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IDS alumnus wins British Council global Alumni Award for entrepreneurialism

Published on 4 April 2019

IDS and Sussex alum Mamunur Rahman has been announced as a winner of the British Council Study UK Alumni Awards. The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education.

'Mamunur Rahman with workers in Tongi, Bangladesh'. © Mamunur Rahman
‘Mamunur Rahman with workers in Tongi, Bangladesh’. © Mamunur Rahman

Three winners, all alumni of UK universities, were selected for their exceptional achievements in three award categories: Social Impact, Professional Achievement and Entrepreneurial Award.

Mamunur Rahman was awarded the Entrepreneurialism prize for his innovation that transforms leftover clothing material into sanitary towels. ‘Ella Pads’ support more than 50,000 women with improved health, hygiene and employment opportunities as the pads are made by women for women. Mamunur’s innovation helps meet the needs of four million women who work in garment factories, reducing absenteeism rates in factories and schools. He has worked with the Ministry of Industries and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to help develop entrepreneurs and co-ordinates the Ella Alliance – a platform to help public/private partnerships and to encourage private sector companies to promote the low-cost sanitary solution. Mamunur studied an MA in Gender and Development taught jointly by the Institute of Development Studies and University of Sussex, where he was encouraged to develop his ideas into problem-solving solutions. He is also a Chevening alumnus.

Mamunur Rahman said:

“It’s a great recognition of our taboo work. Bringing awareness to this issue will help us to have an even greater impact in Bangladesh and across the region.’’

IDS Director, Melissa Leach said:

“Our sincere congratulations to Mamunur. The scale and reach of the fantastic and innovative Ella Pad Initiative which has helped improve the working lives and wellbeing of thousands of women is impressive and we are very proud of him. Like so many of our gender and development graduates, Mamunur is making a positive difference in the world, and we celebrate his and all of their achievements.

Now in its fifth year, the Alumni Awards 2019 received more than 1,200 applications from international UK alumni in more than 100 countries, representing more than 85 per cent UK Higher Education Institutions across the UK.

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