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Strengthening disability inclusion in Covid-19 responses

This project is funded by extra-budgetary resources provided by the Government of Canada.
  • Amount funded: £14,988
  • Year: 2021
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Locations: Bangladesh
  • Grant stream: Open grants call

People with disabilities in Bangladesh have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. They are often unable to benefit from government response measures and lack the capacity to effectively articulate these concerns.

Project partners
Turning Point Foundation
Samprity Protibondhi Unnayan Sangstha
Patnitala Disabled Peoples Organization to Development
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How we are helping

This project will facilitate engagement between Disabled People’s Organisations, grassroots disability communities and government to identify the gaps in pandemic responses in addressing the needs of people with disabilities and to develop more inclusive plans and policies.

About the project

The Government of Bangladesh initiated the Bangladesh Preparedness and Response Plan (BPRP) in August 2020 to mitigate the public health impact of Covid-19, as well as the broader impacts on the national economy and social stability.

The plan combines national level activities with community-based prevention approaches to empower communities to sustain safe behaviours and practices.

In April 2020, a telephone survey of 12,000 households conducted by BRAC University and Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) revealed that people in all groups (extreme poor, poor, vulnerable non-poor, urban poor, rural poor) had already suffered a significant loss of income during the pandemic: varying between 70-82%.

A further survey of 91 people with disabilities by ADD International found that they are disproportionately excluded from Covid-19 support. 63% of respondents reported not receiving the same protection and survival support as others. On average, respondents reported losing 65% of their income since the Covid-19 crisis began. 84% reported that survival support did not meet their basic needs.

This project aims to promote disability inclusion in the implementation of national responses to the pandemic and to ensure greater security of health, well-being and livelihoods for people with disabilities from rural populations and poor families. 

It will do this by:

  • Raising awareness of Covid-19 interventions, vaccination and treatment programmes among people with disabilities and family members.
  • Improving access to masks, sanitary napkins, and other materials required to prevent Covid-19.
  • Training Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) to collaborate and constructively engage with government on the development and implementation of policies and plans to address the pandemic.
  • Delivering training to increase the capacity of people with disabilities to generate their own income.
  • Providing financial and technical support to people with disabilities for their small businesses, freelancing and income generation activities.
  • Facilitating access to the Government Learning and Earning Programme and skills development centres to strengthen income generation capacity.

It will bring together DPOs, grassroots disability communities, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), and local government officials.

Project Partners
Turning Point Foundation

Turning Point Foundation (TPF) is an independent and non-profit organisation in Bangladesh, led by people with disabilities. Its work focuses on capacity building and advocacy to promote human rights of marginalised people: people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged people. TPF is recognised for providing active participation, leadership and professional engagement of people with disabilities. TPF has previously worked with the Foundation to advocate for and strengthen the capacity of people with disabilities, strengthening its relationships with more than 100 DPOs across Bangladesh.

Samprity Protibondhi Unnayan Sangstha

Samprity Protibondhi Unnayan Sangstha (SPUS) is a DPO working in the Dinajpur district of Bangladesh. It works with government and non-government organisations to advocate for and promote the rights of people with disabilities. SPUS provides capacity building and technical assistance; ensuring that organisations demonstrate active and meaningful participation of people with disabilities. SPUS has grown from a membership of 10 to 1620 since its founding in 2005. SPUS worked with TPF in a previous project that strengthened the capacity of people with disabilities and DPOs to advocate for their rights.

Patnitala Disabled Peoples Organization to Development

Patnitala Disabled Peoples Organization to Development (Patnitala DPOD) works in Naogoan district of Bangladesh with government and non-government organisations, development organisations, donors and other stakeholders, ensuring active and meaningful participation of people with disabilities. This grassroots organisation is exclusively led by people with disabilities, with equal participation of women.

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