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Bangladesh: Hygiene Item Assessment (July 2019) - Overall Response Level

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Since August 2017 an estimated 723,0001 Rohingya refugees have arrived from Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh, bringing the total number to approximately 912,000.2 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 July 2019, REACH implemented this hygiene item assessment in support of the Cox’s Bazar WASH Sector’s Hygiene Promotion Technical Working Group (HP TWiG). This assessment took the form of a household survey covering 33 out of the 34 camps recognized by the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), with Kutupalong Registered Camp the only exception due to ongoing security concerns. Findings are generalisable to the population of all assessed camps with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 5% (unless stated otherwise).


A key objective of the HP TWiG in 2019 is to improve distributions of hygiene kits and menstrual hygiene management (MHM) kits, to assist in meeting the hygiene-related needs of refugees residing in the camps. In order to inform effective decision-making for this objective, the HP TWiG requires a strong evidence base on refugees' needs, preferences, and experiences. With over 30 implementing partners distributing different types of hygiene kits at varying frequencies, this assessment aims to produce data to support the HP TWiG in updating sector-level hygiene item lists, as well as developing new sector-level guidelines for implementing partners to follow before, during and after distributions. Findings from the Hygiene Item Assessment are presented within this factsheet. For further information please see the REACH Hygiene Item Assessment, July 2019 Upazila Level Factsheets, the REACH Hygiene Item Assessment Dataset, the REACH Hygiene Item Assessment Terms of Reference, and the REACH MHM Item Assessment (July 2019)


• Only 38% of households reported being aware of a location to provide complaints or feedback regarding the hygiene item distribution process.

• 79% of respondents directly collecting distributions were the head of household and 65% were male.

• 99% of households reported receiving bathing and laundry soap.
However, a significantly lower proportion of households reported that they received a sufficient amount of bathing soap (58%) or laundry soap (54%) the last time they received a hygiene kit at a distribution.

• 10% of households reported not needing a toothbrush. Some of these households stated that they prefer to use a miswak, a halal teeth cleaning twig commonly used in Muslim communities.

• One piece of soap (approximately 100 grams) was the average reported amount of bathing soap needed per person, per month. The SPHERE handbook recommends that an individual should have access to a minimum of 250 grams of soap per person, per month.7 This suggests there is a significant difference between refugees’ perceived need in terms of soap quantities and the minimum amount recommended by SPHERE