Sabrina Sharmin, UN Volunteer Information Management Officer with UNICEF provides training on data collection to the implementing partners in the learning center in Rohingya camps
Sabrina Sharmin, UN Volunteer Information Management Officer with UNICEF provides training on data collection to the implementing partners in the learning center in Rohingya camps.

UN Volunteer challenges gender stereotypes in Bangladesh

Sabrina Sharmin serves as UN Volunteer Information Management Officer with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) at the Cox’s Bazar field office in Bangladesh. Through her work, she challenges gender stereotypes and promotes equality for all. Currently, 43 percent of UN Volunteers in Bangladesh are women.  Sabrina is a recipient of the UNV Country Awards – Bangladesh 2021.

In her work, Sabrina supports UNICEF programmes for gender equality through data analysis in gender-disaggregated ways including both gender and disability at the field level data collection and analysis. This aids decision-makers to observe the changes and take appropriate action to improve the programme by ensuring equal opportunity for children, women, and persons with disabilities. 

Sabrina's field visits are also an opportunity for her to observe the changes taking place in women’s lives in terms of their freedom of expression in their families, contributing to society through getting an education, and raising awareness about the challenges in society. 

I feel optimistic about making changes in human life through providing continuous support to emergency response in the context of the world’s biggest refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.’’ -- Sabrina Sharmin, UN Volunteer Information Management Officer, UNICEF

Sabrina's provides support to WASH, Health, Nutrition, Child Protection, Education, and Communications for Development (C4D). She prepares humanitarian response data through visualization, such as dashboards and infographics. She also supports database maintenance activity as a part of the team while ensuring assistance in real-time monitoring and online platforms. Additionally, she analyzes potential hazard risks, spatial data collection, and analyses based on the data provided. Part of her work focuses on the capacity development of implementing partners using different data collection tools such as ODK collect and GPS to ensure the timely emergency response requirement.

As a member of the Planning, Monitoring and Reporting (PMR) team, I have provided emergency support to ensure early response and monsoon preparedness plan in Rohingya camps through analyzing the hazard risks to determine the potential flood, landslide and storm surge risk area. I, then, disseminate the result to the respective section to take appropriate action as a part of Disaster Risk Reduction programme including child centered disaster risk reduction as required. This is monitoring support from my end for the disaster change adaptation, mitigation, and response.’’ Sabrina Sharmin, UN Volunteer Information Management Officer, UNICEF

Sabrina’s engagement with the work related to “COVID-19 Dashboard” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh illustrates the entire COVID-19 scenario of Bangladesh, as well as Cox’s Bazar host and Rohingya community in a frame. "It gave me great experience of working in the emergency context,’’ says Sabrina. The dashboard portrays the impact of COVID-19 on achieving targeted results of different indicators so that they can improve the programme area where needed.

Sabrina is a very dynamic member of our team who has the patience to learn and implement the learning in practical work. She has a great contribution to upholding the information management system of our office, especially training on real-time data collection tools, XLSForm development, data analysis, and visualization. I believe, she will be successful in her life. Many thanks to Sabrina for her valuable contribution.”--  Mahmudul Hasan, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, UNICEF

Her volunteer assignment also includes field monitoring. This entails many areas – distribution and monitoring of cash assistance to Rohingya foster children as a part of social protection programme, monitoring of the functional and operational status of WASH facilities in the camps and host community, status of Learning Centre in the camps including gender separate sanitation facilities, and uninterrupted learning facilities for Rohingya children while ensuring the equal participation of male, female and disabled children.

On challenging gender stereotypes and gender equality, Sabrina notes that when she began her career in a non governmental organization, she was introduced to a widow, a victim of riverbank erosion. The woman's story encouraged Sabrina to do something that will empower marginalized women like her.

Sabina shares the principle that the world is equal for all human beings, women and men alike. Sustainable development cannot be achieved if the half of the world’s population lags behind. Both men and women should have equal opportunities in every sector. By leaving women behind, suppressing their voices, paying minimal attention to their development – we cannot ensure sustainable growth in the world.

I feel so proud to get an opportunity to work for a large group of marginalized people and to have a wider scope for women empowerment that reflects my morals and values of life." -- Sabrina Sharmin, UN Volunteer Information Management Officer, UNICEF

The most important steps for gender equality, women empowerment and climate change mitigation –  Sabrina believes are three: to ensure women’s participation at each level in society from the family to the state with special attention to Protection against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), to guarantee education for all, and to put an end to child marriage.