Kanakodaya Barman, Bangladesh

Kanakodaya Barman currently holds the position of Deputy Manager of Communications and Program Design at AYAT Education, located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. AYAT first started in 2014 with their Skills Development Center. Kanak was originally involved in organizing the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s training, the End-ofLife Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC), to nurses across the country. Through this project, he recalls receiving many thanks from nurses who were able to ensure their patients pass away peacefully. Throughout his 6 years at AYAT, Kanak has received specialized Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) training from Vrije University Amsterdam and the Royal Tropical Institute and became a Winrock Master Trainer on anti-trafficking and safe migration. As a Master Trainer, he has taught multiple cohorts of ready-made garment (RMG) and Construction workers.

This past year, IGC and AYAT completed the first phase of a project focusing on COVID-19 prevention and education in Bangladeshi RMG factories. This initial phase focused on, first, assessing current COVID19 knowledge and prevention methods amongst factory workers and management, and second,  designing appropriate educational materials and methods accordingly. Specifically, Kanak was responsible for disseminating and communicating educational materials that he helped create with subject matter experts as well as developing and digitizing questionnaires. At the end of each day, he had field staff submit all information to the digital system so that he could compile and validate the data before sharing it with subject matter experts. Although the team faced some initial hesitation from factory management, who had concerns about limiting production and were weary of feeling regulated by the educators, ultimately, the program was a success and satisfied all parties involved. Kanak appreciates how he can see the direct impact of his work. The factory workers expressed their gratitude to him and the AYAT team during the peak of COVID-19.

Kanak truly believes that there is no end to learning, including his own. In addition to his work on the RMG factory project, he describes the involvement of 11 young research assistants, who gained significant experience in team building, collaboration, and the development of leadership skills. Kanak will always be appreciative of the AYAT and IGC communities. He is excited for the additional learning opportunities the second phase of this project will bring.