Nilanjana currently serves as a Technical Specialist for Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning (MEL) and Research and sits within the MEL unit at SDDirect. Through this role, she contributes to the technical delivery of a range of programmes, MEL, and research and their cross-cutting integration with Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) frameworks and outcomes. She is currently the MEL Advisor for the FCDO supported Promoting Equalities Regional Programme to deliver gender and equalities across FCDO’s diplomacy and programming initiatives, and contributes as MEL Officer to the Aawaz programme in Pakistan as a part of the team delivering third party monitoring. She also supports diverse technical and research needs across the various thematic portfolios and Helpdesks at SDDirect.
With over 6 years of in-country experience in South Asia, Nilanjana brings strong programming, MEL and research skills through various roles in the public, private, civil society and academic sectors. Her core competencies lie in participatory programming, intersectional and mixed-methods research and knowledge production, and gender-transformative evaluations with thematic specialisation in gender and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), inclusive governance, Gender Based Violence and participatory urbanisation. Prior to joining SDDirect, Nilanjana’s more recent roles include supporting programmes and grants across Mercy Corps Europe’s Africa portfolio in DRC, Ethiopia, Somalia and Zimbabwe as Programme Officer; leading the technical design and delivery of the IDS Sussex University supported GESI Research Grant in India as Principal Researcher at CURE India; serving as Editor for CURE India’s annual journal on community-led development practice; and contributing as a Qualitative Research specialist in the Implementation Research for UNICEF’s Alternative Learning Programme in Bangladesh. In cognisance with various other roles with leading Indian civil society and government organisations, she is a seasoned participatory trainer and has a strong hold on participatory methodologies in building capacities of urban poor and marginalised communities, government officials, and academics.
Nilanjana holds an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London) where she graduated with a Distinction, and a BA (Honours) in Sociology from Delhi University. Nilanjana is fluent in English, Hindi, Bangla; proficient in Sylheti, and holds a working knowledge of French.
In her spare time, Nilanjana writes, photographs cities and people, and spends a lot of time reading in parks.