BSS-30 UNDP, United Group provide food support to 5000 vulnerable women

199

ZCZC

BSS-30

COVID19-UNDP-Support

UNDP, United Group provide food support to 5000 vulnerable women

DHAKA, April 21, 2020 (BSS) – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Enterprises & Co. Ltd
(UECL) have jointly taken an initiative to provide food support to about
5,000 poor women in Jamalpur, Kurigram and Gaibandha districts.

In addition to creating awareness about the spread of COVID-19, UNDP under
its “Strengthening Women’s Ability for Productive New Opportunities” (SWAPNO)
project, has initiated the distribution of food items to 126 unions of the
three project districts to ensure food security of marginalised women.

Under this initiative 540 women received food assistance yesterday in 15
unions of Bakshiganj and Dewanganj upazilas in Jamalpur district, a UNDP
press release said.

“While welcoming the government safety net programme, we realize that
there is a need for meeting immediate gaps, before public distribution system
is fully effectively operationalised,” said Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident
Representative of UNDP Bangladesh.

He pointed out that although COVID-19 might not have a very high death toll
its collateral impacts are likely to create much greater socioeconomic
hardships.

“The increased risks of losing jobs and income, inability to easily access
essential services are some of the hardships that will disproportionately
affect the poor, this partnership will deliver food to the poor households”,
Sudipto added.

“We believe it is our responsibility to give back to society and those in
need, doubly so in trying times such as now. We have partnered with UNDP in
this responsibility to garner knowledge and better understanding on how to
efficiently handle crisis situations. To help the society in a more organised
and meaningful manner. We hope to continue our relationship for the
betterment of our society,” he said.

Moinuddin Hasan Rashid, UECL’s Managing Director, said: “Recently we have
signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with UNDP, and under that we are
collaborating to provide emergency support to vulnerable communities during
national crisis. This food distribution initiative is just one example.”

“Food support activities of UNDP and United Group are undoubtedly a good
initiative, which will help the poor people, especially women to fight this
crisis. I hope together we can overcome this crisis sooner or later,” said
Abdur Rouf Talukder, Upazila Chairman of Bakshiganj, Jamalpur.

Along with others, ASM Jamshed Khondokar, Upazila Nirbahi Officer,
Bakshiganj; Md Mahmud Hossain, District Manager, SWAPNO project; and Md
Amirul Islam, Upazila LGED Engineer; were present at the food distribution
programme.

Food items were distributed among the beneficiaries by maintaining proper
social distancing to avoid the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Food package
included – rice 12 kg, Flour 6 kg, Potato 2 kg, Lentil 2 kg, Sugar 1 kg, Salt
1 kg, Soyabean oil 1 litre, flattened rice 1 kg and 2 soaps.

UNDP is also planning to provide an amount of Taka 1,500 as cash grants to
each of the SWAPNO beneficiaries through bKash which will come into effect
within the next one week.

SWAPNO has been working since 2014 as a social transfer and empowerment
project for ultra-poor women.

Under the project, the beneficiaries, mostly divorced and widowed women,
are provided public works jobs, taught how to save, given life skills
training, made aware of best practices, given a voice in the society through
advocacy and linked with service delivery.

They are also taught how to manage businesses, given livelihood skills
training allowing them to graduate into self-employment, entrepreneurship or
better jobs.

BSS/PR/MRI/ARS/1908 hrs