A five-member delegation from the Aga Khan Award for Architecture committee visited the Rohingya Camps in Cox's Bazar on Tuesday (19 September).
The delegation emphasised the importance of environmentally friendly facilities within the camps, showcasing the award-winning innovation in the architecture of these structures.
The delegation was led by Hossain Zillur Rahman, also a former adviser to the caretaker government and chairperson of Brac, one of the world's largest non-governmental development organizations.
The delegation's tour included visits to Camp 4 Extension, Camp 3, Camp 11, Camp 18, Camp 2 West, and Camp 5. At Camp 4 Extension, they explored Brac's Women-Friendly Centre, Community Centre, and several exhibition centres, engaging closely with members of the Rohingya community.
The visit served as a platform for the delegation to underscore the significance of constructing environmentally friendly facilities within the Rohingya camps.
The distinguished members of the delegation included: Farrokh Derakhshani, director of Aga Khan Award for Architecture; Kareem Ibrahim, chief executive officer of Takween Integrated Community Development and on-site review expert for Aga Khan Award for Architecture; Munir Merali, Resident diplomatic representative of Aga Khan Development Network; Marina Tabassum, steering committee member of Aga Khan Award for Architecture and architect of the organisation Saif Ul Haque.
Bangladesh received the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the year 2022, recognising six innovative structures within the Rohingya camps and the host community in Ukhiya, Cox's Bazar. These structures were lauded for their innovative and environmentally friendly designs, which contribute to the overall well-being of the Rohingya community.
Brac, in particular, received recognition for five of these groundbreaking structures. Four of them are located at Camp 1 East, Camp 3, Camp 25, and Camp 4 Extension within the Rohingya camps, while one is situated in the host community in Ratna Palong, Ukhiya. International development organisation ActionAid was also acknowledged for an additional innovative structure within the Rohingya camp, further highlighting the commitment to improving the living conditions and sustainability of the camps.
Prior to the Rohingya camp visit, Brac HCMP and ActionAid jointly celebrated the winning of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for 2022 at an event at a Cox's Bazar hotel on Monday.
At the event, Brac Chairperson Hossain Zillur Rahman emphasised 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.
Farrokh Derakhshani, director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, stated, "This award recognition isn't limited to individuals; it also acknowledges larger-scale partnerships."
They also 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.