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Sunday, 23 November 2008 18:00

Book Launching: "Inside Schools"

24 November 2008, Dhaka. A book titled 'Inside Schools' jointly written by Samir Ranjan Nath, research coordinator in the research and evaluation division of BRAC, and Amina Mahbub, chief of research evaluation and dissemination unit of Plan Bangladesh was launched at BRAC Centre Inn in the city.

In the launching ceremony, Primary and Mass Education Adviser Rasheda K Choudhury underlined the importance of constituency advocacy to ensure education for all (EFA) and reach the target of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. “Still it is a big challenge for all to bring all the children to primary schools by 2010. We are yet to reach our target due to some deprivation in pocket areas like char land, monga region, children with disabilities, indigenous and Dalit communities,” she added. Rasheda said the prevailing class culture would have to be changed especially by ensuring the education of the children from hard-core families. She also encouraged the third group research for identifying the key points on how to reach education in the deprivation points.

Samir Ranjan Nath, one of the authors, said, “The book is an outcome of an ethnographic investigation in four medium category government primary schools. Key theme of the research was 'school culture'. How the people in schools do things was the centre of the study, which included knowledge, belief, behaviour, morals, law, custom and other capacities and habits.”
Former adviser Kazi Fazlur Rahman, Director General of Primary Education Directorate Nazrul Islam Khan and Brac Executive Director Dr Mahbub Hossain also took part in the programme.

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

 

Saturday, 15 November 2008 18:00

Fazle Abed Awarded Asiatic Society Fellowship

16 November 2008, Dhaka. BRAC Chairman Fazle Hasan Abed was honoured with fellowship of Asiatic Society of Bangladesh (ASB) in recognition of his contribution to national development and poverty reduction yesterday.

He was also given a reception at the programme held at the National Museum auditorium in the city yesterday.
Chairman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue Prof Rehman Sobhan, who is also a fellow of ASB, attended the programme as chief guest.

Prof Sobhan hoped that Abed would take his innovative initiatives forward and turn the poor and deprived people into development agents.

He said BRAC's system of non-formal education has become a role model in many countries.

The speakers appreciated the development theories of Abed, his thoughts and steps for the improvement of education sector, and the contribution of BRAC to poverty reduction.

Abed in his speech said, “When we were engaged in rehabilitation work after the liberation war we learnt that long-term development initiative needed to eliminate corruption from the country and we have started doing that through BRAC.”

“The honour was given not only to me but also to all the staffs of BRAC,” he said.

Abed formed BRAC in 1972 with a view to rehabilitating the poor people in the aftermath of the Liberation War.

BRAC has now expanded its activities to different countries of Asia and Africa including Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Uganda.

Abed also received many prestigious international awards like Unicef Maurice Pate Award, Ramon Magsaysay Award, Hilton Award and Rockefeller Award.

Presided over by ASB President Prof Sirajul Islam, the programme was also addressed by another ASB Fellow Prof AF Salahudddin Ahmed, Vice-presidents Sharif Uddin Ahmed and Ameer-ul-Islam Chowdhury.

Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:00

Kidnapped BRAC Afghanistan Staff Released

02 November 2008, Dhaka. The two BRAC staff members who were kidnapped in Afghanistan last week have been released. BRAC Afghanistan area managers Akhter Ali and Mohammad Shahjahan Ali, who were abducted on 23 October from Ghazni, Afghanistan, were left in front of BRAC’s Ghazni office on Saturday evening by their captors. BRAC Afghanistan officials, who found Akhter and Shahjahan to be in good health, conveyed them to the head office in Kabul on Sunday morning. The two released staff members have since been in contact with their families in Bangladesh and BRAC is working to bring them back home as soon as possible.

The BRAC chairperson expressed great relief and joy at the release of the two BRAC staff members. In separate letters, he thanked the Government of Bangladesh, in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Afghanistan, in particular the Ministries of the Interior and Rural Rehabilitation and Development, the Afghanistan Embassy in Dhaka and the Ghazni authorities for their prompt action in securing the release of Akhter and Shahjahan.

Mr. Abed pledged that BRAC will continue to put maximum effort in ensuring the safety of all its staff members in Afghanistan as well as in the other countries where it operates.
 

Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:00

Kidnapped BRAC Afghanistan Staff Released

02 November 2008, Dhaka. The two BRAC staff members who were kidnapped in Afghanistan last week have been released. BRAC Afghanistan area managers Akhter Ali and Mohammad Shahjahan Ali, who were abducted on 23 October from Ghazni, Afghanistan, were left in front of BRAC’s Ghazni office on Saturday evening by their captors. BRAC Afghanistan officials, who found Akhter and Shahjahan to be in good health, conveyed them to the head office in Kabul on Sunday morning. The two released staff members have since been in contact with their families in Bangladesh and BRAC is working to bring them back home as soon as possible.

The BRAC chairperson expressed great relief and joy at the release of the two BRAC staff members. In separate letters, he thanked the Government of Bangladesh, in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Afghanistan, in particular the Ministries of the Interior and Rural Rehabilitation and Development, the Afghanistan Embassy in Dhaka and the Ghazni authorities for their prompt action in securing the release of Akhter and Shahjahan.

Mr. Abed pledged that BRAC will continue to put maximum effort in ensuring the safety of all its staff members in Afghanistan as well as in the other countries where it operates.
 

29 October 2008, Dhaka. Rescue attempts of the two abducted BRAC staff members in Afghanisan have been intensified. Jalaluddin Ahmed, BRAC Health Programme Head who was previously the Country Programme Head of BRAC Afghanistan will be traveling to Afghanistan tonight to oversee the rescue efforts in Ghazni. Meanwhile in Dhaka, BRAC senior officials continue to be in contact with the families of the two abducted BRAC staff members.

Meanwhile, Shahabuddin Ahmed , General Manager  -BRAC Afghanistan, who is currently in Ghazni has established contacts with the Local Governor and Senior Officials there and discussed the situation. The local security authority of Ghazni is also working for the rescue of BRAC employees.

In Bangladesh, Aminul Alam Executive Director – BRAC Overseas Programmes, met with the family members of the kidnapped BRAC staff members Akhter Ali and Mohammad Shahjahan Ali today. He updated them with the ongoing rescue operations being implemented by BRAC. Shafiqul Islam, Director, BRAC Education Programme , was also present in the meeting.

It maybe mentioned, BRAC Afghanistan’s Regional Managers Akhter Ali and Mohammad Shahjahan Ali were kidnapped last Thursday, 23 October, from Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

BRAC Officials meet with Foreign Adviser to discuss Afghanistan Kidnapping

26 October 2008, DHAKA – BRAC Executive Director of Overseas Programmes, Md. Aminul Alam, and Director, Public Affairs & Communications, M. Anwarul Haq attended a meeting on Sunday afternoon with the Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Government of Bangladesh, Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, and the Afghan Ambassador to Bangladesh, Ahmad Karim Nawabi, to discuss the abduction last Thursday of the two BRAC Afghanistan area managers in Ghazni, Afghanistan. The BRAC senior officials urged the Bangladeshi government to extend all possible collaboration in their efforts to secure the release of the kidnapped staff members. The Foreign Affairs Adviser assured that all cooperation will be extended by the Foreign Ministry and also made an appeal to the Afghanistan government, through the Ambassador, to extend its support.

Speaking to the media following the meeting, Md. Aminul Alam said that while BRAC’s activities would continue in Afghanistan, the organisation will work to build the capacity of its Afghan staff members so that it can withdraw all Bangladeshi employees within five years.

Earlier, senior BRAC Afghanistan officials, including the country programme coordinator Md. Fazlul Hoque, met with the Afghan Minister of Interior, Hanif Atmar, Saturday evening to discuss the matter. Mr. Atmar assured the BRAC officials that he has been taking all necessary action to rescue the abductees. During the meeting, he requested Afghan security and intelligence authorities to look into the matter.

Meanwhile, BRAC officials in Bangladesh continue to be in constant communication with the families of Akhter and Shahjahan. Md. Aminul Alam met with the wives and other family members of Akhter Ali and Mohammad Shahjahan Ali at the BRAC head office in Mohakhali on Sunday afternoon.

29 October 2008, Dhaka. Rescue attempts of the two abducted BRAC staff members in Afghanisan have been intensified. Jalaluddin Ahmed, BRAC Health Programme Head who was previously the Country Programme Head of BRAC Afghanistan will be traveling to Afghanistan tonight to oversee the rescue efforts in Ghazni. Meanwhile in Dhaka, BRAC senior officials continue to be in contact with the families of the two abducted BRAC staff members.

Meanwhile, Shahabuddin Ahmed , General Manager  -BRAC Afghanistan, who is currently in Ghazni has established contacts with the Local Governor and Senior Officials there and discussed the situation. The local security authority of Ghazni is also working for the rescue of BRAC employees.

In Bangladesh, Aminul Alam Executive Director – BRAC Overseas Programmes, met with the family members of the kidnapped BRAC staff members Akhter Ali and Mohammad Shahjahan Ali today. He updated them with the ongoing rescue operations being implemented by BRAC. Shafiqul Islam, Director, BRAC Education Programme , was also present in the meeting.

It maybe mentioned, BRAC Afghanistan’s Regional Managers Akhter Ali and Mohammad Shahjahan Ali were kidnapped last Thursday, 23 October, from Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

BRAC Officials meet with Foreign Adviser to discuss Afghanistan Kidnapping

26 October 2008, DHAKA – BRAC Executive Director of Overseas Programmes, Md. Aminul Alam, and Director, Public Affairs & Communications, M. Anwarul Haq attended a meeting on Sunday afternoon with the Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Government of Bangladesh, Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, and the Afghan Ambassador to Bangladesh, Ahmad Karim Nawabi, to discuss the abduction last Thursday of the two BRAC Afghanistan area managers in Ghazni, Afghanistan. The BRAC senior officials urged the Bangladeshi government to extend all possible collaboration in their efforts to secure the release of the kidnapped staff members. The Foreign Affairs Adviser assured that all cooperation will be extended by the Foreign Ministry and also made an appeal to the Afghanistan government, through the Ambassador, to extend its support.

Speaking to the media following the meeting, Md. Aminul Alam said that while BRAC’s activities would continue in Afghanistan, the organisation will work to build the capacity of its Afghan staff members so that it can withdraw all Bangladeshi employees within five years.

Earlier, senior BRAC Afghanistan officials, including the country programme coordinator Md. Fazlul Hoque, met with the Afghan Minister of Interior, Hanif Atmar, Saturday evening to discuss the matter. Mr. Atmar assured the BRAC officials that he has been taking all necessary action to rescue the abductees. During the meeting, he requested Afghan security and intelligence authorities to look into the matter.

Meanwhile, BRAC officials in Bangladesh continue to be in constant communication with the families of Akhter and Shahjahan. Md. Aminul Alam met with the wives and other family members of Akhter Ali and Mohammad Shahjahan Ali at the BRAC head office in Mohakhali on Sunday afternoon.

26 October 2008, Dhaka. BRAC Executive Director of Overseas Programmes, Md. Aminul Alam, and Director, Public Affairs & Communications, M. Anwarul Haq attended a meeting on Sunday afternoon with the Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Government of Bangladesh, Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, and the Afghan Ambassador to Bangladesh, Ahmad Karim Nawabi, to discuss the abduction last Thursday of the two BRAC Afghanistan area managers in Ghazni, Afghanistan. The BRAC senior officials urged the Bangladeshi government to extend all possible collaboration in their efforts to secure the release of the kidnapped staff members. The Foreign Affairs Adviser assured that all cooperation will be extended by the Foreign Ministry and also made an appeal to the Afghanistan government, through the Ambassador, to extend its support.

Speaking to the media following the meeting, Md. Aminul Alam said that while BRAC’s activities would continue in Afghanistan, the organisation will work to build the capacity of its Afghan staff members so that it can withdraw all Bangladeshi employees within five years.

Earlier, senior BRAC Afghanistan officials, including the country programme coordinator Md. Fazlul Hoque, met with the Afghan Minister of Interior, Hanif Atmar, Saturday evening to discuss the matter. Mr. Atmar assured the BRAC officials that he has been taking all necessary action to rescue the abductees. During the meeting, he requested Afghan security and intelligence authorities to look into the matter.

Meanwhile, BRAC officials in Bangladesh continue to be in constant communication with the families of Akhter and Shahjahan. Md. Aminul Alam met with the wives and other family members of Akhter Ali and Mohammad Shahjahan Ali at the BRAC head office in Mohakhali on Sunday afternoon.
   

26 October 2008, Dhaka. BRAC Executive Director of Overseas Programmes, Md. Aminul Alam, and Director, Public Affairs & Communications, M. Anwarul Haq attended a meeting on Sunday afternoon with the Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Government of Bangladesh, Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, and the Afghan Ambassador to Bangladesh, Ahmad Karim Nawabi, to discuss the abduction last Thursday of the two BRAC Afghanistan area managers in Ghazni, Afghanistan. The BRAC senior officials urged the Bangladeshi government to extend all possible collaboration in their efforts to secure the release of the kidnapped staff members. The Foreign Affairs Adviser assured that all cooperation will be extended by the Foreign Ministry and also made an appeal to the Afghanistan government, through the Ambassador, to extend its support.

Speaking to the media following the meeting, Md. Aminul Alam said that while BRAC’s activities would continue in Afghanistan, the organisation will work to build the capacity of its Afghan staff members so that it can withdraw all Bangladeshi employees within five years.

Earlier, senior BRAC Afghanistan officials, including the country programme coordinator Md. Fazlul Hoque, met with the Afghan Minister of Interior, Hanif Atmar, Saturday evening to discuss the matter. Mr. Atmar assured the BRAC officials that he has been taking all necessary action to rescue the abductees. During the meeting, he requested Afghan security and intelligence authorities to look into the matter.

Meanwhile, BRAC officials in Bangladesh continue to be in constant communication with the families of Akhter and Shahjahan. Md. Aminul Alam met with the wives and other family members of Akhter Ali and Mohammad Shahjahan Ali at the BRAC head office in Mohakhali on Sunday afternoon.
   

Saturday, 25 October 2008 18:00

Two BRAC Staff Abducted in Afghanistan

25 October 2008, Dhaka. Two BRAC staff members, Akhter Ali and Mohammad Shahjahan Ali, were kidnapped last Thursday, 23 October, from the Ghazni province of Afghanistan, where they have both been working as BRAC Afghanistan Area Managers for the last three years. The BRAC Afghanistan authorities in Kabul have confirmed the following details of the incident: Akhter and Shahjahan were abducted at gunpoint by four men from BRAC Afghanistan’s Moi Mobarok branch office in the provincial capital, Ghazni City, where they had travelled as part of their regular office visit schedule. During the attack, the manager of the branch office, Hasmatullah, an Afghani national, was also severely beaten. The identities of the attackers are yet to be confirmed.

In immediate response, BRAC Afghanistan authorities contacted the Afghani Minister of Interior, Hanif Atmar, Thursday night to inform him of the incident. Mr. Atmar assured BRAC that the Afghan authorities would provide all necessary support in rescuing the two BRAC staff members. He also communicated with his Advisor of Security and conveyed a message to the Ghazni police. BRAC Afghanistan authorities also informed the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development of the incident and are now in continuous communication with the Afghan authorities regarding the matter.

A high level team has been sent to Ghazni from the BRAC Afghanistan head office in Kabul to gather information and to liaise with the Afghani authorities, including the Governor and Chief Security Officer of Ghazni. Senior BRAC Afghanistan officials will also meet with the Afghan Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Ehsan Zia, on Sunday.

BRAC officials in Bangladesh have been in communication with the families of Akhter and Shahjahan, keeping them informed of the latest situation and providing all necessary support.

Ghazni is one of thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, with its capital in Ghazni City.  The province lies in the eastern part of the country, south-west of Kabul. BRAC Afghanistan has been working in Ghazni for the last three years. Telephone networks in Ghazni have been inoperative for the last four days, making communication extremely difficult.