This report provides data and analysis to inform the humanitarian sector on the implementation of accountability systems for the Rohingya camps in the Cox’s Bazar area, Bangladesh. Based on a knowledge, attitudes and practice (KAP) survey of 373 people (194 women and 179 men), and a review of accountability pilot projects, the analysis highlights the ineffectiveness of current accountability systems, and explores alternatives that could improve the overall accountability ecosystem. If the humanitarian sector is serious about accountability, then we need to promptly and comprehensively address the issues arising in this report and tailor accountability systems towards Rohingya preferences and practices. The first phase of the response was understandably chaotic, but now is the time to ensure we are accountable to the people that need it most, and that this process contributes to a more adaptive response based on community needs and wants.
The overall message for humanitarian responders is that we need to collectively and urgently improve our current ineffective accountability practices. For humanitarian donors, the message is that you should demand effective accountability mechanisms and be unwilling to accept the perpetuation of current ineffective mechanisms.
Current Accountability Systems are Largely Ineffective: there is an overreliance on complaint boxes and phone lines that are the least preferred and least trusted mechanisms, and are generally unused.
Lack of Awareness: only 16% of women and 25% of men are aware of any feedback and complaints mechanism. Thus, accountability is about more than rolling out systems, it also requires significant orientation for frontline humanitarian workers/volunteers and Rohingya communities.
Major Gender Differences: women and men have very different attitudes towards accountability. For example, women indicated substantially higher demand to provide feedback and different preferences for accountability mechanisms than men. Women’s already distinct vulnerabilities in the camps are compounded by ineffective accountability mechanisms.
Many Accountability Barriers: low levels of Rohingya literacy, language differences and cultural norms that restrict many women from public space are some of the main challenges for ensuring effective accountability mechanisms.
Verbal and Face-to-Face Preferences: both women and men indicated preferences for verbal and face-to-face mechanisms, such as meeting with individuals and using voice recorders.
Confidentiality Preferred: over 95% of women and 80% of men reported confidentiality as important for accountability mechanisms. This poses unique challenges considering the concurrent preference for verbal and face-to-face accountability mechanisms.
Low Rights Understanding: only 27% of women and 17% of men report that they understand their rights related to humanitarian assistance. Across many other specific rights’ areas, women and men reported varying, but generally low understanding of their rights.
Varied Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) Results: generally people felt assistance was appropriate (although women less so than men), but people largely felt it was not timely and they lacked influence in decision making: 39% of women and 54% of men felt they had no influence at all in decision making.