NGO ADVISOR announced its 2016 Top 500 NGOs World rankings, and BRAC returned to the top spot
Geneva, Switzerland: BRAC, an international development organisation dedicated to spreading solutions to poverty worldwide, today was ranked the number one NGO in the world by the Geneva-based NGO Advisor, an independent media organisation committed to highlighting innovation, impact and governance in the non-profit sector. BRAC clinched the top spot as part of the 2016 Top 500 NGOs World rankings.
"This recognition is truly an honour," said Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC. "BRAC staff work tirelessly to both innovate and apply proven solutions at scale to empower people worldwide living in poverty. It is wonderful to see this dedication recognised."
Each year, NGO Advisor researches, evaluates and ranks NGOs from around the world, highlighting the best in their annual Top 500 NGOs World list. NGO Advisor announced the new rankings on its website Friday, June 17.
Of more than 500 organisations worldwide, NGO Advisor placed BRAC first in its international category, based on its impact, innovation and sustainability. BRAC was praised for its holistic approach to fighting poverty, treating it as a system of interrelated barriers that must be addressed concurrently. The ranking also highlighted the organisation’s history of designing and implementing solutions at scale.
“From the perspective of our ranking criteria – impact, innovation and sustainability – BRAC ticks every box. Over the course of its decades-long history, BRAC has assumed an unparalleled position in the crowded field of international development, all while remaining committed to a holistic, evidence-based approach to poverty reduction,” said Jean-Christophe Nothias of NGO Advisor in a statement.
BRAC, formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, was founded in Bangladesh in 1972, and today is a global leader in creating opportunities at scale as a means to end poverty. It is the world's largest non-governmental development organisation, touching the lives of an estimated 138 million people in 12 countries using a wide array of tools such as microfinance, education, healthcare, legal rights training and more to create opportunities for people most in need.
“As we noted last year, BRAC is in many ways a microcosm of the entire international development sector…gaining in independence from donor influence each year. It covers almost 80 per cent of its USD 684 million income through a burgeoning portfolio of catalytic social enterprises – a clear trend positioning the organisation in an enviable position of financial and programmatic sustainability,” said NGO Advisor on its website.
NGO Advisor combines academic rigour with journalistic integrity and autonomy, evaluating each organisation based upon its objective merits. Co-founded by Jean-Christophe Nothias, a journalist formerly with The Global Journal, the rankings methodology was first developed in 2009.
Nothias has since enlisted experts at The University of Geneva and partners from the non-profit sector to improve the evaluation metrics. Today, NGO Advisor presents its findings to an international audience of donors, volunteers, journalists, researchers, diplomats and non-profit leaders to showcase best practices and mirror the evolving values of the global community.
The new rankings include several notable organisations. The Skoll Foundation, a social entrepreneurship foundation based in Palo Alto, California, claimed the third spot, and Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders, the number two. The Danish Refugee Council and Oxfam rounded out the rankings in the fourth and fifth spot, respectively. Last year, BRAC was ranked number two, after initially taking the first place spot two years ago.
Unifying Uniqueness and Us
BRAC and BRAC International operating countries celebrated the Inclusion and Diversity Management Campaign (IDMC) day. This celebration is celebrated for the second time across BRAC’s head office and BRAC International countries on 21 May on world cultural diversity day under the theme “Unifying Uniqueness and Us”.
Likewise the last year, diversity day was celebrated in all BI countries, which had cultural and cooking events, games and dances. Additionally, this year’s programme took place over the course of a day and began in BRAC’s office premises with a display board erected for writing comments and hand printing to showcase what diversity means to BRAC. The main event began after lunch and was comprised of welcome speeches, presentations and panel discussions all relating to the importance of diversity to foster and instill its importance. The colorful cultural programme also featured performances from people of differing national, ethnic and physical abilities.
The main objective of the initiative was to enhance knowledge and sensitivity on diversity and inclusiveness and to increase empathy of other cultures through opportunities to interact with different cultures at the international level. The vision of IDMC is: to promote Intercultural sensitivity, embracing differences, easily adaptable mindsets and diverse perspectives, richer teams
Through a series of activities, this campaign aims to touch all the employees, all-level of staff and ultimately the programme participants (beneficiaries) along with the community.We hope to continue making great strides toward promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace to ultimately help achieve the vision of BRAC.
Family planning, mother-child health and adolescent health service and campaign week 2016 was recently held across the country from 14-19 May. BRAC also observed this national event focusing on family planning counselling. BRAC worked intensively to promote family planning to create awareness among people concerning overpopulation, mother-child healthcare and adolescent health besides providing healthcare services to mothers, children and adolescents. Special daylong camps were organised at five maternity centres in Dhanmondi, Mirpur, Gulshan, Jatrabari and Uttara region of Manoshi project. Various family planning materials were distributed for free in those centres and people were advised on different methods of family planning. Md Delwar Hossain, director, directorate general of family planning, Dhaka division, Dr Md Abdul Haque AD, Dhaka and regional supervisor, FPCST-QAT, Mirza Kamrunnahar, DDFP, Dhaka district, Md Mizanur Rahman TFPO, family planning office Mirpur, Dhaka and other government officials visited the camps during the event.
National Safe Motherhood Day 2016 was celebrated on May 28 across the country to create awareness on maternity care for pregnant and lactating women.
The health, nutrition and population programme (HNPP) of BRAC participated in the event along with the government through various activities. BRAC participated actively in all the government events at district and community level.
Let's have a look on BRAC's activities that were carried out on National Safe Motherhood Day 2016:
Activities done by essential health care (EHC) and maternal neonatal and child health programme (MNCH)
Activities done by Marketing Innovation for Health (MIH)
Photo credit: Kiron/Focus Bangla News
Cyclone Roanu hit the coast of Bangladesh at 11:00am on 21 May 2016. Winds reached speeds of 102 kilometres per hour and caused massive damage to houses, businesses and agricultural lands. Heavy rainfall inundated the southern coastal regions of the country and caused severe landslides. An estimated 50,000 houses were partially damaged and more than 24,000 properties were destroyed.
Roanu was half the strength of 2007’s Cyclone Sidr, which killed 3,447 people and caused millions of dollars in damage. A coordinated community response led by authorities and supported by BRAC and other agencies helped 500,000 people relocate to cyclone shelters the day before the cyclone hit. To date, 24 deaths have been recorded.
The cyclone forced the cancellation of the national Higher Secondary Certificate examinations. BRAC is providing water, food supplies and cash transfers to families who have been affected by the cyclone, as well as distributing special cash grants to exam candidates. A total of BDT 2 million has been allocated for relief efforts, focusing on specific areas that have not received immediate supplies.
The organisation’s priorities are to support the continuation of education and establish child-friendly spaces to ensure that children are busy with activities while out of school.
“Disaster responses traditionally focus on the immediate needs of survivors,” said Dr Muhammad Musa, executive director of BRAC. “Children and young people are often forgotten and become the most vulnerable group. We are focusing on meeting basic needs, while also ensuring that children are kept safe and can continue learning.”
In addition to providing relief, BRAC is participating in the government-initiated joint needs assessment for loss and damage. This is the first time that a Bangladesh-based non-governmental organisation has participated in this assessment.
BRAC is leading the first phase of the assessment in Patuakhali and co-leading the assessment in Cox’s Bazar, which were two of the most affected districts. Cyclone Roanu affected multiple districts including Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Chandpur, Naokhali, Feni, Laxmipur, Bagerhaat, Khulna, Barisal, Potuakhali, Pirojpur, Bhola, Borguna and Jalokathi – all areas where BRAC has programmes.
In the last decade, innovators, entrepreneurs and change makers in Bangladesh have developed outstanding innovations using ICT and digital tools. Ideas like bKash, Chaldal, JAAGO Online School and more recently, Maya Apa prove how technology, when used the right way, can create the most meaningful impact. However, many of these wonderful initiatives are hardly known outside of Bangladesh. Now this is about to change.
A joint collaboration between BRAC and Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) based in India, has launched the Bangladeshi chapter of Manthan Award, the most prestigious award in the field of ICT and digital innovation in the Asia Pacific, as ‘BRAC Manthan Digital Innovation Award’, with a vision to recognise our local talent in an international platform. The winners of BRAC Manthan Digital Innovation Award will find a direct entry to Manthan Award, Asia, allowing them the space to perform against international competitors.
The BRAC Manthan Digital Innovation Award will accept registrations under nine categories. The categories are: e-business and financial inclusion, e-education, learning and employment, e-agriculture and ecology, e-governance and institutions, e-health, e-women, inclusion and empowerment, e-news, journalism and entertainment, e-culture, heritage and tourism, and m-content.The registration will close on 10 June 2016. Those using ICT and other digital tools in their businesses, projects or social work with visible impact are eligible to register here: http://brac.manthanaward.org/.
BRAC USA, the U.S. affiliate of BRAC, a global leader in creating opportunity for the world’s poor and the world’s largest nongovernmental development organisation, today announced the appointment of Donella Rapier as its new President & CEO. Donella will succeed BRAC USA founding President, Susan Davis, who completed ten years of outstanding service in December 2015.
BRAC is a development success story, spreading anti-poverty solutions born in Bangladesh to 11 other developing countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Donella will bring over 30 years of extensive finance, fundraising and non-profit management experience to its U.S. operations.
For the past four and a half years, Donella served as the Chief Development and Administrative Officer at Accion, a pioneer and global leader in microfinance and financial inclusion whose work spans nearly two dozen countries. Prior to that, she was the Chief Financial Officer at Partners In Health, a global healthcare organisation working in remote places where healthcare alternatives are limited or otherwise nonexistent, such as Haiti, Rwanda and Malawi. Earlier in her career, Donella spent more than a decade in senior leadership roles at Harvard University, including Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Development and Chief Financial Officer for Harvard Business School. Donella received her MBA from Harvard Business School and began her career at Price Waterhouse.
“BRAC USA is enormously fortunate to have someone with Donella’s range of skills and depth of experience as the new leader for our organisation,” said Lincoln Chen, Chair of the Board for BRAC USA. “She is a skilled builder of organisations and is deeply committed to empowering people and communities in situations of poverty.” Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the Founder & Chairperson of BRAC Bangladesh, applauded the appointment: “Donella is a great addition to the BRAC family, bringing talent, expertise, and commitment to our work of ending poverty.”
“I am truly honored to be joining the remarkable BRAC family of organisations,” said Donella Rapier. “BRAC has made an enormous difference in the world and, by many measures, is one of the most successful organisations driving social change. I am eager to dive in and build on the excellent foundation laid by a decade of pioneering work to further BRAC’s reach and potential for even greater impact.”
Donella will join BRAC USA full time in July 2016.
3 May 2016, Dhaka
In celebration of BRAC’s founder and chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed’s 80th birthday, messages have been flooding in from all across the world to wish him a happy birthday. Global leaders such as Gordon Brown, the former prime minister of the UK, Desmond Swayne, Minister of State for International Development (DFID), UK, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Minister of International Development and the Pacific, Australia, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia, are among the few that have been extending their best wishes.
In a message, Bill Clinton, former president of the United States, says, ‘You’ve helped millions of people in Bangladesh and beyond to escape poverty through the dignity of their own work. In doing so, you’ve revolutionised the way we all think about development. Luckily for all of us, you show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.”
Bill Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, ‘We’ve had a great partnership with BRAC for more than a decade, and it’s made a huge difference. Through BRAC, you have changed the course of history for millions globally. For your vision and commitment to creating a better world, we salute you.”
“Abed bhai, happy birthday,” said Jim Kim, President of the World Bank. Having met Sir Fazle more than a decade ago, he says, ‘The scale and impact of what he’s done, and yet the utter humility with which he’s done everything, I think is a lesson for every single one of us who are working in development. For Abed bhai, everything has always been about making sure that women are empowered; making sure that children have education, even through informal systems.’
New York April 19, 2016
BRAC and the LEGO Foundation have announced a $4.7 million, three-year partnership to promote the importance of learning through play for early childhood education in Bangladesh, Tanzania and Uganda.
Designed to emphasize the quality of learning as a hallmark of strong early childhood education, BRAC’s low-cost, high-impact Play Lab project will reach more than 7,000 children, aged three to five, across the three countries.
BRAC, an international development organization, has a widespread presence in Bangladesh, Tanzania and Uganda, with established education and poverty alleviation programs. The LEGO Foundation is recognized worldwide for its deep knowledge of children’s development and learning processes along with the training and tools that educators need to release children’s potential. The partnership marks the LEGO Foundation’s first major investment in learning through play in Asia and strengthens its efforts in East Africa.
“Play is now widely recognized as a key facilitator in the emotional development of children,” said Devon Ritzer, Education Program Manager for BRAC USA, BRAC’s US-based affiliate. “Children are able to explore different aspects of their identity and increase collaboration through play.”
The pilot will also include training for 480 adolescent girls as paraprofessional play leaders, sessions for 7,200 parents on the importance of play and the creation of 120 Play Labs.
Play Labs are spaces for children to engage in play. When used in tandem with a play-based curriculum, they help educators ensure children are learning while also fostering early childhood development.
The paraprofessional play leaders will be drawn from BRAC’s Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) program, which empowers teenage girls socially and financially and provides safe spaces for them to socialize and receive mentoring and life skills training.
“Evidence continues to link play to the development of executive functions, resiliency, creativity, problem-solving, social skills and emotional well-being,” said Aline Villette, Senior Programme Manager at the LEGO Foundation. “Allowing children to learn through play provides a strong foundation for learning and for life.”
The Centre for Play at BRAC University’s BRAC Institute of Educational Development in Bangladesh will play a key role in the initiative. The Centre for Play will design both the safe play spaces and low-cost learning materials for children.
The planning and design process will include the participation of community members to ensure that play environments are created in homes and community hubs that lack play spaces.
The joint project will also establish a global network of play-based learning experts to gather and assess international best practices, adapt and develop curriculum and materials, build staff capacity and advocate for children’s rights to access quality learning.
To assure the quality of the spaces and age-appropriate effectiveness of the play materials, while also providing opportunity to innovate throughout the project, the collaboration will also spearhead research and help develop assessment tools to monitor and evaluate the Play Lab model.
From left Ravi Guria, Asif Saleh, Anisul Hoque, K A M Morshed and Ovick Alam.
BRAC launched the prestigious Manthan Digital Innovation Award (BMDIA) 2016, on 10 April, for the first time in Bangladesh. The award, an off-shoot of the Manthan Awards in India, promotes the use of technology for the development and focuses on newer digital and mobile innovations.
BRAC in partnership with Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), an India-based non-profit launched the awards on National Press club today. Manthan Award, initiated in 2004 by Digital Empowerment Foundation promotes and recognises the contributions of individuals and organisations in the field of ICT for development.
Upon launching, deputy programme manager of DEF Ravi Guria said, "Bangladesh has been one of the most prominent participants in the Manthan award for years. We have to create an environment for the young innovators to make innovations that can have a positive impact in the most marginalised people of the country. This is why we are launching Manthan in Bangladesh."
From this year, Bangladeshi applicants will only be able to participate in the Manthan Award in India by winning the BRAC Manthan Digital Innovation Award in Bangladesh. Appreciating this initiative Anisul Hoque
from Prothom Alo said, "ten years before, a child from Bangladesh's Char area could not even imagine to have quality education, but thanks to technology, today we can ensure that. A child living in the remotest Char area can have the same education like a child living in the city. So we have to encourage the youth of our country to participate in this kind of initiatives which will take our country forward in the coming days."
The nine categories of the BMDIA 2016 are: e-business and financial inclusion, e-education, learning and employment, e-agriculture and ecology, e-governance and institutions, e-health, e-women, inclusion and empowerment, e-news, journalism and entertainment, e-culture, heritage and tourism, and m-content.
The registration for interested applicants would be open from 11 April to 10 June 2016. Notable individuals from the technology sector of South Asia will assess the applications on the quality of their content, impact of the solution, functionality of the product/service and benefits to people. The winners of the awards will be announced on September 2016. The winners of the BMDIA will get direct nomination to the Indian Manthan Awards and will represent Bangladesh there.
The press conference was moderated by BRAC's senior director Asif Saleh. Explaining the award nomination process he said, 'mobile and internet are bringing groundbreaking changes in the way people are interacting with the world around themselves. These newer digital services are reaching more people than ever and improving the quality of people's lives. BRAC wants to use that momentum and recognise those innovators who are catalysing these changes."
A number of Bangladeshi initiatives have won this award in the previous years in India, including A2i's e-purjee platform, bKash, Maya.com.bd, British Council's EITA project with BRAC, Amader Kishorganj, Infolady, Amar Desh Amar Gram. As the number of Bangladeshi applicants are rising for the Manthan Awards, BRAC has decided to bring this award in Bangladesh to promote and encourage a positive and working environment in ICT for development in here.
Ovick Alam from WebAble, the digital media partner of this award said, "122 million people in Bangladesh use mobile and 63 million use internet connection. Only 55% of this population is urban. We need to bring a paradigm shift from being urban focused to going country-wide. BRAC Manthan stands for that shift. It encourages people all over the country to bring tech-based solutions for mass people."
Present at the conference were BRAC's senior director Asif Saleh, director of advocacy and technology KAM Morshed, Prothom Alo's associate editor Anisul Hoque, Prothom Alo's development programme coordinator Munir Hasan, DEF's deputy programme manager Ravi Guria and WebAble Digital's co-founder and director Ovick Alam.
Prothom Alo is an associate partner of this initiative and WebAble Digital is the digital media partner of BMDIA 2016 while Channel 24 is supporting this initiative as the TV media partner.
For more information and nomination please visit http://brac.manthanaward.org/