Since August 2017 an estimated 744,0001 Rohingya refugees have arrived from Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh, bringing the total number to approximately 915,000.2 The unplanned and spontaneous nature of the post-August Rohingya refugee camps have combined with high population densities and challenging environmental conditions to produce a crisis with especially acute water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) needs.
In September 2019, REACH implemented a qualitative assessment of WASH needs in Rohingya refugee camps in support of the Cox’s Bazar WASH Sector. Its key objectives were to identify WASH needs and service gaps among the Rohingya refugee population, build a stronger understanding of what characterises individuals with high levels of WASH needs, contextualise information from previous quantitative assessments, and fill additional identified information gaps with an emphasis on “how” and “why” questions. This briefing paper on menstrual hygiene management is one of four thematic reports presenting the study’s findings. Where relevant, data from this assessment has been triangulated with secondary data sources including previous assessments conducted by REACH and other WASH partners.
This assessment took the form of 19 focus group discussions (FGDs) with Rohingya refugees in camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas, Cox’s Bazar district. This included three sets of six discussions using different tools, respectively focusing on water, sanitation, and hygiene issues (with an additional discussion conducted with women for hygiene in Teknaf).3 Each set included four discussions in camps in the Kutupalong-Balukhali extension site, and two in camps in southern Teknaf. Discussions were split by gender, with an equal number of male and female groups held in each location. Purposive sampling by gender and location aimed to capture as much diversity of perceptions as possible within the constraints of time and resources available for this assessment. Each group involved between 6 and 11 participants, including a total of 85 male and 95 female participants. Informed consent was sought, received, and documented at the start of each group. During the discussions, notes were taken in Bangla and full transcriptions were translated into English for analysis. Table 1 provides a breakdown of FGD locations and participants.