SDC BRAC Social Cohesion Fund for Cox’s Bazar District
This fund strengthens social cohesion in Cox’s Bazar by mitigating the negative consequences of the refugee influx on the most vulnerable segments of the local population. It will strategically upscale projects of BRAC, the biggest Bangladeshi NGO, through a series of medium-term contributions, adapted to the volatile context and emerging needs. The first two projects will support over 60’000 poor people to claim their rights and obtain legal redress and place 4’500 poor people in gainful employment. The intervention complements the engagement of Swiss Humanitarian Aid.
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Culture / development awareness
Emergency food assistance
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Protection, access & security
The arrival of the Rohingya refugees impacted Bangladesh massively. With less than 0.31 per cent of the world’s population, Bangladesh now hosts 4.7 per cent of its refugees. The eight sub-districts (upazillas) of Cox’s Bazar District have borne the brunt of this crisis. At present, refugees constitute more than a third of the local population. The total refugee population is estimated at 882,676. The influx of Rohingya refugees has resulted in a complex and mixed effects on the host communities in Cox’s Bazar district, with the adverse effects outweighing the positives. Rising prices, alongside falling wages of low-skilled workers, are adversely affecting host populations. There are also concerns about environmental degradation, excessive pressure on already weak infrastructure and public services and growing tensions among refugee and host communities. The latest survey reports indicate that the creation of economic opportunities for the poor and disadvantaged members of the host communities is a pressing and urgent need in order to mitigate tensions. When assessing the current context, there is wide consensus that host communities require more support. At the same time, resentment against the large presence of international NGOs and expatriate staff in Cox’s Bazar is starting to build among the local population. Local people do not only feel left out of the large-scale international humanitarian response, they also perceive that a disproportionate share of the international funding is controlled by international actors.
The overall objective is to strengthen social cohesion and reduce fragility by mitigating the negative consequences of the Rohingya crisis on vulnerable communities in Cox’s Bazar.
All projects supported through the fund will aspire to contribute to positive changes along one or several of the following dimensions of social cohesion:
- Locals have a more positive attitude towards the Rohingyas;
- International response contributes to mitigating negative effects of Rohingya influx on locals;
- Marginalized communities have better social mobility;
- Acceptance and legitimacy of international aid response to the situation is enhanced.
- Rural Households
- Rural Communities
- Local Community Actors
- Local Enterprises
- Government of Bangladesh agencies
For each 18 months’ tranche, the outcomes will be adjusted to reflect the projects being supported within that timeframe. The Fund will use the existing monitoring systems of the selected projects. The outcomes (objectives) of the planned first 18 months’ tranche are:
1. Women, men and children know their rights and have access to justice through formal and informal systems;
2. Poor and disadvantaged women and men of the host community have gainful employment.
- Men, women and children have improved access to information and appropriate legal services;
- Capacity of formal and informal actors are enhanced to provide information, assess and provide protection services;
- Young women and men received skills training;
- Young women and men are placed in decent employment;
- People and institutions are aware of the benefits of decent work.
Results from previous phases: This is a single phase programme for 4.5 years. A single phase is proposed due to the current volatile operating context in Cox’s Bazar. It also provides an opportunity to better understand the existing and emerging development needs of the district hence enabling Switzerland to provide targeted support, complementing other development actors in this landscape. BRAC is a partner of choice for their reputation, outreach, ability to rapidly deploy resources and available expertise on a wide array of development interventions.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
International or foreign NGO
Contribution Agreement with BRAC (Bangladeshi NGO)
|Coordination with other projects and actors||All BRAC programmes in Cox’s Bazar district. Other donors to BRAC programmes in Cox’s Bazar, such as UNHCR, UNICEF and bilateral donors of BRAC such as the UK, Australia, Canada. Opportunities for potential synergies will be explored with programmes from the democratic governance domain which are ‘Efficient and Accountable Local Governance’ and ‘Aparajita’.|
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 5’711’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 2’907’358|