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06 June 2013, Dhaka. Civil Society Alliance for Scaling Up Nutrition, Bangladesh (CSA for SUN, BD) organised a meeting with nutrition and policymakers on “Exploring Opportunities for Scaling Up Nutrition” on June 04, 2013 at Spectra Convention Centre.  Policymakers were invited to the meeting to discuss issues relating to nutrition and ways to improve the nutritional status of the country. Honourable State Minister for Women and Children Affairs, Meher Afroze Chumki, MP attended the event as the chief guest whereas the event was chaired by Dr. Sultana Khanum, SUN global civil society network focal point. Dr. Rukshana Haider, Chairperson of CSA for SUN, BD, Dr. Kaosar Afsana, Secretary of CSA for SUN, BD, Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, Programme Manager of IPHN  attended the meeting as special guests.

On the onset, Dr. Sultana Khanum welcomed and thanked all participants and guest for attending event.  She also mentioned that the event has been organised in alignment with the Global Hunger Summit, 2013 titled “Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science” Summit scheduled to be held on June 08, 2013 at London.

Dr. Rukshana Haider, Chairperson of CSA for SUN, BD in her speech highlighted that malnutrition in children and women still remains as a frontline challenge for Bangladesh and therefore collective multi-sectoral approach should be adopted to combat malnutrition in Bangladesh.

Dr. Kaosar Afsana, Secretary of CSA for SUN, BD in her speech stated that nutrition is not a standalone agenda rather requires multi-sector approach including nutrition, education, water, sanitation, agriculture, etc.  According to her, a well-nourished woman would deliver a healthy baby and “if the baby gets proper nutrition he/she will grow strong and will succeed in schools and earn more”.

She pointed out that Investing in nutrition is a smart decision as she said “It can increase a country’s GDP by at least 2 to 3 percent annually. Investing a dollar in nutrition can result in a return of up to $ 30.”
The chief guest, Meher Afroze Chumki, MP Honourable State Minister for Women and Children Affairs stated that her ministry is relentlessly working to uplift the nutrition of women and children since about two third of the country’s population is composed of women and children.    She shared that the government along with other stakeholders including NGOs and private sector has been able to significantly reduce maternal mortality ratio which has been accredited by the global community.

Following the panel discussion, the floor was made open for open opinions and questions.

In response to the statements and queries, the chief guest stated that maternity leave cannot be made specific since mothers face problems both before and after delivery.  Therefore, the leave is given as per advice of the doctor.

 



22 May 2013, Dhaka. BRAC’s community empowerment programme (CEP) with the support of Saferworld has initiated a project on community safety and security, titled “Improving the conditions for reconstruction and development in South Sudan, Yemen and Bangladesh Project”. The project aims to improve public safety and security at the grassroots community level and contribute to more effective and accountable state institutions. It uses a participatory framework built on the active engagement of rural communities in identifying safety and security concerns and comes up with local context-sensitive solutions to address those issues. Its current project is an extended replication of a successful piloting by BRAC and Saferworld, which will work with communities to identify their security needs, and with those who are best placed to respond to them, including local authorities and development actors.

A high level meeting of BRAC and Saferworld was held on May 11, 2013, at BRAC Centre in attendance of Dr Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director, BRAC and Mr Paul Murphy, Executive Director, Saferworld, and both shared their valuable opinions regarding this new initiative in perspective of Bangladesh. Ms Anna Minj, Director, Community Empowerment Programme & Integrated Development Programme, BRAC and Ms Chamila Hemmathagama, Head of South Asia Programme, Saferworld were also present in the meeting and shared their profound views throughout the meeting.

CEP shared the findings of community safety and security needs assessment conducted at the project sites to give a clear understanding of the local safety and security concerns. The attendees emphasised on the contribution of BRAC-Saferworld partnership to create safer communities by increasing public safety and security through more active, informed and inclusive societies. They highlighted the importance of creating a platform for sharing this participatory based project learning and experiences at both national and international levels, for ensuring the betterment of the community people by responding to their safety and security needs more accurately.

A few of the staffs who work at the grassroots level, pointed out that the longer timeframe of the project gradually makes the development easier which also leads to the consistency. They also referred to the vibe of progress of the project as self realisation of the community people has already started taking place during the systematic process of focus group discussion. Mr Murphy concluded by mentioning their eagerness on continuing their collaboration with BRAC by teaming up and learning together. He also specified that the best way to manage such projects is by keeping the communication channels as much open as possible. The Community Safety and Security Project is being implemented across 16 sites within five districts of south-western region of Bangladesh, i.e. Faridpur, Gopalganj, Bagerhat, Jessore, and Satkhira, for the duration of June 2012 to June 2016. This project is being funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Royal Netherland Embassy, and the Netherlands through Saferworld.

 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 18:00

BRAC prepares for Cyclone Mahasen

16 May 2013, Dhaka.


Photo copyright: BRAC/Ferdous Uddin Ahmad.

As Bangladesh braces itself for cyclone Mahasen hitting its coastal areas today, a combined effort by different BRAC programmes, including Disaster, Environment & Climate Change (DECC), is mobilising precautions. The coast between Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar currently hoists a danger level of 7, on a scale of 1 to 11.

Standard operation procedures (SOP), established by DECC, are being followed to maximise the efficiency and resources of all necessary actions taken during different phases of this natural disaster. Emergency team meetings are being held in BRAC’s field offices and a situation room, activated in Dhaka’s head office to coordinate a prompt response, is managing constant updates from over a dozen districts as well as different international and national weather modelling sources.

District BRAC Representatives (DBR) in coastal districts formed the Incident Command System (ICS), following BRAC’s SOP, and are compiling resource maps, making inventories, disseminating information on protocols to the public, listing necessary emergency materials and identifying possible retail vendors that can help. They are also working with local authorities such as in Chittagong, Bagerhat, Cox’s Bazar, Barisal and Khulna, which are conducting consecutive emergency meetings to assess the situation.

BRAC closed its schools in vulnerable areas yesterday and ensured all government and BRAC cyclone shelters were opened and properly prepared. It is also providing meals for evacuated community members at cyclone shelters as and where necessary.

The extended BRAC family, including village organisation members, community health workers, school teachers and adolescent leaders, are being advised to carry out their roles as first responders alongside BRAC staff. Teams from BRAC’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), Health, Nutrition and Population programme (HNPP) and DECC are also ready to provide support as first responders if an emergency situation arises.


For up to date information as the situation develops, please check our blog.

Media spokesperson from BRAC:
Dr Babar Kabir
Senior Director, Disaster, Environment & Climate Change
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Ph: 8801714091383

For Bangladesh Media:
Mahbubul Alam Kabir
Sr. Media Manager, Communications
BRAC
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Ph: 8801711404561

For International Media:
Tasfiyah Jalil
Manager, Communications
BRAC
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Ph: 8801730351398

For International Media(From May 21st):
Himadri Ahsan
Deputy Manager, Communications
BRAC
Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Ph: 8801728775331
 

15 May 2013, Dhaka. BRAC’s chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed addressed The International Congress “Culture: Key to Sustainable Development” which is being held in Hangzhou, China, from May 15 to May 17.

“Culture is not just theatre and arts and crafts; it’s also about how we deal with the challenges of life and in doing so shape our world view,” explained Sir Fazle to members of the global community and major international stakeholders on the first day of the conference. He spoke in a plenary high-level discussion on ‘Culture in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda’.

Taking the example of how BRAC, in the 80s, reached 12 million households and taught 90 per cent of mothers how to make oral rehydration solution (ORS), Sir Fazle said, “In doing so it influenced how diseases and treatment are understood and power is gained over adversity. This was both a health intervention and a profoundly cultural act as it affected the world view of millions.”

Sir Fazle described how BRAC’s social enterprise arm, Aarong, brought together crafts and livelihood issues and has become one of the most successful commercial innovations. It reintroduced revived dying crafts, established new products and fashions and linked producers to the market. “Supporting cultural heritage is not enough,” said BRAC’s founder and chairperson. “It’s important to make them sustainable through access to market, going to scale and creating livelihoods. Today thousands of women who are employed as craft makers are also preserving and expanding our cultural heritage.”

He also shared his belief that empowerment and development are cultural ideas: “Culture lives in development and vice versa. By strengthening one, we enrich the other.”

This is the first International Congress specifically focusing on the linkages between culture and sustainable development organised by UNESCO since the Stockholm Conference in 1998.

Other speakers at the global forum include UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, H.R.H Prince Sultan Saudi bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and former Governor of Canada, Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean.
 

Saturday, 11 May 2013 18:00

BRAC announces leadership changes

12 May 2013, Dhaka. BRAC has announced changes to its senior level management. A circular was sent out on the 7 May, 2013.

Faruque Ahmed, Senior Director, BRAC International has been promoted to the position of Executive Director, BRAC International. In addition to all country representatives, BRAC Internatinal's chief financial officer and the director of internal audit will be reporting to Mr Ahmed.

Executive Director, BRAC and Vice Chairperson, BRAC governing body will provide support and guidance to BRAC International's agricultural programmes and research and evaluation department respectively.

 

02 May 2013, Dhaka. Dr. Mahabub Hossain, executive director of BRAC, has been selected as one of the 500 most powerful people in the world by Foreign Policy – a global magazine of politics and economics.  Dr Hossain is the only one chosen from Bangladesh to have claimed a position in this very prestigious power map. 

The Foreign Policy adheres to a ‘list of lists’ approach by which they consult various distinguished and globally influential sources like Fortune Global 500, Forbes World’s Most Powerful People, World 500, Top 100 NGOs, International Media Corporations, World University Rankings, Wall Street Journal Market Watch and such others, and pick 500 people who have proven to possess the outstanding capability of influencing global trajectories.  In February 2013, BRAC was ranked number one among the top 100 NGOs in the world.

Dr Hossain joined as Executive Director of BRAC in June 2007. Prior to joining BRAC, he was head of the Social Sciences Division at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines, and coordinator of the Consortium for Unfavourable Rice Environments (CURE) in Asia. Dr Hossain began his career in 1970, as a staff economist at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (former PIDE) and rose through the ranks to become its director general during 1988-91. He also worked as a visiting scientist at the Institute of Developing Economies in Tokyo (1981), the International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC (1985-87), and the Overseas Development Institute, London (1990).

Dr Hossain received his MA in Economics from Dhaka University in 1969 and PhD in Economics from Cambridge University, England in 1977. His major area of research interest is on the rural development policies. Dr Hossain serves as a member of the Board of Governors at Bangladesh Agriculture University, Mymensigh, and BRAC University. He is a founding member of the North-South University Foundation, and a member of the Advisory Council of the CGIAR Harvest Plus Project run by IFPRI and CIAT, the Rice Advisory Council of the Syngenta Corporation for Asia and the Pacific. He is the Chairperson of Bangladesh Rice Foundation, a civil society think tank on rice policies. He is also a member of the Global Knowledge Advisory Commission of The World Bank.

Full list is available here: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/29/the_500_most_powerful_people_in_the_world


 

On March 30, 2014 BRAC officially launched the BRAC innovation fund for mobile money at the Frugal Innovation Forum: Scaling Digitally in Savar, Bangladesh. BRAC is experimenting with transitioning from cash and exploring new development strategies enabled by mobile money with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Asif Saleh, BRAC Senior Director of Strategy, Communication and Capacity shared his thoughts, “Often NGOs lack the space to take risk and innovate. Therefore adoption of new technology can take a long time. Mobile money is an exciting new tool for financial inclusion and service delivery across many sectors, and we’re really thrilled that the Gates Foundation has given BRAC support for experimentation in this initiative.  We’re seeing a lot of great ideas and look forward to beginning implementation later this year.”BRAC, the world’s largest NGO, impacts more than 120 million people in Bangladesh and works in eleven other countries. It is widely considered one of the most innovative and effective NGOs in the world, most notably for achieving success at scale.

BRAC’s Social Innovation Lab hosted an open challenge, whereby anyone could submit an idea related to how mobile money can improve the lives of the poor. Selected projects will be implemented by BRAC in Bangladesh over the course of the next year. At the Frugal Innovation Forum, over a hundred participants representing thirteen countries spent two days sharing their experiences with mobile money and data, and learning about the latest innovations emerging from the global South.

Sir Fazle Abed, BRAC founder and chairperson, BRAC’s senior director Asif Saleh and Liz Kellison, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Deputy Director of Strategy, Planning and Management officially launched the fund. On the launching Sir abed said, "At my last meeting with Bill Gates, he expressed his concern about how to help poor people to save safely. That's why he supported us getting mobile money off the ground. Now I am very interested in getting new ideas through this fund and I look forward to a lot of thinking behind new ways to help the poor."

For more information about the innovation fund for mobile money, please see this link.
 

Held on 29 and 30 April, BRAC’s Global Learning Meeting continued the work that began in Bangladesh in 2012, creating a network and platform to share knowledge and strategies for effective adolescent and youth development programming.

BRAC is the world’s largest implementer of the "girl effect" which is the unique potential of 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world. Our programmes have led to a rich reserve of knowledge and experience, and this meeting enabled sharing of global best practices to design effective programmes for adolescents and youth.

The Global Learning Meeting fittingly took place in the world's youngest country in terms of the age of the population (78 per cent being under the age of 30), where we have seen measurable improvements in the lives of girls as the result of targeted interventions that empower girls both socially and financially.

The meeting was produced in partnership with Nike Foundation. Senior management and programme designers from 11 countries where BRAC operates, as well as representatives from Nike Foundation, NoVo Foundation, Save the Children, Population Council and UNICEF, attended the meeting.

More information and photos from the proceedings will be updated here and on the BRAC Blog in the coming days.

  

  

  

 

Saturday, 27 April 2013 18:00

BRAC’s response to the Savar tragedy

28 April 2013, Dhaka. In order to help the victims of Savar tragedy, BRAC has initiated a host of emergency support activities through multiple medical and psychosocial counseling teams. BRAC aims to continue their efforts until the end of the rescue operation, and then initiate post-trauma rehabilitation activities.

Following the incident, BRAC’s health nutrition and population programme (HNPP) sent three medical teams to Savar, Dhaka Orthopedic Hospital and Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). The Savar medical team, located immediately outside the accident site, has so far provided treatment to a total of 117 patients within the first three days. The Savar team is also providing necessary support at Enam Medical College. In addition, the team has prepared a complete list of admitted patients who will require rehabilitation later.

The BRAC team at DMCH has continued their support on the third day, which included updating the patients' profile with complete address and contact details, and re-assessing the admitted patients’ psychological conditions. This team is working jointly with the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR) and Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), to update the common patients’ profiles, listing the patients who have lost their limbs and will require rehabilitation support later. 

Aside from the medical teams, BRAC has dispatched four psychological trauma counseling teams comprising of four to six counselors from HNPP, community empowerment programme, disaster, environment and climate change programme (DECC), gender, justice and diversity programmeand BRAC University. The teams have visited DMCH, NITOR, Savar CMH and Enam Medical Hospital and assessed the counseling needs of a total of 115 admitted patients. The team will continue with the assessment process and start psychological trauma counseling support from 28April.

A special team organized by DECC and consisting of trained staff in counseling is currently providing psycho-social support to the rescued victims and the family members of those who have yet to be found. Another team has identified the number of children from BRAC schools who have lost one or both parents to the tragedy, and are receiving similar psycho-social support.

BRAC is accepting public donations for its relief efforts through BRAC UK and BRAC USA. Please click the check box on our donations page to earmark your donation for relief and rehabilitation.
 
BRAC USA is also accepting phone donations. To automatically contribute $10 to these efforts, please text “BRAC” to 20222 from any US mobile phone.


Contact details:

Disaster management:
Dr Babar Kabir
Sr Director, Disaster, Environment & Climate Change
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ph: 8801714091383

Human rights and PIL filed on labor law:
Dr Faustina Perreira
Director, Human Rights & Legal Aid Services.
Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ph: 8801715007470

Media (Bangladesh):
Mahbubul Alam Kabir
Sr. Media Manager, Communications
BRAC
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ph: 8801711404561

International Media:
Tasfiyah Jalil
Manager, Communications
BRAC
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ph: 8801730351398
 

Friday, 26 April 2013 18:00

BRAC wins IFTDO Global Award 2013

27 April 2013, Dhaka. On 25 April, 2013, BRAC was honoured with the ‘Certificate of Merit’ Award at the 42ndInternational Federation of Training and Development Organisations (IFTDO) World Conference. BRAC received this prestigious award from the Honorable President of Republic of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi, India, in the category of ‘Improving Quality of Working Life'. The conference was held during 23 - 27April, 2013 at the Ashok Hotel, New Delhi, India.

BRAC’s learning division received the award for their write-up on "Improving Quality ofWorking Life".  BRAC believes that training is one of the strategic mechanisms for flourishing performance. The write-up competed with 29 submissions from 10 countries and was short listed to the final nine, by the Judging Panel of the IFTDO Global Awards.An esteemed award, any organisation in this category is viewed as working with high international standards in the training and development field.

The International Federation of Training and Development Organisations is
a UK based world-wide federation formed in 1972. It is committed to enhancing personal growth, human performance, productivity, and sustainable development through transfer of knowledge, skills and technology using its world-wide network.