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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

Friday, 13 November 2009 17:00

BRAC Uganda reaches 100,000 borrowers

 

 

Ariful Islam disbusing 100,000th loan to Sarah

 

14 November 2009, Dhaka. In June 2006, BRAC Chairperson and Founder, Dr Fazle Hasan Abed, disbursed the first microloan to Wamulo Ruth at the new Iganga branch.

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.

 

 

Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC and Mr. Roland Rich, Executive Head of UNDEF signs the agreement

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.

 

28 October 2009, Dhaka. For the first time in Bangladesh, BRAC has launched a new credit scheme ‘Borga Chashi Unnayan Project' for the sharecroppers of the country who hardly get any loan from the traditional banking system. On Tuesday, 27 October, 2009 Bangladesh Bank governor Dr. Atiur Rahman inaugurated the scheme by distributing the first loans to a group of sharecroppers consisting of 25 at Hosenpur village, in Chandpur district. BRAC Executive Director Dr. Mahabub Hossain and senior officials of regional central banks were also present. Governors and deputy-governors of the central banks of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nepal and other SAARC countries also witnessed the event.

Speaking at the inauguration, Dr. Rahman said, "This scheme would bring a revolutionary change among our farmers. Such an initiative is the first of its kind in Bangladesh."

Dr. Hossain while describing the lending procedure stated, "A sharecropper now can take loans ranging from TK 5,000 to TK 25,000 collateral free at the cost of only 10 percent interest. In the first phase, the farmers will repay 30 percent of the loan through weekly instalments. BRAC will realise the rest 70 percent loan repayment after the two harvest seasons."

Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, governor of Afghanistan Bank said "We'­­­re really surprised to see this programme. It's amazing that a landless farmer can cultivate crops by taking loans without a mortgage deal."

During the event, BRAC also distributed BRAC seeds among the farmers. At the end, BRAC's popular theatre group also performed a play named ‘In search of Happiness' depicting a sharecropper's life and how the traditional money lender exploits them.

28 October 2009, Dhaka. For the first time in Bangladesh, BRAC has launched a new credit scheme ‘Borga Chashi Unnayan Project' for the sharecroppers of the country who hardly get any loan from the traditional banking system. On Tuesday, 27 October, 2009 Bangladesh Bank governor Dr. Atiur Rahman inaugurated the scheme by distributing the first loans to a group of sharecroppers consisting of 25 at Hosenpur village, in Chandpur district. BRAC Executive Director Dr. Mahabub Hossain and senior officials of regional central banks were also present. Governors and deputy-governors of the central banks of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nepal and other SAARC countries also witnessed the event.

Speaking at the inauguration, Dr. Rahman said, "This scheme would bring a revolutionary change among our farmers. Such an initiative is the first of its kind in Bangladesh."

Dr. Hossain while describing the lending procedure stated, "A sharecropper now can take loans ranging from TK 5,000 to TK 25,000 collateral free at the cost of only 10 percent interest. In the first phase, the farmers will repay 30 percent of the loan through weekly instalments. BRAC will realise the rest 70 percent loan repayment after the two harvest seasons."

Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, governor of Afghanistan Bank said "We'­­­re really surprised to see this programme. It's amazing that a landless farmer can cultivate crops by taking loans without a mortgage deal."

During the event, BRAC also distributed BRAC seeds among the farmers. At the end, BRAC's popular theatre group also performed a play named ‘In search of Happiness' depicting a sharecropper's life and how the traditional money lender exploits them.

Monday, 26 October 2009 17:00

BRAC Hosts Donor Consortium

 

27 October 2009, Dhaka. BRAC met with its principal donors and updated them on its activities, highlighting achievements, new interventions and opportunities to extend existing efforts.

Representatives from DFID, CIDA, AUSAID, UNICEF, NOVIB and Oxfam Norway attended the meet at the BRAC Centre in Dhaka on Oct. 26,
 
High-level BRAC officials explained BRAC’s interventions, achievements and lessons learned, and underscored the next steps to take.

BRAC Executive Director Dr. Mahabub Hossain presented an overview of recent developments in Bangladesh, particularly the financial crisis and its impact.

Monday, 26 October 2009 17:00

BRAC Hosts Donor Consortium

 

27 October 2009, Dhaka. BRAC met with its principal donors and updated them on its activities, highlighting achievements, new interventions and opportunities to extend existing efforts.

Representatives from DFID, CIDA, AUSAID, UNICEF, NOVIB and Oxfam Norway attended the meet at the BRAC Centre in Dhaka on Oct. 26,
 
High-level BRAC officials explained BRAC’s interventions, achievements and lessons learned, and underscored the next steps to take.

BRAC Executive Director Dr. Mahabub Hossain presented an overview of recent developments in Bangladesh, particularly the financial crisis and its impact.

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