Since 25 August 2017, more than 745,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar and crossed into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Not only has the pace of new arrivals made this the fastest growing refugee crisis, the concentration of refugees in Cox’s Bazar is one of the densest in the world. And 52 percent of the refugee population are women (Inter-Sector Coordination Group).
Why incorporate gender perspective?
• Gender perspective facilitates a bottom-up approach and a more inclusive community level participation to programming.
• In the host community, Enhancing Food Security and Nutrition (EFSN) project targeted 20,000 women over a period of 24 months.
Participants receive cash for training to initiate income generating activities. This is complemented with regular group consultations to discuss major challenges women face in the local communities. Till now, women groups have saved over USD 557,000 in their respective group bank accounts.
• In the camps, Self reliance Programme targeted 14,000 individuals, mostly women, to strengthen capacities and build self-resilience through portable skills training.
Where do we stand?
• WFP assistance cards are issued in the name of the senior woman of the household, which contributes to enhanced decision making capabilities of women and control over resources.
• Every general food assistance point, and Help Desks are facilitated by at least one women staff/ volunteer, which serves as a safe haven for women.
• Nutrition assistance is provided for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under five to improve nutritional and food security status.
• In the school feeding programme, It has been noted that attendance rate increased by 81 percent for girls in host community schools.
• 11 WFP beneficiaries from the Livelihoods Programme are participating to the Farmers’ Market pilot project in the camps. They sell their crops to an average of 25,000 refugees every month.
The Way Forward
• WFP plans to transition 100 percent of refugee population to e-voucher modality thereby providing more choices to the beneficiaries and enhancing dignity.
• Develop more inclusive programmes, such as FAO and WFP growing partnership, wherein local supply chain — host community farmers, including women — can be integrated to provide additional food assistance to refugees through the Farmers’ Market. In 2020, more markets are planned around the camps.
• In 2020, the self-reliance for refugees programme will engage an additional 25,000 participants, targeting vulnerable households across the camps, and the EFSN programme will target an additional 10,000 women.
• Increase participation of women volunteers in disaster risk reduction and site maintenance works.
Presently, over 10 percent volunteers in Disaster Risk Reduction (cash for work) are female.
• Engage in wider public advocacy for gender mainstreaming, in line with this WFP organized a cooking competition (with the minimum food basket and cooking stoves) on women’s day between all the head of offices of UN agencies in Cox’s Bazar.