Community Based Protection and PSS for Rohingya Families

This project is a Community-Based Protection (CBP) Project, wherein community empowerment and ownership are central to all interventions.
Good Practices

Community Based Protection and PSS for Rohingya Families

This project is a Community-Based Protection (CBP) Project, wherein community empowerment and ownership are central to all interventions.
Men sitting in a circle in a group session

The project in brief

The project is implemented by Caritas in Bangladesh. The project started in January 2024, and the new phase will end in December 2024.

The Barefoot Counsellors (BFC) project is a community-based protection initiative focusing on empowering the Rohingya community. It emphasizes psycho-social support to address gender-based violence (GBV) and protection issues. Trained Rohingya volunteers form a protection network, addressing concerns such as intimate partner tension, conflicts, resource denial, and child violence. The project offers psychological first aid, referral support, awareness sessions on various issues, capacity building, risk identification, and coordination with sectoral actors. Life skill sessions on problem-solving and stress management further contribute to community well-being.

 The main goals of the good practice are: 

  • to enhance and promote community-based protection activity;
  • to enhance the self-reliance of the Rohingya community people’s by forming the individuals into communities trained into psycho-social support and psychological first aid;
  • to Strengthened community support system through adapting positive coping mechanism to live safe and dignified environment that help to provide protection and support for the most vulnerable in the community.




VIDEO: CRS overarching emergency response.

Main activities of the Good Practice

  • The project manages Gender-Based Violence (GBV) case management, employing a structured method to provide assistance to survivors by informing them of all available options. This approach involves identifying and addressing the issues and problems faced by survivors in a coordinated manner, providing continuous emotional support throughout the process.
  • Structured group Psychosocial Support (PSS) sessions represent one form of community-based PSS intervention. These sessions enable participants to express their feelings, learn and practice new coping skills, and engage with others. A total of twelve structured PSS groups were conducted, specifically addressing topics such as health, stress, symptoms, and coping mechanisms.
  • The formation of the Community-Based Protection Committee is central to the activity.
  • The Barefoot Counsellors (BFC) project encompasses a multi-dimensional approach to empower the Rohingya community through various activities. Firstly, the initiative involves the formation of a Community-Based Protection Committee aimed at fostering self-reliance. Simultaneously, a Women's Forum is established within the community, providing a platform for female members to engage in discussions, share experiences, and collectively address challenges. To enhance their effectiveness, both the committee and forum members undergo comprehensive capacity-building training, equipping them with the skills necessary for proactive community protection.
  • Another critical aspect of the project involves conducting awareness-raising sessions led by community volunteers. These sessions cover a several issues, including gender-based violence, domestic violence, child protection, early marriage, and human trafficking. By fostering awareness, the project aims to conduct informed discussions within the community, fostering a culture of response and prevention.
  • Additionally, the project addresses the pressing issue of gender-based violence through case management support. This includes providing necessary referrals and supporting victims in accessing resources such as identification and benefit cards, healthcare, legal assistance, and family reunification. Furthermore, mental health and psycho-social support sessions are offered, tailoring aid to individual needs. Topics covered in these sessions include anger management and stress management, contributing to the holistic well-being of community members. Overall, the BFC project seeks to create a resilient and informed community capable of addressing protection challenges effectively.
Group of women sittings on a porch

Elements which helped facilitate the implementation of the good practice

  • Formation of the Community based Protection Committee
  • Gender Based Violence (GBV) Case Management
  • Awareness Rising Session at the community level.
  • Individual PSS Counselling
  • Group PSS Support
  • General Protection Support and referral to different service agencies as need/survivor choice.
  • Formation of a community-based protection committee for self-reliance.
  • Formation of a women's forum from the community.
  • Addressing protection concerns, e.g. tension between intimate partners, conflict between host and Rohingya communities, gender based violence, denial of resources, child and adolescent violence
  • Providing need based psychological first aid and mental health support.
  • Provide need-based referral support, e.g: replacing identification and benefit card (food & ration card), health care support, legal support, family reunification etc.
  • Conduction of awareness raising session by community volunteer on gender-based violence, domestic violence, child protection, early marriage, human trafficking etc.
  • Providing capacity building training to the community volunteer and community-based protection committee member.
  • Identifying risk of the community and conduct community leader consultation meeting.
  • Coordinate with the camp level different sectoral/cluster actors for sooth & quality support.
  • Providing gender-based violence case management support.
  • Arranging life skill sessions on problem solving, anger management, and stress management.

Partners involved




Animation on providing comprehensive care for children displaced by conflict.

What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?


  • Political unrest in the Camp is posing challenges to program implementation.
  • The security conditions in the camp are not favorable, with several extremist groups present at night. The situation is escalating, leading to unrest even during the daytime.
  • Food collection and distribution are becoming impediments to mobilizing the program.
  • The flexibility of the law or the lack of strict law enforcement around the camp area is encouraging individuals to become perpetrators.
  • Decrease of fund widen the cohesion gap between Host and Rohingya Community regarding labor market.
  • Community people are more interested to flee other countries raising Human Trafficking incident.
  • Increase of the activity of anti-social groups (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army- ARSA) within the camp leads to safety concern both for aid workers and community people.

How they were overcome

  • Maintain close liaison with government and law enforcement agencies to effectively manage such situations.
  • Adapt the program schedule and project plan according to the challenges encountered.
  • Implement effective time management practices, allowing a relaxed two-hour time window for food collection.
  • Manage relationships with camp-level stakeholders, clearly communicating project objectives to prevent conflicts within the team.

Results of the Good Practice

  • Enhanced awareness and adoption of positive coping mechanisms among the target population.
  • Increased responsiveness and visibility of Community-Based Protection Committee members.
  • Improved accessibility to service facilities through enhanced referral support. Host community people are collaboratively working as volunteers which helps to increase the social cohesion and harmonious relationship between the two communities.
A woman sitting across from an older man in front of a house

In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

This project has significantly contributed to achieving the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) objective - 2 of enhancing refugee self-reliance. The project focuses on capacity strengthening and empowerment to reduce gender-based violence, implementing necessary referrals as required by the community.

The initiative has provided crucial technical support for the establishment and functioning of the community-based protection committee. Through this committee, community members identified risks, vulnerable groups, and developed an action plan with detailed responsibilities and timelines. In the Rohingya refugee camp, characterized by uncertainty and hardship, 40 individuals (20 men, 20 women) trained as Barefoot Counsellor volunteers have transformed into protection ambassadors. The project not only aids these volunteers in boosting confidence in their personal and professional lives but also demonstrates the positive impact of their acquired knowledge, fostering harmony and peace within their community.


A man speaks to a woman across from the table

Next steps

Recognizing the positive impact that the project is bringing to the community, Caritas Bangladesh has the willingness to sustaining this initiative by mobilizing its network of partners.

Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?

This initiative aims to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills acquired during their stay, enabling them to apply this expertise for their future survival upon returning to their home country. CB has been limited to a small portion in the world's largest refugee camp. Additional resources could extend the reach of this effective initiative, benefiting more refugee families. Additionally, sharing the learnings and strategies employed by the BFC Project can contribute to scaling up this successful practice in other areas globally where Community-Based Protection faces challenges.

A woman is presenting at a volunteer training where people are sitting in a circle

Submitted by

Inmanuel Chayan Biswas, Program Officer (Disaster Management), Caritas Bangladesh - [email protected]

Contact the project