Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) has begun distributing cash assistance to some 23,000 Covid-19 affected marginalised households in 38 districts through a three-month emergency cash transfer initiative, under the Excluded People's Rights in Bangladesh (EPR) Programme, supported by the UK Government's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
In the first phase beginning September 17, MJF is distributing Tk 57.5 million to 23,000 marginalised households in 38 priority districts which have high concentration of marginalised and excluded people in poverty-prone locations, according to a press release.
The households, left out of social safety net coverage, were selected on priority basis for this cash support of MJF. The beneficiaries were selected through a multi-tier selection process involving local administration, community leaders and youth volunteers of MJF's 58 partner NGOs.
Mostly rural marginalised and excluded people (i.e. tea garden workers, plain land indigenous people, CHT indigenous people, fisher folk, violence victims, women survivors, widows and destitute women, people with disabilities, etc.) have been enlisted as eligible beneficiaries for this cash transfer programme. In Dhaka and other big cities, transfer is mostly limited to Dalits, sex workers, LGBT people who have not received any social protection support.
Women in households are being given preference to receive cash assistance while exception was allowed for people with disabilities and/or in the absence of adult female household members. Selected special categories beneficiaries under 18 years of age such as disabled boy/girls, victims of child marriage, school children of ethnic minorities are also receiving cash in favour of their guardians. Special attention is being given to pregnant women, elderly people and people with disabilities during physical cash transfer.
Distribution Committees and Grievance Redressal Committees have been formed in each community.
MJF's Executive Director Shaheen Anam appreciated the UK's response. "The support of the British Government is laudable which will help some 23,000 marginalised households covering vulnerable people, who are the hardest hit by Covid-19 pandemic and in urgent need of substantive cash support for the next three months," she said.