For the past five years Bangladesh has been hosting in Cox’s Bazar District more than a million Rohingyas forcibly displaced from Myanmar. The Bangladesh government, with support from the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies, is working to meet their most immediate needs. The unfortunate reality is that Rohingya populations may be unable to return home to Myanmar for the foreseeable future. As this humanitarian situation is unlikely to be resolved quickly, livelihood-generation among Rohingyas is a vital issue.

In 2020–21, the Population Council conducted a livelihood needs assessment study, which indicated a clear need among Rohingya youth to receive training. Subsequently, the Council, in collaboration with RTM International and the Underprivileged Children’s Education Program (UCEP), initiated a soft skills training program for male and female Rohingya youth in 2022, with the purpose to improve their personal, social, and financial management skills, which would be useful on their return to Myanmar or during their interim period of stay in Bangladesh.

To provide soft skills training, a package of two modules (life skills and financial literacy) was developed. Each training course was conducted in 16 sessions over four weeks and the duration of each session was 60 minutes. This pilot initiative also included host-community youth. In this pilot phase, 159 Rohingya and 80 host-community youths received the training. Considering the demand for training among young populations, the Council is rolling out the soft skills training program on a larger scale in 2023.