The European Union funded project, Awareness with Human Action (AHA!), supported the efforts of activist Mohan Rabidas, founder of the nonprofit Jagoron Youth Forum. Rabidas’ involvement with the tea estate communities is well documented in Bangladeshi news media.1 The AHA! project leveraged his leadership and deep connection to address distinctive threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic within tea communities. These include large gaps in awareness about COVID-19, the rise in hate speech and misinformation, an obvious fraying of social cohesion, and poorly coordinated and counter-productive health responses. It focused on 14 tea estates in Sylhet’s Moulvibazar District with the goal of reaching more than 10,000 workers and their families. The effort can be viewed as part of the long-standing efforts by civil society groups working to strengthen these communities, alongside various programs supported by the Bangladesh government and the private owners of tea estates.
This case review highlights insights gained from Rabidas’ work within the tea communities to communicate about the COVID-19 pandemic, and the potential of such direct community support to address the obstacles that stand in the way of the women, men, and children in vulnerable communities