Collaboration to address the COVID-19 challenge in Bangladesh

A young woman crouches by a red handwashing device to wash her hands, she is smiling


For a crisis the scale of COVID-19, the only way we can overcome it is by working together. That has certainly been the case in Bangladesh, where our partners, World Vision Australia and World Vision Bangladesh have been on the front line of the pandemic response.


World Vision is well established in Bangladesh, their Water for Women project, SHOMOTA - strengthening gender equality and social inclusion in WASH in Bangladesh has been delivering inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to communities for over two years. When COVID-19 reached Bangladesh and the pandemic was exploding globally, World Vision was well placed to respond.


Building on its existing WASH work, World Vision mobilised quickly to support new WASH technologies and strengthen collaboration between local actors to rapidly increase the availability of hygiene products so that communities could practice COVID-19 prevention.


A WASH response is a COVID-19 response, and early preventative measures were critical to help Bangladesh prepare for and protect themselves from the pandemic. World Vision worked closely with community leaders, government officials, the Union Parishad, the Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), National Council for Disabled Women (NCDW) and Samaj Kallyan Sangstha (SKS) and the Disability Rehabilitation & Research Association (DRRA) to ensure communities were reached quickly and that the most vulnerable within those communities were not left behind.


They distributed hygiene kits including soap and hand sanitiser to 2,400 vulnerable households including people with disabilities, transgender, ethnic minorities and the poor. They also supported partners to relay personal hygiene kits and disseminate targeted messaging through loudspeakers to cover hard to reach areas to an estimated 126,000 people in three districts. The World Vision team developed local messaging in Bengali in line with WHO and Government of Bangladesh approved messages.


As work continues, World Vision Bangladesh remain focused on applying their formative research to strengthen local level government, and improve hand hygiene behaviour and menstrual hygiene management in communities, all of which is critical to the ongoing COVID-19 response.


Through Partnerships for Recovery, Australia is supporting COVID-19 work across South Asia to secure our region’s health, wellbeing and stability in these challenging times. Through Water for Women, not only are we delivering safe, equitable and sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), we are also building, healthy, inclusive and resilient societies.


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