Empowering Rohingya communities to reduce safety risks in the refugee camps in Bangladesh

Published: Jul 4, 2019 Reading time: 2 minutes
Community members supported in 2018 by PIN and PIN’s local partner  (Centre for Social Integrity) discussing the project’s impact
© Patrick Rohr

Due to the volatile situation in Myanmar, there are more than 900 000 Rohingya refugees residing in the camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh - 80% of them are women and children. While the current, unprecedented crisis has an enormous impact on everyone, Rohingya women and girls are living in particularly vulnerable conditions. Life in overcrowded refugee camps is extremely difficult and safety is a major concern, especially at night and during the monsoon and cyclone seasons. 

Since 2017, in collaboration with our partner organizations, we have supported groups of Rohingya volunteers and community members through the “Her Safety” workshops that focus on health, safety, and empowerment topics. “The aim of the program is to engage the whole community, including men and boys, in protecting the safety and needs of women and girls, as well as other vulnerable members,” says Michala Devečková, PIN Program Manager. “In these workshops, participants identify, prioritize, and address protection risks within their surroundings and identify ways that they can improve the situation and engage others in the community as well,” she adds.

Through small grants, the community groups design and carry out simple and practical improvements in the camps, which reduce the likelihood of safety risks for families and neighbours. Some of the projects include things like the distribution of hygiene kits and installing locks in bathing facilities.

The initiative is carried out in collaboration with Alliance2015 partner Helvetas and our local partner organization PULSE Bangladesh, with support of UNHCR, German Federal Foreign Office and People in Need’s Club of Friends

This Community Safety Group organized by PIN installed a light in a public space in the camp, to improve safety while collecting water at night. 


Another safety initiative by PIN Safety Group members was the distribution of torchlights, to improve safety after the sun goes down.  

Other group projects improved part of the road in the camp, which is particularly important for children and elderly people and during the monsoon seasons, when the paths become slippery because of the mud.  

Community members supported in 2018 by PIN and PIN’s local partner (Centre for Social Integrity) discussing the project’s impact

Group of Rohingya volunteers receiving certificates after completing the “Her Safety” trainings of trainers, organized by PIN together with local partner PULSE Bangladesh

The PIN team and trained Rohingya volunteers to organize consultations with refugee community members in order to identify the protection concerns they are facing in the camp

Meeting with volunteers to collect their feedback and suggestions from the wider community

PIN Protection Officers walking through the refugee camp to deliver the workshops with volunteers

View of the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp, currently the largest refugee camp in the world

Child looks on as the Protection Workshop is organized by PIN with community volunteers

Training of Rohingya volunteers in the “Her Safety” methodology.

Author: People in need