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Review of Gender Mainstreaming in Rohingya Refugee Response in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh - Final Report30.10.2018


The purpose of the review was to assess gender mainstreaming across the Rohingya refugee response
at midterm of JRP implementation. The review was based on the following JRP commitments and
Strategic Executive Group (SEG) key actions on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and
Girls (GEEWG):

▪ Collect, analyse and use disaggregated data and analysis on gender, age and diversity
and equally consult with women, girls and marginalized groups, including during assessments and in
the overall response monitoring. Use both gender mainstreaming and targeted action for GEEWG in
preparedness, response, and recovery. These should be rights-based and gender transformative,
meet the specific needs and priorities of women, girls, men, and boys of all diversities.
▪ Support women’s economic empowerment through livelihoods and skills development
interventions (including cash-based programs) which are accessible and minimize risk to women
and girls. Adopt strategies that recognize, reduce and redistribute the unpaid care and household
responsibilities assigned to women and girls.
▪ Ensure the leadership and meaningful equal representation of women and marginalized
groups in the overall response and include strategies to minimize risk.
▪ Prevent, mitigate and respond to gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and
abuse, through systematic gender mainstreaming that addresses harmful societal and institutional
gender norms/practices. For this end, work with men and boys in achieving the goal of gender
equality and the empowerment of women and girls in humanitarian action, and in promoting
positive masculinities.

The objectives of the review were to: (i) Assess progress made implementing JRP/SEG key actions on
GEEWG; (ii) Assess GiHA WG support to sectors in gender mainstreaming; (iii) Identify gaps; and (iv) Make
recommendations for the next phase of JRP, with an action plan for implementation.


A framework of analysis was developed to guide collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, through desk review, key informant interviews (KIIs), observation and ISCG needs assessment workshops for JRP mid-term review.

Limitations of the Review
Joint field visit activities of the review were conducted during the rainy monsoon season which constrained direct interactions with refugees in the camps to get their views on the gender responsiveness of services across the sectors. To compensate for this limitation, GiHA WG drew from recently published assessment and gender analyses. The limited timeframe for conducting the review and its being conducted concurrently with the broader JRP midterm review delayed/slowed the collection of data. The mitigation strategy for this was for the GiHA WG team leading the review to jointly work with the ISCG JRP midterm review team to identify gender mainstreaming needs in host community and JRP review workshops.

Key findings: 

The review found strategy documents and guidance notes of sectors and agencies acknowledge the importance of collecting, analyzing and using sex and age disaggregated data (SADD) in planning and reporting the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Some good examples of how SADD has been used to inform programming include interventions and mechanisms for prevention and response to GBV. Older women and men among Rohingya refugees were identified to be facing challenges in accessing humanitarian services – with women facing more challenges than men. Other interventions informed by SADD include siting and design of WASH facilities and identification, and prioritization of the most vulnerable members of the refugee community for nutrition preventive and treatment services. However, collection and use of SADD is currently not consistent across sectors. There is, therefore, a need for data showing how women, girls, boys, and men are affected by the crisis with indications of how each subgroup is to be helped.

Whereas all refugees are facing economic challenges, women are particularly more challenged due to gender-based barriers which limit their access to humanitarian assistance and livelihood opportunities. While there are Cash for Work (CfW) opportunities such as Cash Based Transfers (CBTs), volunteering work, and livelihoods and skills development opportunities for women, majority of refugees in need are not yet covered. Most women are still burdened by unpaid care work, which limits their participation in CfW schemes. Some women who participate in CfW are less able to control the cash they earn. A recent rapid care analysis by Oxfam and partners showed on average a Rohingya woman’s week is made up of 72 hours of care work as primary activity. Women and girls should be protected from risks associated with CBIs by ensuring the principle of “do no harm” in the selection of modality, delivery mechanism, and service provider. Inadequate funding for the JRP has a direct effect on activities aimed at empowering women and girls.

Whereas humanitarian actors are encouraging the participation of women in service committees across the sectors, gender norms and conservative male attitudes restrict women’s participation, with adolescent girls particularly restricted. There is a need to integrate gender transformative and innovative approaches across the response. Capacity building efforts of sectors and agencies should include gender awareness and gender sensitivity training especially for camp and religious leaders, the majority of which are men. A specific attention should be payed to adolescent boys and girls, by supporting soft and hard life skills, education and sport activities.
Systems and interventions to improve access of survivors of SGBV and SEA to appropriate medical, psychosocial and legal redress have been set up. Similarly, documentation and reporting of SGBV is being undertaken. There is, however, a need for strengthening and replication of successful interventions across the response. Refugees need access to state led justice mechanisms for refugees.

While GiHA WG provides the much-needed technical support to sectors and agencies in mainstreaming gender, the lack of representation of some sectors in GiHA WG constrains efforts and limits how much sectors are benefiting from the support provided. Sector Coordinators should appoint and/or replace gender focal points who have left Cox’s Bazar.

Assessment Questionnaire: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Data: 
Publicly Available
Simon Opolot
+880 1847-182498 (Landline)
Assessment Date(s): 
04 Jun 2018 to 31 Jul 2018

Level of Representation

District / Province / Locality / County
Report completed
Collection Method(s): 
Key Informant Interview
Population Type(s): 
Displaced population
Host communities
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
Inter Sector Coordination Group - Bangladesh
Cox's Bazar
Other location: 
Cox's Bazar
Bangladesh: Rohingya Refugee Crisis 2017-2020