By Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, 2015 World Food Prize Laureate
"When I began working with farmers struggling with poverty in 1972, I was a young accountant, fresh from a job in the finance department of Shell Oil. I had lofty ideas of how I could help transform our new nation, Bangladesh, which was then one of the poorest countries on earth. I thought that if we could empower the poor by providing services like livelihood training, literacy classes and health and family planning, they would be able to vanquish the extreme poverty and hunger they had endured for far too long.
The world was quite a different place then. Bangladesh had gone through a bloody war for independence, and the world’s great powers were locked in a struggle between freedom and totalitarianism. The Green Revolution was still in its infancy, but we knew the vast promise it held for it had already delivered spectacular increases in cereal crop yields in India, West Pakistan and the Philippines; for this, Norman Borlaug had won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970..." Read full article here.
The deadly floods and landslides in Freetown, Sierra Leone have caused large-scale destruction in the city. Heavy rains caused floods and mud slides without prior warning on the night of 14 August. Parts of the Sugar Loaf Mountain collapsed on the edge of the city in the Regent area.
These disasters have caused many residents to become homeless overnight. Authorities have urged affected residents to move to safer grounds as rescue operations continue. As of 15 August, 297 people have been reported killed with many more still missing.
BRAC in Sierra Leone is planning to donate USD 20,000 to the President Emergency Relief Fund; half of the amount will be given in cash while the rest will comprise of food and clothing for affected families.
The office of National Security has requested support from development partners in the form of medicine, food, WASH, clothing, and burial materials.
The government of Sierra Leone has declared a seven-day mourning period.
The recent floods and landslides have caused widespread destruction and casualties in 26 districts of Nepal. The death toll has reached 115 people with another 38 still reported missing. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes.
In Janakpur, villagers are struggling to find dry and safe places as almost all the settlements in the sub-metropolis have been inundated. Water, food and medicine are scarce and people are drinking contaminated water. There is an increase in patients with waterborne diseases according to the local hospitals.
The Government has anticipated huge losses in the agriculture sector; in the Terai districts alone the losses could amount to NPR 2.86 billion.
The floods have caused wildlife devastation as well. A rhinoceros and six deer were found dead near Triveni river bank in Nawalparasi district on Monday.
BRAC in Nepal attending coordination meetings and collecting information about the affected areas.
BRAC Nursery, previously known as the Social Forestry Programme, was set up in 1988 to provide high quality seeds to small and marginal farmers to increase agricultural productivity and farm earnings.The enterprise uses a variety of activities to increase awareness about the necessity of planting trees and to increase the number and variety of trees not only to meet the basic needs such as timber, fuel and fruit but also to restore the ecological balance.
We aim to maintain and improve ecological balance through forestation and contribute towards increasing environmental awareness alongside of generating income and employment. This year we have been awarded the First Prize in the National Tree Plantation and Tree Fair by Bangladesh Forest Department, Ministry of Environment and Forest.
Inadequacies in non-communicable disease control measures pose a major threat in the country’s health sector despite other commendable achievements in improving the healthcare services. Particularly, there is a serious shortage in healthcare services in this regard for women and children. Insufficient infrastructure and lack of preparedness to meet the patient demands are also part of the scenario.
Speakers discussed these issues at the launch ceremony of the sixth Bangladesh Health Watch Report 2016 today on Thursday (10 August 2017) at the BRAC Centre Auditorium in the capital.
The event titled ‘Non-Communicable Diseases in Bangladesh: Current Scenario and Future Directions’ had Nahin Razzaq MP, member of the parliament standing committee on youth and sports ministry, as its chief guest.
Simeen Mahmud, head (acting) of Gender Studied Cluster, and coordinator of Centre for Gender and Social Transformation, Bangladesh Institute of Governance and Development, BRAC University, chaired the programme.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Jane Edmondson, Dhaka Office head of United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, and Anders Ohstrom, head of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, spoke among others at the event.
Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, vice-chairman of BRAC, gave the welcome address.
Nahin Razzaq MP said, ‘With the increased prevalence of non-communicable diseases the government has started investing in this area. We are going to formulate an action plan on next month. We have also increased emphasis on young people’s engagement in sports and cultural activities.’
Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said, ‘Although the government is implementing many commendable programmes, due only to some wrong policies non-communicable diseases is heading towards a crisis situation. The organ transplant law that the government has recently enacted is not practical. I believe, the government could have the law formulated with directions that allowed not only close relatives but anyone to donate kidney.’
The report presented data and analysis on the nature and risk factors regarding the non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh. The challenges highlighted in the report among others include: One, Mainstreaming non-communicable disease service provision at the primary healthcare level, two, Non-functioning regulatory framework and lack of coordination at the national level and three, lack of robust national database incorporating data from rural and urban areas as well as public and private sources for regular and strong surveillance of such diseases.
To mitigate the challenges the report has put forward five challenges:
On Sunday, 23 July 2017, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson, BRAC shared the stage with Dr Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group at the annual RESULTS International Conference held in Washington, DC.
At the plenary titled Going the Last Mile, Dr Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund, recognised Sir Fazle and Dr Kim as two global leaders and practical visionaries who did “what the world had said was too hard or even impossible”, played a critical role in fighting tuberculosis, and had what it will take to get to the last mile in ending extreme poverty.
Sir Fazle talked about the motivation behind BRAC’s globally successful graduation programme; reaching those trapped in ultra poverty.
Dr Kim emphasised the need for governments today to invest in their own people and move away from supply-driven investments to demand-driven investments.
Both Sir Abed and Dr Kim highlighted the role that women can play in fighting poverty, and the need to mobilise them as ‘agents of change’ for poverty alleviation.
"If women manage poverty why can't they manage development? We see women as the main agents of change"- Sir FH Abed #Voices4RESULTS— BRAC (@BRACworld) July 23, 2017
In his closing remarks, Dr Kim expressed his concern of rising aspirations everywhere;
“We are racing against time and the sense of urgency we have today is greater than it was ever before,” he said. “We have to get better at thinking about the foundations of human solidarity. We have to find a way forward. We have to commit and recommit to equality of opportunity,” he concluded.
Representatives from BRAC presented the details of their graduation programme in a separate panel with panellists from the University of New Hampshire, Uplift and the RESULTS Educational Fund. This session provided the opportunity to understand the various forms of social protection and livelihood programmes and the need to make such programmes more comprehensive, adaptive and scalable in order to reach the extreme poor and provide them with better support to help escape poverty sustainably.
He holds the number 37 position on Fortune’s List of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders and has won an incredible number of prestigious awards. He is the founder and chairperson of the world’s largest private development aid organisation, with 100,000 employees in 11 countries and a budget of one billion dollars. He is 81 years old, and his biography reads like an adventure novel. After 45 years, the ongoing success of his NGO called BRAC offers a convincing response to those cynics who declared development aid a thing of the past. His name is Sir Fazle Hasan Abed and De Dikke Blauwe spoke to this architect of poverty reduction during his visit to the Netherlands in mid-June. read more
This article was published in the Daily Observer, Liberia on 1 June 2017
BRAC Liberia recently concluded a two-day nutrition training for twenty (20) leaders in the health and agriculture sectors of six counties, including Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Bong, Bomi, and Cape Mount.
The training was held in Kingsville, Careysburg district, Montserrado County.
According to BRAC-Liberia the training focused on breastfeeding, complementary breastfeeding, malnutrition prevention, and vitamin A deficiencies.
Facia Goah, nutrition focus person for Montserrado County at the Ministry of Health, appreciated BRAC for involving community organizations in the fight against malnutrition.
She added that diet diversification is one of the major challenges to reducing malnutrition in the country.
"Our people are used to eating one kind of food, and parents are encouraging children to eat the same food. However, encouraging people to eat varieties comes with huge collaboration," she said.
On 13 May, bus drivers and transport association leaders at the Mohakhali bus terminal took pledges to keep the speed of their vehicles below 30 kilometre per hour while passing schools, hospitals, residential areas and on roads with mixed traffic of non-motorised vehicles and pedestrians. A total of 5000 bus drivers, transport association leaders, operators and administrators are expected to take part in this week-long activity.
Scene from the Mohakhali bus terminal on the first day of the pledge-taking ceremony
This is part of a campaign that was organised by BRAC on the eve of United Nation Global Road Safety Week 2017 which was observed during May 8 - 14 across the world. This year's UN road safety campaign theme was "Save Lives - #SlowDown".
From left: Ahmed Najmul Hussain (director of BRAC's road safety programme), Ratanawadee Winther (Asian Injury Thailand's chairperson), Md Moshiar Rahman (chairman of BRTA) and Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mikael Hemniti Winther
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) chairman Md Moshiar Rahman inaugurated the event, followed by a discussion on the significance of the week at the south plaza of National Parliament. Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mikael Hemniti Winther, Asian Injury Thailand chairperson Ratanawadee Winther, BRAC Road Safety programme's director Ahmed Najmul Hussain and its advocacy programme's director KAM Morshed, among others were also present.
This was followed by a motor cycle rally involving 200 bikers who carried colourful flags, placards and banners that boldly displayed UN's campaign slogan. During the rally, they engaged with drivers of buses, cars and three-wheelers to spread the message of slowing down speeds to prevent loss of lives.
200 members of the Road Riderz motorbike group helped stage the rally
BRTA's chairman said the high speed is the key reason behind deadly accidents. Safe speed of vehicles could help save hundreds of lives every year.
Winther said the campaign will draw the attention of the policy makers about the burning issues related to road safety and will develop simple, low-cost interventions to address these. He urged the drivers for going slow, saving lives of both others and themselves.
The 35 kilometre rally started from the National Parliament building and ended at Bashundhara residential area
Najmul Hussain stated that BRAC for years has been raising community awareness about road safety, training drivers and driving instructors, and doing research to improve road safety in Bangladesh.
BRAC deeply mourns at the demise of Mr Faruq Ahmed Choudhury, former adviser and governing body member of BRAC. He passed away on May 17, 2017 at 4.30 am, in Square Hospital, Dhaka at the age of 83. He left behind his wife, a son and a daughter.
Mr Faruq Ahmed Choudhury, was born in January 4, 1934 in Assam, India. Throughout his successful career, he served the Bangladesh Government for two decades and occupied the roles of foreign secretary and ambassador.
He joined BRAC as an advisor in 1992 and continued to work with BRAC until 2006. His contribution played a key role in BRAC’s expansion and growth. He was also a governing body member of BRAC, a trustee board member of BRAC University and the chairman of Delta-BRAC housing company.
As an eminent columnist, he received popularity for his publications on socio-economic and political issues. He received IFIC Bank Literature Award in 2014 and Bangla Academy Literature Award in 2016.