Save the Children hosted the ninth parliamentary learning tour in Bangladesh as part of its Australian Regional Leadership Initiative programme.
The tour arranged from 18 to 23 January was aimed to provide parliamentarians with a firsthand experience of Australia’s aid programmes worth $105 million in the current year in Bangladesh.
Save the Children Australia’s CEO Paul Ronalds took Australian senator Wendy Askew and Kristina Keneally and the members of parliament Angie Bell, Anne Aly and Josh Wilson to Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar, where nearly one million Rohingya refugees live.
On 20th January, the team visited Save the Children’s Child Centred Climate Change Adaptation Project undertaken to strengthen community resilience to the impacts of climate change. They also went to a learning centre where children with disabilities can play and study.
Save the Children is working in this area to provide protection and to build resilience of children affected by HIV/AIDS and children with disabilities. They also held a meeting with parents, teachers and child protection committee members at the time.
On 21 January in Cox’s Bazar, the group visited a health post in camp 15 and two learning centres in camp 13 of Save the Children. In the Health post they overviewed Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health, Family Planning, Vaccination, Mental Health and Psycho Social Support. They also interacted with the Rohingya children and the parents in the learning centre.
Senator Kristina Keneally said, “Australia needs to ask itself, as a country, what more can we do to transform the lives of some of the poorest people in the world".
“Australia’s aid program helps some of the most vulnerable children and families on the planet, such as those who’ve fled war and persecution, those facing abject poverty and discrimination – including the Rohingya people,” said Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds.
Since 2017, Australia has provided more than $160 million to support the Rohingya people living in Bangladesh and Myanmar, and other humanitarian crises in Myanmar.
The delegation also visited a number of World Food Programme, Care, Oxfam, BRAC, Plan and World Vision programs, focusing on women’s safety, child protection, education, sanitation, health and extreme poverty.