Mashuda Khatun Shefali is the Executive Director of Nari Uddug Kendra (NUK), otherwise known as the Centre for Women’s Initiative. NUK is a leading NGO in Bangladesh, established in 1991. It operates in the areas of human rights, personal and political empowerment of women and girls as well as promotion of gender equality and women sports related issues in Bangladesh.
Mashuda holds a Masters Degree in General History and International Relations from the Jahangir Nagar University, and has completed several Certificate courses including Women, Men and Development, from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, United Kingdom, an advocacy training from the Advocacy Training Institute in Washington, D.C., Gender Matters in Development, from the University of East Anglia, Norwich United Kingdom, and diplomacy training from the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Prior to the establishment of NUK, she worked for several citizen sector organizations, women groups and donors, the development sector of the Ministry of Women Affairs in Bangladesh, she managed development funds for a several local NGOs in the country for the Canadian International Development Agency. She also serves as the President and CEO of the Bangladesh Women’s Fund (BWF). In 2003, Mashuda also founded the Kishorgonj Eye Hospitals and Agarashindur Community Hospital in Kishorgonj, a system that focuses on the prevention of rural women and girls’ blindness and their economic empowerment.
Over the years, she has consistently devoted her time, knowledge and resources, individually and through her NGO, to empowerment of rural women and advocacy rights. The Nari Uddug Kendra NGO offers Women leadership, Empowerment, Gender equality, women sports and related issue. Some of her works include:
Sports and Physical Activities for Women’s Empowerment:
NUK has worked with young women for many years, under the programme, NUK uses sports such as; football, karate and cricket, along with education and employment support. Through these methods, they build the self- esteem of young women and help them complete their education, find work, and develop life and leadership skills.
Garment Factory & Workers Support Program:
The garments manufacturing industry in Bangladesh is the largest and fastest growing sector of the country, it accounts for about 76% of the country’s export earnings, approximately 5000 factories employing 2.5 million workers with an estimated 75 % young women employees. NUK’s Garment Factories Support Programme works with both management and workers to improve working conditions and protect workers’ rights to secure continued competitiveness and sustainability of the Bangladesh Garments export industry in a global market increasingly requiring adherence to international labour and ethical business standards.
Mashuda’s passion and commitment in fighting for a more just world for the women of Bangladesh; makes her an outstanding Amazon, whose work remains an inspiration to women worldwide; and as such, the Amazons Watch celebrates her as our Rural Diamond for the week.