What About Us? Youth Inclusion in the Rohingya Response

Published 22. Aug 2022|Updated 15. Aug 2022
While youth are routinely lauded as “changemakers” in society, they are often unsupported in refugee responses. As the Rohingya mark five years of exodus in Bangladesh, what is the state of youth inclusion across sectors? Do youth and adolescents feel supported, or are they being ignored and left behind?

To assess, information from three data streams was used:

(a) desk research of available literature on youth participation and inclusion in humanitarian programming;
(b)key informant interviews with practitioners from national and international non-government organizations and UN agencies, specifically individuals leading or coordinating sectors and working groups engaged with youth programming; and
(c)focus group discussions and key informant interviews with refugee individuals and groups across 11 camps.


  • Refugee youth and adolescents remain firmly on the margins of humanitarian programming, and are largely excluded from decision making processes, with lack of inclusion contributing to child marriage, informal labour and negative coping practices.
  • Stress and anxiety are omnipresent among the community, with an overwhelming majority of respondents reporting experiencing intrusive thoughts and resorting to negative coping mechanisms.
  • Approximately 96 per cent of surveyed youth aged 18 to 24 are currently unemployed.
  • 9 out of 10 respondents aged 18 to 24 are in debt, having borrowed money within the last six months.
  • For women aged 18 to 24, unemployment rates border at 99 per cent.