Nur* stands outside the Oxfam latrine installed near her home - Bangladesh

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Nur* lives high on a hill in Balukali Camp, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. She lives with her mother, sister and two brothers. Oxfam, with funding provided through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP), installed a latrine two days ago near her home so that the family no longer have to go to the bathroom out in the open.

“We left Myanmar one month ago, and have been here for ten days. There was no latrine when we moved here, we were digging holes nearby to go to the toilet. It smelt bad but we had no other choice. My brother helped to build the latrine. It has now become so much easier to go to the bathroom as it is close to our home, and it is so much more dignified for us,” says Nur*.

More than half (54 per cent) of the refugees in Cox's Bazar are women and girls. Around half (52 per cent) are children under 18 and three per cent are over 60 years old (UNHCR household survey). There are 120,000 pregnant women and new mothers, and approximately 36,000 are unaccompanied children. Unsafe conditions in the camps are putting women and girls at risk of abuse, exploitation and kidnapping. There’s an urgent need for more women and child-friendly spaces, segregated, lockable toilets and private washing areas, and much better lighting.

In Cox's Bazar, Oxfam will focus on delivering gender-sensitive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions, including finding solutions for critical gaps and challenges. Oxfam will design and build innovative and durable WASH infrastructure with community participation, in close collaboration with the WASH sector working group. With funds provided through the AHP, Oxfam will provide 41,000 people with access to safe water, 75,000 people with equitable access to sanitation facilities and 45,000 people with health awareness campaigns, knowledge products and hygiene materials.

* Not her real name.
Date of the article: February 2018. 

In 2017, Oxfam Australia in partnership with CARE Australia, received $3 million for their Rohingya response in Bangladesh. This AHP response runs from November 2017 until October 2018.