Shuvo is our Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning Officer (MEAL) in Bangladesh, and here he shares more about his role, his career path, and what motivates him every day to do more.
1. Tell us about your role and your work
As the MEAL Officer at Christian Aid Bangladesh, I am leading the MEAL activities of its humanitarian response programme (i.e. in a non-Rohingya context). It is my role to ensure that everyone is included in our response to the most affected population. As part of this, I oversee monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning interventions. I work closely with our partners to make sure that our interventions are responsive and effective. From collecting information to analyzing data, I am making sure our interventions hit the mark. It's all about seeing the real impact on people's lives. I make sure to involve everyone in the process, especially those who are most affected by the crisis. By collecting information and analysing data, we can design studies that capture critical evidence for our proposals. As the champion of monitoring and evaluation, I am dedicated to making a positive impact and transforming lives. With every report, case study, and database update, I get to witness the real change that our work brings. It's incredibly fulfilling to see how our interventions help people who might otherwise be excluded. Working towards inclusion is not just a job, it's a passion that brings me great joy!
2. What was the first job you had?
As an Upazila Coordinator for the APARAJITA: Political Empowerment of Women (Phase III) with PRIP Trust, my job was all about empowering women. I facilitated training for Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) and Potential Women Representatives (PWRs) and monitored field activities. I also prepared monthly/quarterly plans, conducted social study programmes, and built communication and links with different stakeholders. My work was focused on promoting women's participation and leadership in local governance, which was a critical part of the APARAJITA Project. By empowering women to take on leadership roles, we were able to make a significant impact in the communities we served. Overall, my experience as an Upazila Coordinator was a life-changing one. It taught me the importance of community engagement, capacity building, and leadership development in bringing about positive change.
3. What inspired you to join the field of Development?
The experience of witnessing poverty and inaccessibility to basic needs in my community and surroundings inspired me to join the field of development. I felt a strong desire to make a positive impact and help those who were struggling to meet their daily needs. Through my work in the development sector, I am able to contribute to creating sustainable solutions that address poverty and provide access
to basic needs, such as clean water, education, healthcare, and livelihood opportunities. Seeing the positive impact of my work on the lives of individuals and communities has further reinforced my passion for development and my commitment to making a difference.
4. What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I am proud to say that my team and I were able to respond quickly and effectively to the devastating flood that hit Sylhet, Sunamganj, and Netrokona in 2022. We met the urgent needs of the affected communities in areas such as education, cash assistance, WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), infrastructure, and livelihoods. Despite the challenging circumstances, we were able to quickly assess the situation on the ground and develop a comprehensive response plan. This plan focused on meeting the immediate needs of the affected communities, including providing emergency cash assistance to the most vulnerable households, distributing hygiene kits, and repairing damaged infrastructure. Our team worked tirelessly to ensure that our interventions were inclusive and responsive to the needs of the people, especially women, children, and people with disabilities. By engaging with the community and building strong partnerships with local organizations, we were able to implement effective and sustainable solutions. It was a challenging experience, but it was incredibly rewarding to witness the positive impact of our interventions on the lives of those affected by the flood. I am proud to have been part of a team that was able to make a difference in the lives of so many people in need. I made sure that all interventions followed the AAA (Accountability to the Affected Population) and MEAL standards. This helped to ensure that our programmes were accountable to the communities we were serving, adaptable to their changing needs, and affordable for those in need. By implementing effective monitoring and evaluation systems, we were able to track progress and learn from our experiences, which ultimately helped to improve the quality and impact of our interventions.
5. What keeps you motivated every day?
Working closely with communities and ensuring access to the inaccessible is not only fulfilling but also a constant source of motivation for me. Seeing first-hand how our interventions positively impact the lives of the people we serve and witnessing their gratitude and happiness is truly rewarding. Additionally, being able to work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive world is a cause that I am deeply passionate about and knowing that my work is contributing towards that goal keeps me motivated every day.
6. What would be your one piece of advice to aspiring development professionals?
My advice to aspiring development professionals would be to always keep the communities they are working with at the centre of their work. Listen to their needs and priorities, involve them in the decision-making process, and ensure that they are empowered to lead their own development. It's also important to stay adaptable and flexible, as development work can be unpredictable and constantly changing. Lastly, prioritise learning and personal growth, as there is always more to learn and new skills to acquire in this field.
Huge thanks go to Shuvo Roy for sharing this all with us and for delivering such important work in Bangladesh.