Civil society leaders at a virtual press conference on Sunday called for ‘inclusive coordination’ on the part of the government at all levels, to promote broader social mobilization and engagement of local NGO leaders in view of the Disaster Management Act 2012 and the Standing Order on Disaster (SOD).
They also demanded that the local economy be revived even as health and safety measures are maintained, to boost production and sustain the supply chain of food and other essential items.
Leaders of the existing NGO networks of Bangladesh, from ADAB, BD CSO (Civil Society Organizations) process, Disaster Forum, FNB, NAHAB and NIRAPAD, who represent almost the total NGO sector of the country, organised the virtual press conference titled “Local and National NGOs in Bangladesh to Fight COVID-19”.
A key focus of the conference was promoting ‘Localization’, with active engagement of local and national actors combined with local level coordination steered by the local government.
Nayeem Gawher Wahra of Disaster Forum said the awareness is still ‘limited to urban middle class’. NGOs/CSOs should be given space to work in this regard.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST said in this lockdown situation the production line should be kept running maintaining ‘physical distancing’, the term preferred by some some to mean social distancing.
He urged “150 million people somehow connected with the NGOs and microfinance institutes” should be considered as a major source of local resource mobilization for both economic and relief activities.
These were part of a 7-point set of demands placed on behalf of the group by Abdul Latif Khan.