Highlights of the activities of Dr. Shahida Akhter.
Dr. Shahida Akhter has wide experience in the areas of education (both formal and non-formal), and particularly, development-oriented education. She started her career with teaching. Gradually, she gained experience in administrative and academic works, organizational management, training, advocacy and awareness raising campaign, human rights, child rights, folklore & cultural heritage, public health & environment.
Shahida Akhter worked with the Ministry of Education in Bangladesh, UN Peacekeeping Mission in Cambodia, Bangla Academy, Campaign for Popular Education-CAMPE, UNICEF, Save the Children, Bangladesh Open University, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, and other national and international organizations in various capacities. In the academic area, she has been associated with the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh from 1998, worked for Banglapedia, the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh as a contributor, language editor and translator (www.banglapedia.org). She also worked for two other projects of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh – Cultural Survey of Bangladesh & Four Hundred Years of Capital Dhaka. She worked with Bangla Academy in various research projects. She was a Senior Fellow of Ford Foundation in 1993-94, worked on Folklore & Cultural Heritage of Bangladesh.
Apart from academic works, Shahida Akhter is a UN Volunteer, activist & filmmaker. She has been working on humanitarian issues and associated with voluntary activities for more than 20 years. She served the UNV Advocacy Committee, UNDP Bangladesh in 2009-10 as Chairperson, worked closely with the govt., UN bodies, national, international voluntary organizations to promote volunteerism. As a part of advocacy & spreading awareness on social-humanitarian issues, she makes documentary films.
As a consultant, Shahida Akhter worked with UNICEF Dhaka & Directorate of Non-Formal Education for producing educational materials & designing curriculum for different education programs including Hard to Reach Children Program – a joint project of UNICEF, GOB & ILO. She also worked with a Drug-addicts Prevention, Cure, Care and Research Centre – Mukti Lawrence Foundation in the field of Drug Abuse Prevention Program [1988-1995], did research on drug abuse. Her book was published in 1991 by the Directorate of Youth Development under the Ministry of Youth & Sports. She was associated with the Bangladesh Open University as a Curriculum Specialist, Module Writer & Teacher of Distance Learning from 1993-1998.
Shahida Akhter is a visionary humanist. She is working with the mission and vision to help the less privileged section of the society, to support them for getting access to education, health-care and employment opportunities, particularly the children and women of Bangladesh. Through her publications and documentaries, she wants to spread awareness on education, human rights, social justice, ending poverty, and promoting health & environmental issues.
In April 2018, Shahida Akhter has been recognized as Global Goodwill Ambassador [GGA] for her contribution to underprivileged children and women of Bangladesh.
At present, Shahida Akhter is implementing 3 projects on education & ICT for underprivileged children & youth, women development, health & environment to meet the goals of SDGs 1, 3, 4, 6, 8. Currently, she is the President, Action for Humanity & Social Progress, Founder Chairperson & Managing Trustee, Lekhapara Trust and Owner, Gravity Design & Media. Links:
She served Children & Earth Welfare Society – CEWS as Advisor (2013-2018) for providing education to the underprivileged children in Bangladesh, and helping poor women to be self-dependent
Shahida Akhter wrote and published a number books and articles, education materials for children and mass-people. Some of her books are included in the syllabus of the universities as reference. Her education materials for children, adolescents and mass people are being used by the NGOs, UNICEF and the Government of Bangladesh in their education programs. For her contribution to Non-Formal Education, she won a National Award in 1997. One of the education materials edited and published by Shahida Akhter is monthly Lekhapara. The magazine published for children, adolescents, mass people contains articles & news on education, culture, literature, history, law, child rights, gender issues, agriculture, health, environment, science & invention, current news etc.
Lekhapara can be read online here:
In 2005, Shahida Akhter participated in the “Toronto Tagore Conference” held at the University of Toronto, Canada, and her paper titled The pioneering role of Rabindranath Tagore in Mass Education and Social-Economic Development in Bangladesh, published in the volume Rabindranath Tagore: Reclaiming a Cultural Icon (Kolkata: Visva-Bharati, 2009) edited by Prof. Kathleen M. O’Connell and Prof. Joseph T. O’Connell of the University of Toronto.
Dr. Shahida Akhter at the University of Toronto International Conference
12 Nov. 2005
Shahida Akhter attended 42nd Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2008 -organized by the Smithsonian Institution at Washington D.C. from June 25 to July 6, 2008, invited by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage. Her article on Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2008 has been published in an international volume titled Folklore in Context by the UPL, Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2010. She was interviewed by Voice of America.
Shahida Akhter has directed & produced a few documentary films, such as: Meghdubi – on Folklife and Cultural Heritage of Bangladesh, Sports for All – on Rural Games, and Fight Acid Violence – on Acid Attack against Women in Bangladesh (supported by the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, USA). Fight Acid Violence has been screened in Bangladesh, USA, Jakarta and in a few international online film festivals. She got recognition & awards in the country & abroad.
Fight Acid Violence [documentary]
Her current film project is a series of documentary on Public Health and Environment, focusing on safe food, safe water and protection of environment. The documentary titled Safe Food for Life was completed in 2018. The ongoing documentary is: Life with Rivers, focusing on climate change, struggle of climate migrants, destructive human activity, water & river pollution, health issues. She is also making a new documentary on the Pandemic Covid-19.
Safe Food for Life [documentary]
Dr. Shahida Akhter received national & international awards for social work & documentary films:
- National Award for contribution to Non-formal Education on 8 September, International Literacy day 1997.
- Freedom Inspiring Future Leaders Award on International Women’s Day 2015 for her contribution to social service.
- Filmmaker Award 2015 by Women’s Film Society Bangladesh, March 2015.
- International Humanitarian Silver Award 2015 by World Humanitarian Awards, Sep. 2015.
- World Human Rights Gold Award by World Human Rights Awards, Jan. 2016.
- Platinum Awards – Filmmaker of Inspiration, Best Director and Best Documentary Short for Fight Acid Violence, by International Film Festival for Women-Social Issues-Zero Discrimination 2016, organized on the occasion of International Women’s Day & Zero Discrimination Day 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Award winning event on 8 March 2015 for social work
Links of award winning news in Jakarta on the occasion of International Women’s Day & Zero Discrimination Day 2016.
Shahida Akhter is a Life Member of Bangla Academy & Member of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh – two academic organizations for research, publication and preservation of cultural heritage. She is also associated with other national & international organizations working for Global Causes, Human Rights, Child Rights, Peace & Solidarity, Empowerment of Women & Gender Issue, Environment and Cultural Heritage.
Bachelor of Arts with Honors, Master of Arts – University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
PhD in Comparative Literature: Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, India.
Please click on the Gallery to see the photos of works & other activities.