On the World Refugee Day 2021, we reflect on the work of UN Volunteers serving in Bangladesh, who have been involved in supporting the response to Rohingya crisis.
From the initial days of the Rohingya crisis, the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme in Bangladesh has been contributing to the Rohingya refugee response. The organization has deployed UN Volunteers with expertise in education, WASH, healthcare, research, nutrition, child protection, human rights, mental health, prevention of gender based violence, youth and adolescent development, as well as other areas in the refugee camps. These have served across various UN entities, including UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, WHO, UN Women, UNHCR, and IOM.
Currently, 23 UN Volunteers are supporting the response to the Rohingya refugee situation in Bangladesh. They are involved in medical care, awareness raising initiatives on COVID-19 and vaccinations, assist strategic communications through digital and social media platforms, work with local partners to fight against gender-based violence, and ensure provision of education to children and adolescents.
"In the humanitarian response, for example, urgent needs can arise at any time. So, UNV gives us the opportunity for immediate and quick actions to ensure human capacities are at hand." --Godffrey Braxton Okot, Child Protection Specialist with UNICEF in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
Among other activities, the UN Volunteers also support nutritional services to Rohingya children and mothers to keep them well-nourished.
"I frequently visit the Rohingya camps as a part of my work. There are hundreds of centres under child protection, and 32 camps for Rohingya children and adolescents. These adolescents and children are able to learn about their mental health, to improve basic literacy and address other needs. I have heard of cases where refugee adolescents at the camps have prevented child marriages. I find such stories very heartwarming. I feel proud and excited about the work I do with UNICEF as a UN Volunteer." --UN Volunteer Hridita Syeda, Child Protection Officer with UNICEF in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
"In addition to my core tasks, I’m especially proud to have been involved in supporting the research on bathing facilities and behaviors at the camps. This is an essential target of the WASH sector and is especially needed to deal with challenges faced by women. We want to reach all beneficiaries and cater to their needs, including finding gender-sensitive and culturally-adaptive solutions for the women to bathe in the camps." --UN Volunteer Samia Aboni, UN Volunteer Knowledge Management and Reporting Officer, UNICEF Bangladesh