BRAC was ranked the top International Charity of the Year for 2016 by the Charity Times Awards on 28 September. The award is organised by Charity Times Magazine, a trade publication for the UK non-profit sector. Lewis Temple, CEO of BRAC UK, received the award on behalf of BRAC.
The award highlighted BRAC’s history of designing and implementing solutions at scale, particularly the ultra poor graduation approach, which helps the poorest graduate out of poverty.
The award now in its 17th year was held in London. The event works to shine a celebratory light on the sector, raise standards and offer ongoing professional development to the thousands engaged in charitable work in the UK. BRAC was pleased to share the short list for International Charity with six outstanding organisations, including Hospices of Hope, Send a Cow, Shivia, United World Schools, Vision for a Nation Foundation and Y Care International.
Charity Times is a leading business and management magazine for UK non-profit professionals. It offers a wide range of in-depth, independently-written features and news analysis. Each year, the Charity Times Awards work to honour the outstanding professionals in the varied fields of charity management; recognise, celebrate, and promote best practice; support continuing professional development; contribute to raising the standards of charity management; promote and raise the profile of the charity sector; and provide recognition for those who are providing effective support to the sector.
To know more about the awards, please visit: http://www.charitytimes.com/awards/index.php
It is with great regret that we inform that Mr Md Mainuddin Ahmed (44), Senior Area Manager, Small Enterprise Programme (SEP), BRAC Uganda was killed on 27 September, 2016 by unidentified miscreants. The Uganda police post-mortem report confirmed that he died due to strangulation.
Mr Mainuddin and our service staff Mr James Aworu were found unresponsive in the area office in Lira town on 27th morning. They were immediately taken to the Lira Regional Referral Hospital where the doctors declared Mr Mainuddin deceased.
Mr Aworu was admitted in critical condition and is now out of danger.
Mr Mainuddin’s laptop and phone were missing from the office. Uganda Police has commenced the investigation, but no arrests have so far been made.
BRAC Uganda office is coordinating with the Uganda government and Bangladesh consular office in carrying out all necessary official procedures involving the incident.
BRAC has informed Mr Mainuddin’s family in Bangladesh, confirming that the BRAC family stands beside them in this hour of terrible loss. He served the BRAC Microfinance programme for 18 years. Among his dearly loved ones, Mainuddin leaves behind his wife and two sons. His permanent residence is Kollyanpur, Dhaka.
BRAC started its operations in Uganda in 2006. It has around 2400 staff, of which 98 per cent is local staff members, making it the largest NGO in Uganda. To date BRAC has served 4.4 million people, which is almost 12 per cent of Uganda’s population. To know more about BRAC Uganda please click here.
Bangladesh Country Coordination Mechanism (BCCM) Secretariat is coordinating and overseeing the election process of Civil Society Members and alternate members to the BCCM. Civil Society constituencies will elect their members and alternate members according to BCCM governance manual and election criteria.Organizations and individual are requested to send necessary documents to the given email address in election criteria or address below if you are eligible voter or candidate as per the constituencies criteria. You can also download the detail guideline and criteria from the website link below.
Research findings from LANSA-BRAC examines the relation of agriculture and nutrition
Bangladesh achieved remarkable success in alleviating poverty but lags in the field of nutrition. Presently, 7.3 million children under the age of five are stunted while 2.9 million children are undernourished. To overcome this, experts are stressing on the diversity of agricultural production and agri-food value chain beyond farm to ensure food security, and fight against under nutrition.
On Tuesday, speakers shared such findings at a seminar titled ‘Nexus between Agricultural and Nutrition: Bangladesh Case’ at the BRAC Centre in Dhaka. The seminar was organised jointly by BRAC’s research and evaluation division, and international research partnership Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) which is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), UK.
Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, was present as chief guest at the seminar. Welcome speech was given by Prof. Abdul Bayes, director of research and evaluation division, BRAC. Dr Md. Sirajul Islam, programme head of BRAC's agriculture and food security programme presented findings from a research on the potential of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in curbing under nutrition in Bangladesh. The session was led by the head of BRAC’s impact assessment unit Andrew Jenkins where International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)’s Chief of Party Dr Akhter Ahmed, BRAC’s Research and Evaluation Division’s senior research fellow Barnali Chakraborty, researcher of BRAC-LANSA Dr Uttam Kumar Deb also presented papers. The presentations were followed by open discussion.
Addressing the key points of the research, Dr Md. Sirajul Islam said, “We need to focus on how the process of agri-food value chain and market distribution can be developed. That way, nutrition and food security for poor people can be ensured. This is going to be the next success of farm under food distribution management." He also mentioned that orange-fleshed sweet potato, which contains Beta-Carotene can play a vital role to preventing under nutrition problem.
Dr Akhter Ahmed said that the main objective of IFPRI's Agriculture, Nutrition, and Gender Linkages (ANGel) project in Bangladesh is to increase investment in agricultural activities and enable women to play a crucial role in curbing down under nutrition.
About nutritional wellbeing in Haor areas of the country, Barnali Chakraborty said, “Nutrition problem is extreme in Bangladesh, and 45 per cent children are stunted in the Haor areas. To prevent this situation, BRAC initiated a pilot project in 2013 in the upazila level.”
Dr Uttam Deb's paper indicated that diet diversity has increased in recent times and involvement in diversified agriculture (crop, horticulture, livestock and fish farming) contributes towards better nutrition (measured through BMI) and low income inequality.
Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, said, “Government has taken different initiative to develop and increase nutrition for mass people. Ministry of Agriculture is evaluating various methods for nutrition enhancement through Agriculture, Nutrition, and Gender Linkages (ANGel) project.
BRAC has been recognised with Smart Certification for its demonstrated commitment to client protection through its microfinance activities. By successfully completing the Smart
Campaign’s certification programme BRAC has become the first organisation in Bangladesh to achieve certification. It joins 63 other financial institutions worldwide who are proven industry leaders in keeping clients first.
Client Protection Certification is an independent, third party evaluation to publicly recognise financial institutions that meet adequate standards of care in how they treat clients. Financial institutions awarded with Smart Certification must meet rigorous, internationally agreed standards on client protection.
To secure certification, BRAC underwent an extensive audit of their policies and practices for adherence with the Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Principles, which cover issues including transparency, fair and respectful treatment, responsible pricing and prevention of over-indebtedness. The Smart Certification process consists of a thorough document review followed by an onsite visit complete with interviews of BRAC’s management, staff and clients. The process was conducted by Microfinanza Rating, a globally specialised microfinance rating agency and licensed Smart Certifier. Including BRAC in Bangladesh, 64 institutions globally have been certified since the programme’s launch, which serve more than 34 million clients.
Commenting on the achievement, Shameran Abed, director of BRAC’s microfinance programme said, 'We are absolutely thrilled to be Smart Certified. Our clients have always come first, and this achievement confirms the success of our programme’s mission to provide financial services to the poor in a way that is responsible and responsive to their needs.'
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the government today regarding BRAC’s taxable status. The income tax law changed over time and, as a result, the taxable amount applied to BRAC changed. BRAC contested that non-profit organisations should be exempt from income tax.
Today's ruling overturned the High Court verdict from 2014 that declared that the income from BRAC’s social enterprises would be exempt from income tax. BRAC is a non-profit organisation and the income generated by BRAC’s social enterprises supports BRAC’s social development programmes. In the 2014 financial year alone, BRAC paid more than 91 crore taka (11.61 million USD) in tax and other forms of revenue.
BRAC respects the latest ruling by the Supreme Court, the full text of which has not yet reached BRAC management. Once this verdict is received, we will take legal counsel and decide our next course of action.
Our social development programmes across the country and millions of people who benefit from them will not be adversely affected by the outcome of this ruling.
Dr Munir Ahmed (country director, Orbis International Bangladesh) and Dr Kaosar Afsana (director of HNPP, BRAC) exchange the MoU in presence of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed (founder and chairperson of BRAC).
BRAC and the US-based international organisation, Orbis International, with the support of Qatar Development Fund, has signed an agreement today for extending quality modern eye care treatment for the ultra poor. It aims to strengthen community eye health services across four districts, increasing access to eye care for children in Bangladesh. This activity forms part of a new initiative called Qatar Creating Vision (QCV).
The agreement was signed at BRAC Centre, in the presence of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, chairperson of BRAC, Dr Kaosar Afsana, director of BRAC Health, Nutrition and Population Programme, and Orbis International Bangladesh's country director, Dr Munir Ahmed, and director of programmes, Md Alauddin.
At the occasion, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed said, “Many are suffering from vision problems, helping those unfortunates to see the world with primary care service is crucial. We must work collectively to ensure the primary eye care service for all.”
Country Director of Orbis International Bangladesh, Dr Munir Ahmed said, “We have committed to achieve the Vision 2020 goal, and without universal eye health coverage, this would be impossible.”
A spokesperson from Qatar Development Fund said, “Half of childhood vision loss can be prevented or cured, so there is much that can be done, particularly for children in hard-to-reach or poor areas.”
According to the MoU, Orbis International will partly fund the construction of four vision centres, contributing around BDT 13 million, based on the model of primary health care centres to provide free eye check-ups. These centres will be built in the Khansama Upazila of Dinajpur, Nandail Upazila of Mymensingh, Dumuria Upazila of Khulna, and Homna Upazila of Comilla. The five-year-long MoU between BRAC and Orbis International will continue till June 2020. Supported by the Qatar Development Fund, the initiative will conduct one million eye tests, treat 100,000 children with uncorrected refracted errors, and perform 10,200 eye surgeries.
At the signing ceremony, BRAC informed that 16 more vision centres will be constructed. The main objective is to ensure quality eye care services for the ultra poor through telemedicine technology. Furthermore, the middle class will receive eye check-up, registration, necessary suggestions and treatments at reasonable costs.
A delicate ceasefire appears to be holding in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, after five days of heavy fighting between forces loyal to the President, Salva Kiir and those loyal to the vice-president, Riek Machar. There is widespread concern that violence will breakout again leading to calls for a buffer zone to be established. The rival forces from the Dinka and Nuer tribes battled each other using anti-aircraft guns, artillery attack helicopters and tanks, almost five years to the day after South Sudan declared independence from Sudan.
More than 300 people have been killed in the violence, including many civilians, and 36,000 people have been displaced with some seeking shelter in UN compounds and others hoping to make the long journey to Uganda and find safety. On Monday evening the clashes terminated following orders from senior leadership on both sides.
BRAC have been working in South Sudan since 2006 delivering services in education, youth empowerment, peace building, healthcare and nutrition, agriculture and food security, and livelihoods. When independence came in 2011, BRAC staff supported the world’s newest country to develop schools and reach remote villages to deliver healthcare. Currently working in 11 counties across 4 states, BRAC have created opportunities for more than 1.3 million people.
The deteriorating security situation in South Sudan is deeply concerning and BRAC has temporarily evacuated staff from areas where violence has erupted. We are additionally concerned about the impacts of sustained civil conflict on a vulnerable population that is already threatened by famine in some locations. As soon as the situation allows BRAC will continue reaching out to communities in need across our operations.
BRAC organised a press briefing today on Thursday on the food shortage in Thanchi upazila. BRAC directors KAM Morshed (left) and Gawher Nayeem Wahra (middle) and Thanchi local inhabitant Piyaching Mro.
Non-governmental organisation BRAC has urged the government to undertake long-term measures to sustainably solve the ongoing food shortage in the remote Thanchi upazila of Bandarban. Among a number of recommendations it has made includes urgent measure to issue voter identity cards to the citizens inhabiting remotest part of the upazila, which will ensure proper distribution of the government food aid.
BRAC organised the media briefing on Thursday at the BRAC Centre at Mohakhali to share its observations from the two field visits its officials made in the current month. More than a dozen staff members including the director of its Disaster Management and Climate Change (DMCC) programme visited the remote upazila.
DMCC director Gawher Nayeem Wahra made the recommendations at the briefing. Among other speakers at the event were Mr KAM Morshed, director, Advocacy for Social Change, Technology and Partnership Strengthening Unit, Piyaching Mro, local community leader in Thanchi, Khamlai Mro, former Thanchi upazila chairman, Apul Tripura and Chinmoy Mro of local civil society organisation Grouch and local volunteer Rajumoy Tanchangya.
The recommendations included cash assistance besides giving rice, fixing date, time and place for rice distribution and informing it to the families affected beforehand, strengthening of malaria diagnosis and treatment for remotest villages, providing alternative means for earning, creating suitable linkages to bring agro-produce to the market, developing transport communication.
BRAC officials said they have identified 1000 households in most need and already handed Tk 2000 cash to 200 families each to enable them to buy medicines and food.
Gawher Nayeem Wahra said, 'According to our estimates, around 20 thousand people of Thanchi upazila are suffering from food shortage. People in Tindu and Remakri unions along with 11 villages in the remotest part of Thanchi Sadar union are suffering the worst. In these areas Mro, Khumi, Tripura, Khyang and Bawm are in worse situation'.
Increasing the amount of allowance and coverage in social safety net programme will not much help reduce poverty. It rather encourages dependence on others and promotes corruption. Only creating income opportunities for the poor communities will help them stand on their own feet, reducing poverty in a sustainable manner, observed speakers today on Tuesday at a seminar on the national budget recently proposed in parliament.
BRAC Research and Evaluation Division and Advocacy for Social Change department jointly organised the event titled ‘A review of national budget 2016-17’ at the BRAC University auditorium at Mohakhali.
Former advisers to caretaker government economists Dr Akbar Ali Khan and Dr Mirza Azizul Islam were key speakers, while Research and Evaluation Division director Professor Abdul Bayes gave the key presentation. Advocacy for Social Change director KAM Morshed moderated.
In welcome speech KAM Morshed said, since 1972 BRAC has been working to reduce poverty. In continuation of its work the seminar was organised to review how this budget will influence the economic development and social empowerment of the poor communities.
The keynote presentation gave a brief review of different aspects of the proposed budget, including its size and volume, deficits, tax structure and its various limitations in the light of Vision 2021 and Sustainable Development Goals. The keynote also gave eight recommendations, including strengthening of GO-NGO partnership in budget implementation, creation of taskforce to guide and monitor ADP implementation, increased allocation for social and health sectors, adoption of agriculture-friendly policies and increased agricultural investment.
Highlighting the successful cooperation between BRAC and Bangladesh government in different sectors, Professor Bayes said the organisation has proved to be a tested partner of the government since the 1970s. Oral rehydration programme in the 1970s, child vaccination in 1980s and TB control programme, loan programme for tenant farmers, programme to reduce ultra poverty in the post-1990 period are some of the programmes implemented successfully where the government partnered with BRAC.
He further observed that the government should bring NGOs into further partnerships to ensure successful implementation and evaluation of the programmes in development sector under 2016-17 budget. It will help reduce red-tapism and increase cost effectiveness.
Dr Akbar Ali Khan said, ‘It is not sufficient to allocate money only, there has to be projects. Then effectiveness must be ensured and corruption checked through strict monitoring. If we finish the education budget paying the recruitment of more teachers and their salary, where the money should come from for improving the quality of education? It is not enough for a budget to become ambitious only, it has to be implementable also’.
Dr Mirza Azizul Islam said, ‘The minister in his budget speech mentioned the goal to establish an equity-based society. But the major part of our budget comes from taxes. In this budget [proposed 2016-17 budget] indirect taxes occupy 61 per cent, which will increase pressure on the low-income groups. According to the World Bank, except childcare the public expenditure in health sector benefits more the well-off than than the poor’.
The speakers also answered to the questions of the media and other guests at the seminar.