A five-member delegation from the 'Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA)' committee visited the Rohingya Camps in Cox's Bazar today (Tuesday, 19 September). Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, former adviser to the caretaker government and chairperson of BRAC, along with senior officials from the organisation, joined the delegation during the visit.
Bangladesh has been honoured for six innovative structures with the prestigious 'Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA)' for the year 2022. These structures showcased innovative, environment-friendly designs and community centres in the Rohingya camps and the host community in Ukhiya, Cox's Bazar.
BRAC has been awarded for five of these structures: four are located at Camp 1 East, Camp 3, Camp 4 Extension, and one in the host community in Ratna Palong, Ukhiya. International development organisation, ActionAid also received recognition for an additional structure in the Rohingya camp.
The delegation visited Camp 4 Extension, Camp 3, Camp 11, Camp 18, Camp 2 West, and Camp 5. At Camp 4 Extension, they visited BRAC's Women-Friendly Centre, Community Centre, and various exhibition centres, engaging with members of the Rohingya community. During this visit, the delegation stressed the importance of constructing environmentally friendly facilities within the Rohingya camps.
The delegation included Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA); Kareem Ibrahim, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Takween Integrated Community Development and on-site review expert for AKAA; Munir Merali, Resident diplomatic representative of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN); Marina Tabassum, steering committee member of AKAA and architect of the organisation Saif Ul Haque.
Dr. Md Akramul Islam, Senior Director of BRAC; Rezaul Karim, Programme Head and Office in Charge; Md. Emamul Hoque, Programme Head; and other senior officials of BRAC Humanitarian Crisis Management Programme (HCMP) were also present during the visit.
Prior to the visit today (Tuesday, 19 September), BRAC HCMP, with the support of ActionAid organised an event to celebrate the recognition received at the ‘Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA)’ for 2022 at a hotel in Cox’s Bazar on Monday, 18 September.
Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, former advisor of the caretaker government and Chairperson of BRAC, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), Mohammad Shamsud Douza, Additional RRRC, Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh, Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Munir Merali, Resident diplomatic representative of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and Marina Tabassum, steering committee member of Aga Khan Award for Architecture, among others, spoke on the occasion.
Dr. Md Akramul Islam, senior director, BRAC, gave the welcome address.
BRAC Chairperson Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman emphasised that development should prioritise environmental protection over environmental damage. In the context of Cox’s Bazar, a region surrounded by mountains and the sea, environmental protection holds significant importance. He also stated that this prestigious recognition from the 'Aga Khan Award for Architecture' would serve as great motivation to construct environment-friendly structures in the Rohingya camps.
Farrokh Derakhshani stated, 'This award recognition isn't limited to individuals; it also acknowledges larger-scale partnerships.'
Mizanur Rahman emphasised the importance of establishing safe and environmentally friendly centres within the camp to promote environmental protection.
A video highlighting the significance of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture was also screened. Following this, a cultural programme featuring local artists was held as part of the programme's conclusion.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is one of the most highly prestigious awards in the world and underscores efforts to ensure the safety of Rohingya women and children in the camps.