Microfinance and Targeting the Ultra Poor
BRAC and BRAC International
Mr Shameran Abed is the senior director in charge of BRAC’s microfinance and ultra poor graduation programmes and is a member of BRAC’s executive management committee. BRAC’s microfinance programme serves more than 6.5 million clients in seven countries in Asia and Africa, and has total assets exceeding USD 2.5 billion. BRAC’s ground-breaking ultra poor graduation programme has graduated more than 1.8 million households out of the direst forms of poverty and social deprivation and has inspired the global uptake of the ‘graduation approach’ to tackle extreme poverty.
Mr Abed also chairs the board of BRAC Bank’s mobile financial services subsidiary, bKash, and serves on the boards of the BRAC UK, IPDC Finance and the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). Additionally, he is the chairperson of the Microfinance Network and is also a member of the Partnership for Responsible Financial Inclusion (PRFI) and the World Economic Forum’s Financial Inclusion Steering Committee.
Mr Abed is a lawyer by training, having been called to the Bar as a member of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in London, UK. He completed his undergraduate studies at Hamilton College in the United States, majoring in economics and minoring in political science.
Ms Tamara Hasan Abed is senior director, BRAC Enterprises, heading BRAC’s 13 social enterprises including Aarong, BRAC Dairy and BRAC Seed & Agro Enterprise. She is a member of BRAC’s executive management committee.
Ms Abed is a member of the Board of Trustees of BRAC University, the BRAC University Syndicate and Chairperson of BRAC University’s Finance Committee. She is a director on the boards of BRAC EPL Investments, BRAC EPL Stock Brokerage, IPDC Finance, BRAC Karnafuli Tea Co., BRAC Kaiyacherra Tea Co., BRAC Kodala Tea Estate and BRAC Industries Ltd. She chairs the board of BRAC Services Ltd. and is the executive trustee of Ayesha Abed Foundation. She also served on the Board of BRAC Bank for eight years until June 2016.
Ms Abed started her career in 1995 as an investment banker in Corporate Finance at Peregrine Capital Ltd., Dhaka and worked in Goldman Sachs, New York in Mergers and Strategic Advisory. She also worked in BRAC’s Urban Development Programme and managed a small business of her own in the hospitality industry. She has 20 years of experience in multiple sectors including retail, finance, social enterprise, development, dairy and hospitality both locally and internationally. Tamara is an Asia 21 Young Leader and was honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2010. She received the Outstanding Women Leadership Award from the World Women Leadership Congress in 2014.
She has a BSc (Econ.) honours degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science and an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School. In 2014, Ms Abed attended an executive course on Transformational Leadership at Oxford University’s Said Business School.
BRAC Centre, 75 Mohakhali, Dhaka-1212.
Programme Development, Resource Mobilisation and Learning
BRAC and BRAC International
Mr Dirk Booy is the senior director responsible for Programme Development, Resource Mobilisation and Learning at BRAC and BRAC International and is a member of BRAC’s executive management committee. Mr Booy brings to BRAC more than 37 years of end-to-end experience in international development. He has worked at the village level, run a national field office, managed a large fundraising support office in Canada, and provided global programme leadership across more than 96 countries. As a global executive, Mr Booy has a proven track record of leading transformational change in complex, multi-cultural organisations.
Prior to joining BRAC, Mr Booy worked as a global consultant serving in various advisory roles, interim executive assignments and consultancies. Before that, he held global roles at World Vision International including Partnership Leader Global Programs, as well as Global Field Operations based out of London, UK. In addition, he has served as vice president and executive vice president of World Vision Canada and led World Vision Tanzania as its national director. Mr Booy has served on the boards of various microfinance institutions, including as chairman of SEDA Tanzania and board member of Vision Fund International.
BRAC Centre, 75 Mohakhali, Dhaka-1212.
Strategy, Communication and Empowerment
BRAC and BRAC International
Mr Asif Saleh is the senior director in charge of strategy, communications and empowerment at BRAC and BRAC International and a member of BRAC’s executive management committee. He oversees advocacy, information and communications technology (ICT), communications and the social innovation lab. He is currently in charge of the empowerment cluster, which includes migration, human rights and legal aid services (HRLS), urban development programme (UDP) and skills development programme (SDP).
Prior to joining BRAC in 2011, Mr Saleh was an executive director at Goldman Sachs and also worked at GlaxoWellcome, NorTel and IBM. Upon his return to Bangladesh in 2008, he worked as a policy specialist for the UNDP-funded Access to Information Programme (A2i) at the Prime Minister’s Office. He is the founder of Drishtipat, a global organisation with chapters across the globe focusing on the human and economic rights of Bangladeshis. Mr Saleh was recognised for his work by Asia Society’s Asia 21 programme in 2008, the Bangladeshi-American Foundation in 2007, and was selected as an Asia 21 Fellow in 2012. He was selected to be a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2013.
Mr Saleh holds a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and an MBA in management from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Mr Saleh is a member of the board of directors of BRAC Bank and BRAC Net. He also chairs BRAC IT Services Limited. He is also on the board of multiple non-profits such as 1 Degree Initiative, Spreeha and Institute of Informatics and Development.
Sir Fazle was born in 1936 in Bangladesh. He studied Accountancy in London, qualifying as a Cost Management Accountant in 1962. While he was working as a senior corporate executive at Pakistan Shell, the 1970 cyclone and 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh dramatically changed the direction of his life. He left his job and moved to London, where he helped initiate Action Bangladesh and HELP Bangladesh in support of the Liberation War.
Early in 1972, after the war was over, he returned to the newly-independent Bangladesh, finding the economy in ruins. The return of 10 million refugees, who had sought shelter in India during the war, called for urgent relief and rehabilitation efforts. Sir Fazle established BRAC to address the needs of refugees in a remote area of north-eastern Bangladesh, guided by a desire to help the poor develop their own capacity to better manage their lives.
Today BRAC is one of the largest NGOs in the world, operating across twelve countries in Africa and Asia. Its primary objectives are to alleviate poverty and empower the poor. In 2018, for the third consecutive year, BRAC was ranked first among the world’s top 500 NGOs by Geneva-based ‘NGO Advisor’ in terms of impact, innovation and sustainability.
Sir Fazle has been honoured with numerous national and international awards for his achievements in leading BRAC, including the LEGO Prize (2018), Laudato Si’ Award (2017), Jose Edgardo Campos Collaborative Leadership Award, South Asia Region (2016), Thomas Francis, Jr. Medal in Global Public Health (2016), World Food Prize (2015), Trust Women Hero Award (2014), Spanish Order of Civil Merit (2014), Leo Tolstoy International Gold Medal (2014), CEU Open Society Prize (2013), Inaugural WISE Prize for Education (2011), Entrepreneur for the World Award (2009), David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2008), Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award (2007), Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership (2007), Palli Karma Shahayak Foundation (PKSF) Award for lifetime achievement in social development and poverty alleviation (2007), UNDP Mahbubul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development (2004), Gates Award for Global Health (2004), Gleitsman Foundation International Activist Award (2003), Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneurship Award (2003), Olof Palme Prize (2001), InterAction Humanitarian Award (1998) and Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (1980).
He is also recognised by Ashoka as one of the ‘global greats’ and is a founding member of its prestigious Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship. He was a member of the Commission on Health Research for Development (1987-90), the Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation (1991-92) and the High-level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (2005-2008). In 2009, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George by the British Crown in recognition of his services to reducing poverty in Bangladesh and internationally. Sir Fazle was a member of the Group of Eminent Persons appointed by the UN Secretary-General in 2010 to advise on support for the Least Developed Countries. In both 2014 and 2017, he was named in Fortune Magazine’s List of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.
The many honorary degrees received by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed include those from Princeton University (2014), the University of Oxford (2009), Columbia University (2008) and Yale University (2007). He was a visiting scholar at Harvard University in 1981.
BRAC Centre, 75 Mohakhali, Dhaka-1212.
Executive Director, BRAC International
Mr Faruque Ahmed is the executive director of BRAC International. He is also a member of BRAC’s executive management committee.
Prior to this, Mr Ahmed was the director of BRAC’s health programme for 10 years, playing a critical role in shaping the organisation’s health strategy and scaling several community-based health and nutrition interventions. Before joining BRAC, Mr Ahmed worked as senior operations officer in the health, nutrition and population team at the World Bank, Bangladesh.
Mr Ahmed started his career as a research and planning officer in 1976, and then worked in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. He is also on the Social Marking Company Board. He serves as a member of the working group of Bangladesh Health Watch and formerly represented civil society on the GAVI Alliance board.
Mr Ahmed completed his master’s in health sciences from Johns Hopkins University, and master’s in economics from the University of Dhaka.
Executive Director, BRAC
Dr Muhammad Musa is the executive director of BRAC. He has an extensive background in leading humanitarian, social development, and public health organisations in international, cross-cultural settings. A medical doctor and public health specialist, he has a specialised training in maternal and child nutrition, and disaster management.
Before joining BRAC, he worked for 32 years with CARE International as one of its senior international management professionals. Twenty of those years were spent working in Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, India, Bangladesh and Asia region.
He has long experience in strategic leadership, governing board management, executive-level management of large-scale operations, and humanitarian and social development programme management. He specialises in people management, leadership development, conflict resolution, and organisational change management. He also has a proven track record in effective external relationship management, marketing, brand-building, communications, and fundraising for humanitarian and development projects. He has been successful in bringing about convergence of philanthropic approaches and entrepreneurial methodologies to create sustainable development programming that achieves impact on a large scale.
In the professional field, Dr Musa has established a reputation for leading complex organisational change processes in multicultural settings. In addition, he is known for his unique ability to attract and develop young professionals into humanitarian and social development leaders. He is also an internationally recognised senior management trainer and an experienced coach.
For observing the World Day of Remembrance this year BRAC has engaged school students and arranged a rally with banners and posters showcasing the theme of #Roadshavestories and #WDoR2018. Approximately, 50 students of Shaheen school, Gazipur attended the rally holding placards while attracting the attention of local community, law enforcers and other road users. The principal and other school teachers holding banner initiated the rally. Through this rally the students displayed road safety messages to the people while remembering those who lost their lives in road crashes. #Roadshavestories #WDoR2018
Noor Mohammad a former truck driver; now a community traffic police and road safety advocate
Noor Mohammad used to be a truck driver until he crashed into a van and ended up with multiple fractures on his feet. Being a driver he could not afford the costly treatment. Ultimately, his family became poorer and children had to stop schooling. Due to overconfidence, unsafe driving, and the crash his family suffered and it took him two years to recover mentally and physically. Currently he uses a crutch to walk. Noor Mohammad now works as a community traffic police and road safety advocate motivating other drivers to drive safely and defensively.
Students demanding safer roads
Rally participated by teachers and students
Students showcasing the posters for WDoR-2018
Students showcasing the posters for WDoR-2018
Experts at a conference observed that the government and private initiatives and resources need to better consolidate and coordinate to ensure sound mental health for all, children and adolescents in particular.
The urge came today on Monday (12 November 2018) at the concluding session of the 2-day event titled 'Let's talk and listen', organised at the BRAC CDM at Savar. BRAC Institute of Educational Development (BIED) arranged the event attended by national and international experts. The main purpose of the conference was to provide a platform to share expert knowledge, discuss successful models implemented to support mental health and promote conversations about mental health in Bangladesh.
Four sessions with four separate mental health issues were held in the conference, namely, 1. Mental health and psychosocial support in fragile settings 2. Maternal and infant mental health 3. Child mental health and 4. Adolescent mental health. Dr Nishat F Rahman, Dr Nahama Broner, Mohammad Abul Kalam NDC, Dr Helal Uddin Ahmed, Dr Jena Hamadani, Lilian Mafole, Dr Anne Glowinski, and Dr Eram Mariam spoke at the sessions.
The first session's focus was alternative methods for mental health support in fragile situation. The four-tier model developed by BIED with which BRAC is providing psychosocial support to thousands of Rohingya people in Cox's Bazar was presented in this session. Second session focused on maternal and infant mental health, highlighting the importance of mother's mental wellbeing to ensure healthy upbringing of children.
Speakers in the third session discussed the role of play in ensuring sound child mental health. BIED’s Play Lab Model was presented in this session, which is at present being implemented in three countries, Bangladesh, Uganda and Tanzania. Representatives from these countries shared their views and experience regarding implementation of this model in their respective environments.
The fourth session stressed high importance to the mental wellbeing of the adolescent people, calling attention to the reality that while they have many emotional issues they are often overlooked and go unheard. The session comprised case studies, narratives and interactive discussions.
Effective implementation of the 'Second country investment plan: Nutrition- sensitive food systems' (CIP2) undertaken by the Bangladesh government will highly benefit the country's social security situation. The implementation of the plan will also substantially reduce the shortage of intake in Vitamin A, iron and zinc over a decade.
Experts gave these observations on Thursday (27 September), while presenting the findings of a study on the probable impact of CIP2, conceived by the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit under the Ministry of Food. The discussion session titled 'Final consultation on ex-ante impact assessment of CIP2' was organised at Westin Hotel in the capital.
The Research and Evaluation Division (RED) of BRAC conducted the study with support from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Earlier, BRAC presented four more analyses of the probable impact of CIP2 to have concluded with the Thursday's presentation, organisers said.
Chaired by Dr Kaosar Afsana, director of BRAC's Health Nutrition and Population Programme, the event was also addressed by guests of honour M Badrul Arefin, director general of Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU), and Md Shah Nawaz, director general, Bangladesh National Nutrition Council. FAO's senior policy analyst Benoist Veillerette also joined the session through Skype from Rome.
The experts presented their analysis on five sub-programmes of CIP2, the focuses of which are: improve and expand nutrition-sensitive agriculture programmes; sustain micronutrient-rich small fish production; scale up behaviour change communications on nutritious food preparation, safe storage, household processing and improved consumption; expand and strengthen safety net programmes (SNPs) supporting vulnerable groups including poor women, children, elderly, disabled people, displaced population and communities living in remote areas; and introduce nutrition-sensitive social safety net programmes especially for mothers and children.
Below are the highlights of the analysis
1.6 million (16 lakh) women will be trained in home gardening under CIP2, with an expectation that 12.3 million (1 crore 23 lakh) home gardens will be grown over a decade. It will lead to reducing the gap of intake in iron, zinc and Vitamin A up to 4.5%, 8% and 100%. Besides consumption, the families will also sell the produce. According to estimate of the BRAC study, the initiative will bring $2.6 benefits against investment of $1.
CIP2 will train 3.2 million (32 lakh) pond owners in mola and other small fish culture over a 10-year period and it is estimated that 30% of the training recipients will utilise their learning. The household consumption of the fish will help reduce gaps in iron, zinc and vitamin A intake by 15%, 25% and 100% respectively. The combined benefit from household consumption and selling is expected to amount to $4 against investment of each dollar.
Behaviour change communications training on nutritious food preparation, safe storage, household processing and improved consumption is also extremely important as it will help ensure proper nutritional intake at family level and reduce the number of babies with low birth weight.
The benefits of reaching social safety net programmes to the vulnerable communities is longer term, with a potential for bringing up to $28 against each dollar of investment.
FPMU director general M Badrul Arefin said, "Nutrition is among the priorities of the present government and we are working to fulfil it".
BRAC director Dr Kaosar Afsana said, Evidence-based original research and studies are essential for formulating effective nutrition sensitive plans. BRAC will do more such necessary studies in future.
To reduce prevalent malnutrition among mothers and children in the disadvantaged families and communities in Bangladesh foods like fortified rice are essential. The study viewed that nutrition sensitive programmes should be introduced in the government's social safety net initiatives.