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28 December 2011, Dhaka. On 26 December 2011 Primary Terminal Examination results came out. BRAC Primary School students have excelled in achieving a pass rate of 99.83%, with 70% of them receiving, A , A or A- grade. This is marginally higher compared to country's aggregate pass rate of 97.26%. However, BRAC students complete the 5 years primary cycle in 4 years while formal/mainstream primary schools in 5 years.

From BRAC Primary Schools 1,65,234 students attended the exam, 1,65,006 students passed the exam and 4,313 students got GPA-5. This year, a total of 23,16,521 students from all over the country from 87,832 schools registered for the exams, of whom 21,85,747 showed up in the exam halls.

We have special focus on Ethnic children and Children with special needs who can not fit themselves in mainstream primary schools. >From our schools 4,923 children with special needs appeared in the exam and 4,913 students passed the exam (99.80% pass rate). In BRAC Primary schools Children with Special Needs receive corrective surgeries along with devices like wheelchairs, hearing aids, glasses and ramps.

This year 6,488 BRAC Primary schools participated in Primary Terminal Examination, among them 546 BRAC Primary schools were especially for disadvantage background like ethnic minority group. This year 9,777 ethnic children appeared in the exam and 9,735 students passed the exam (99.57% pass rate). In BRAC schools ethnic children receive class lecture and course materials in their own languages up to grade two so that they can overcome language barriers and cultural gaps.

The examinations began on November 23 and ended on November 30. Students of class-V must qualify at the terminal exams to enrol in class-VI. Replacing the division system, this year's results were in grades in conformity with other public exams.
 


27 December 2011, Dhaka. BRAC Education Programme has been distributing a warm clothes worth around two crore taka. Warm clothes are distributed in 14 districts amongst 1,08,750 students of underprivileged backgrounds.

In the middle of this month multiple individuals in Bangladesh’s northern regions lost their lives due to lack of adequate warm clothing. The temperature recently significantly dropped, leaving many villagers unprepared for the elements, often leading to tragedy. BRAC Education Programme has taken prompt initiative to distribute warms clothes and it has projected cost 18,158,250 taka to give warmth in poorest and coldest areas. Distribution has been started on 17 December 2011 and it will be ended hopefully by first week of January 2012. It has been circulated with the support of local government officials.
 
The districts include Panchagor, Thakurgoan, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Netrokona, Serpur, Jamalpur, Mymensing, Chuadanga, Meherpur,Sunamgonj, Moulovibazar and Hobigonj.

BRAC is also hosting a “warm clothes drive” in Dhaka, in which individuals can donate old/used clothes. The donation bin is located on the first floor of BRAC Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 18:00

See BRAC's 'Army of Housewives' on ABC News

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15 December 2011, Dhaka. Tune in to ABC this Friday, Dec. 16, at 10 pm (EST) for a "20/20" special with  Diane Sawyer featuring BRAC – and Rina, a new mother who lives in a slum in Bangladesh.

Bearing a child should be the happiest day of a woman life – but too often, for reasons that are entirely preventable, it ends in the death of the mother, the child, or both. BRAC has figured out a low-cost yet ingenious solution for reducing pregnancy risk, reaching 24.5 million people in the process. That's the population of the state of Texas. 

In “Making Life: A Risky Proposition,” an hour-long report on challenges faced by mothers in developing countries, ABC News travels to the slums of Dhaka, seeing our work in action – including a visit to a BRAC birthing hut to welcome the new arrival of Rina's healthy baby boy. The report is part of ABC News's Million Moms Challenge.

We’re making a real difference, and we believe we can multiply our efforts by spreading the BRAC approach worldwide. So tune into ABC on Friday and help us spread the good news! You can save a woman's life today by giving directly to BRAC's maternal and child health program on Global Giving

 

Give Now

10 December 2011, Dhaka. The 5th annual e-Asia event, Asia’s largest ICT for Development Conference and Exhibition convened in Dhaka from 1st – 3rd December 2011 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. The conference focused on e-technology and the progress, prospect and problems faced in Bangladesh with regards to innovative technology in an Asian context. With the slogan ‘Realising Digital Nation’, the event commemorated the launch of Digital Bangladesh 2021, an initiative to increase ICT literacy in the country, provide government services through e-platforms and generate more employment in the service industry for the increasing number of young professionals entering the job market.


As one of the Knowledge Partners for the event, BRAC, in conjunction with BRAC University and BRAC, showcased their innovative developmental products and shared their expansion activities in agriculture, education, human rights, healthcare and disaster management using information and communication technology. Some of these include iCARESS (Integrated Collaboration and Rapid Emergency Support Services), which is designed to address comprehensive collaboration effort across various BRAC programmes, educational materials in conjunction with Computer Aided Learning, the launching of BRAC’s e-Education website and the various products under their Solar project (e.g. flashlights). Also showcased at the BRAC stall was ChondroBot, a mining device constructed by students from BRAC University which facilitated their progress to the second round in NASA’s 2nd Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition earlier this year.

Representing BRAC at the various seminars were Dr. Safiqul Islam, Director, BRAC Education Programme, who chaired the session on Future Classroom: Increasing Learning Achievements; Asif Saleh, Director, Communications who presented on Electronic and mobile payments - Financial Inclusion for the unbanked, with relation to bKash; and Masum Billah, Program Manager PACE, BRAC Education Programme and Mahmuda Yasmin Shaila, a Lecturer at BRAC University, both of whom addressed Localised Content for Digital Learning.

 

09 December 2010, Dhaka. From One to Many: Scaling Up Health Programs in Low Income Countries, published by The University Press Limited was recently launched. The book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning about both the problems and the opportunities involved in effectively scaling up health programs.

The book is a collection of articles submitted to the International Conference on Scaling Up Health Programs, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2008. This edited volume is comprised of 17 chapters, two of which focus specifically on BRAC's efforts and successes in scaling up maternal health programs as well as the rural tuberculosis program.

In the foreword, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, Sir Fazle Abed, writes, "the problems of poverty and disease are immense, therefore so should be the scale of the solutions." This edited-volume takes a deep look at many of the health care problems faced by the world's poorest, and provides a framework for understanding the challenges and opportunities within the field.

From One to Many: Scaling Up Health Programs in Low Income Countries has been released in Bangladesh, Germany and Switzerland and was edited by:

  • Richard A. Cash: Senior Lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health, Visiting Professor at the James P. Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University; BRAC USA Board Member
  • A. Mushtaque R. Chowdhury, Associate Director at the Rockefeller Foundation, Professor at Columbia University in New York
  • George B. Smith, Food Systems Expert
  • Faruque Ahmed, Director of the BRAC Health Program

07 December 2011, London. Leading Asian restaurants in Surrey proudly handed over multiple cheques last night to Vision Bangladesh - an ambitious charity project eradicating cataract blindness in Bangladesh.

Loyal customers have been donating generously during October and November to help pay for operations in Bangladesh where there are high levels of blindness because of poverty and lack of facilities. 

It costs just £20 to pay for one sight saving operation.

Jubair Zaman, owner of the award winning Curry Inn restaurant in Cranleigh (www.curryinn84.co.uk), explained how he raised more than £400 in just over two weeks:

"We signed up for Vision Bangladesh's £1 on the Bill campaign. We found that people were really happy to give £1 or more on to their normal bill. It was a simple way of raising funds for a really important cause. We would like to thank our customers for their generous support."

Other restaurants - such as the Indus Restaurant in Banstead and Star of India in Cheam - also raised significant amounts from collecting small voluntary donations during October and November. 

Mr. Malik, Proprietor of “The Star of India” Indian cuisine, hosted the cheque handing ceremony of the £1 on the bill campaign in the Surrey region in collaboration with Mr. Shah Abdul Malik Azad, Regional Representative of Surrey and General Secretary of the Bangladesh Caterers Association (Surrey Region). The group of more than 20 restaurants in Surrey are planning other fundraising events in the Spring to help reach the target of raising £1.5 million for Vision Bangladesh by 2013.

Members of the public can continue to donate online at www.brac.net/visionbangladesh or by a simple text message. Text BRAC20 and the amount you wish to donate (up to £10) to 70070 (e.g. your text could read BRAC20 £10).

To date, BRAC and Sightsavers have completed more than 29,000 successful cataract operations since January 2011 and are ahead of target to eradicate avoidable blindness in Sylhet Division by 2013.

95% of funds raised will go directly to deliver the Vision Bangladesh programme in Sylhet Division, Bangladesh.
 

Sunday, 04 December 2011 18:00

Secondary Education, one step ahead

05 December 2011, Dhaka. “What we could not explain easily through regular teaching method, e-content helps to do it easily. Students usually memorize formula, now we can explain all formula easily through this interactive content”. These were the words of a Mohiuddin Deyan, Mathematics teacher from Dewyahata A J High School, Mirjapur, Tangail, on the positive impact of the use of interactive videos in his school.

On November 30, 2011, BRAC Education launched e-education.brac.net to make secondary education one step ahead. From this site high school teacher, students in fact anyone can view online or download interactive educational materials which are based on based on the national curriculum. It is an endeavor to make the textbook contents easier, interactive and stimulating. It also ensures conceptual clarity and better application of learning materials and aims to increase the teachers’ understanding of the lessons. On April 3, 2011, BRAC launched two interactive educational CDs for General Science and General Math for high school education in Bangladesh. These were the very first CDs that have been launched by BRAC Education Programme. Initially in e-education.brac.net site General Science (grade 6) and General Mathematic (grade 6) and English (grade 9 & 10) will be available. It will be always upgraded with more interactive contents as per National Curriculum & Textbook Board Bangladesh.  These contents have been introduced through various activities, games, cartoons and animation to make the learning joyful and participatory.

It is found that the drop out rate is very high among high school students. On the inauguration event Dr. Shafiqul Islam, Director BRAC Education Programme mentioned that technology has its own attraction which holds students in study. He shared the story that how it was started when BRAC found that the main problem of our education system is decreasing teaching quality.

Dr. M. Kaykobad, Professor Department of Computer Science and Engineering - BUET suggested that BRAC should share this content in education oriented programmes on TV channels.

M Nazrul Islam Khan, National Project Director of the A2I appreciated the effort of BRAC and mentioned ‘Access to Information’ has interest with work with BRAC to expand technology based education in rural areas. He also mentions government’s initiative to use technology in high schools around the country. Government has a plan to use solar panel where electricity is unavailable.

The online contents were launched at the end of the event by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the Founder and Chairperson of BRAC. He mentioned that we can bring the change if we are determined to do it.

Dr. Mahbub Hossain- Executive Director of BRAC, Asif Saleh - Director BRAC Communications, a team from A2I , government officials and BRAC staffs were present there.

03 December 2011, London. Regional Representatives for the Vision Bangladesh campaign in Cheltenham and Gloucester Mr. Mohammed Hafizur Rahman and Mr. Akik Fozlur Rahman officially launched the campaign in their two regions at the Spice Lodge, Montpellier Drive in the presence of Cheltenham’s MP Mr. Martin Horwood and Asian restaurateurs in their regions.

Vision Bangladesh is a ground breaking partnership between BRAC and Sightsavers – two highly respected international charities. The aim is to eradicate avoidable blindness in Sylhet by 2013 and across the whole of Bangladesh by 2020.

A simple 20 minute operation costing only £20 can change a person’s life forever.

Martin Horwood, MP of Cheltenham, with years of international development experience in the past described the project as unique and stated:
“This £1 on the bill is ingenious and should win a fundraising award. It is easy for restaurants to implement and affordable for the donors.”

He also supported the effort that restaurants in Cheltenham were putting in to make this fundraising campaign become a success.

Regional Representative of Cheltenham Mr. Mohammed Hafizur Rahman and proprietor of “Spice Lodge” generously hosted the event. Being a strong supporter of the campaign and having already started the fundraising in his restaurant he commented:
“Vision Bangladesh is a unique campaign targeting 100,000 cataract operations in a matter of 3 years. It is a project that is worth applauding and I feel a stronger bond as it’s initially happening in Sylhet where I am originally from. I am proud that I am part of something where with such little money, we can have such a great impact to restore sight to so many people.”

The Regional Representative of Gloucestershire Mr. Akik Fozlur Rahman and proprietor of Rajdoot restaurant in Cirencester happily stated,
“I am so happy to be a part of this brilliant campaign. This campaign gives me, other restaurant proprietors and the wonderful customers who support it, the chance to donate very little and restore sight to poor people who would not have a chance to support themselves and their families."

Rokib Ali, Proprietor of Biplob Restaurant in Swindon expressed a strong connection with the project when he clearly recognized one of the patients to be a tailor from his village, who had his sight restored by the campaign in Bangladesh and said,
“This project should be a brilliant success. We are all behind you to support you in this excellent endeavour in helping so many people across Sylhet division.”

Vision Bangladesh’s British-Bangladesh regional representatives cover England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each regional representative is responsible for mobilising restaurants in their area and supported by BRAC UK with the necessary materials and administration. To date, the campaign has secured commitments of up to 300 restaurants with more joining up every week.

Customers at participating restaurants will be given the option of donating £1 per table at the end of their meal. Those not wishing to take part can easily opt out. It is expected that each participating restaurant will be able to raise £1,000 during October and November. 95% of funds raised will go directly to deliver the Vision Bangladesh programme in Sylhet Division, Bangladesh. Since 2011, Vision Bangladesh has organised more than 21,000 successful cataract operations in Sylhet Division and is on target to eradicate avoidable blindness in Sylhet by 2013.

Participating restaurants in Cheltenham are: Spice Lodge, Sami’s Spice, Balti Wala, Kings Balti, Kashmir Tandoori, Robis Takeaway, Indian Brasserie, Vojon Restaurant, Raj Dut Restaurant, India Gate, and Real Spice. Participating restaurants in Gloucestershire are: Rajdoot Restaurant, Biplob Tandoori, Jaflong, Curry Garden, Lalbag, Gulshan, Mela, Jewel in the Crown, The Raj, Jack Spice, Taj Mahal in Swindon and Taj Mahal in Chippenham, Raja, Moonlight, Bengal Spice, Bengal Balti, Sultan Restaurant in Cirencester and Sultan Restaurant in Melksham, Spice of Asia and Tamarind.

Members of the public can also donate online at www.brac.net/visionbangladesh or by a simple text message. Text BRAC20 and the amount you wish to donate (up to £10) to 70070 (e.g your text could read BRAC20 £10).

Thursday, 01 December 2011 18:00

BRAC Uganda wins two Financial Reporting Awards


02 December 2011, Kampala. BRAC Uganda, one of the leading non-governmental development organisations in Uganda, last Friday, 25th November 2011, won two of the maiden Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) Financial Reporting Awards. The first award, being the best in the NGO Category Financial Reporting Award 2011 and, the other, a Bronze Award, being the third best overall in Financial Reporting 2011 in all sectors in the Country. These follow the Gold Award for Social Performance Management awarded by the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU) to BRAC Uganda in September.

The ICPAU awards were presented to BRAC Uganda’s Principal Accountant, who is responsible for all BRAC Uganda finances, Mr.  Daniel Businge, by the Uganda Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Maria Kiwanuka at a presentation dinner held in the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala. In a speech during the award ceremony the Honourable Minister said” “The accountancy profession plays a crucial role in the prudent management of economic resources, both in the private sector and public sectors, through the application of professional standards.”

The ICPAU Financial Reporting Awards aim at encouraging the implementation of financial reporting standards as well as improving the quality of financial and business reporting in Uganda. The awards which drew 37 participants were open to all organisations which produce annual reports in the country and were meant to provide an opportunity to the participating organisations to benchmark their reports against the ICPAU’s criteria of good financial reports. Each annual report was judged against itself, based on its success in communicating its organisation’s story.

The awards were sponsored by Vision Group, East African Development Bank, The African Capacity Building Foundation and the National Planning Authority.
“These two Awards in Financial Reporting justify our major goal of ensuring clear, reliable and understandable financial reports for our major partners and other stake holders,” Mr. Businge said.

BRAC Uganda, providing access to finance and critical livelihood development services to thousands of the country’s poorest people, has been operating in the country for only five years in which it has grown to be the largest NGO in the country. These awards are confirmation that alongside growth, BRAC is putting equal emphasis on ensuring transparency and accountability.
 

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 18:00

South Asia Social Forum ends with new hopes

01 December 2011, Dhaka. Five day long South Asia Social Forum (SASF), an international platform to address different contemporary issues for a peaceful South Asia from November 18-22 ended with new hopes and new determination to build a new South Asia. SASF, Bangladesh 2011 was organized with 13 plenary, hundreds of seminars, youth forum, social fair, film show, art camp, cultural show etc.

BRAC has participated in this wonderful international event. More than thousand BRAC people participated of the inauguration rally. Dr Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC, Sheepa Hafiza, Director, Gender Justice & Diversity and Advocacy for social change were present as speaker in different plenary and seminar.

SASF expressed their determination with “Dhaka Statement” where the participants expressed their solidarity to mobilize their efforts in order to assert the agenda of people’s economic survival and political autonomy against all forms of authoritarianism, hierarchy and domination;

The main theme for the South Asia Social Forum 2011 Bangladesh was set "Democracy for Social Transformation in South Asia: Participation, Equity, Justice and Peace". This theme is to highlight and oppose the neo-liberal, hegemonic and authoritarian “poverty reduction” development policy and paradigm. The forum is intended to focus on this structural concern with a clear transformational agenda.

More than seven hundred international and several thousand national participants attended the event. Over six hundred organisations took part in the forum and more than 150 activities took place. University of Dhaka (DU) was co-host of the programme.
 

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