Afroza at Safe Space for women and girls
Two and half years after the initial influx began, nearly 855,000 Rohingya refugees remain in Cox’s Bazar District of Bangladesh, 54.2 percent of whom are children. As International Day of the Girl Child approaches and with gender equity as a core pillar of UNICEF’s work, we remain committed to ensuring women and girls are afforded the access to opportunities and care they need.
Within this humanitarian context, women are particularly effected. Women face restrictions on their freedom of movement as well as high levels of violence. Intimate partner violence makes up 76 percent of all cases reported to the gender-based violence (GBV) information management system, suggesting a high prevalence rate within the community. Rohingya adolescents, meanwhile, face multi-faceted and interlinked issues, including access to adequate services, information and quality learning opportunities; sociocultural challenges including exposure to violence, sexual harassment and assault; and adverse social practices such as child marriage and child labor.
With your support, UNICEF reached nearly 80,000 refugee children in 2019 with psychosocial support activities to help children build personal resilience and equip them with positive coping mechanisms. In addition, UNICEF provided over 9,360 refugee children, who were among the most vulnerable in the camps, with case management services. These children included victims of abuse, children facing child marriage, children who are at-risk or victims of trafficking and children living with neglect and other forms of violence in their homes.
A key strategic shift for UNICEF in 2019 was the integration of its adolescent programming within the Rohingya camps. In total, 52,572 adolescents participated in life skills sessions that promoted adolescents’ resilience and positive coping mechanisms to help them respond to the challenges of everyday life in the camps. Topics included health, nutrition, hygiene, child rights and protection, the environment and disaster preparedness and leadership and empowerment. The first cohort of 9,329 adolescents (54 percent female) graduated and are being supported to start businesses and find jobs.
With your generosity, UNICEF and partners reached over 34,360 adolescent girls and women with GBV prevention and response interventions through 16 safe spaces for women and girls. Additionally, through community volunteers and outreach activities, nearly 116,400 community members were reached with messages on child protection and GBV. UNICEF also distributed 22,925 dignity kits to women and girls as a way of facilitating their movements during periods of menstruation.
The Rohingya refugee population, having very few opportunities to pursue an adequate livelihood, is completely dependent on humanitarian aid. Your support in 2019 enabled UNICEF to not only scale up life-saving activities for this population, but also ensure that individuals regain a sense of dignity.
In 2020, UNICEF is working with partners to find innovative solutions for underserved communities, including adolescent girls and children with disabilities. We so appreciate your continued support and will continue to share these updates to illustrate the incredibly important contribution you are making the lives of Rohingya families.