Rohingya Crisis - Bangladesh

Image: Save the Children.

Image: Save the Children.

The movement of almost one million Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh has unfolded into one of the largest humanitarian crises globally. The majority of AHP partners have been responding since the outset of this latest influx of Rohingya from Myanmar into Bangladesh in 2017. The AHP is now in its third, multi-year response to the crisis, supported by the Australian Government. This third phase response runs until June 2023.  

The AHP Response

In September 2017, the Australian Government directed AU $6 million of its humanitarian assistance package to the Rohingya crisis through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership. Oxfam Australia - who partnered with CARE Australia - and Save the Children Australia were selected to deliver the AHP response. Between them, the organisations focused on the provision of clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene, health, protecting those vulnerable to abuse or not receiving required services, and the provision of education and basic survival items. Combined, the initial AHP response reached over 280,000 people, over half of whom were women and girls. Approximately 13% of all people reached were people with a disability. 

A video from the AHP Bangladesh consortium providing an overview of the Phase III response.

In 2019, Australia provided AU $9.9 million as part of a second phase of support to the Rohingya crisis, bringing the total AHP response to almost $16 million. Save the Children formed the Inclusive Communities consortium with CARE Australia, Oxfam Australia and Humanity and Inclusion. Funding was also provided to Plan International Australia and World Vision Australia. Partners focused on WASH, the protection and inclusion of women, children, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups; education; adolescent reproductive health and support for host communities, with the goal of reaching close to 200,000 people across 18 camps and host communities. 

In 2020, AHP partners came together as a single consortium to further continue Australia’s support to the Rohingya in Bangladesh through a multi-year response that will run until June 2023. This third phase is supported by an additional AU $44 million in funding from the Australian Government.

Complementing the Rohingya Response in Bangladesh, the AHP is supporting Australia’s humanitarian assistance to Myanmar, through the Education in Emergencies response (more information can be found here).

Rohingya refugee women dry their reusable menstrual clothes in dark indoor spaces due to lack of privacy outside - leading to a greater risk of infection. Menstrual hygiene is a huge challenge for Rohingya refugee women with limited privacy in the camps. Video: Care Australia.

Response Highlights

  • World Vision established four men’s Tea Corners where they engage men on issues facing women and children, including providing meeting places for Women’s Watch Committees – a sub-committee that sits under Protection Committees. Through these committees, which now number 50, Rohingya community representatives support activities aimed at upholding safety in the camps. 

  • As part of the Save the Children-led consortium, Save the Children and CARE Australia are providing a range of health services through health posts in nine camps, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents, antenatal care, immunisations, and psychological healthcare. So far, 52,221 people have been reached. 

  • CARE, with RTM International, is supporting health services provision in Government of Bangladesh health clinics in the camps. This approach ensures health care is provided at a high level within the country health system for the Rohingya communities. 

  • Adolescent and reproductive health services and awareness raising is a significant focus of the AHP Rohingya response, with information, counselling services and referral pathways in place within all camps where AHP partners are working. 

  • In phase 2, World Vision established a water network system to provide safe drinking water to 7,282 people. The system was developed to be inclusive for people with disabilities and included latrines and handwashing stations. Monitoring data showed that 96.8 percent of the target population were accessing clean water, and 100 percent were accessing latrines. For people with disabilities, 91.5 percent said they could more easily access safe water and 100 percent reported better access to sanitation facilities.

  • An independent evaluation of phase two of the AHP Rohingya Response found that all activities undertaken by AHP partners were relevant to the context. Beneficiary surveys indicated 80 percent of respondents across all target groups found the humanitarian activities to be highly relevant to their needs. The draft evaluation found that AHP activities adequately contributed to the longer-term resilience of affected communities and broader recovery and stabilisation efforts.

  • AHP partners have adapted to COVID-19 in their programs. For example, Save the Children ensured continued education for 8,285 children through home-based, small-scale learning sessions despite COVID-19 school closures. Learning points were established in the camps to engage with school-aged children and prepare them to transition back into the classroom once schools reopen. Plan International established 80 home-based learning facilities for more than 1,000 adolescents.

Recent field stories from the Bangladesh Response