A prolonged crisis in a fragile context
1.36 million people in need
73% of the Bangladeshi urban population lives in temporary or semi-temporary shelters
78% of households have reduced their food consumption as a result of COVID-19
225,000 people helped


The Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh, exacerbated by the current COVID-19 pandemic, is hindering access to and availability of resources for vulnerable populations in one of the most densely populated territories in the world, which is also heavily impacted by recurring natural disasters.

The hyper-salinity of the soil caused by frequent flooding makes agriculture particularly difficult and threatens people’s livelihoods. Food insecurity and malnutrition are increasing. These nutritional problems are aggravated by the poor bacteriological quality of the water, as well as the presence of arsenic in the country’s main water sources.

Bangladesh is experiencing rapid urbanization, with people migrating to the cities to escape rural poverty and natural disasters. Between 300,000 and 400,000 people arrive in Dhaka each year, and 30% of them settle in one of the capital’s 5,000 slums, where the lack of access to drinking water and electricity, insalubrity and pollution are glaring. The impact of urban growth on the poverty rate and the well-being of populations requires adequate access to essential services and proper land use planning to ensure decent living conditions and hygiene.

The Cox Bazar’s region is facing the influx of approximately 844,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, mostly since August 25, 2017, following the wave of violence in the country’s northern Rakhine State. These hundreds of thousands of people face a dire humanitarian situation and alarming needs in terms of protection, food security, health and nutrition, and access to basic services, such as water, hygiene, or sanitation. After more than four years, the presence of these refugees has put critical pressure on the management of water, food and shelter resources, access to land, and renewed tensions with the already vulnerable host communities in the area.

The high prevalence of natural disasters throughout the country (cyclones, earthquakes, floods, landslides) requires an adapted, multisectoral and rapid response. Satkhira and Bandarban regions are particularly vulnerable to these regular shocks.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the various challenges facing Bangladesh and the Rohingya refugees living there. During the pandemic, only essential services could be maintained in the camps and movement remained limited. Protection and education were the most affected activities in the camps during the successive periods of lockdown.

The country-wide shutdown disrupted livelihoods and market access and increased tensions due to limited opportunities.

  • 165 million inhabitants
  • 21.8% of poverty rate
  • 133th out of 189 on the Human Development Index

Our action

  • Mission
    opened in 2007
  • Team 6 international staff
    114 national staff
  • Budget 4.3M€

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has been working in Bangladesh since 2007. Our activities mainly consist of responding to natural disasters and combating problems related to unsafe water, contaminated by bacteria, arsenic or seawater. SI teams are working to improve the health of local populations or Rohingya refugees, through better access to drinking water, particularly through infrastructure or domestic purification techniques, but also through the construction of latrines, the treatment of fecal sludge, the distribution of hygiene kits, the implementation of awareness-raising campaigns, as well as food security and livelihoods (FSLH) activities.

Our interventions also aim to respond to the risks of natural disasters impacting water quality and food security, and to reduce the risks of disasters and strengthen the resilience of populations.

In Satkhira, to combat malnutrition and the loss of income among mainly rural populations exposed to natural disasters, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is working in partnership with a local NGO to provide training and distribute tools and more weather-resistant seeds to farmers.

In Dhaka, slum dwellers formed into community associations are supported to claim and exercise their right to access quality water and sanitation and to participate in local governance in collaboration with local authorities, by strengthening their technical knowledge and capacities.

Following the August 2017 crisis, a large wave of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar’s Rakhine State arrived in southeastern Bangladesh, specifically in Teknaf district where SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL had already been working since 2010. At the forefront of the emergency response to this influx, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL continues to meet the vital needs of refugees and vulnerable host communities in Teknaf and Ukhia districts. These activities are concentrated in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene, food security, livelihoods, and protection. In addition, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is coordinating with WASH partners in the host communities of the Teknaf area.

Since 2020, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has been able to adapt its activities to meet the new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, our actions have mainly focused on essential activities such as water supply, hygiene promotion and sanitation, in order to limit the spread of the virus in the camps and among the host populations. Finally, the distribution of cash to the most vulnerable beneficiaries helped to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.


Implementation partners: International Rescue Committee (IRC), Clowns Without Borders, Ground Water Relief, Cart’ONG, Resource Integration Centre (RIC), Traidcraft, Shushilan, GRAUS

Funders: BHA, ECHO, EuropeAid, Crisis and Support Center (CDC for its acronym in French), SDC, AGIR Foundation, WFP

Our impact

Multisectoral rapid response

– Multisectoral emergency response to natural disasters and disease outbreaks (cholera, COVID-19) with a focus on protection
– Programming based on the study of markets and cash transfer modalities with strengthened targeting on the basis of specific vulnerabilities

people helped

Community empowerment and resilience

– Training and capacity building for civil society organizations (CSOs) and local authorities
– Community awareness on disaster risk reduction (DRR), resource management and community rights
– Local disaster risk reduction programs, cash for work
– Food security and livelihoods program (FSLP) with a focus on resilience

water sanitation

Sustainable and integrated access to health and WASH services

– Upgrading and operation of water points and sanitation facilities
– Distribution of soap, COVID-19 kits and hygiene promotion
– Strengthening community engagement
– Cash-for-work, vocational training and income-generating activities

people helped

Reducing Marginalization

– Strengthen SI’s current Age, Gender, and Diversity approach to the design of its interventions

Should you have any questions, please contact Raphaëlle Goepfert.

Raphaëlle Goepfert


At head office