On Sunday, 23 July 2017, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson, BRAC shared the stage with Dr Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group at the annual RESULTS International Conference held in Washington, DC.
At the plenary titled Going the Last Mile, Dr Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund, recognised Sir Fazle and Dr Kim as two global leaders and practical visionaries who did “what the world had said was too hard or even impossible”, played a critical role in fighting tuberculosis, and had what it will take to get to the last mile in ending extreme poverty.
Sir Fazle talked about the motivation behind BRAC’s globally successful graduation programme; reaching those trapped in ultra poverty.
Dr Kim emphasised the need for governments today to invest in their own people and move away from supply-driven investments to demand-driven investments.
Both Sir Abed and Dr Kim highlighted the role that women can play in fighting poverty, and the need to mobilise them as ‘agents of change’ for poverty alleviation.
"If women manage poverty why can't they manage development? We see women as the main agents of change"- Sir FH Abed #Voices4RESULTS— BRAC (@BRACworld) July 23, 2017
In his closing remarks, Dr Kim expressed his concern of rising aspirations everywhere;
“We are racing against time and the sense of urgency we have today is greater than it was ever before,” he said. “We have to get better at thinking about the foundations of human solidarity. We have to find a way forward. We have to commit and recommit to equality of opportunity,” he concluded.
Representatives from BRAC presented the details of their graduation programme in a separate panel with panellists from the University of New Hampshire, Uplift and the RESULTS Educational Fund. This session provided the opportunity to understand the various forms of social protection and livelihood programmes and the need to make such programmes more comprehensive, adaptive and scalable in order to reach the extreme poor and provide them with better support to help escape poverty sustainably.
BRAC in Sierra Leone celebrating diversity
BRAC in Sierra Leone football team on Diversity Day
BRAC in Sierra Leone celebrated the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development across the country. All area offices, branch offices and the country office got involved for the occasion.
The country office celebrated the day at the famous Aberdeen/Lumley Beach with cultural events, food, and sports and games. Representatives from each ethnic group in our offices talked about their cultural practices, norms and values of their respective tribes, followed by music and dancing.
The staff partook in various sports and games afterwards, including football, volleyball, musical chairs, Ludo and more.
BI ED visit Cash for work (CFW) site at Airport branch
The executive director for BRAC International, Mr Faruque Ahmed visited BRAC in Liberia from May 9, 2017 to May 12, 2017. During this time, he visited several project sites and met with some of the beneficiaries and staffs of the programmes, including microfinance, early childhood development and cash for work.
BRAC Int.l Executive Director demonstrate mount preparation for Cassava
Mr Ahmed met with Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to discuss how BRAC can provide a platform for the Government to achieve their goals. He also held meetings with various other Government officials and donors in the trip, including the Minister of State for Presidential Affair Mr Slyvester M. Grigsby, the Minister of Agriculture and the Ambassador and Delegates of European Union to Liberia.
Mr Ahmed concluded the trip by spending time with the team in Liberia and engaging in some lively discussions with the staff.
Community Radio Pollikontho (99.2 FM), an initiative of BRAC Community Empowerment Programme (CEP) has been honoured with the ABU (Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union) Awards on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction.
Ankhi Palit, the producer of Community Radio Pollikontho received best radio feature international award in the category of “Disaster Risk Reduction“ in a competition of the broadcasters organised by Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU).
The award was given in recognition of the best production and presentation of a community radio feature titled: “Follow Earthquake Practices and save yourself.” Ankhi Palit produced the programme following a radio script prepared by Biplob Kanti Dev, another producer of Radio Pollikontho.
Martuza Ahmed, hon’ble secretary of the Ministry of Information handed over the prize to Ankhi Palit on 10 May 2017 at a Gala night held at Bangabandhu International Conference Center, Dhaka. Radio Pollikontho is the only recipient of this award from Bangladesh.
The ABU recognises the best productions in radio and television categories every year to encourage inspiring stories across the globe on climate change adaptation, disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction. Hasanul Haque Inu MP, hon’ble minister for Ministry of Information, & Dr. Javed Mottagi, secretary general, the Asia - Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) and all participants of 3rd ABU Media Summit were present during the Gala Awards Ceremony. This is annual competition honours the best Radio and Television programme on climate change adaptation, disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction. The competition has two radio and two television categories and two special awards.
Community Radio Pollikontho 99.2 FM, was launched in 2011 at Moulvibazar district with the aim to increase access to information and also strengthen grassroots voice, especially of women. The programmes are designed to address socio-economic issues within the community, prioritising on women and children. Currently, 729 listeners clubs have been formed to ensure greater community engagement with the radio station. It is mentionable that in 2015, it won `The ABU Prize’, organised by Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, for the radio programme on autism called Tobuo Shopno (ray of hope). It won Meena Media Awards of UNICEF Bangladesh, in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 for its work in promoting child rights and children’s education in the media. It also won Family Planning Media Award 2013, organised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in cooperation with UNFPA, for its programme called Shushasthya (Good Health).
WE ARE BRAC!
BRAC International celebrated World Cultural Diversity Day on May 21, 2017, across its countries, as well as at the head office in Dhaka. The staff in Dhaka was joined by the second batch of international Young Professionals, who are visiting on training purposes.
Mohammed Madaty as best dressed with his award
BI hosted a small ceremony where people were encouraged to dress up, representing a culture of their choice. It was a very colourful event with attires from all corners of the world. The event started with the Head of Communications, Ms. Shehzeen Chowdhury giving her take on diversity, explaining how BRAC International gains its strength through the presence of various ideas and thoughts from different cultures and traditions. Her sentiments were echoed by more speakers who shared similar sentiments.
After talking about diversity for a bit, a vote was taken to establish who was the best dressed for the day. The winner was Mr. Mohamed Madaty, one of our Young Professionals from Tanzania. Mr. Madaty expressed his gratitude at winning the award and dedicated it all his colleagues.
BRAC International prides itself on its diversity and continues to foster an environment which is welcoming to people from all walks of life.
BRAC International Young Professionals 2017
BRAC deeply mourns at the demise of Mr Faruq Ahmed Choudhury, former adviser and governing body member of BRAC. He passed away on May 17, 2017 at 4.30 am, in Square Hospital, Dhaka at the age of 83. He left behind his wife, a son and a daughter.
Mr Faruq Ahmed Choudhury, was born in January 4, 1934 in Assam, India. Throughout his successful career, he served the Bangladesh Government for two decades and occupied the roles of foreign secretary and ambassador.
He joined BRAC as an advisor in 1992 and continued to work with BRAC until 2006. His contribution played a key role in BRAC’s expansion and growth. He was also a governing body member of BRAC, a trustee board member of BRAC University and the chairman of Delta-BRAC housing company.
As an eminent columnist, he received popularity for his publications on socio-economic and political issues. He received IFIC Bank Literature Award in 2014 and Bangla Academy Literature Award in 2016.
On 13 May, bus drivers and transport association leaders at the Mohakhali bus terminal took pledges to keep the speed of their vehicles below 30 kilometre per hour while passing schools, hospitals, residential areas and on roads with mixed traffic of non-motorised vehicles and pedestrians. A total of 5000 bus drivers, transport association leaders, operators and administrators are expected to take part in this week-long activity.
Scene from the Mohakhali bus terminal on the first day of the pledge-taking ceremony
This is part of a campaign that was organised by BRAC on the eve of United Nation Global Road Safety Week 2017 which was observed during May 8 - 14 across the world. This year's UN road safety campaign theme was "Save Lives - #SlowDown".
From left: Ahmed Najmul Hussain (director of BRAC's road safety programme), Ratanawadee Winther (Asian Injury Thailand's chairperson), Md Moshiar Rahman (chairman of BRTA) and Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mikael Hemniti Winther
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) chairman Md Moshiar Rahman inaugurated the event, followed by a discussion on the significance of the week at the south plaza of National Parliament. Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mikael Hemniti Winther, Asian Injury Thailand chairperson Ratanawadee Winther, BRAC Road Safety programme's director Ahmed Najmul Hussain and its advocacy programme's director KAM Morshed, among others were also present.
This was followed by a motor cycle rally involving 200 bikers who carried colourful flags, placards and banners that boldly displayed UN's campaign slogan. During the rally, they engaged with drivers of buses, cars and three-wheelers to spread the message of slowing down speeds to prevent loss of lives.
200 members of the Road Riderz motorbike group helped stage the rally
BRTA's chairman said the high speed is the key reason behind deadly accidents. Safe speed of vehicles could help save hundreds of lives every year.
Winther said the campaign will draw the attention of the policy makers about the burning issues related to road safety and will develop simple, low-cost interventions to address these. He urged the drivers for going slow, saving lives of both others and themselves.
The 35 kilometre rally started from the National Parliament building and ended at Bashundhara residential area
Najmul Hussain stated that BRAC for years has been raising community awareness about road safety, training drivers and driving instructors, and doing research to improve road safety in Bangladesh.
BRAC announced five winners for bringing innovative solutions to the growing challenges faced by the people living in cities across Bangladesh. The mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Annisul Huq, announced the winners at an event organised at BRAC Centre today (7 May 2017).
Praising the initiative he said, “It’s wonderful to see the youth coming up with so many innovative ideas for the country. I really appreciate BRAC’s effort in creating a space and scope to incubate these innovations.” He also added, “The city corporation is always ready to support the new innovators to bring their ideas into effective solutions. We are hopeful for the results. Thanks to all the participants who joined the competition.”
Launched in October 2016, the competition created a platform for innovators, young entrepreneurs and university students to offer their solutions to the growing problems in urban areas. The three specific problem areas were: health, transportation and informal sector employment. The goal is to find the best ideas in Bangladesh and support innovators to build them into sustainable social enterprise models.
Around 600 applicants registered for the competition. 33 were short-listed for submitting full proposals. 13 teams were selected for the final round.
A jury of 5 experts including development practitioners and investors assessed the proposals on sustainability, relevance and human centricity of the design. Five teams are finally selected as winners. The winning teams are: Bhumijo and Bloodman in health category, Driver Mela and Servicing Campus in employment category and Amar Bike in transport category.
Winners will build their prototypes and test them in the field with BRAC in the next six months. They will receive mentoring, skills development and support, as well as a grant amount up to BDT 5 lac and linkage to potential investors.
The runners up of the competition are HealthSoc and The Neem Squad in health category, BlueSynaps, Team B and Unigigg in employment category and Barisal-1 and SmartTraffic in transport category. Identity Inclusion got special mention in health category.
Present as special guest, Executive Chairman of PPRC Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman said, “Innovation always works when there is an ecosystem. Innovative mind-set is another essential component of this system. I am happy that the competition was not Dhaka based, rather it was Bangladesh based, which proves that innovative mind-set is everywhere. We just need to give them a platform. The Urban Innovation Challenge not only ensured that platform but it also helped to produce responsible citizenship.”
In the concluding remarks, BRAC’s senior director Mr Asif Saleh said, “With our experience from the last 45 years, we can guide the young innovators to bring their ideas into a sustainable solutions. In order to do so, all of us the innovators, the mentors and the investors have to work together.”
Shout-Daily Star partnered the Urban Innovation challenge for youth engagement, Radio Shadhin for radio engagement, Beatnik for digital engagement and IDEO.ORG for knowledge management.
This competition was a part of BRAC’s newly launched urban development programme which focuses on improved service delivery, mobilisation and governance.
Dr. Fauzia Khan addressing learners in BRAC Primary school
The additional secretary Government of Sindh and the head of curriculum wing of Sindh, Dr. Fauzia Khan, inaugurated a BRAC Primary school in Baldia Town, Karachi.
BRAC in Pakistan, with financial support from DFID, has established 300 non-formal schools for out-of-school, marginalised children in April 2017. 9,000 learners have been enrolled in Karachi, Khairpur and Kambar Shahdadkot districts of Sindh province.
Dr. Fauzia Khan inaugurating the new school
During the opening ceremony of the school, Dr. Khan appreciated BRAC's efforts to provide education to out-of-school children, especially girls. She addressed the community and parents, and she encouraged learners to put their heart and mind in their studies. She also welcomed new admissions to the school and met with the school management committee members. “This project will significantly improve the net enrolment rate of Sindh province," she exclaimed, and pledged to extended the full support of the Government of Sindh for the capacity building of BRAC’s teachers.
BRAC in Pakistan has started 1,500 primary schools and enrolled 46,566 out-of-school children in the rural and urban slum areas of Sindh. 5,493 learners were successfully graduated and mainstreamed into middle schools with the help of the Education and Literacy department of the Government of Sindh.
BRAC expressed today that it supports the demand of local communities for authorities to postpone the leases of haor waterbodies for one year and allow people affected by the current flooding to continue open-water fishing.
BRAC organised the press conference titled 'Haor crisis and our responsibilities' today on Wednesday (26 April 2017) at the Sagar-Runi Auditorium of Dhaka Reporter's Unity. BRAC arranged the press conference focusing on the responsibilities and plans to address the crisis on a long-term basis.
Joya Sengupta, lawmaker from the Sunamganj-2 constituency, Gawher Nayeem Wahra, director, BRAC Disaster Management and Climate Change programme, and KAM Morshed, director, Advocacy for Social Change, were present at the press conference. Representatives from the grassroots development organisations were also present at the event including, Nazmul Haque, executive director, Institute of Development Affairs (IEDA), MH Talha Chowdhury, executive director, Upama - Unnayan Parikalpanay Manush, and Muhammed Musa, executive director, Chetona Paribesh O Manob Unnayan Sangstha, Faruq Ahmed, chairman, Ashtogram union council, and Bidhan Chandra Chowdhury, chairman, Sulla union council.
Jaya Sengupta said, ‘The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief has already started distributing relief in the haor area. We want other organisations to come forward to the aid of the affected people as BRAC is doing.’ She further warned that if the Water Development Board fails to take immediate measures to solve the waterlogging problem of the haor area such crises will return again.
Gawher Nayeem Wahra said, 'BRAC has already undertaken an emergency relief initiative for the five haor districts. Our initiative comprises distribution of fodder to 7,000 families and immediate assistance for 50 thousand families worth BDT 15 crore, but relief is not enough to solve this crisis. We need long-term planning with pragmatic solutions.'
Local public representatives expressed deep concern over the distribution of relief, saying that many people cannot collect the relief as they have not been properly informed of the time and place of distribution. They also demanded more budget allocation to ensure proper rehabilitation of those affected.