In the fight against COVID-19 in Bangladesh, UN Volunteers are helping ensure the safety of their communities as medical officers, engineers and facilitators on the frontline, as well as providing support with communication and advocacy materials.
The volunteers are serving with various UN partners – including UNDP, the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), UN Resident Coordinator's Office (RCO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Bank. Meanwhile, to support COVID-19 response, UNV mobilized 24 medical professionals with IOM (10 doctors and 14 nurses) to provide health services in Cox’s Bazar and two fully-funded UN Volunteers under UNV's SVF fund to support the COVID-19 response of UNDP and UNRCO.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, UN Volunteers have been working tirelessly in order to raise awareness of COVID-19 by sharing accurate information and distributing aids at the community level. Volunteers are also supporting the government in research and producing policy notes and information and education materials for the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
Ensuring proper hygiene practices
Under UNDP’s project for livelihood improvement of the urban poor community, UN Community Volunteers have distributed soap to underprivileged families and encouraged them to maintain proper hygiene. During the distribution of materials, the volunteers take extra precautions to maintain proper physical distance.
Hosna Ara Baby is a UN Volunteer Community Organizer. This position serves for Livelihood Improvement of Urban Poor Communities (LIUPC) Project with Rajshahi City Corporation.
From the very early stage of COVID-19 response, Hosna Ara Baby has been a vital stakeholder in the COVID-19 response efforts. -- Abdul Quyum Mondal, Town Manager of Rajshahi City Corporation for LIUPC Project.
Guidance on safety measures
UN Volunteers are also providing advice and guidance on safety measures, demonstrating effective hand washing techniques, encouraging frequent hygiene practice and social distancing and raising awareness around different parts of the country.
Best use of available resources
Poor urban communities often face water and resource scarcity. During the pandemic, UN Community Volunteers have supported the allocation of wash points and shared correct and effective handwashing skills and procedures that people who are suffering from lack of resources can adapt with less water.
Under UNDP’s LIUPC project, UN Volunteers are also distributing food packages to poor urban communities in different parts of the country.
UN Volunteer Dr Rawnak Jahan (left) serving as a Monitoring & Reporting Officer with UNAIDS, supporting people who are marginalized and stigmatized in the community, including sex workers, at-risk adolescents, people living with HIV and those who live on the street. As a UN Volunteer, she has worked to ensure that people in need have access to basic and preventive items that are needed during the pandemic.
Having a UN Volunteer in our team has been truly helpful, especially during the ongoing pandemic. Dr Rawnak Jahan helped in conducting a survey among 800 people with HIV, preparing short stories on how community networks have volunteered to help their peers and much more. She has conducted her work very well, and I am fortunate that she is engaged with our organization. The UNV programme and their support have been amazing. --Dr Saima Khan, Country Manager, UNAIDS Bangladesh