COVID-19 Preparedness and Relief

Project completed

The proposed interventions support the Government of Bangladesh in its efforts to fight against the further spread of COVID-19 and to address the socio-economic consequences for the Bangladeshi people, in particular for disadvantaged groups. Access to information, provision of safe water and food or cash support are among the key outputs. The long-standing experience of Switzerland and its implementing partners in various sectors of public life and trusted relationships with national and local governments add value to the intervention.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Culture / development awareness
Emergency food assistance
Protection, access & security
Development awareness
01.06.2020 - 31.05.2022
CHF  3’020’000

The coronavirus has rapidly spread across the world and was labelled a global pandemic on 11 March 2020 by the WHO. COVID-19 has already spread across Bangladesh, with the entire country declared as a potential high risk area on 16th April 2020. Along with the major health challenges of COVID-19, the country also faces serious socio-economic challenges as it tries to meet the basic needs of its huge population, with the whole country in lockdown. While the country-wide lockdown is negatively affecting the entire population, it is particularly impacting vulnerable groups. The slow-down in some of Bangladesh’s key economic sectors, such as the ready-made garment industry, is expected to negatively affect the country’s economic performance for a longer period. Likewise, the return of big numbers of migrant workers and the related interruption of remittance flows further weakens Bangladesh’s resilience. As the pandemic continues to spread, there is a real risk that there will be a spike in Bangladesh’s poverty rate.

A weak health system, high food insecurity, inadequate access to water, poor sanitation, and the challenge of providing basic services to densely populated areas across the country are some of the key issues which need to be addressed to ensure a comprehensive response to the pandemic. In parallel, raising public awareness of the disease is in itself a challenging task. Early indicators suggest that vulnerability may increase disproportionately among migrant workers, informal labour, small businesses and rural communities, due to potential loss of employment, travel restrictions, inflation, and food and fuel shortages. In response to the above, the Government of Bangladesh has already launched a number of socio-economic measures to support the population. Support from development partners, such as Switzerland, will further assist to provide the much needed support.

Objectives Contribute to reducing the health and socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people of Bangladesh.
Target groups Beneficiaries include affected people nationwide, with a focus on disadvantaged groups, as well as the government and non-government organizations providing support at the grassroots level.
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1:    Women and men, as well as disadvantaged communities, have correct information regarding the pandemic and are capacitated to undertake appropriate prevention and response measures;

Outcome 2:    Local Government Institutions, Government of Bangladesh Departments and Civil Society Organizations/Non-Governmental Organizations are better prepared and capacitated to scale up the COVID-19 response, preserve social stability, and address social tensions at community level.


Expected results:  

1.1.    At-risk communities (as per epidemiological data) are engaged and mobilised to contain the spread of the virus;

1.2.    Religious and community leaders have received training on hand washing messages, hygiene practices and social distancing;

1.3.    Mobile telecommunications companies, cable and national television channels, social media platforms and community radio are disseminating key messages on handwashing, social distancing and social stigma;

1.4.    Vulnerable and disadvantaged community groups (migrant families, aged households, woman-headed households etc.) have received ’solidarity packages’ (food baskets etc.) or cash transfers; 

2.1.    Local Government Institutions (LGIs) have provided more safe water, appropriate latrines and handwashing facilities in health care centres and schools; 

2.2.    Households have received support from LGIs and NGOs to maintain their latrines and handwashing facilities, and thereby stop open defecation; 

2.3.    Communities have received support from LGIs and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to maintain chlorination and operation and maintenance of piped water systems and tube-wells;

2.4.    LGIs, Government of Bangladesh Departments, local administrations and NGOs have mobilized volunteers and organised training and equipment for burial workers.

Results from previous phases:   This is a single-phase project with no previous opening credit.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Foreign private sector South/East
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • United Nations Children’s Fund

Other partners
SDC will provide contributions to 1) UNDP, 2) UNICEF and 3) selected Non-governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations.
Coordination with other projects and actors Relevant Government of Bangladesh partners at national, district, upazila and union levels as per the Country Preparedness and Response Plan. Existing response plans of UNICEF, UNDP, Civil Society Organizations, as well as SDC-supported projects in the Democratic Governance, Safer Migration and Income and Economic Development domains.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’020’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’919’530
Project phases

Phase 1 01.06.2020 - 31.05.2022   (Completed)