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Tuesday, 28 December 2010 18:00

Celebrating the Achievements of Sharecroppers

29 December 2010, Dhaka. Bangladesh Bank and BRAC is jointly organising a reception for hardworking sharecroppers to celebrate their achievements for their contribution in helping provide food security to Bangladesh. The event will take place at the Bangladesh Army Stadium on the 30th of December, 2010.

Nine thousand two hundred and sixty two men and seven hundred and fifty eight women sharecroppers will take part in the event along with five hundred and forty block supervisors.

The introductory speakers to the event are Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director, BRAC and Dr. Atiur Rahman, Governor, Bangladesh Bank.

The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Finance, Mr Abul Mal Abdul Muhit (Member of Parliament) will be present as chief guest in the event and will distribute awards among sharecroppers.

The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Ms. Matiya Chowdhury (Member of Parliament) and the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Land, Mr. Rezaul Karim Hira (Member of Parliament) will be present as special guests to the event. Among other speakers are eminent agricultural personality, Mr. Shaikh Siraj, Director and Head of News, Channel i.

The programme will be chaired by Ms. Taherunessa Abdullah, Member, Governing Board, BRAC.

A colourful cultural event will start of the event with performances from eminent singers Momtaz and Kiran Chandra Rai. BRAC ADP members and Popular Theatre troupes will also perform songs and dramas in the event.

 

26 December 2010, Dhaka. Concentrating on the provision of social protection and social reintegration of the ultra poor, BRAC Advocacy Unit is striding to create massive responsiveness in favour of the ultra poor whose lives are dominated by extreme poverty and hunger. Realising the role of livestock in reducing ultra poverty and bringing about other positive changes, BRAC Advocacy Unit organised a national seminar on “The Role of Livestock in Reducing Ultra Poverty in Bangladesh” on 22nd December at the Banquet Hall of Hotel Abakash of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation at Mohakhali, Dhaka.

The main objectives behind organising this seminar were:

  • Enhancing implementation of existing pro poor policies and related services in favour of ultra poor
  • Identification of future policy areas for reducing ultra poverty in Bangladesh 


Md. Abdul Latif Biswas, the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Services (MoF & LS), Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was the chief guest of the seminar whereas Ujjwal Bikash Dutta, Honourable Secretary of MoF & LS inaugurated the seminar. Md. Ashraf Ali, Director General, Department of Livestock Services (DLS) and Shykh Seraj, renowned  media personality and Director and Head of News, Channel- i graced the seminar as special guests.  Sheepa Hafiza, Director, Gender Justice & Diversity and Advocacy, BRAC was the moderator.

Professor Md. Hafezur Rahman PhD from Bangladesh Agricultural University presented the keynote paper. Along with the directors of the DLS, Divisional Deputy Directors and District Livestock Officers, renowned journalists, educationists, researchers, representatives from development partners, and different INGOs also participated in the seminar. 

With active participation from the discussants, chief guest, special guests and audience, some very valuable recommendations and guidelines arouse which will help to mobilise Government’s livestock services towards removing ultra poverty in Bangladesh.  At the same time The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Services also committed to extend its existing services like vaccination, livestock treatment and medicines to the doorsteps of the ultra poor.
 

26 December 2010, Dhaka. Medhabikash is an innovative intervention of the BRAC Education Programme where talented but disadvantaged students receive financial support to pay their college tuition fees both home and abroad, as well as capacity-building assistance. To celebrate the success of these meritorious students, BRAC Education Programme arranged a two day event on December 17 – 18 titled “Medhabikash Shommelon (Convention) 2010” at the Savar TARC (Training and Resource Centre).

Some 600 students from Medhabikash gathered to take part in the event. BRAC Founder and Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed was the chief guest on the first day of the event. Abdullah Abu Sayeed, Chairperson, Bishya Shahitya Kendra, Mohammad Kayekobad, professor, BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology) and Nazrul Islam Khan, personal secretary to the Prime Minister were present as special guests.

Dr. Safiqul Islam, Director of BRAC Education Programme gave the welcome speech and the event was chaired by Manzur Ahmed, senior advisor, BRAC Institute of Education Development.

The speakers motivated the youth and stressed on education and the responsibility of the youth in building a strong nation. The event had many open discussions and panel discussions with notable personalities which helped the students exchange their views.

The closing ceremony was chaired by BRAC Executive Director Dr. Mahabub Hossain. Yafes Osman, State Minister of Ministry of Information and Communication Technology was present as the chief guest. Eminent writer Professor Hayat Mahmud and Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Sirajul Islam were the special guests on the closing day. A cultural performance closed the two day event amidst many cheers.
 

24 December 2010, Dhaka. Two female micro-entrepreneurs supported by BRAC Uganda Microfinance Limited, Theresa Twinomugisha and Ruth Naigaga Wamulo emerged winners of gold and bronze awards respectively in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards 2010.

The competition was organised by the Citigroup Foundation in collaboration with the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU) to recognise the extraordinary contributions that individual micro-entrepreneurs have made to the economic stability of their families and their communities in Uganda. It drew over 100 entrepreneurs supported with loans from Microfinance Institutions (MFI), Microfinance Deposit-taking Institutions (MDI) and Savings & Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) in Uganda. BRAC Uganda was the only MFI whose candidates won a gold and bronze award and was awarded a certificate of recognition. Other awards went to SACCO members.


Twinomugisha receiving the Gold award from Hon. Minister of MicrofinanceTwinomugisha receiving the Gold award from Hon. Minister of Microfinance


Twinomugisha was rewarded with UGX 10 million while Wamulo was among the top 13 entrepreneurs who won bronze plaques plus UGX 1.5 million. Other 14 winners received certificates of recognition plus UGX 400,000.
Ruth receiving the cheque of UGX 1.5mRuth receiving the cheque of UGX 1.5m


Winners were drawn by a nine-member panel of microfinance experts chaired by the Managing Director of CitiBank. The awards ceremony was held on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 in Kampala’s Serena hotel and was presided over by State Minister for Microfinance, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa.

The Country Representative of BRAC Uganda, Mr Khondoker Ariful Islam was also present together with the Microfinance Programme Manager, Mr Rafiqul Islam, the credit officers; Evelyne Nasaka and Juliana Negaga, who have been serving Twinomugisha and Wamulo.

In short speeches after receiving the awards, Twinomugisha and Wamulo thanked BRAC Uganda for the support rendered to them in their enterprises and urged all other entrepreneurs, especially women, to work harder.

24 December 2010, Dhaka. Two female micro-entrepreneurs supported by BRAC Uganda Microfinance Limited, Theresa Twinomugisha and Ruth Naigaga Wamulo emerged winners of gold and bronze awards respectively in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards 2010.

The competition was organised by the Citigroup Foundation in collaboration with the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU) to recognise the extraordinary contributions that individual micro-entrepreneurs have made to the economic stability of their families and their communities in Uganda. It drew over 100 entrepreneurs supported with loans from Microfinance Institutions (MFI), Microfinance Deposit-taking Institutions (MDI) and Savings & Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) in Uganda. BRAC Uganda was the only MFI whose candidates won a gold and bronze award and was awarded a certificate of recognition. Other awards went to SACCO members.


Twinomugisha receiving the Gold award from Hon. Minister of MicrofinanceTwinomugisha receiving the Gold award from Hon. Minister of Microfinance


Twinomugisha was rewarded with UGX 10 million while Wamulo was among the top 13 entrepreneurs who won bronze plaques plus UGX 1.5 million. Other 14 winners received certificates of recognition plus UGX 400,000.
Ruth receiving the cheque of UGX 1.5mRuth receiving the cheque of UGX 1.5m


Winners were drawn by a nine-member panel of microfinance experts chaired by the Managing Director of CitiBank. The awards ceremony was held on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 in Kampala’s Serena hotel and was presided over by State Minister for Microfinance, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa.

The Country Representative of BRAC Uganda, Mr Khondoker Ariful Islam was also present together with the Microfinance Programme Manager, Mr Rafiqul Islam, the credit officers; Evelyne Nasaka and Juliana Negaga, who have been serving Twinomugisha and Wamulo.

In short speeches after receiving the awards, Twinomugisha and Wamulo thanked BRAC Uganda for the support rendered to them in their enterprises and urged all other entrepreneurs, especially women, to work harder.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010 18:00

BRAC receives trust fund for Medhabikash

BRAC receives trust fund for Medhabikash

22 December 2010, Dhaka. Dr. Taufiq Ahmed, a Bangladeshi born Australian resident and Dr. Shafiqul Islam, Director, BRAC Education Programme signed an agreement at BRAC Centre today. Dr. Taufiq has set up a trust in memory of his parents, Mr. Abdul Malik and Mrs. Khodeja Ahmed. The money from this trust will be used to give scholarships to meritorious students who are poor and studying in H.S.C and Honours level. Medhabikash, which is a component of the BRAC Education Programme, will give out the scholarships to deserving students. Mr. Abdul Muyeed Chowdhury, Chairman bracNet, Dr. Mahbub Hossain, Executive Director, BRAC and S.N Kairy, Director, Finance and Accounts, BRAC were also present.

22 December 2010, Dhaka. BRAC Pakistan has been awarded with "Humanitarian Excellence Award" by RAKz Communication (PVT) Limited, Pakistan, for its contributions and accomplishments, for the relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims of Pakistan this year.

With the heavy rainfalls and the ensuing flood in Pakistan effecting 3 million people, BRAC temporarily halted its microfinance and health operations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and focused on providing emergency relief. Drawing upon years of experience in flood relief work in Bangladesh, BRAC Pakistan staff responded rapidly and effectively in assisting the people of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

The 12 branch offices of BRAC distributed relief packages consisting of vital food rations & oral rehydration solution packets (ORS). A mobile medical team provided treatment for various diseases like fever, diarrhoea and dehydration. BRAC Pakistan`s 25 Health Workers and Health Volunteers were among the medical team to reach remote areas and ensure proper coverage, providing medicines and ORS.

 

21 December 2010, Dhaka. BRAC Advocacy Unit seeks to mobilise youth groups in favour of the Ultra Poor. The Advocacy Unit regularly organises quizzes, seminars and debates from the grassroots to the national level with a view to informing the students about the poverty situation and the ultra poverty scenario of Bangladesh and to sensitise them to take constructive initiatives for poverty reduction As a follow up of ‘Intra School Debate Competition 2010’, Advocacy Unit organised a three-day long youth field visit from 13 to 15 December 2010 in Rajshahi district at Poba and Tanor upazila. Six students and two teachers from Udayan High School and Wills Little Flower School & College participated in the field visit to experience the real poverty situation of Bangladesh. During these three days they observed different BRAC activities like Popular Theater, Pre-primary School, Union Workshop, Community Initiative-Van Distribution, Selection Process of the STUP (Specially Targeted Ultra Poor) Members, Health Support, (Human Rights and Legal Aid Services)HRLS Support and Gram Daridro Bimochon Committee (GDBC) meeting. The students would submit a report on their field visit. We strongly believe such involvement in a national agenda like Ultra Poverty will engage the students as ambassador of social change both at family and community level.

 

20 December 2010, Dhaka. On the eve of the International Migrants’ Day 2010 BRAC Advocacy Unit’s Safe Migration Facilitation Centre (SMFC) organised a two-day long “Migration and Development Fair” jointly with Government, at Rangpur from 18-19 December, by bringing together all the stakeholders, Government officials, NGO, Civil Society Recruiting Agency and Student Counselors under one umbrella of safe migration.

The main objectives behind organising such a unique fair were,
I)    to promote safe migration in the northern part of Bangladesh (Monga Area) as an alternative to poverty alleviation;
II)     to make the mass aware about safe migration decision making process; and
III)     to motivate stakeholders for decentralising safe migration services to the  doorstep of migrant workers.

Mr. Mia Abdullah Mamun, Additional Divisional Commissioner, Rangpur inaugurated the event where as Mr. B. M. Enamul Haque, Deputy Commissioner, Rangpur chaired the inaugural programme accordingly.  A press conference was held on 17 December at Rangpur Press Club Auditorium. In line with that SMFC had activities in 21 Districts and 36 Upazillas around the country. The activities included rallies, discussion sessions and cultural programmes and exclusive media coverage on migration promotion on ATN News.

Alongside SMFC also participated in the daylong awareness raising campaign with the Government at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium, Dhaka and took part in the fair held in the premises. Sheikh Hasina, Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh inaugurated the event. A talk show and a special supplement were also published in the national dailies upholding the day.

Saturday, 18 December 2010 18:00

Space technology can help BRAC

19 December 2010, Dhaka. An article titled “Deltas in Space: The Space Technology Comes Down to Earth” by Michael Van Der Mark came out in the Dutch Magazine called ‘Deltas in Times of Climate Change’. The article talks about space technology and water management technology and how cooperation between the two sectors can result in many benefits. Space technology predictions can help predict weather and its benefits can even reach everyday farmers with water availability forecasts. The article says organisations such as BRAC can reap benefits from space technology by better understanding variations of weather through reliable and advanced predictions will mean less loss of lives and crops.  The following are a few extracts from the article:

One of the organizations that could benefit from the developments is BRAC, a large organization working to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh and nine other countries in South Asia, Africa and Haiti. Based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, BRAC not only provides access to financial services but also to health, education, water and sanitation services. Dr Babar Kabir, BRAC’s Director for Water and for Disaster, Environment and Climate Change, explains that major challenges remain: “We need to ensure food security and reduce vulnerability to natural disasters. It is here that science (from satellite data downwards) can play a significant role, by providing early warnings and help us to better understand weather variability resulting from climate change.” Optimizing the hydrological data supply chain is important, says Dr Kabir, as it would link science to grassroots development: “Researchers have limited themselves to linking to academic institutions. They have ignored the strength of the NGOs and others who work for the development of the common people.” BRAC’s work focuses on the poor, especially women and children, and better understanding of variations in the weather through reliable and advanced predictions will mean less loss of lives and crops.

In the end it will be organizations like BRAC that will be able to issue better seasonal forecasts for local rice farmers, so that the premium on crop insurance can be reduced from four to three percent – a net gain of 25 percent!” Dr Kabir agrees. “Yes, definitely. Farmers, fishermen, small-scale private entrepreneurs – all will benefit. Given that the initial focus will be on weather forecasting and event predictions, the reliability of the data will be critical, whether it is to understand that a disaster is approaching or to provide very specific rainfall prediction. Tracking of the monsoon landfall is very important for agricultural activities in Bangladesh, as many crops are rain fed. Accurate rainfall prediction, when and how much, will help farmers to increase productivity. Once disaster prediction has been perfected, farmers can then be encouraged to engage in crop insurance.” Reliable data will mean that BRAC would be able to save on insurance premiums, enabling them to purchase data from the streamlined process. Nevertheless, Dr Kabir adds, “While BRAC is trying to develop its own expertise to understand the scientific data, it does not wish to duplicate efforts or expertise that already exists elsewhere. We need to find an easy way of coordinating both between and within the scientific community. We need data analysis based on client needs, and reports that are in non-scientific language.”



To read the full article please download : 
http://www.changemagazine.nl/doc/deltatimes/deltas-in-space.pdf