Relevance / Appropriateness
The evaluation found that Concern's Rohingya Refugees response interventions are in line with the needs of Rohingya refugees and vulnerable host communities in Cox’s Bazar and is aligned to Government of Bangladesh and Nutrition and food security sector priorities as outlined in the Joint Response plans 2020 for Rohingya Response. Concern's interventions contributed to the achievement of Strategic objectives of Joint Response Plan (JRP) 2019 and 2020 and directly contribute to Sector objectives for Food Security and livelihood and Nutrition sector.
The evaluation found that communication channels were quite heavy and over loaded in the early years of the response with some challenges encountered due to the disconnection between the head office in Dhaka and the field office in Cox's Bazar, but that the communication between the two offices had significantly improved in the last year or so. Difficulties in staff turnover and obtaining visas and approvals from the Bangladesh government were also cited as reasons impeding the deveolpment of a Joint Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (JEPRP) with Alliance2015 partners.
All Concern interventions in Cox’s Bazar are implemented in refugee camps and nearby host communities and all interventions are part of the Joint Response Plan for Rohingya response and are aligned to Core Humanitarian Standards, SPHERE standards and other humanitarian principles and country and context specific standards.
All Rohingya refugees are considered vulnerable and were targeted for humanitarian assistance. Concern targeted all Rohingya refugees in selected camps with Nutrition curative and preventive and food security interventions and the most vulnerable groups in camps and host communities with livelihood and income generation interventions. The difficult geographical terrain combined with the heavy monsoon rains during the project period made it difficult for people with disabilities to access services and they were often among the least informed about available services. Concern’s approach was to identify beneficiaries through house-to-house visits in target camps which ensured women and girls with disabilities were equitably included in the beneficiary selection process. Project volunteers made house-to-house visits to identify potential beneficiaries in consultation with Majhis (Rohingya community leaders).
The evaluation found the Cox's Bazar response to be effieicent in terms of budget, with staff reporting they felt the activities were budgetd appropriately. Challenges in procurement and logistics were addressed in 2018 with the deployment of a Concern Surge Logistician and the response now has a fully functioning logistics team based in Cox's Bazar, through which the majority of procurement and logistics functions are performed.
Effectiveness and Timeliness
The evaluation noted initial challenges for Concern in immediately responding to the influx of Rohingya refugees in August 2017 due to restrictions on permissions to NGOs to respond and early funding limitations. It noted that the Concern Country Office were required to engage in a lot of advocacy in order to gain permission for Concern to intervene with the small funding amount while they were securing larger amounts of funding to maintain the response. By December 2017, Concern had secured €1.95 million for the Rohingya response. The evaluation noted that organisations who had significant amounts of internal funds at their disposal to respond rapdily to the emergency were able to have a broader presence and attract more funds from institutional donors later in the response. Concern can learn lessons from this to be able to respond more rapidly to future emergencies. Information collected from individual interviews and key informant interviews from target communities revealed that generally, the target refugees and host communities were satisfied with Concern interventions to date and felt that their needs were met on time.
The evaluation found that Concern's programme in Cox's Bazar is making a significant positive contribution to improve the social, economic, health and nutrition situation of Rohingya refugess and host communities, particularly for children, pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, the elderly and people with diabilities. The integrated approach in nutrition programme, livelihood and income generation interventions has had a significant impact on the prevention of malnutrition by improving dietary diversity and providing additional sources of food beyond WFP rations distributions.
The Rohingya response is a complex emergency and a challenging environment in which to operate and successfully implement programmes. The evaluation noted that overall, the Concern Rohingya response programme was found to be highly relevant and fit for purpose. It addresses the wide range of issues that affect the overall health and nutrition of extremely vulnerable populations in Refugee camps and host communities in Cox’s Bazar. Concern's response in Cox’s Bazar is well adapted to the local contexts, priorities and needs.