Bangladesh: Cox’s Bazar Settlement and Protection Profiling: Round 6 Report (November 2019)

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees, REACH Initiative
Published on 26 Jan 2020 View Original


Since August 2017, an estimated 744,400 Rohingya refugees have fled from Myanmar into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, increasing the total number of refugees to around 914,998. 1 The majority are reliant on humanitarian assistance, services, and resources including shelter, food, clean water, and sanitation. Information on Rohingya households, particularly in relation to protection and services, is in need of regular updating due to the variation in service provision across settlements, challenges presented by the monsoon and cyclone seasons, and the evolving social and contextual dynamics within each settlement.

REACH, in partnership with UNHCR, conducts Settlement and Protection Profiling (SPP) assessments to support evidence-based monitoring and analysis of cross-cutting protection issues in Rohingya refugee settlements. The current round of assessment (round 6) focused on household-reported quality of life and safety in the camps, as well as vulnerabilities, demographics, and access to key services. This report compiles and summarises the key findings of SPP Round 6 and, whenever available data allows, provides a comparative analysis with data from SPP round 5 in July 2019 and SPP Round 4 in December 2018, to analyse trends over time. Please note that the assessment is not a tool for identification or monitoring of individual protection cases.

The sixth round of SPP was conducted in 33 out of 34 camps in Cox’s Bazar District from 28 October - 28 November, 2019, with Kutupalong Registered Camp (RC) being the only exception due to security considerations at that time. Surveys were conducted with households selected through simple random sampling of shelter footprints. Findings for this report are generalisable to the refugee population living in all 33 accessible camps at a 95% confidence level and a 2% margin of error, based on interviews with 3,474 households.

Key findings

Feelings of safety and security in the community

Findings point to persistent trends in perception of risk among the overall population and protection concerns affecting specific vulnerable groups. Households’ reported perception of risk for adults has decreased since the previous round and was comparatively low, relative to reported perception of risk for boys and girls. For boys and girls, the fear of kidnapping was cited by roughly half of households. Reported prevalence of family separation, including separated and unaccompanied minors, missing family members, or family members in detention was relatively low, but may be underreported. Reported rates of current or planned early marriage of children under 18 showed a downward trend when compared with the previous round of assessment (7% in SPP 5 to 2% in SPP 6), and findings on justifications for early marriage suggest that this practice may be exacerbated by the challenges of displacement. Findings indicate a high prevalence of signs of distress among the population, reportedly affecting over half of households and disproportionately affecting adult women.

Majhis continued to be the most frequently cited first port of call for reporting safety and security incidents, including general safety concerns, violence against children, and gender-based violence. Findings indicate that the proportion of households citing majhis as the first port of call for reporting serious disputes and security incidents is largely consistent with the previous round, however reporting to Camp in Charges (CiCs) has increased since the previous round. Awareness of alternative community-based protection mechanisms, specifically Community Watch Groups operating during the day, increased marginally since SPP round 5, but reported rates of awareness remain low relative to SPP data collected in late 2018. This may be indicative of the fact that some of these groups are no longer functional.

The assessment highlights areas in which camp structures and facilities directly impacted feelings of safety and security in the camps. Improved roads and paths were the most cited necessary intervention to improve safety and security in the camp. Moreover, a lack of lighting in the camps was found to be preventing universally safe access to camp facilities. Lack of lighting at latrines in particular was a protection concern for a majority of households and the second most commonly cited barrier to accessing latrines. This is supported by roughly half of households citing solar lighting as their most urgent shelter need. A majority of the 11% of households that reported paying rent were worried about meeting rent payments, and roughly half were concerned about the threat of physical harm as a result of being unable to pay rent to host communities, up from a third of households in SPP round 5. Findings indicate little improvement on reported rates of shelter locks. Declining use of firewood in favour of fuel has likely mitigated the risks associated with firewood collection.

Gaps in meaningful access to services

The assessment sought to understand household access to a wide range of basic services, in order to highlight potential barriers to equitable and dignified service provision for all. A large majority of households reported access barriers to camp healthcare facilities, widely reporting overcrowding, unavailability of medicine and medical supplies and unavailability of treatment for certain diseases. Half of households were reportedly unable to access the treatment they needed in the 30 days prior to data collection. Consistent with the previous round, roughly half of households incurred costs to supplement treatment in response to gaps in access to healthcare facilities. Moreover, households in many cases did not receive the treatment that they felt they needed. Over half of households reported concerns about receiving insufficient food or having insufficient funds to buy food, even though food distribution coverage was reportedly at 97%. Concerns about inadequate nutrition and limited variety in food distributions have decreased since the previous round, but remained pertinent nonetheless. The most common household coping strategies have remained consistent since December 2018, with households tending to rely on borrowing food or limiting food consumption.

The assessment examined the ability of all population groups to access basic services with findings indicating specific challenges to service access faced by women and children. Households were widely concerned about limitations to the education curriculum and reported a lack of appropriate educational programming for older students, with attendance rates for boys from 6-14 years old reported at a higher rate than for girls. The knock-on effect of inadequate educational opportunities for children on their future prospects and job opportunities was a widespread concern among households. This finding was consistent with the findings of the previous round. More than half of men and women reported facing problems accessing latrines, with overcrowding reported as the primary barrier to access for over half the population. Latrines being full, affected more than a third of households, and lack of gender separation at latrines disproportionately affected females. Lack of gender separation at bathing facilities was linked to female household members predominantly bathing inside their shelters.

Concerns for specific sub-groups

Households with elderly individuals: While elderly individuals are a small proportion of the population, they are disproportionately reported to face barriers in accessing services, which negatively impacts their well-being. Roughly half of elderly individuals reportedly faced challenges with mobility, and the elderly were twice as likely to require medical treatment than the general population, with elderly women disproportionately affected. Elderly individuals were also more likely to suffer from diarrhoea and incontinence. Insufficient consideration for this particularly vulnerable group in service design as well as uneven camp terrain likely contributed to barriers in accessing healthcare, WASH and education services for elderly individuals.

Households with members with a disability: Findings indicated that roughly one tenth of households included members with disabilities, which was likely under reported since the Washington Group Questions on disability were answered by proxy from the chosen respondent and were not asked about each individual household member. Households reporting the presence of at least one individual living with a disability were more likely to report health services and medicine as a priority need, and individuals with disabilities were reported to be more likely to face challenges in accessing and using WASH services, including latrines, water points and bathing facilities, as well as being more likely to suffer from diarrhoea than the general population.

Children: School attendance rates for children aged 6-14 decreased after the age of 11, with girls disproportionately affected, in part due to cultural norms. Lack of age appropriate curricula was a reported barrier to education for both boys and girls. There was no change in reported rates of children under 5 being ill with diarrhoea in the 2 weeks preceding data collection when compared with the previous round, with one fifth of children under 5 affected.
Gender: Additional findings highlighting responses disaggregated by gender of respondent can be found here: