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May 17

SAJIDA Foundation combats Covid-19 as beacon of hope

Since April the organization has rapidly diverted its resources and operations to tackle the issue from multiple frontiers

Microfinance institution SAJIDA Foundation have spurred into action by rapidly reorienting activities to serve the large majority of the country’s most vulnerable amid the countrywide shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since April the organization has rapidly diverted its resources and operations to tackle the issue from multiple frontiers, says a press release.

On the health front, one of its secondary-care hospitals have been dedicated to the treatment and isolation of Covid-19 patients, while the other has continued general medical services focusing particularly on maternal and child care.

In terms of economic support, SAJIDA’s microfinance program has undertaken emergency preventive and protective protocols to safeguard its members against health and livelihood shocks.

SAJIDA’s microfinance field officers have maintained continuous contact with members over the phone.

At the same time, nearly 2,000 field forces have reached 0.4 million microfinance members (with daily calls to around 20,000 members) with life-saving information regarding the prevention and treatment of Covid-19.

Mass awareness raising efforts have included leaflet distribution as well as household visits, while maintaining social distancing measures. SAJIDA staff, along with over 500 volunteers, have distributed leaflets among 2,59,253 people while frontline workers visited door to door in an effort to build community awareness which is crucial to curtailing spreading of the disease.

Based on an assessment of the needs of its microfinance members during this crisis, SAJIDA has extended support in the form of cash and kind, where appropriate.

The organization has determined that 10% of its members (approximately 40,000 families) require some form of direct cash support and is committed to bearing this support through its own funds.

SAJIDA’s Agriculture Unit has also actively engaged in creating market linkages for small scale farmers who have been unable to reach wholesale buyers on time or get competitive prices due to restrictions in public transport and mobility.

In the interest of its members, SAJIDA is also negotiating with its financing partners for a sizeable portion of funds allocated recently by the Bangladesh Bank as part of a Tk3,000 crore revolving refinance scheme.

SAJIDA’s members have also benefitted from a “credit shield facility” which supports members through loan outstanding waivers and cash benefits during emergencies (such as death of family members).

Through this facility SAJIDA has, till date, waived fourteen outstanding loans of current members who have lost their lives to Covid-19 while also immediately transferring funeral cash benefit using mobile financial services to help manage necessary arrangements.

In accordance with guidelines of Bangladesh Microcredit Regulatory Authority, SAJIDA’s loan classifications will remain on halt till June 30.

Published on Dhaka Tribune

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