31 December 2009, Dhaka. Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, Fazle Hasan Abed, is to be knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for services in tackling poverty and empowering the poor in Bangladesh and more globally. Abed is to be appointed Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG). He is the first person of Bangladesh origin to be honoured with a knighthood by the British Crown since 1947. Abed is the second person in his family to be honoured with a knighthood. His grand uncle, Justice Nawab Sir Syed Shamsul Huda, was knighted by the British Crown in 1913.
25 November 2009, Dhaka. The First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety was held at the Russian Federation in Moscow on 19 - 20 November 2009. Ahmed Najmul Hussain, Director, BRAC attended the conference as part of a four member country delegation headed by Bangladesh Communication Minister Sayed Abul Hussain. Mr. Hussain gave a presentation on BRAC Road Safety programme achievements.
The Conference was opened by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who called for urgent global action on road safety. More than 70 ministers and 1000 high-level representatives of governments, non-governmental and international organisations from nearly 140 countries attended the first-ever governmental- Minister-level meeting on road safety. In a statement delivered by Director-General of the United Nations office in Geneva, Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, and United Nations Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon stressed the importance of regional commissions’ work for road safety.
The Conference adopted a declaration aiming to reduce the global toll of road deaths. The document declares 2011-2020 a decade of action for road safety, it appeals to the international donor community to ensure funding for global, regional and national road safety programmes and it emphasizes the necessity to evaluate progress. The declaration will be the basis for the fifth UN resolution on the subject.
In the closing session speakers from the WHO, World Bank, FIA Foundation and UK transport minister Paul Clark MP joined the head of the Russian traffic police, General Victor Kiryanov, and the Russian Interior Minister, Rashid Nurgaliev, to endorse the proposed decade and begin to set out plans for global coordination of the unprecedented effort to reduce road traffic injuries.
25 November 2009, Dhaka. The first ever “Entrepreneur for the World” Award in the Social Entrepreneur category was awarded to BRAC Founder and Chairperson Fazle Hasan Abed. He received the award during a ceremony at the World Entrepreneurship Forum held on November 19, 2009 in Lyon, France.
photo courtesy: Pierto/Sipa Press
The World Entrepreneurship Forum was established by EMLYON Business School, the leading European business school in entrepreneurship, and KPMG, the leading tax, audit and advisory services company. The Forum is founded on the conviction that the entrepreneur is a creator of wealth and social justice. The World Entrepreneurship Forum awards started in 2008 and 2009 is the first year that the Social Entrepreneur category was included in the awards category.
Patrick Molle, president of EMLYON Business School, and Jean-Luc Decornoy, chairman of KPMG SA, presented Abed with the award “to highlight his more than 30 years at the head of one of the largest non-government development organisations in the world. This award is granted to a personality who has greatly improved the life of the community. Fazle Hasan Abed is a social worker and visionary. He left his job to devote himself to Bangladesh’s War of Independence. Abed initiated BRAC, the largest non-government development organisation in the world in terms of size and diversity of interventions.”
“Entrepreneur for the World” Awards are presented in four categories: in the Entrepreneur category Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder of Kyocera Corporation and KDDI Corporation in Japan received the award; Mary Robinson, former President of the Republic of Ireland, received the award in the Politician category; and in the Expert category, Bert Twaalfhoven from the Netherlands, founder of 51 high tech companies in 11 countries was awarded.
Fazle Hasan Abed has been honoured with numerous international awards for his achievements within BRAC, among which: the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (1980); Unicef's Maurice Pate Award (1992); Olof Palme Award (2001); Gates Award for Global Health (2004); Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership (2007). Clinton Global Citizenship Award (2007) as well as several honourary degrees from renowned universities including Columbia, Yale and Oxford.
19 November 2008, Dhaka. BRAC and the MasterCard Foundation announced yesterday a $19.6 million programme to expand financial services to the poor across Uganda, benefiting approximately 2 million people. The programme will provide economically active women in Uganda with loans, training and technical support to enable them to improve their livelihoods. Additionally, the programme will expand vocational and life-skills education for adolescent girls. As part of this programme, BRAC will also explore the feasibility of becoming a regulated deposit-taking institution in Uganda, a role it has not yet played in Africa.
This initiative will demonstrate for the first time the full potential of BRAC’s holistic microfinance approach to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods in Africa. Insights generated from this programme will enable BRAC to accelerate its long-term plan to adapt this approach for other African countries.
“The MasterCard Foundation is working with innovators like BRAC to expand the access and reach of microfinance services to the poor, supporting their entrepreneurship so they can improve their own lives and communities,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation.
“This initiative with The MasterCard Foundation will be our largest programme in Africa,” said Fazle Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC. “What we learn in Uganda, including how to provide savings to poor women and their communities, will help us rapidly scale up our operations to provide services to millions of people throughout Africa.”
BRAC is poised to become one of Uganda’s most effective institutions serving significant numbers of rural households. The government of Uganda has made expanding financial services to the rural poor one of its top priorities. More than 37 percent of Uganda’s population live on less than a dollar a day and 62 percent do not have access to financial services.
It may be mentioned here that BRAC is one of the world’s leading providers of microfinance services and its approach, “microfinance multiplied” increases the ability of poor clients to productively use their loans to augment their incomes, and build their assets, as well as stimulate economic and social development within their communities. BRAC recognizes the need of poor people to have a secure place to save their money and the role of savings in sustainable microfinance.
ABOUT THE MASTERCARD FOUNDATION
The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada. It was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide customer financial institutions at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006. The Foundation has more than $1 billion in assets. Its vision is to make the economy work for everybody by advancing effective and innovative programmes in the areas of microfinance and youth education. For more information, go to www.themastercardfoundation.org
In November 2009, Ariful Islam, Country Programme Coordinator of BRAC Uganda disbursed the 100,000th loan to Sarah who was pleasantly surprised to realise that she was BRAC Uganda’s 100,000th borrower.
BRAC Uganda’s success is the result of the dedication, hard-work and commitment of the staff in Uganda and also due to the leadership and vision provided by BRAC’s senior management team in Bangladesh.
11 November 2009, Dhaka. BRAC and the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) signed an agreement on Wednesday to support BRAC’s initiatives to strengthen grassroots democracy and local governance. Under the agreement UNDEF will provide support to BRAC’s Social Development Programme for implementation of a project titled Active Citizens and Accountable Local Government (ACALG).
The agreement was signed by Mr. Roland Rich, Executive Head of UNDEF and Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC, at the BRAC Centre in Dhaka. Tania Zaman, Director, BRAC Chairperson’s Office (Chief of Staff), Anna Minj, Director, Social Development Programme and head office staff of BRAC Social Development Programme were also present in the signing ceremony.
Mr. Rich stated, “One of the reasons we were attracted to BRAC was that BRAC is giving people voice in their own communities to deal with government authorities. And voice is fundamental to democracy.” He added that BRAC was a strong and well-established group who can deliver the task.
The Active Citizens and Accountable Local Government (ACALG) project is a two year project which will be implemented in the districts of Bogra and Jessore. The project aims to create conditions for more active civic engagement among rural and semi-urban poor citizens and to strengthen capacities of local government to provide more accountable and effective governance.
The objectives of the project are to develop capacities of both the local government and rural citizens to plan and deliver accountable and more equitable services and resource allocation, and to create accessible sources of information about civic rights, local government and its services. Moreover, the project aims to transform bureaucratic practices at the local level to be more responsive to the needs of the poor.
08 November 2009, Dhaka. BRAC was awarded the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) Best Presented Accounts award for 2008. Mr. S.N. Kairy, Finance Director of BRAC, received the award on behalf of BRAC at a ceremony held on November 5th, 2009 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Hall in Dhaka, Bangladesh. BRAC previously received the SAFA award for the year 2007, which was presented in Hyderabad last year.
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 from South Asian countries.
08 November 2009, Dhaka. BRAC received the 2009 silver award for Social Performance Reporting. The award is launched by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, and powered by MIX (Microfinance Information Exchange). The award is designed to promote greater transparency in Microfinance Institutions’ social performance and recognises transparency in social performance reporting.
MIX Press Release: http://www.themix.org/press-release/recipients-2009-social-performance-reporting-award-announced (external link)
03 November 2009, Dhaka. A high profile delegate consisting four members of UK parliament visited several core programs of BRAC at Shirajgonj on 2nd November, 2009. The delegate came to Bangladesh to watch the development projects funded by DFID in Bangladesh.
In the morning the delegate visited the BRAC's Pre- Primary school and Government Primary school at char Kalyani, in Shirajganj. They spoke with students as well as their parents. Later they also visited the Government general hospital and Comprehensive Reproductive Health Clinic.
The team visited Choneka, a member of BRAC's ‘CFPR-TUP living in Ariya Mohon. They enquired her about various issues relating to her well-being. The team also met Razia, Sobura, Sakina and Aysha, members of CFPR (TUP) and became familiar with their income generating activities. They had a discourse with the Village Poverty Alleviation Committee, Health workers, Panel Doctors, members of the Health Forum. Later the group observed the activities and the class of the Legal aid Centre and the panel of the lawyers.
The members of the UK Parliament are John Battle, Mark Hendrick, Marsha Singh from Labor party, and Nigel Evans from Conservative party. Danial Davis from DFID and from BRAC officers Tania Zaman, Director Chairperson's Office, Faruque Ahmed, Director, Health Programme, Safiqul Islam, Director, Education Programme, Dr. Faustina Pereira, Director, Human Rights and Legal Services Programme and Rabeya Yasmin, Programme Head, Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty-Targeting the Ultra Poor were also present.