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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 284-289

Sports and physical activity in psychosocial interventions with adolescent groups of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh: potential, limitations and critical factors for success

1 MSc, Migration Health Division, International Organization of Migration (IOM), Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
2 MSc, MS. Public Health and Nutrition Section, United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

Correspondence Address:
Mahmuda Mahmuda
Public Health Section, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Cox’s Bazar
Md. Salek Ahmed
Migration Health Division, International Organization of Migration (IOM), Cox’s Bazar
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/INTV.INTV_51_19

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The mental health and psychosocial needs of adolescent Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are seriously underserved. There are few services and resources for them, and this population is hard to reach with conventional mental health and psychosocial support activities. Adolescent Rohingya refugees have very limited opportunities to express themselves and to engage in the community. This affects their mental health and psychosocial wellbeing negatively. This field report argues that the use of sports and physical activity could be a valuable means to provide psychosocial support to adolescent Rohingya refugees. A small number of research efforts and project evaluations have begun to help us understand the link between participation in sport and physical activity and mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. The data of this study were collected through focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The findings suggest that sports and physical activity may play a significant role in the psychosocial development and in strengthening positive social communication among adolescents. However, the development of sport activities in a humanitarian setting such as the Rohingya crisis is not easy. This field report explores challenges related to gender, local cultural context and community structure. Finally, some factors are discussed on how to design psychosocial programmes that include sport and physical activity and how to promote this with several stakeholders. *Both first authors contributed equally.

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