Standard Chartered and BRAC to deliver essential food items to 5000 low-income families facing COVID-19 lock-down

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Standard Chartered Bangladesh is collaborating with BRAC to deliver support packages to 25,000 people from 5000 low-income families, residing in areas locked down to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. The packages, containing staples and non-perishable food items, are being delivered to the doorsteps of the impacted households.

Standard Chartered has been a partner in progress to Bangladesh for over 115 years. As one of the oldest financial institutions in the country, Standard Chartered has launched several initiatives to stand beside the people of Bangladesh through this crisis.

Naser Ezaz Bijoy, CEO, Standard Chartered Bangladesh, said, “Covid-19 is a generational challenge that will require every section of the society to come together in support of each other. As a Bank, we are determined to live up to our promise to be “Here for good”, and I am proud to stand beside my 2200 colleagues in supporting our clients and communities, both through the immediate challenge and the longer-term support and recovery phase.”

Asif Saleh, Executive Director, BRAC, said, “We are glad to join forces with Standard Chartered and stand beside vulnerable families under lock-down with essential food support. Compassion and openness will help remove the social stigma and fear surrounding the virus. We are reaching out to these particular communities to address their critical needs and encourage them to self-report and maintain social distancing. Targeting high-risk, hotspot areas and customising support interventions to fit their context are critical to mitigate the crisis.”

Bitopi Das Chowdhury, Head, Corporate Affairs, Brand & Marketing, said, “The government has already undertaken a number of laudable measures to combat COVID-19, including widening the social safety net coverage, while the private sector has also stepped up. This initiative focuses on the demographic group that sits between the bottom-of-the-pyramid and the middle to affluent segments. This is a group which is not a usual beneficiary of social interventions, but whose limited means have been put under severe strain by the disruptions caused by the global health crisis.”

Prior to this, Standard Chartered had announced a broad range of support measures for its retail customers and businesses, including loan repayment holidays, fee waivers or cancellations and loan extension facilities. The Bank has initiated a US$1 billion global financing program for companies that provide goods and services to help the fight against COVID-19. It has also launched a US$50 million fund aiding communities affected by the pandemic across its global footprint, including Bangladesh.

BRAC has mobilised its entire organisation, including over 100,000 frontline staff, community healthcare workers and volunteers to stand beside communities from the very onset of the COVID-19 crisis. 43 million programme participants have been oriented on COVID-19 to ensure prevention and outbreak of the disease.  BRAC, from its own funds and with the help of partners, have reached out to 300,000 low-income families with emergency cash assistance support. 446,569 women have received maternal, neonatal and child healthcare services from 41 of BRAC’s maternity centres, all which have remained open throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. BRAC is assisting the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to install walk-in sample collection booths (kiosk) in vulnerable areas, at least 50 kiosks will be installed in Dhaka by next week to help speed up the process of sample collection. Fifty more kiosks will be set up across the country soon.

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