The World Bank approved $25 million, including $4 million from Canada, to help Bangladesh provide education and support to heal the psychological wounds of Rohingya children and youth who have fled violence in Myanmar.
The second in a series to help Bangladesh deal with the crisis, the additional financing on grant terms expands an existing World Bank project to help about 350,000 Rohingya children and adolescents get basic education in learning centers. The existing Reaching Out of School Children Project II (ROSC II) project is also being extended for two years, which will enable the enrollment of poor children in the host communities in Cox’s Bazar, which has the lowest net education enrollment rate in the country. The project extension will help provide training to more than 17,000 local adolescents and help them with job placement.
“Bangladesh has done a great service to the world by sheltering nearly a million Rohingya people, most of whom are women and children. Many of these children were exposed to psychological trauma, torture and violence. Without learning life skills and basic education, they can become a lost generation,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. “In addition to providing access to learning opportunities, the grant financing will support psycho-social activities to help Rohingya children recover from shocks and prevent exploitation. The grant will especially focus on girl children—who are often victims of gender-based violence—so they receive education in a safe environment.”
The financing, part of up to $480 million announced by the World Bank in June, will help establish 1,000 new learning centers and support about 500 existing learning centers in the camp areas. In addition, about 2,000 teachers and instructors will be recruited and trained in about 100 teachers’ training facilities.
Adolescent girls in camps face risks of abuse, abduction, and early marriage. More than half of the teachers will be female, who will be trained to help the girl children and adolescents to manage safety concerns and if needed, guide them to safe locations. Further, the financing will help raise awareness among Rohingya children about their rights, gender violence, and personal safety.
“While the financing will address the immediate education needs of the Rohingya children and adolescents, it will also help strengthen the government’s service delivery system in Cox’s Bazar,” said Syed Rashed Al Zayed, World Bank Team Leader for the project. “All learning activities, including preparation of text books and learning materials will adhere to the government’s ‘Learning Competency Framework’ that would define informal education for the Rohingya children.”
Through an innovative World Bank financing instrument for refugees and host communities, for every dollar contributed by Canada, five additional grant dollars will be unlocked for a total of $25 million in new financing.
ROSCII has since 2013 enabled more than 750,000 children, who had dropped out from school, to complete their primary education. The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then the World Bank has committed over $29 billion grants and interest-free credits to Bangladesh. In recent years, Bangladesh has been the largest recipient of the World Bank’s interest-free credits.