1 July to 31 July 2020 | 4th Edition

During the months long lockdown started due to Covid-19, since March 2020 in Bangladesh, the sudden outbreak disproportionately affected people from all intersections. From different intersections, the people living in poverty, older persons, persons with disabilities, gender diverse population, youths and people from indigenous communities. It is important to highlight that, from all of these intersecting identities, persons with diverse gender identities are constantly facing multiple challenges and difficulties in accessing and ensuring their day to day basic necessities. As a consequence, they have become one of the most vulnerable section of the society in then covid-19 situation. And this situation is contributing into serious human rights violations including right to life and dignity.

It is good to see that, the Bangladesh Government has taken multiple steps 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. Zone wise lockdown was another step to prevent widespread of Corona virus which isimpacting the income generating activities of the Gender Diverse Population (GDP) till date. Many community members have lost their job due to global economy crisis and struggling hard to survive!

It is also important to note that, till today (31 July 2020), we are yet to see any visible steps taken by the government as a part of their covid-19 combatting plan and/ or recovery plan highlighting the special needs of the gender diverse population.

Considering the vulnerability and marginalization of the GDP, it can be said that, they are most hard-hit population by Covid-19 situation. However, in order to assess the real scenario of community people during the lockdown, Bandhu already conducted a survey monkey on Covid-19 titled “Quick Survey for Community Response for Transgender and Hijra” in early pandemic situation. 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.

In order to overcome this difficult situation, BANDHU has taken multi-level steps including arrangement of relief, ensure mental health support, awareness program, distribution of personal safety equipment, networking etc. and dissemination the monthly updates through report is one of our prime tasks. So far, we have produced 3 COVID 19 updates from March 2020 and in this latest version we are going to share our achievements on following components:

  • Distribution of relief: 750 individuals
  • Relief ensured through Networking and Communication: 2248 individuals
  • Mental Health Helpline Counseling: 275
  • Awareness Program: 410,951 listeners
  • Safety and Security Services: 713 equipment distributed
  • Fund Raising Program: Submitted proposal to UNFPA, Women Fund Aisa and UNHCR
  • Doctor’s help line: 51
  • Documentation and monitoring: event reports, compiled monthly report, photographs


Distribution of Relief: The Transgender and Hijra community has always been stigmatized and the current pandemic 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 since March 2020 and so far, 3224 community participants received relief package. In July, BANDHU decided to distribute both cash and relief for 750 beneficiaries with the funding support of Christian Aid.

Networking and Communicationfor enabling support from Government, other Agencies and Individuals:

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-19 situation.

In July, so far 2248 community people received relief across the country using these networks and total cumulative relief distribution since March 2020 through network is 6840.

The table below shows the Division wise distribution of relief by external sources:



# of

Nature of


Data Source


Bangladesh Society



Dhaka (600),
Shirajganj: 200, Bogura: 200, Joypurhat: 100, Pabna: 200, Jamalpur: 300

Rani Chowdhury,

Youth Volunteer,


Foundation & District Police






Police Nari
Kalyan Samity & District Police






Mission Save






Kichu Korte Chai



Diner lo Hijra
Shangho, Rajshahi




Baro Vaja



Diner lo Hijra
Shangho, Rajshahi

Social Media


Upazila Nirbahi



Shopner Chowa,
Modon, Netrokona

Social Media







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 July 275 calls were received from across the country and provided services accordingly (RGDP: 84 (Dhaka & Mymensingh: 33, Rohingya: 51), UNFPA: 131, Porichoy: 60).

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 Platformnamed 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 33 information was shared in Digital Platform and total viewers were 1108. In addition, 50 CBO members and 65 Rohingya gender diverse population generated knowledge on COVID 19 through different sessions. Through PSA, total 410,951 listeners reached out via 15 Radio Station in July 2020 under RGDP project, USAID.

Safety and Security services:

The increase of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and harassments against community is quite concerning. In July 2020, we documented 13 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.

In July Bandhu has received 50 calls where 4 cases were documented. Besides, the following equipment were distributed among the community under Rights for Gender Diverse Population (RGDP), USAID:

  • 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 especially UNFPA, Women Fund Asia, UNHCR.
  • Mama Cash also approved budget from ongoing project as Humanitarian response to distribute equipment to the targeted community.

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 under RGDP (01744 755232, weekdays from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm) and community people are very much happy to receive this service from BANDHU. The community people now can discuss his/her problems with the community friendly doctor and getting the essential advices on treatment, health and nutritional, prevention and precaution, COVID-19 testing facilities.

In July 2020, a total of 51 (including Rohingya and Non-Rohingya) calls have been received by doctor across the country where 40 calls from individual and 11 calls were follow-up. The total suspected COVID 19 treatment was 35, referred for COVID test: 22, COVID positive: 06, referred to COVID specialized hospital: 05, provided general treatment: 35, prescribed treatment: 21 and counselling on health, nutrition and prevention: 34.

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:

  • So far Bandhu has ensured single time relief for each person (for 7 days package/1-month package) which is not sufficient for the community as they are currently jobless and struggling to survive. In addition, they need cash besides relief to meet other daily basis need i.e. house rent, COVID test, medicine purchase cost etc.
  • Maintaining social distance and proper protection measures are very difficult for the community as most of them living in small rooms with limited facilities and no other space to maintain home quarantine for suspected COVID-19.
  • The existence of stigma and gender-based violence especially domestic violence become more visible when they stay at home and go out to receive relief from the local administration.
  • The ratio of false negative case is increasing now a days; thus, make them helpless though they were suspected observing all signs and symptoms. They are not even able to do test for 2nd time from any private sectors due to quite high charge of COVID test.
  • Many of the community people are affected due to recent flood and hampered their daily lives besides COVID-19 challenges.
  • The set up of COVID-19 testing booth are not easily accessible for this group, as a result they may not feel interest to go the booth despite doctor’s recommendations/suggestion.