The humanitarian need for Rohingya refugees and the host community in Cox’s Bazar, home to the world’s largest refugee camp, is daunting. While Bangladesh should be commended for its generosity in opening its borders to Rohingya refugees, accelerated efforts are required to support the over 1.2 million people in need of humanitarian and development assistance. Simultaneously, further pressure is needed from the international community and regional actors on the Government of Myanmar (GoM) to create conditions in Rakhine conducive to the safe, voluntary and sustainable return of the Rohingya.

Building on new research from the International Rescue Committee on positive market conditions in Cox’s Bazar, this brief highlights the untapped potential of livelihoods programming to increase self-reliance and economic empowerment for affected communities. It concludes with recommendations to the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and key actors engaged with the crisis to support refugees and locals, and women in particular, to rebuild their lives and livelihoods and take back control of their future.