. first callout
. situation update
. networks
. identifying the families
. photography
. distribution
. conclusion & outlook
. why private?
. donate
. monitoring & accounting

situation update meanwhile factories in Bangladesh are allowed to work, if the provide corona-compatible conditions. Since public transport is still canceled. If one cannot reach the workplace, the factory doesn't need to pay. In shipbreaking estimated 1 in 10 can go to work.
Garment industry suffers from huge order cancellations from western fashion companies. The government supports any kind of companies with cheap loans to pay wages, but the workers don't feel much of it. Only garment workers - due to international pressure - meanwhile usually have working contracts - the rest usually doesn't.
In major cities the government sells a limited amount of subsidized staple food to everyone (oms program).
The emergency program for extreme poor applies only in home villages, but millions of extreme poor migrated to the cities for work.
2 papers by brac: survey (21.3.20 – 5.4.20) and poverty impact of covid19
Dhaka Tribune

Network 1: shipbreaking workers Bhateri /Salimpur Unions, Sitakunda, Chittagong Division
Since 2 years I cooperate with a group of shipbreaking workers. They processed the identification of the families, the distribution and the documentation without any financial reward. The area is full of shipbreaking secondary commerce: second hand products, peeling pvc from copper cables, cold steel processing, liquid gas, waste oil business, asbestos board carpentry. Most of those workers are day labourers. Also steelmills and ordinary commerce. Some villages and colonies blocked themselves. After police intervention their road barriers are dismantled.

Network 2: Dhaka & Suburbs our consultant and friend from Dhaka with Bashi cooperate with others in the Corona Resistance Emergency Committee. To distribute a small food program they formed 8 local groups in the slum and working class areas where their members live. They know the poorest in the areas (beggars, elderly, daylabourers with families). The committee will receive some of the donations of our next round.

photography and video-survey
Our group of shipbreaking workers took pictures and realised a video survey. Not only for proof, but primarily to catch a feeling for the people as human beings in a special period of time. (1) what is your name
(2) what is your village
(3) how many member your family.
(4) where you work
(5) is your company running?
(6) if yes: do you go job
(7) if 6 no: why not
(8) did you get before any food support other organization
(9) if 3 month stop, how can you organize your family or what will happen.
starting with 3rd round:
(10) does the mosque support the poorest of the community? /your opinion about?
(11) what would you do now, if you'd be prime minister?

Corona emergency food program


identifying the families Each member of the group of shipbreaking workers short-listed 50 people from his environment and collected ID card copies and phone numbers. Than they disscussed the 1200 people and identified 120 for the first round. The recipients were finalised by a video-survey at their villages.

Priscilla Raj, Bashi, Dhaka: “identifying the families is the main task. the volunteers are doing it. they are spread in the slums in these areas and know their neighbours well. with that existing knowledge they are following up regularly who got aid and who not. they list families most in need and send it to Momin. Momin shortlists from the lists coming from everywhere. before finally giving the food he cross-checks with volunteers on the day of distribution. […] the details of the receivers he sent looks solid from the view of the occupations. [why food not money?] we are giving food because when you buy in a lot you can get it cheaper. we also fear that if we give the money it may be spent otherwise, for example to pay debt. and they will starve again. our sole aim is to keep them alive until bigger help comes. It's the least you can do in these great time of disaster. however, a teachers group from Rajshshi University sent 15 thousand [160€] and wanted it to be given as cash which we complied with.”

first callout read

monitoring & accounting

please forward please donate
April May 2020 to be continued

conclusion & outlook In the 1st round we agreed on a big share of generally extreme poor and day-labourers from the scrap business in the Sitakunda. Shipbreaking due to the hazards is generally a bit less badly payed than other, which means that a 12 hours day depending on the qualification makes at least 5€ gross pay. Single workers work in shipbreaking to support their families. In our 2nd round the pressure increased: On request Anukta admitted, that the people don't love them due to the program: if 5 are shortlisted in a colony, 2 receive a package and 3 disappointed or even angry are a majority. The 3rd round will follow just before Eid al-Fitr (25.may). Eid-Al-Fitr in a muslim society is comparable to christmas in western societies: usually all people travel home for 2 weeks, except they couldn't afford gifts, because e.g. the eid-bonus wasn't payed. Unpaid eid-bonuses are a regular issue of protest every year. Athmosphere in the country will heat up. The pressure on our people will raise. “I saw a man, who did not eat in 2 days”: After less than 2 months lockdown the situation is not comparable to the famines in the 1970ies. The achievements of the poor don't dissolve completely within two months. But the bowls are empty. But in the lower classes the fear to survive clearly dominates the fear for corona. Confidence in the government is low and people talk about 70% embezzlement of governmental supports. At least the civil society in Bangladesh is comparably strong.

why private? Why we organise it privately? The application to register their non-profit association meanders since 18 months from one to the other officer. To transfer it officially we needed to pass the examination of the ngo-bureau. That would take time. The befriended ngo Bashi doesn't have any experience or capacity, the acknowlegement of donations to foreign countries from the German side is not trivial as well. All intermediate ngos would cause far higher costs than tax deduction in Germany could save. Our budget shows: it can't be more effective. But it would be not fair to compare it to ngos, even our group will exhaust, if they continue like that.
If you like it more official I still recommend to donate to Netz-Bangladesch.

Money transfer: Almost 2 years ago we tested and than skipped bank account transfer. If workers receive foreign money on their own account, they have to proof they are not criminal. They had to show up in bank 3 times and the limits of arbitrariness of the employee were not clear. The bad exchange rate of western union is still better, although they also start to question at above 800 €. Picking up is another story. Long lines on one single day per week during lockdown. Due to the process duration I first sent a buffer. A small share of it they used for a bicycle.

please donate

you could transfer to my sepa account or use paypal private transfer to the above mentioned email address, even cash happened already.