Period: 1 June to 30 June 2020|3rd Edition

Only ten years left in achieving SDGs, and now we are facing a unique challenge posed by Covid-19. In Bangladesh, the sudden outbreak has disproportionately affected people from all intersections, including people living in poverty, older persons, persons with disabilities, gender diverse population, youth and people from indigenous communities. From these intersecting identities, persons with diverse gender identities are constantly facing multiple challenges and difficulties in access at a minimum level of support in their everyday lives.

Bangladesh Government has taken multiple strategies to prevent the spread of COVID 19 and declaring the countrywide lockdown from 26 March to 30 May 2020 was one of the key steps. Recently, Zone wise lockdown has been declared across the country which is impacting the income generating activities of the Gender Diverse Population (GDP).

However, in order to assess the real scenario of community people during the lockdown, Bandhu had already conducted a survey monkey on Covid-19 titled Quick Survey for Community Response for Transgender 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% Gender Diverse Population (GDP) needed food and 59% community people needed cash to survive during lock down situation.

As BANDHU is always concerned about the needs of GDP, therefore designing timely need-based programs is one of our mandate to support the community. Considering the sudden wake of COVID-19, BANDHU has taken significant initiatives and providing support to the GDP with the support of different donors and individuals. To share the monthly updates, BANDHU has started producing periodic COVID 19 updates since March 2020 and in this latest version we are going to share our achievements on following components:

  • Distribution of relief: 2419 individuals
  • Relief ensured through Networking and Communication: 720 individuals
  • Mental Health Helpline Counseling: 280
  • Awareness Program: 434,776 listeners /viewers
  • Safety and Security Services: 4000 equipment’s distributed
  • Fund Raising Program: Received grant for relief and hygiene support from Christian Aid
  • Doctor’s help line: 79
  • Documentation and monitoring: reports, video


Distribution of Relief: The Transgender and Hijra community has always been stigmatized and the current countrywide lock down 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 so far, 805 community participants received relief package in phase I and phase II. The regular relief package contained 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.

In June 2020 (Phase III) Bandhu distributed relief with the support of ‘German Doctors’ through icddr,b, A total of 2419 community people received the food in 28 districts under Dhaka, Chattogram, Sylhet and Mymensingh divisions. Each of them received 12 kg rice, 4 kg potatoes, 2 kg lentils, 2-liter oil, 2 kg salt, 2 kg onion and one soap bar.

Networking and Communication for enabling support from Government, other Agencies and Individuals: BANDHU has also arranged relief for the community people using the strong network of BANDHU at local level and a total of 3872 community people received relief from local level till May 2020. Over the years BANDHU has developed a good rapport with local administration, including DC office, Civil Surgeon’s office, Local Elected Agencies in different districts. We have also formed different pools to work as catalysts for the community at local level, i.e. media forum members, lawyers, Human Rights activists. However, to enable access to relief materials without facing stigma and discrimination from the local administration, BANDHU engaged different pools and Community Based Organizations (CBO) at local level during COVID situation.

Through these networks, so far 720 community people received relief across the country.

Division wise distribution of relief by external sources:



# of Beneficiaries

Nature of Support


Data Source


UNO of Kaliganj


Relief and Cash (BDT 2000)



Simec Foundation and 54 no. Ward Counsellor of
Dhaka North City Corporation






Manobik Bangladesh Society



Dhaka, Faridpur

Social Media Report







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. Considering the rate of suicidal tendency among the gender diverse community is higher compared to others due to social exclusion, stigmatization, discrimination, family and social exclusion, identity crisis, Gender Based Violence by members of the family, etc. (ref: Bandhu data source).

Realizing its importance, BANDHU introduced both online and offline mental health counselling services based on the needs and demands of the community. During COVID-19, we extended its services and introduced exclusive Help Line number (Porichoy: 01714 048418) where community people receive mental health support with full confidentiality throughout the lock down situation. (put image of Porichoy help line)

In June 280 calls were received from across the country and provided services accordingly.

Awareness program:

Raising 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 (PSA) community with the support of RGDP project. Besides, this regular activity, BANDHU has formed Digital Platform named Bandhu COVID-19 Platform to share recent updates on COVID-19 in social media. In addition, we have created WhatsApp group amongst all 36 CBOs where regular awareness session is conducting through professional doctor.

So far 34 information shared in Digital Platform and total viewers were 1276. In addition, two orientation sessions were conducted for both Bandhu staffs and CBO members where a total of 35 participants generated knowledge on COVID 19. Through PSA, total 433,500 listeners reached out via 15 Radio Station in June 2020.

Besides, one short promo titled “Alo Ashbei/Light will come” was developed focusing current status of GDP under ICCO Corporation and Kerk in actie

Safety and Security services:

The increase in the Gender Based Violence (GBV) and harassments against community is quite concerning. In June 2020, we documented 34 GBV records. Currently, Ain Alap-a legal help line of Bandhu is providing all kinds of information to the community and ensuring need-based emergency support relating to their safety and security.

During this reporting period, Bandhu has received 42 calls where 8 cases were documented.

Besides, the following equipment were distributed among the community under Rights for Gender Diverse Population (RGDP), USAID:

  • Surgical masks: 1050 pcs
  • Disposable gloves: 1900 pcs
  • Hand Sanitizer (250 ml): 1050 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 basic 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.
  • Christian Aid (CA), ongoing donor of Bandhu already redirection the program and approved for cash support for relief and other equipment to the beneficiaries.

Doctor’s helpline:

Community people do not have adequate access to 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, BANDHU introduced Doctor’s Help line in May 2020 (01744 755232, weekdays from 8.30am to 4.30pm) and community people are very much happy to receive this service from Bandhu.

In June 2020, a total of 103 calls have been received by doctor across the country where 79 calls from individual. Amongst 103 calls, 23 was COVID related calls and 38 received prescription for treatment. The rest calls were related to counselling and other relevant information.

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-19 related pictures and other documents are uploaded periodically.

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 difficult for 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.