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18 June 2024


Business Insider Bangladesh

WB approves $700mn for 2 projects in Bangladesh to support Rohingyas, host communities

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 00:30, 30 May 2024  
WB approves $700mn for 2 projects in Bangladesh to support Rohingyas, host communities

Representational photo

The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved two projects totaling $700 million to provide basic services and build disaster and social resilience for both the host communities and displaced Rohingya population in Bangladesh.

Nearly one million Rohingya have fled violence in Myanmar to Bangladesh since 2017, making it one of the largest forced displacement crises in the world, reports BSS.

"We greatly appreciate the Government of Bangladesh's generosity in supporting nearly one million Rohingya people. We also recognize the enormous pressure placed on the host communities," said Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.

He said, "With the crisis entering its seventh year, long-term planning and sustainable solutions have become critical, while also addressing short-term, urgent needs. We are fully committed to supporting the Government of Bangladesh to address this complex crisis and support the wellbeing of both the Rohingya and host communities."

The $350 million Inclusive Services and Opportunities for Host Community and Displaced Rohingya Population Project and the $350 million Host and Rohingya Enhancement of Lives Project will together provide support to the Bangladeshi host communities and the Rohingya people as this crisis enters its seventh year.

The interventions supporting the Rohingya population will be financed by the World Bank as grants under the IDA20 Window for Host Communities and Refugees.

The Inclusive Services and Opportunities for Host Communities and Displaced Rohingya Population (ISO) Project will build on active investments in livelihoods and essential health, nutrition, family planning, gender-based violence response and prevention services for at least 980,000 people in the Rohingya and host communities.

The project will prioritize investment in human capital development, with the aim to support the education of 300,000 Rohingya children under the age of 12.

"The protracted displacement crisis that the Government of Bangladesh is addressing is ultimately a challenge about supporting people, whether they are in the host community or in the displaced Rohingya population," said S. Amer Ahmed, World Bank Task Team Leader for the ISO Project.

"The ISO Project will be supporting vulnerable households in both communities to invest, protect, and use their human capital through support for temporary work, training, education, child protection, primary healthcare, nutrition, family planning, and gender-based violence response and prevention services," added Amer.

The Host and Rohingya Enhancement of Lives Project (HELP) will improve access to basic services and enhance the resilience of at least 645,000 people in the Rohingya and host communities.

Project activities will encompass urgently needed investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene; climate resilient roads; renewable energy; and multi-purpose disaster shelters - underlying foundations critical to supporting productive livelihoods.

The project will also focus on providing skills building for operations and maintenance at both the government and community levels, aiming for a dual benefit of infrastructure sustainability and longer-term skills development.

"Disaster and climate resilience are ever more critical as the crisis became protracted. The Rohingya people continue to live in extremely congested settlements and have minimal access to basic services. The host communities are also deeply impacted, with continued additional pressure on limited resources," said Swarna Kazi, World Bank Task Team Leader for HELP.

"The Host and Rohingya Enhancement of Lives Project will provide key investments to strengthen the resilience of critical infrastructure and further work to ensure they are sustained and maintained in the medium to long-term." added Kazi.

Around 70 percent of the displaced Rohingya people in Bangladesh are women and children, and half are less than 15 years of age. The two projects recognize the differentiated impact of the crisis on women, children, and other vulnerable groups.

Focused activities to address this include investments in gender-based violence prevention; safely managed, gender-sensitive, and climate resilient sanitation and hygiene facilities; solar streetlights for safety; and focused trainings for women on community-based disaster risk management.

The two projects follow the World Bank's support of $590 million grant since the onset of the crisis and are underpinned by the lessons learned through these earlier interventions, as well as learning from forced displacement crises around the world.

The World Bank has helped the Rohingya people and host communities on disaster preparedness, basic infrastructure, social protection, collaborative forest management, and income generation opportunities for the host communities.

The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence.

Since then, the World Bank has committed more than $40 billion in grants and interest-free credits to Bangladesh. In recent years, Bangladesh has been among the largest recipients of the World Bank's interest-free credits.

Walton