Data Visualization: NGOs Helping To Fight The COVID-19 Battle

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused chaos all over the world. Government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are all working together tirelessly to contain the lethal virus from spreading even further. Amidst all these, financial uncertainties, economic downturn and local employment sector have not been spared from being impacted severely.

As the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted and disrupted the lives of many, those who are already living in poverty and who are vulnerable such as elderly people and unfortunate families, are being pushed even deeper into difficulty. At the same time, many of those who are earning on a daily basis wage have lost their livelihood during this critical time. For further reading on how the COVID-19 impacts the Malaysian economy, please visit the link here.  

Some people may not even know that there are literally hundreds of NGOs out there that are currently helping people with their own initiatives. Some distribute foods, some provide PPE (personal protective equipment) and other medical equipment, some provide mental/careline support. Essentially, all these NGOs are working tirelessly alongside the government so that the affected individuals will not be forgotten, will not be left in the dark and at the very least, some help is given to them.

At PUTRA, we believe that the contribution of NGOs during this time of crisis is immensely huge and underappreciated. Hence, this is the reason why we decided to conduct a mini research on the NGOs that are specifically helping the community in getting through these hard times.

We started off by gathering the data of more than 100 NGOs from all 14 states in Malaysia, where we try to highlight some of the initiatives that are being spearheaded by the NGOs. In general, we found out that there are plenty of different initiatives with each having different target audiences.

Our research team has categorized the types of initiatives into two categories and further divided into two subgroups:

  1. Goods
    1. Food (packed meals)
    2. Cash Support
    3. Home Essentials (groceries & household items)
    4. Medical Equipment (PPEs, masks & face shields)
  1. Services
    1. Careline Support
    2. Others (environment & animal welfare)

Below is the table of initiatives that have been spearheaded by the NGOs:

InititativesNo. Of Initiatives
Food (packed meals)56
Medical Equipment (PPEs, masks & face shields)27
Cash Support15
Careline Support10
Home Essentials (groceries & household items)8
Others (environment & animal welfare)4

Our research team has found out that the majority of the initiatives all over Malaysia are through the provision of basic necessities such as food and home essentials and these initiatives are mobilized by at least 58 NGOs all around Malaysia. While some NGOs distribute food and groceries to the needy people, some 15 NGOs provide cash support for the people to buy groceries. This shows that the COVID-19 outbreak highlights the vulnerability of these groups, especially the B40s and the M40s, who are earning daily wages and suddenly see that their income level drops drastically and they have no one else to depend on.

One of the most interesting findings discovered by our research team was the number of careline support provided during the Movement Control Order (MCO). With at least 10 NGOs providing free careline support hotlines, this shows just how important mental health is especially during the MCO period.

While the fight continues for our frontline heroes, some 27 NGOs involved in the production of medical equipment such as the PPEs, face masks and the plastic face shields — this is to give a fighting chance for our heroes fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not forgetting the animals and green environment which indirectly have also been affected by this crisis, a total of 4 NGOs have voluntarily started a fundraising to support animals and environments. For example, an NGO has virtually organised a flower-planting competition between the neighbourhood community. The goal is to help save the environment as well as monitoring the mental health of the community.

In between all these, there are some NGOs who contributed to more than one initiative. This is well reflected in our research findings shown in the Venn diagram (below) where for example, NGO ABC is contributing to more than one initiative, hence the overlapping of the Venn circles.

For the exact value of NGOs that are contributing to more than one initiative, please refer to the table in appendice below.

Generally, the result of our research on the NGOs initiatives can be seen in the image below:

In the future, we would like to explore more about the workflow of these NGOs, how the government could better coordinate these initiatives, along with the pain points related to the nature of their work. If you want to contribute to this effort, please do not hesitate to show your interest by writing to us.

Despite being forced to stay at home, the pandemic has brought us Malaysians closer together – from the government to NGOs in fighting off this virus together.

With that being said, #StayAtHome, stay safe & see you in our next article!

This piece is written by:

  1. Haziq Jamaludin, Partner (Research) at PUTRA.
  2. Yassier Mohammed, Research Associate at PUTRA.
  3. Nabilah Askandar, Research Associate at PUTRA.
  4. Syafiqah Zukaffli, Research Associate at PUTRA.


InitiativesNo. of NGOs
Food & Medical Equipment8
Food & Home Essentials6
Food & Cash4
Cash & Medical Equipment3
Food, Cash & Medical Equipment1
Food, Home Essentials & Medical Equipment1
Home Essentials & Medical Equipment1

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