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Asia

Bangladesh

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FRAGILITY RANKING

39th out of 178 countries


Overview

By most indicators, Bangladesh is on track to overcome aspects of its own fragility. However, the country’s path towards sustainable development is not without its challenges – including frequent natural disasters, gender inequality, and hostilities between host communities and refugees, whose numbers continue to rise after the large influx since August 2017. To date, nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees have moved across the border into Cox’s Bazar district after fleeing persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The sheer scale of the Rohingya refugee protracted crisis threatens to reverse the country’s development gains, plunging Rohingya refugees and the surrounding Bangladeshi communities into extreme poverty.

As a low-lying country along the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is at the forefront of the climate crisis and is routinely ravaged by heavy monsoon rains, landslides, and tropical cyclones. Yet, despite these attempts to derail the country’s progress, Bangladesh has made major strides towards development and poverty reduction since the country became independent in 1971.

However, pockets of fragility continue to exist throughout the country. Nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees are living in dire conditions in Cox’s Bazar District camps (Ukhiya and Teknaf), the world’s largest refugee camps. Overcrowding in the densely populated camps puts residents at greater risk for disease, crime, gender-based violence (GBV), risk of exploitation and abuse, and human trafficking especially for children, women and people with disabilities. These settlements, which are clustered along Bangladesh’s coastline, are also prone to natural disasters such as floods during Bangladesh’s monsoon season (June-October), and massive fires during dry season (November-March).

Despite the considerable number of international aid organizations and local nonprofits responding to the crisis, the needs of both the Rohingya refugees and the Bangladeshi host communities remain vast.

Relief International first began operating in Bangladesh in 2004. Our programs tackled widespread poverty at a time when Bangladesh’s economic growth had fallen to historic lows. Our programs and teams focused on rebuilding livelihoods in the Sundarban Mangrove Zone, an ecologically critical region, as well as supporting communities in over 20 districts across southwestern and northern Bangladesh to ensure gender rights, access to health care and education, and to combat unsafe migration and human trafficking.

In the wake of the Rohingya crisis, starting from 2017 we expanded our programs to meet the most urgent needs of refugees and surrounding Bangladeshi host communities.

Our work applies a community-driven approach, bridging gaps in access to essential services and building resilience within target communities and populations in Cox’s Bazar:

  • Providing high-quality healthcare services (Including COVID-19, MHPSS and Nutrition services) to Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar District refugee camps and to members of the neighboring Bangladeshi host communities.
  • Training Rohingya and Host Community Health Workers to detect outbreaks of disease in their communities before these cases spread and reach our clinics.
  • Preventing, mitigating, and responding to gender-based violence, with 11 dedicated spaces that have programming for women, girls, men and boys to encourage a life free of violence.
  • Encouraging the protection and safety of children in the camps’ area, through a variety of programming for children in our 18 multi-purpose centres
  • Working with local farmers’ groups to improve their production techniques, to increase yields, and to establish market linkages between farmers, retailers, and the refugees in the camps.
  • Setting up youth development centres in the district that provide IT training, job skills training, and connections with local employers for unemployed youth, to foster social cohesion, and create sustainable, market-oriented livelihood opportunities.
  • Delivering health and protection services and critical supplies of water, shelter, and hygiene kits in the event of emergencies such as landslides, monsoons, floods, fires and cyclones.
  • Strengthening disaster management planning, technical capacity, and public awareness on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and emergency preparedness. Along with enhancing risk management capacity and supporting immediate risk mitigation of water-borne disease through improved access to clean and safe water, hygiene promotion, and distribution of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) Non-Food Items (NFIs).
  • Promoting a sense of place and connection to bring the community together to understand and address environmental issues adversely affecting the mangrove forest in southwestern Bangladesh.

“When the crisis unfolded, refugees — mostly women and children — arrived traumatized, and some have arrived with severe physical injuries. The harsh reality is that the response to this crisis needs to be much more robust in addressing the longer-term needs of the Rohingya, particularly those related to mental health. It may take years before they can return safely to their villages in Myanmar, if ever.” shares Bangladesh Country Director, Giorgio Trombatore.


Our 2021 Impact in Bangladesh
116K
healthcare consultations provided
477K
people educated on healthy practices in Bangladesh
68K
people who received protection and support services from Relief International
6.6K
young people receiving livelihoods skills training in Bangladesh
Video
4:29

Relief International's Work in Bangladesh

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Relief International's Work in Bangladesh

Learn more about Relief International’s health, protection, and economic opportunity work in Bangladesh.

Stories From Bangladesh

Learn more about our work in Bangladesh from our staff and program participants.

Bangladesh

“Climate Change is the biggest challenge we are currently facing”

Rehana supports her family of 6 based on what she can grows and sell. Unfortunately, climate change is impacting how much food she can produce.

 

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Bangladesh

New center for young people opens in Ukhiya, Bangladesh

This month a new resource center has opened to give young people a place where they can share their ideas and experiences about finding work, and access training and support.

 

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Bangladesh

“I was so happy to see the staff take care of my baby as if he were their own”

Safely delivered during COVID-19

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Bangladesh

Cox’s Bazar: Stories of Recovery and Resilience from a COVID-19 Ward

Since the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic, Relief International’s team on the ground have been preparing for the virus’s eventual arrival in Cox’s Bazar. We began ramping up our response months before the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in mid-May.

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Bangladesh

Two Years Later: The Rohingya Refugee Crisis Continues

Relief International’s programs continue to support the diverse needs of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees living in vulnerable situations in Bangladesh.

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Bangladesh

Rohingya Crisis: “I’ve never shared my story before.”

Inside Relief International’s Women & Girl Friendly Spaces in Kutupalong refugee camp, roughly 100 women gather each day to escape the realities of life inside the camp.

 

 

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Bangladesh

Life among the Mangroves: Eco-Tourism in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans Forest

Bangladeshi communities have long relied on the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest for their lives and livelihoods, exposing these critical resources to overexploitation. In recent years, Relief International has partnered with local communities to launch eco-friendly businesses that provide jobs while protecting this natural site.

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Bangladesh

“Climate Change is the biggest challenge we are currently facing”

The-youth-Mariam-Akter-is-sharing-her-thought-during-the-opening-event.jpg

Bangladesh

New center for young people opens in Ukhiya, Bangladesh

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Bangladesh

“I was so happy to see the staff take care of my baby as if he were their own”

hero-bangladesh-covid19-07092020.jpg

Bangladesh

Cox’s Bazar: Stories of Recovery and Resilience from a COVID-19 Ward

Bangladesh. Rachel Elkind/RI

Bangladesh

Two Years Later: The Rohingya Refugee Crisis Continues

Bangladesh. Rachel Elkind/RI

Bangladesh

Rohingya Crisis: “I’ve never shared my story before.”

RI Staff/RI

Bangladesh

Life among the Mangroves: Eco-Tourism in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans Forest

Copy-of-Copy-of-Bangladesh-Climate-Campaign-3.png
The-youth-Mariam-Akter-is-sharing-her-thought-during-the-opening-event.jpg
copy-of-baby-website-e1621450392242.png
hero-bangladesh-covid19-07092020.jpg
Bangladesh. Rachel Elkind/RI
Bangladesh. Rachel Elkind/RI
RI Staff/RI
Copy-of-Copy-of-Bangladesh-Climate-Campaign-3.png

“Climate Change is the biggest challenge we are currently facing”

The-youth-Mariam-Akter-is-sharing-her-thought-during-the-opening-event.jpg

New center for young people opens in Ukhiya, Bangladesh

copy-of-baby-website-e1621450392242.png

“I was so happy to see the staff take care of my baby as if he were their own”

hero-bangladesh-covid19-07092020.jpg

Cox’s Bazar: Stories of Recovery and Resilience from a COVID-19 Ward

Bangladesh. Rachel Elkind/RI

Two Years Later: The Rohingya Refugee Crisis Continues

Bangladesh. Rachel Elkind/RI

Rohingya Crisis: “I’ve never shared my story before.”

RI Staff/RI

Life among the Mangroves: Eco-Tourism in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans Forest

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Featured Project

Integrated Services for Rohingya Refugees and Host Communities in Cox's Bazar.

With new arrivals of Rohingya refugees in 2022, Bangladesh is expected to host more than 1 million Rohingya refugees by the end of 2022. For this reason, RI’s focus remains on building a favorable environment in the settlements, advancing protection and gender mainstreaming, strengthening access to basic primary care health services, and improving the refugees’ quality of life through the empowerment of the community, and the strengthening of community-based structures already in place.

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Bangladesh. Rachel Elkind/RI