WB to provide $200m to Bangladesh for forestry, Rohingya kids’ education

View of a Rohingiya camp in Cox’s Bazar. Rohingyas in Kutupalong area of Ukhia in Cox’s Bazar. Daily Star file photo

World Bank’s financial aid to help about 350,000 Rohingya children and adolescents get basic education and psycho-social support

The Bangladesh Government on Monday signed two financial agreements worth $200 million with the World Bank.

The agreements have been signed in order to improve the forest cover in Bangladesh’s coastal, hill and central districts, including Cox’s Bazar, and help Bangladesh provide education to Rohingya children and youth who have fled persecution in Myanmar, stated a report published on Monday by The Daily Star.

According to a World Bank statement, both the agreements were signed by Monowar Ahmed, Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) and Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal at the ERD.

As per the WB statement, the $175 million ‘Sustainable Forests and Livelihoods Project’ will plant trees in about 79,000 hectares of the forest through a collaborative forest management system.

The sudden influx of over 725,000 Rohingya to Cox’s Bazar caused the loss of nearly 13,000 hectares of forest. The project will restore trees in 19,925 hectares of land in Cox’s Bazar. It will also help the host communities through income generation activities, improving the availability of wood for fuel in a sustainable way and reducing human-wild elephant conflict, which has increased due to loss of habitat, the WB statement further said.

It has been reported that the $25 million additional financial aid to the existing ‘Reaching Out of School Children Project II (ROSC II)’, also signed on Monday, will help about 350,000 Rohingya children and adolescents get basic education and psycho-social support.

The report quoted Qimiao Fan as saying: “Despite its own challenges, Bangladesh generously provided shelter to about a million Rohingya refugees. The local people, many of whom are poor, welcomed the displaced Rohingyas and shared food and resources. But the needs of both the Rohingyas and the host community are huge.”

He also added: “These financing will help the government improve resilience and livelihoods of the host community as well as address the learning and psycho-social needs of Rohingya children and adolescents.”

The grant will help recruit and train about 2,000 teachers and instructors. More than half of the teachers will be female, who will be trained to help girls manage safety concerns and if needed, guide them to safe locations. The preparation of textbooks and learning materials will adhere to the government’s Learning Competency Framework.

The credit to the Sustainable Forests and Livelihoods Project from the World Bank’s International Development Association has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period.

The WB statement further said that of the $25 million financing to the ROSC II project, the World Bank will provide $21 million as a grant through the IDA18 Regional Sub-window for Refugees and Host Communities and the Government of Canada will provide a $4 million grant.