Women's Help Desk of the local police station, where they can go for complaints against gender-based violence.

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Infrastructure support

UN Volunteer Urmi Das is serving with the Infrastructure Unit of the Ionternational Organization for Migration (IOM) in Cox's Bazar. Her work includes designing and monitoring the construction of Isolation Treatment Centres, and improving the existing health care ambulance disinfection centre.

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Supporting vulnerable groups

UN Volunteers provide support on measures to be taken during COVID-19 at the Rohingya Camps and host communities.

 

Photo: UN Volunteer Dr. Iffat Ara Chowdhury, Health Officer at UNICEF, conducting an orientation training for the health facility staff on Infection prevention and control measures during COVID-19, in a Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar. ©UNV, 2020

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UN Volunteer Samia Aboni, serving as a Knowledge Management Officer in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) Sector at the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) at Cox‘s Bazar, has worked on an initial study of the evidence of COVID-19 relevant to WASH in April. The evidence report prepared by Samia was highlighted in the Regional WASH and Global WASH Cluster, and UNICEF.

Samia has also been leading biweekly WASH Sector Cox’s Bazar webinars with relevant partners highlighting the WASH-related interventions, gender perspectives in responses to the pandemic. 

 

Photo: UN Volunteer Samia Aboni during a visit with the WASH Sector Team to a Plastic Recycling Plant in Camp 24, Teknaf. ©UNV, 2020 

 

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Online Awareness

UN Volunteers not only made meaningful contributions in the field but also produced different communication and advocacy material and channels.

Former UN Volunteer Catalin Bercaru (Romania) contributed to producing and disseminating public information content for the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of the Crisis Communication Team. Medeline Brennan (Australia), serving with UN Resident Coordinator's Office, is regularly disseminating situation reports. 

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, UNV has also been supporting efforts to create and disseminate social media content around awareness building and advocacy. We also have showcased the contributions of our UN Volunteers both in the fields and on frontlines. 

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Recognition of volunteers

UNV organized a series of Facebook live sessions with various stakeholders, including volunteers, policymakers, and senior Government officials. The live sessions aimed to promote volunteerism and recognition of volunteers’ vital contributions in Bangladesh during COVID-19 and beyond. 

These series of talks also complemented UNV’s continued advocacy towards formulating a national volunteer policy for Bangladesh; highlighting the Government of Bangladesh’s decision to now initiate action to draft a National Volunteer Policy.

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