Syeda Samara Mortada

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Capture Community-led Climate Solutions from Sylhet Region, BangladeshBangladesh

Syeda Samara Mortada is a feminist activist and expert in sexual and reproductive health and rights. She currently works as the partner coordinator for Bonhishkha, a feminist organization in Bangladesh.  Bonhishkha works towards achieving the equality of genders across the spectrum by removing gender-based stereotypes and creates a platform for youth to share their gendered experiences, using arts as the main form to interact. Samara is an advocate of equal rights and bodily autonomy, and she contributes regularly to national and international dailies on those topics. She is a core organizer of the RageAgainstRape movement in Bangladesh and a core member of the coalition Feminists Across Generations. Samara is an IVLP Alum and a 2021 Acumen Fellow.

IVLP Impact Award Project: Capture Community-led Climate Solutions from Sylhet Region, Bangladesh

Through conducting 50 total interviews, and five in-depth interviews, Samara developed an audio-visual product highlighting issues of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights for women in the Sylhet region who are affected by the climate-crisis and shared their innovative solutions they have come up with during these times of crisis. This video has been shared across Samara’s network and she has spoken to those within the development sector on how to scale up these solutions into impactful projects. So far, about 1000 people have seen this video and 20 people have engaged in roundtable discussions surrounding the video and this topic in general.

Samara also moderated the IVLP Impact Awards Alumni Discussion Series panel on “Involving Community in Environmental Action” which you can read more about here.

Watch on YouTube

"I hope to showcase stories from my community and solutions they have developed themselves, for themselves, in the wake of the climate crisis . . . and present them to global audiences in the hope that they can be replicated elsewhere." - Syeda Samara Mortada

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Samara was a participant in the IVLP Project A Global Moment in Time - Peace and Justice, organized by the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education.

Samara's exchange experience led to the development of her IVLP Impact Award Project: "The IVLP experience was one of a kind. [It] helped me connect and witness firsthand the work of community-led organizations, networks and government organizations working to achieve peace and justice and to reach out to the most marginalized segments of society."

U.S. Communities Visited

Denver, CO; Washington, DC; Miami, FL

Country: Bangladesh

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