Over the past four decades, Rohingya refugees have been fleeing in successive waves to Bangladesh from Rakhine State, Myanmar. Since August 2017, an estimated 715,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh, where approximately 860,000 refugees are now residing in 34 camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas. In response to this refugee influx, national and international organisations alongside the government of Bangladesh have been delivering humanitarian assistance.
Within this context, a core component of the 2019 Joint Response Plan (JRP) was to ensure the meaningful and dignified inclusion of all at-risk groups, including persons with disabilities. Building upon these priorities, protection mainstreaming, including the equitable consideration and inclusion of individuals across all age groups and persons with disabilities, was incorporated into the 2020 JRP as a cross-cutting issue. While the heightened risk of persons with disabilities and older persons is generally recognized by affected populations and humanitarian actors alike, there remains a lack of data on disability prevalence across camps as well as on the needs, barriers and preferences of older persons and persons with disabilities; hindering effective evidence-based inclusive programming.
Against this background, REACH, with support from the Age and Disability Working Group (ADWG), conducted an Age and Disability Inclusion Needs Assessment across Rohingya refugee populations. The assessment aimed to support key actors working in Cox’s Bazar, including coordination bodies and technical agencies and actors, to consider the nuanced and specific requirements, access to services and assistance, and involvement of persons with disabilities across all age groups, and older persons living in Rohingya camps, within the response programming.
The assessment was coordinated through the ADWG, and implemented with technical contributions from the Age and Disability Task Team (ADTT). The ADTT consisted of representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration Needs and Population Monitoring (IOM NPM), the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector, and REACH. Additional technical contributions were made by Humanity & Inclusion (HI), CBM and the Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), and Prottyashi.
The assessment consisted of two primary data collection components – a quantitative household survey and a qualitative component consisting of focus group discussions (FGDs). The quantitative component was implemented in all 34 camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas. A stratified cluster sampling approach was employed, with the camps as strata and households as clusters. Information related to disability prevalence was collected through the Washington Group Questions (WGQs) on all household members in sampled households aged 2 and above.
Information on service utilisation, access barriers and enablers, as well as participation and disaster preparedness was collected on sub-samples of those individuals.
Household-level results are representative at a 95% confidence level and with a 2% margin of error at the response level, and at a 90% confidence level and with a 10% margin of error at the camp-level. Results at the individual level are representative at a 95% confidence level and with a 3% margin of error for 2 to 4 year-olds, and with a 2% margin of error for 5 to 17 year-olds as well as for 18 to 99 year-olds. In total, 2,530 household interviews, covering 11,187 individuals aged 2 and above, were carried out between 30 November 2020 and 7 January 2021.
Basic descriptive analysis was conducted, complemented by statistical significance testing for differences in outcomes between persons with and without disabilities, overall as well as for different age groups and genders, by types of functional difficulty, and between households with and without persons with disabilities. FGDs were conducted to further contextualise quantitative findings and provide more detailed insights into the specific barriers persons with disabilities and older persons face accessing services, participating in community life and in disaster preparedness, as well as potential solutions. A total of 20 FGDs were conducted with older persons with and without disabilities, adults with disabilities, children with disabilities (aged 11 to 17), and caregivers of children with disabilities, between 12 January and 8 February 2021.