The government should engage the local non-governmental organisations in identifying people and entrepreneurs affected by the coronavirus outbreak and delivering financial assistance to them for better management of the current challenges, experts said on Wednesday.
At a virtual dialogue on ‘experiences of the existing COVID-19 situation: achievements and challenges’, they also said that the government should also finance the local NGOs in delivering health, education and other services to hard-to-reach population of the country.
They observed that violence against women had been increasing in the period.
The Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh arranged the dialogue.
The platform’s convener, Debapriya Bhattacharya, also a distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said that the local NGOs were now suffering from lack of finance to continue their operations as around half of the organisations did not have any income generating activities.
Only 54 per cent NGOs have now income sources, including microfinance operations and grants from various sources, Debapriya said, referring to a survey result.
‘The government should provide financial assistance and policy incentives to the local NGOs so that they can survive during the COVID-19 pandemic,’ he said.
The local NGOs are playing important role in implementing the government’s programmes to fight against the coronavirus outbreak by ensuring women and children’s rights, health and education for marginalised people as well as implementing SDGs, he said.
CPD distinguished fellow Mustafizur Rahman said that the government should take special programmes for highly underprivileged people, such as dalit and transgender, in the society.
The NGOs can play a role in identifying the affected people from the groups, he said.
Former Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Asif Ibrahim emphasised preparing a database of affected small businesses and ensure incentives for them as they were the worst victims of the pandemic.
The Hunger Project country director Badiul Alam Majumdar, Campaign for Popular Education executive director Rasheda K Chowdhury, Platform coordinator Anisatul Fatema Yousuf, and NGO representatives from Chattogram, Khulna, Barishal, Sylhet, Gaibandha and the other parts of the country also spoke at the dialogue.
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