Resource Co-ordination Network Bangladesh (RCNB) is an initiative by co-founders Mahia Rahman and Juneyna Frances Kabir to help underprivileged communities, through crowdfunding. It is a Facebook group, involving people who are invested in facilitating existing successful grassroot NGOs like Garbageman, Leaping Boundaries, Pashe Achi Initiative, Uttaran, We for Them, Alokitto Shishu and BEACON.
The deterioration in the income and living standards of lower middle-class families since March, owing to the pandemic, encouraged the co-founders to act accordingly. Subsequently, they assembled a go fund me page alongside the RCNB Facebook group from their homes, to accumulate funds from their respective network of friends and family members.
With their amassed funds, they were able to provide food to around 3,000 families within four to five months. Their principal partnership with BacharLorai allowed them to collaborate with NGOs. Moreover, they were able to successfully reach out to regions outside Dhaka, including Naryanganj, Bogura, Rangpur, Faridpur, Chattogram, Khulna and others.
Apart from food relief programmes, they organised a fundraising concert called 'Music Against Hunger', with prominent singers of Bangladesh. They also collaborated with small local businesses like Wholemade (an online-based business that sells organic mayonnaise), and local designers such as Designify and an Artist like Topu sold t-shirts signed by the artiste, in addition to donating funds to their campaigns. They provided emergency aid to Cyclone Amphan victims in Satkhira and helped them to rebuild damaged homes. They also distributed meals and PPE kits to doctors in several hospitals, like DMCH, Birdem and NITOR.
"In an attempt to keep the volunteers safe during the pandemic, we made sure to communicate openly and concisely with collaborating NGOs," said co-founder Mahia Rahman. "They had to follow and maintain strict hygienic regulations and social distancing whilst working. The volunteers, selected from a Facebook group, were dispatched and selected on a need basis."
Their collaboration with both #BacharLorai and Female Empowerment Movement (FEM) formed the campaign, 'Women for Women'. Leaping Boundaries helped them provide custom packages to female students studying in madrasas. Through 'Women for Women', RCNB provided packages to 200 women with families and ran awareness campaigns on menstruation.
All in all, their campaigns supported sex workers, people with disabilities, women with children, madrasah students, laid off house-helpers, horse-cart drivers, garments workers, widowed women and flood victims, as well as the Bede, Shaotal and Bihari communities. Through 'Women for Women', they plan on providing a range of classes on various skillsets for lower middle class women, who may be able to use the skills to earn incomes.