Community-based Child Protection Mechanisms
UNHCR and partners work closely with refugee communities to ensure safety and access to specific services for children including the creation of child protection networks. These consist of committees, child and adolescent clubs, and parent groups. Protection networks also play an important role by identifying safe spaces for children, providing peer support, tracing missing children, and by raising awareness for the prevention of child marriage. Additionally, community-led initiatives contribute to a safer environment for children by sharing information on referral services and providing prompt responses during emergencies, such as fires and flooding.
Safe Spaces for Children
Multipurpose centres for children and adolescents in 21 camps provide safe spaces for children to play, relax, express themselves, and learn skills to deal with the challenges they face. The centres oer integrated case management and referral services. Adolescent clubs are supported with a package of activities, including a gender-specific life skills curriculum.
Training and Capacity Development
Members of community-based structures, volunteers, and communities participate in training and awareness-raising sessions on a wide range of topics including basic child protection and referral pathways, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, prevention of child marriage, child labour and tracking, working with children with disabilities, emergency preparedness, risks of family separation and psychosocial support. Jointly with UNICEF and the Department of Social Services under the Ministry of Social Welfare, UNHCR worked on the contextualization of the Child Protection Minimum Standards related to mental health and psychosocial distress, the socio-ecological approach to child protection programming, and child protection training for service providers. UNHCR funded the translation of the 2019 edition of the Child Protection Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Action (CPMS) in Bengali and Burmese to support child protection standards’ mainstreaming in humanitarian programmes.
Case Management and Psychosocial Support
Caseworkers have been trained on UNHCR’s Best Interest Determination procedure, which informs recommendations and decision making for children at risk. A ‘Best Interest Determination’ panel based on global guidelines has been established to cover all 33 camps to determine the best interests of the child. Most child protection cases reported include children experiencing neglect, psychological distress, physical and sexual violence, which in some cases is linked to tracking, child marriage and child labour. Psychosocial support from UNHCR trained refugee volunteers and partner organizations is provided coupled with positive parenting sessions to tackle neglect and psychosocial distress resulting from family conflicts. UNHCR provides psychosocial support and referral to mental health services.