Period: 16 April to 31 May 2020| 2nd Edition

The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis of a completely different magnitude and this outbreak has affected all intersections of the population, including people living in poverty, older persons, persons with disabilities, youthand people from indigenous communities. The persons with different Gender Identities in Bangladesh are not beyond thesesegments, andare constantlyfacing multiple challenges and difficulties in accessing minimum level of support in their everyday lives.

In Bangladesh,the Government announcedthe countrywide lockdownfrom 26 March 2020 that continued till 31 May 2020. Due to coronavirus outbreak, the main income generating activities of the Gender Diverse Populationhas disrupted which reflects in their food consumption and contributed toincrease mental stress. However, in order to assess the real scenario of community people during the lockdown, Bandhu conducted a survey through survey monkey on Covid-19: Quick Survey for Community Response for TG and Hijra. According to the study, 81% decreased their diet and 70% community people borrowed money, 41% faced discrimination during receiving relief from external sources, 61% GDP needed food and 59% community people needed cash to survive during lockdown situation.

BANDHUis always concerned about the needs of Gender Diverse Communitiesand designs timelyprogramsto support the community.Considering the sudden wake of COVID 19, Bandhu has taken following initiatives and providing support to the GDPwith the support of different donors on following components:

  • Distribution of Relief
  • Networking and Communicationfor enabling support from Government, other agencies and Individuals
  • Mental Health HelplineCounselling
  • Awareness Program
  • Safety and Security Services
  • Fund Raising Program
  • Doctors help line
  • Documentation and Monitoring

Component wise achievements

  • Distribution of relief: 281 individuals
  • Relief ensured through Networking and Communication:2275 individuals
  • Mental Health Helpline Counseling:389
  • Awareness Program: 5 materials developed
  • Safety and Security Services: 20,384 equipment’s distributed
  • Fund Raising Program: Received fund for relief and hygiene support from ICCO Corporation and Kerk in actie
  • Doctors help line: 21
  • Documentation and monitoring: 2 survey reports


Distribution of Relief: The Transgender and Hijra community has always been stigmatized and the current countrywide lockdown situation has interrupted their day-to-days earning thus putting their life into misery. Considering this situation, BANDHU has already taken initiatives to provide food and other emergency support to 3,350 community members after need assessment. The regular relief package will contain 5 kg rice, 1 kg lentils, 3 kg potatoes, 1 kg puffed rice, 2 kg onion, 1-liter soybean oil, 1 kg salt, 2 masks, 1 soap, and 6 pkt. of oral saline.To distribute the relief smoothly and avoid overlapping, BANDHUdeveloped a comprehensive contingency plan and need assessment of the community and based on the funding availability, distributing relief in multiple phases.

In Phase 1, we have already distributed food and hygiene support to 524 individuals directly across the country in beginning of April 2020.The 2nd phase relief also distributed before Eid-Ul-Fitr with the support of ICCO Corporation and Kerk in actie. A number of 281 community people in Dhaka received the relief package on 22 and 23 May 2020.

Networking and Communicationfor enabling support from Government, other Agencies and Individuals: BANDHU decided to arrange relief for the rest of the community people using the strong network of BANDHU at local level. Over the years BANDHUhas developed a good rapport with local administration, including DC office, Civil Surgeon’s office, LEA in different districts. BANDHU also formed different pools to work as catalysts for the community at local level, i.e. media forum members, lawyers, Human Rights activists.However, for the community people to access to relief materials without stigma and discrimination from the local administration BANDHU has engaged different pools and Community Based Organizations (CBO) at local level.

Through these networks of BANDHU, so far2275community people received relief across the country. Please see annex information on division wise distribution of relief.

Division wise distribution of relief by external source:



# of Beneficiaries

Nature of Support


Data Source


Uttoron Foundation, Penfield School,
Personal contribution, Personal contribution of DFID employee, Md.
Enamur Rahman, MP and Political leader



Dhaka, Reports,


Chattogram Metropolitan Police





Sylhet Metropolitan Chamber and Commerce,
Sylhet Kotowali Thana, Personal Contribution




CBO reports


Department of Social Welfare Services


Relief, Cash (BDT 2,53,800)



Superintended of Police, Iqbalur Rahim,
MP (Eid Fund of PM)




odhikar. news,,, DC website


Rajshahi City Corporation, Rajshahi
Metropolitan Police (Detective Branch), Ad. Sheikh Abdul Hamid Lablu
(Vice-President of Milk Vita)


Relief and Cash




District Commissioner (DC), Police Super




The Daily Mymensingh Pratidin


District Commissioner (DC), Secretary of
Home Affairs, Political leaders,Jessore ZilaPorishod




The Daily Probaha,,,


Mental Health Helpline Counseling:

Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being which affects how we think, feel, and act. Mental health is important at every stage of life from childhood to adulthood. Infact,suicidal tendency among thegender diverse community is highercompared to other people due to social stigma, discrimination, family and social exclusion, identity crisis, Gender Based Violence by members of the family, etc.(ref: Bandhu data source).

Realizingits importance, BANDHU introduced online and offline services on mental health counselling for the community since long. During COVID-19, BANDHU extended its services and introduced exclusive Help Line number (Porichoy: 01714 048418) where community people receive mental health support with full confidentiality throughout the lockdown situation.

So far 389 callswere received from across the country and were provided services accordingly.

Awareness program:

Creating awareness among the Gender diverse community is a regular activity of BANDHU. Regular awareness related radio message is being broadcasted through the Public Service Announcement communitywith the support of RGDP project. Besides, this regular activity, BANDHU has formed a pool to develop time appropriate awareness materials focusing COVID-19 and boosting up on Bandhu’s Webpage, Facebook and other Social Media. BANDHU also planned to develop few more communication materialsin the local language of Rohingya, so that Rohingya community people can read it out for their awareness.

So far 5 leafletsfor public awareness purpose have been developed and uploaded accordingly on the website. In addition, BANDHUis disseminating leaflets of other partners in their respective areas;19 news have been published in different newspapersincluding both online and print media. Besides, one short promo focusing COVID 19 is under pipeline and few IEC/SBCCmaterials has been finalized in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs.BANDHUis also planningto distribute mask, sanitizer, hand wash for both Rohingya and host community under RGDP project.

Safety and Security services:

Safety and Security of both community people and staff are the key concern of the organization. Focusing COVID-19, BANDHU has already formed:

  • Task Force
  • Developed aWork-at-Home policy
  • Guidelines for front line workers
  • Guidelines for relief distribution etc.

However, it is also a concern about increasingnumber of harassments faced the gender diverse communities and for that providing support from the Ain Alap[1]helpline. Currently, Ain Alap is providing all kinds of information to the community if they need any emergency support relating to their safety and security. During this reporting period, Bandhu received 42 callswhere32cases are solved and rest are under process.

Besides, the following equipment were distributed among the community as well as health services providers under FR project.

  • Surgical masks: 2013 pcs
  • Disposable gloves: 15,600 pcs
  • Hand Sanitizer (250 ml): 866 pcs
  • Liquid Soap bottle (250 ml): 720 pcs
  • Detergent Powder (200 gm): 76 pkt
  • Goggles: 30 pcs
  • Utility gloves: 29 pairs
  • Disposable Head cap: 440 pcs
  • Disposable gown: 610 pcs

Fund Raising Program:

Despite all initiatives, significant numbers of community people are still starving (ref: Bandhu survey monkey) throughout COVID-19 situation and are struggling hard to manage food and other necessary amenities. To ensure further food and hygiene support to the community people following WHO guideline, we have taken a number of initiatives to mobilize fund, which is stated below:

  • Developed and submitted number of proposals to different donors.
  • MJF with the support of DFID has taken 2nd round relief initiatives for 200 youth community members in Dhaka, Chottogram, Khulna and Mymensingh.
  • USAID has approved the re-directing program focusing COVID 19 that will be implemented both in Rohingya and host community besides other part of the country.
  • Bandhu received fund from ICCO Corporation and Kerk in actie for direct relief and hygiene materials.
  • Christian Aid (CA) already redesigned the program and allocated support for COVID 19 which is in pipeline

Doctor’s helpline:

Community people can’t access proper information related to their daily health complicacy during COVID-19 lockdown situation as most of the community people are staying at home following the instruction of the Government. For ensuring prompt health care support of community, BANDHUhas decided to introduce Doctor’s Help line and through this helpline they will receive all kinds of medical advices based on their needs and demands.

This service is launched on 23 May 2020 and so far, 21 calls have been received across the country. The Doctor’s help line number: 01744 755232 (weekdays from 8.30am to 4.30pm)

Documentation and Monitoring

BANDHU preserved all kinds of reports, pictures, news link, expenditure related information for audit purpose. Besides, Bandhu has created a photo gallery where all COVID related pictures and other documents will be uploaded periodically.

In May 2020, BANDHU conducted two short assessment through survey monkey( overall Gender Diverse Population and Hijra &TG population to document the evidence based program during COVID 19. In addition, BANDHUis producing COVID-19 update and its response on regular basis since beginning of March 2020.

Overall Challenges:

  • One-time relief is not sufficient for the community as they are currently jobless and struggling to survive. Most of the community members are in significant level of pressure for paying house rent by their land owner.
  • Maintaining social distance is very difficultfor the community as most of them living in small rooms and sharing with other community members.
  • The existence of stigma and gender-based violence become more visible when they go out to receive relief from the local administration.