Shahanoor Akter Chowdhury, MA is a development professional with more than 20 years of experience, including three and half years in Rohingya response in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Her work largely focuses on gender and inclusion mainstreaming, sexual and reproductive health and rights, protection and gender-based violence in emergency and humanitarian setting, and women’s leadership and empowerment in organizations.
Chowdhury has worked with ActionAid Bangladesh and Save the Children International in Rohingya response since the influx of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh in 2017. Prior to that, she worked in both national and international organizations and the United Nations as well as in international consortiums. Chowdhury has consulted for not-for-profit organizations in Bangladesh and abroad in the areas of research, process documentation, programme evaluations, strategy and policy analysis, and capacity development. In 2020 as a National Evaluator at The KonTerra Group, she contributed to producing the Bangladesh Case Study of Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluation on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls, for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Trained as a qualitative researcher, Shahanoor has researched topics as sensitive as sexual violence, menstrual regulation, and abortion. She supported advocacy for “Banning the Two-finger Test” for medical evidence collection in rape cases in Bangladesh.
As an adjunct faculty, Chowdhury taught master’s degree students at the School of Public Health at the Independent University in Bangladesh. She was selected as a mentor for the Feminist Collective Mentorship Scheme initiated by Gender in Humanitarian Action Working Group in Cox’s Bazar.
Chowdhury works with PHR in research and training capacities and was one of the lead researchers in the investigation titled “‘Sexual Violence, Trauma and Neglect,” which exposed the impact of sexual violence on Rohingya survivors of the 2017 massacres. She provided technical support to PHR in trainings on trauma-informed care and the survivor-centered approach for the staff of a local organization in Cox’s Bazar.
Chowdhury holds an MSS in anthropology from the University of Dhaka and an MA in medical anthropology from the Universiteit van Amsterdam, where she was awarded the University Fellowship Programme by the Dutch organization NUFFIC. Chowdhury has been widely published and has presented in national and international fora.