23 March 2014, Dhaka. On 17 March 2014, BRAC formally launched community girls’ schools all over Sierra Leone. Currently, one school has been opened in each of the 12 out of 14 districts that BRAC is currently working in, with the aim to open in the other two districts by 25 March 2014.
The initiative is a major component of the Girls Education Challenge project, funded by DFID. BRAC is providing education to over 7,500 girls who are marginalised and have dropped out of the formal education system. The aim is to open 250 community girls’ schools in the country.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by high officials from the Ministry of Education, various other government sectors, NGO representatives, community leaders, journalists, parents and students. The event was also covered by the country’s national television and radio station.
The US-based Fortune magazine has named BRAC founder and chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed in its list of the world’s 50 greatest leaders. The list, which features leaders from politics and religion to corporate CEOs and heads of civil society organizations, features the BRAC founder at number 32.
The top five positions on the list are held by Pope Francis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally, US investor Warren Buffet and former US President Bill Clinton. Other notable persons on the list include Aung San Suu Kyi, Bono, the Dalai Lama, Angelina Jolie and Malala Yousafzai. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed is the only Bangladeshi to have made the list.
Fortune magazine is best known for publishing the annual Fortune 500 list, which ranks the largest US companies on the basis of gross revenues.
For more details please go to: http://money.cnn.com/gallery/leadership/2014/03/20/worlds-best-leaders.fortune/index.html
16 March 2014, Dhaka. Based on the findings of the impact assessment of the credit programme for tenant farmers, a national level workshop was held on Saturday, 15 March 2014 at the BRAC centre auditorium.
Since its establishment in December 2009, the tenant farmer development project – funded by Bangladesh Bank – provides credit and other support for tenant farmers.
The event was attended by the governor of Bangladesh Bank, Dr Atiur Rahman, as the chief guest and chaired by Dr Mahabub Hossain, advisor to BRAC’s executive director.
During the workshop, professor Abul Bayes of Jahangirnagar University presented a paper on tenant farmers’ access to credit and extension services and BRAC’s borgachashi unnayan prakalpa. Dr Mohammad Abdul Malek of BRAC’s research and evaluation division (RED) presented a paper on the impact assessment of credit programmes for tenant farmers and the baseline study findings. Mr Abu Ahasan Mishu from RED also presented a paper on tenancy, agricultural livelihoods and microcredit.
Professor MA Sattar Mandal of Bangladesh’s Agricultural University pointed out that the dependence on non-institutional sources of funds (ie, friends, relatives) have decreased, while borrowing loans from NGOs has increased.
Stating that this is the “only project in the world customised for sharecroppers,” Dr Atiur Rahman mentioned, “There has been a huge shift in tenancy. Connectivity has increased.”
He also said that, “[About BDT 70 million] has been disbursed [in loans] and 700,000 tenant croppers have benefited from this project. [Additionally], 55 per cent of clients are now women.”
25 February 2014, Dhaka. Tamara Hasan Abed, senior director of BRAC Enterprises, was honoured with the Outstanding Women Leadership Award by the World Women Leadership Congress on 14 February in Mumbai, India.
“I am truly privileged to receive this award and to be considered among successful women leaders. I would like to accept this on behalf of the many women who have influenced my life, particularly those in my country of Bangladesh. Women are on a remarkable journey towards equality, marked with struggles and victories. This award is symbolic of yet another victory and I hope it will inspire more girls to lead,” said Ms Abed, who is head of the leading retail chain Aarong.
Women leaders from across the world attended the two-day conference, including the former minister of women’s affairs for Afghanistan, Dr Sima Samar, the president and CEO of UN Women Canada, Almas Jiwani and the managing director of HBO Asia, Monica Tata. Ms Abed, who is the daughter of BRAC’s founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, also spoke on a panel discussion about the opportunities and challenges facing women leaders.
23 February 2014, Dhaka.
BRAC Road Safety Programme has started a Basic Driving Training course for 20 constables and sub-inspectors of Bangladesh Police from 23 February, 2014 at BRAC Driving School, Uttara. The aim of the 33 days training programme is to provide basic driving training for promoting safe driving practises among the novice drivers. The BRAC Driving School, established in May 2012 conducts a variety of driving courses such as driver instructors, professional women drivers, Surakkha-road safety & defensive driving training for in-service bus and truck drivers etc. through the use of digitised bar coded training manual, driving simulator, visual impairment system and P-drive system etc.
19 February 2014, Dhaka. Cultivation of rice, jute, sunflower, tomato should be increased to face the climate change affects in Bangladesh. Lack of sustainable process to reduce salinity in the water is one of the major challenges here, agro-experts suggested in the workshop held on Tuesday 18 February at BRAC Centre Inn. They also mentioned, that attention is needed in increasing the production as well as creating a market for the harvested crops.
In the keynote presentation, the programme Head of BRAC’s agriculture and food security programme (AFSP) Dr. Md. Sirajul Islam stressed on expanding the climate change adaptive technology amongst the farmers of our country.
Md Abu Hanif Miah, Director General, Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh and Kamal Uddin, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) were present as special guests at the event. Mr. Anwar Faruque, Director General, Seed Wing and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh was the chief guest of the event. BRAC’s senior director Babar Kabir chaired the event and programme head of Communications and Advocacy for Social Change, Snigdha Ali gave the welcome speech.
BRAC’s vice-chair and interim executive director (ED), Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, attended the global launch of the Lancet series on Bangladesh in New York on 15 January 2014. The event was held by the Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the UN, UNICEF and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Last year, the Lancet medical journal published a special research series highlighting accomplishments in Bangladesh’s health sector. Despite widespread poverty, exceptional improvements in maternal child health, immunisation coverage, and tuberculosis control were part of this remarkable success story. BRAC’s own health programme and extensive community-based health network were identified as crucial contributing factors to these achievements.
Major highlights of the event were a presentation on the significant findings from the series, followed by a panel discussion. Those attending the event included the special guest, Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr AKA Momen, Dr Abbas Bhuiya, co-author of the Lancet series, and 70 other guests including UN diplomats, academics, development partners, media representatives were present at the event.
Find the details on Lancet series: http://www.thelancet.com/series/bangladesh
In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, BRAC Liberia has signed a global fund sub recipient consultancy contract with the Ministry. The objective of this contract is to provide a framework which would allow the sub-recipient provide community based Tuberculosis (TB) Directly Observed Therapy (DOTs) services under the round ten Global Fund’s TB Grant. This will strengthen the TB control and management of people with TB/HIV co-infection in Liberia. The signing took place on December, 23 2013
In an event held at BRAC Centre on December 22, 2013, Secretary for Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Mr.M M Neazuddin mentioned that Vision Bangladesh project should be replicated all across the nation. Terming access to eye healthcare as a basic right of the people, he stressed on the need to excel eye care services for improved quality of life of the community people. He further mentioned that the Ministry will provide all out support for the implementation of this intervention.
Vision Bangladesh Phase- I is a unique intervention implemented by BRAC and Sightsavers under the guidance of National Eye Care (NEC) which aims to avert preventable blindness through cataract surgery. The Public Private Partnership (PPP) model in implementing this project in the grassroots has created an example itself mirroring that such coordinated initiatives can bring about dramatic outcomes.
According to Bangladesh National Blindness and Low Vision Survey 2000 about 750,000 adults aged above thirty years are completely blind out of which eighty percent are due to cataract related complications. The survey also mirrors that about five million people including children suffer from refractive errors. Evidence suggests that about 90% of such blindness and low vision can be prevented with proper and timely management.
Dr. Kaosar Afsana, Director of BRAC’s Health, Nutrition and Population Programme mentioned that about 110,000 cataract surgeries were conducted in Sylhet division in phase-I and now the project is scaling up to 10 urban areas along with few selected rural districts. She further mentioned that NEC’s continuing support and guidance has made vision Bangladesh a successful role model in the eye care services.
Prof. Dr. Deen Mohd. Noorul Haq Line Director, National Eye Care-DGHS and Director cum Professor, National Institute of Ophthalmology & Hospital mentioned that BRAC has shown remarkable progress in mobilizing and counselling patients in the rural area further stating that the target of 100,000 for three years cataract surgeries could not be reached before the end of project period without the extensive support of BRAC.
Later a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between National Eye Care and BRAC which will allow BRAC to continue its operation in Sylhet division for addressing upcoming cataract cases and hard to reach areas.
Every week in Bangladesh, more than 10 women suffer from some form of violence. In India, 22 women are killed every day in dowry-related murders, while in Sri Lanka, 60 per cent of women report having suffered physical abuse. Additionally, in Pakistan, more than 450 women and girls die every year in so-called “honour killings,” and incidents of human trafficking in Nepal are still highly prevalent.
Numerous women’s rights organizations and NGOs have taken the initiative to fight against violence and discrimination against women in South Asia. One Billion Rising (OBR), a global campaign to end violence against woman, took place on February 14, 2013. In Bangladesh approximately three million men and women gathered on the streets with support from over 400 organizations across 206 countries.
On November 30, 2013, One Billion Rising for Justice (OBR4J), the second phase of the campaign, was launched in Bangladesh at the Shilpakala Academy, in Jatiya Natyashala, Dhaka. The launch was organised by Sangat, a South Asian feminist network and Nijera Kori, Bangladesh. The event included introductions from writer, feminist and coordinator of OBR’s South Asian chapter, Kamla Bhasin, and women’s rights activist and coordinator of OBR Bangladesh, Khushi Kabir. There was also a memorial for feminist activist, Sunila Abayasekara, announcement of the Meeto Memorial Award for social commitment, and songs dedicated to South Asian women and their struggles.
Kamla Bhasin launched the South Asian chapter of the second phase of this campaign, calling on men and women to rise against injustice. She said, “This is the greatest war ever, and violence against women cannot and will not be tolerated anymore. We have been fighting this battle for centuries, for decades and the time is put our concerted efforts [together].”
OBR4J is an invitation to break free from confinement, obligation, shame, guilt, grief, pain, humiliation, rage, and bondage. It a revolutionary global call to survivors to release their stories through art, dance, marches, ritual, song, spoken word, or testimonies.
The launch included dance performances by the group Shadhona. A flash mob was also performed by a group of women who work in the ready-made garments (RMG) industry. These women had also faced violence in the form of acid attacks, domestic violence and sexual assault. Their performance to OBR’s theme song “Break the chain” portrayed the strength and power of women to rise and move forward.
It is within this context that OBR4J South Asia was launched on November 30, 2013. “Our work for this campaign begins now. From today we will rise for justice in every form,” said Kamla Bhasin. In the lead up to the landmark event set to take place on February 14, 2014, numerous events and actions will take place engaging a wide range of stakeholders.
Chiraranjan Sarker 88 01730347963
Tanveer Ahmed Khan 88 01816361158