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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
 

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
 

Thursday, 16 December 2010 18:00

BRAC opens its limb and brace center in Haiti

17 September 2010, Dhaka. This week, BRAC was finally able to open its limb and brace center and began serving patients in Haiti.

 

 

One of our Limb and Brace Center staff fits a
young girl for a prosthetic leg.

 

We had 10 patients come to the Center on the first day, as well as a few  other guest and supporters, including the Haitian Secretary of State  for the Inclusion of Persons with disabilities, Dr. Michel Pean. Here  are some pictures from opening day:

Our staff from the Limb and Brace Center in Bangladesh
trains the new Haitian staff to make and fit limbs and braces

 

The Limb and Brace Center workshop, where artificial limbs and
braces will be custom built for patients using cost-efficient and
durable polypropylene technology

 

Dr. Ripon, the head of BRAC's Limb and Brace Center, with
Secretary of State for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities
Dr. Michel Pean and his assistants.

 

 

 

12 December 2010, Dhaka. With a vow to instigate public private participation in Safe Migration Management as well as creating a good rapport with recruiting agencies for pro-migration services, BRAC Advocacy Unit’s Safe Migration Facilitation Centre (SMFC) and The National Alliance of Migrant’s Rights, Bangladesh (NAMR’B) jointly organised a seminar on “Public Private Participation in Safe Migration Management” with the support of Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) at the Auditorium of BRAC Centre today. Currently SMFC is acting as the secretariat of NAMR'B on national level lobbying, advocating and creating pressure for pro-migrant issues. To keep NAMR’B moving ahead with national migration issues was another agenda for organising this seminar which was divided into three sessions with different key presenters, chairs and panel discussants.  

The first session was represented by the civil society, the second by the recruiting agencies and the final session was facilitated by the representatives from Bangladesh Government. SK. Mojibul Huq, Manager, BRAC Advocacy Unit was the moderator of the seminar.

Dr. Uttam Kumar Das, Deputy Director of South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (SAILS) presented the keynote paper of the first session titled “Safe Migration and Bangladesh: Potentials, Possibilities and Problems”.  The keynote paper of the  second session was prepared by Mr. Ali Haider Chowdhuri, Secratery General, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agency (BAIRA) and was presented by Radyan Rahave from BRAC Advocacy Unit  titled “Migration & Economic Development: Declaration as Thrust Sector in Bangladesh”. In the final session, Mr. Kafayet Ullah, Deputy Secretary to Bangladesh Government presented the key note titled “Managing Safe Migration: Public Private Cooperation”.

All the three sessions were followed by open floor discussions where all the participants expressed their thoughts and views on the respective topics. From their argument some very valid and important recommendations came out which would contribute to facilitate very effective and efficient public private participation in Safe Migration Management.

Mr. Anisul Islam Mahmud, Honourable Member of Parliament and Chair to Parliamentary Standing Committee of Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, was present as the Chief Guest in the seminar. Dr. Jafar Ahmed Khan, Honourable Secretary to Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE) inaugurated the seminar. Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC welcomed all the participants from the Government, recruiting agencies and NGOs in the seminar.
 

12 December 2010, Kathmandu. BRAC was awarded the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) 2009 award in the category of Non Governmental Organisations for the Best Presented Accounts and Corporate Governance Disclosures.

BRAC wins SAFA award for Transparent Financial Reporting

Mr. S.N. Kairy, Director Finance & Accounts, received the award on behalf of BRAC at a ceremony held on Sunday, December 12, 2010 at the Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza in Kathmandu, Nepal. Mr. Surendra Pandey, Honourable Minister for Finance, Government of Nepal was the chief guest of the event. BRAC previously received the SAFA Award for the years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

SAFA is a forum of professional accountancy bodies committed to developing the accountancy profession in the South Asian region. The Best Presented Accounts awards are conferred on the basis of evaluation administered by SAFA's Committee for improvement in transparency, accountability and governance of published annual reports of entities from South Asian countries.

 

12 December 2010, Dhaka. With a vow to instigate public private participation in Safe Migration Management as well as creating a good rapport with recruiting agencies for pro-migration services, BRAC Advocacy Unit’s Safe Migration Facilitation Centre (SMFC) and The National Alliance of Migrant’s Rights, Bangladesh (NAMR’B) jointly organised a seminar on “Public Private Participation in Safe Migration Management” with the support of Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) at the Auditorium of BRAC Centre today. Currently SMFC is acting as the secretariat of NAMR'B on national level lobbying, advocating and creating pressure for pro-migrant issues. To keep NAMR’B moving ahead with national migration issues was another agenda for organising this seminar which was divided into three sessions with different key presenters, chairs and panel discussants.  

The first session was represented by the civil society, the second by the recruiting agencies and the final session was facilitated by the representatives from Bangladesh Government. SK. Mojibul Huq, Manager, BRAC Advocacy Unit was the moderator of the seminar.

Dr. Uttam Kumar Das, Deputy Director of South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (SAILS) presented the keynote paper of the first session titled “Safe Migration and Bangladesh: Potentials, Possibilities and Problems”.  The keynote paper of the  second session was prepared by Mr. Ali Haider Chowdhuri, Secratery General, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agency (BAIRA) and was presented by Radyan Rahave from BRAC Advocacy Unit  titled “Migration & Economic Development: Declaration as Thrust Sector in Bangladesh”. In the final session, Mr. Kafayet Ullah, Deputy Secretary to Bangladesh Government presented the key note titled “Managing Safe Migration: Public Private Cooperation”.

All the three sessions were followed by open floor discussions where all the participants expressed their thoughts and views on the respective topics. From their argument some very valid and important recommendations came out which would contribute to facilitate very effective and efficient public private participation in Safe Migration Management.

Mr. Anisul Islam Mahmud, Honourable Member of Parliament and Chair to Parliamentary Standing Committee of Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, was present as the Chief Guest in the seminar. Dr. Jafar Ahmed Khan, Honourable Secretary to Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE) inaugurated the seminar. Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC welcomed all the participants from the Government, recruiting agencies and NGOs in the seminar.
 

12 December 2010, Kathmandu. BRAC was awarded the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) 2009 award in the category of Non Governmental Organisations for the Best Presented Accounts and Corporate Governance Disclosures.

BRAC wins SAFA award for Transparent Financial Reporting

Mr. S.N. Kairy, Director Finance & Accounts, received the award on behalf of BRAC at a ceremony held on Sunday, December 12, 2010 at the Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza in Kathmandu, Nepal. Mr. Surendra Pandey, Honourable Minister for Finance, Government of Nepal was the chief guest of the event. BRAC previously received the SAFA Award for the years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

SAFA is a forum of professional accountancy bodies committed to developing the accountancy profession in the South Asian region. The Best Presented Accounts awards are conferred on the basis of evaluation administered by SAFA's Committee for improvement in transparency, accountability and governance of published annual reports of entities from South Asian countries.

09 December 2010, Dhaka. From One to Many: Scaling Up Health Programs in Low Income Countries, published by The University Press Limited was recently launched. The book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning about both the problems and the opportunities involved in effectively scaling up health programs.

The book is a collection of articles submitted to the International Conference on Scaling Up Health Programs, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2008. This edited volume is comprised of 17 chapters, two of which focus specifically on BRAC's efforts and successes in scaling up maternal health programs as well as the rural tuberculosis program.

In the foreword, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, Sir Fazle Abed, writes, "the problems of poverty and disease are immense, therefore so should be the scale of the solutions." This edited-volume takes a deep look at many of the health care problems faced by the world's poorest, and provides a framework for understanding the challenges and opportunities within the field.

From One to Many: Scaling Up Health Programs in Low Income Countries has been released in Bangladesh, Germany and Switzerland and was edited by:

  • Richard A. Cash: Senior Lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health, Visiting Professor at the James P. Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University; BRAC USA Board Member
  • A. Mushtaque R. Chowdhury, Associate Director at the Rockefeller Foundation, Professor at Columbia University in New York
  • George B. Smith, Food Systems Expert
  • Faruque Ahmed, Director of the BRAC Health Program

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