Monira Rahman

Monira Rahman

Executive Director, Managing Trustee and Ashoka Fellow

Monira Rahman is an Ashoka Fellow and a commonwealth alumni.

Her leadership role in tackling acid attack in Bangladesh and making a model for the world for combating acid violence has been recognized by the Amnesty International, Americans for UNFPA, World’s Children’s Prize and the French Government. BBC radio interviewed Monira to capture her contribution for combating acid violence in Bangladesh (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csywv3). Her leadership role in Acid Survivors Foundation established a BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL model in 1999 which was replicated in 5 other countries.

From her 15 years of successful experience at the Acid Survivors Foundation, she has established a new organization named Innovation for Wellbeing Foundation (IWF) in 2014 to promote mental health equity for sustainable development (www.iwellbeing.org).

Monira established Bangladesh Mental Health Network (BMHN) in 2015. This is country’s first and only network for all stakeholders working on mental health field and successfully advocated for replacement of the Lunacy Act 1912 by Bangladesh Mental Health Act 2018. Monira also played a crucial role for drafting National Mental Health Policy 2019 and National Mental Health Strategy 2020-2030 which is now waiting for government approval.

In the year 2015 she has established Mental Health First Aid Bangladesh (https://mhfainternational.org/international-mental-health-first-aid-programs/) to raise mental health literacy of the mass people. Mental Health First Aid is an Internationally accredited training program currently being adopted by 25 countries including Bangladesh. MHFA Bangladesh has trained 74 National Trainers who has trained 5000 certified mental health first aiders and 10,000 mental health Champions since 2015.

Monira’s idea for promoting women’s mental health win women innovation camp award 2017- a government run project and developed country’s first ever digital platform for promoting mental health in Bangla.

With the support of UNDP Monira’s organization also developed country’s first ever mobile application named mon janala (an android smart phone based application) to provide psychosocial support in Bangla during COVID 19 pandemic and beyond.

Monira has secured funding from Comic Relief and along with ADD International implementing a 4 years’ project started from June 2020 for developing community based mental health services for children and young people living with disability.

Monira and her organization is part of a UK-Bangladesh Global partnership led by Imperial College London and Bangladeshi partner include IWF, BRAC JPG School of Public Health and icddr,b and developing evidence based mental health care pathway model for rural Bangladesh.

Monira’s expertise on promotion of mental health and wellbeing developed from her early career in Concern Worldwide in 1992 where she developed mental health services for the homeless people living with mental illness from the scratch.

Monira obtained Masters degree in Philosohy from University of Dhaka. She was elected Vice President of student’s union of Shamsunnahar Hall of the University of Dhaka in 1989 and led many movements for peace and equality.

She frequently appears in media and a voice for the unheard.

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