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16 November 2011. BRAC, the world’s largest development organization, lays out its “microfinance plus” approach to defeating global poverty at the Global Microcredit Summit 2011 in Valladolid, Spain, this week. Presenting BRAC’s strategy to over 2,000 delegates at the annual microfinance conference, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the founder and chairperson, advocates a market-oriented approach to job creation and poverty alleviation that puts poor borrowers on a path to prosperity by giving them a “business in box.”

It’s an approach that development experts call “micro-franchising.” Working in poor communities, BRAC develops sustainable business models that can be easily replicated, creating networks of self-employed micro-entrepreneurs who earn extra income by delivering vital services that achieve a social good.

More than 137.5 million of the world’s poorest families received a microloan in 2010, an all-time high, according to the Microcredit Summit Campaign. BRAC itself reaches over 8 million borrowers, a number rising steadily thanks in part to this year’s launch of bKash Limited, a mobile financial service provider in Bangladesh and a subsidiary of BRAC Bank, the organization’s bank targeting small businesses.

But development organizations should think beyond microfinance to make strides against poverty, BRAC’s founder says. “Financial services alone are not sufficient to break the bonds of poverty,” says Abed, who launched BRAC in Bangladesh in 1972. In a paper presented at the conference, Abed explains how BRAC has combined microfinance with agricultural services to improve rural livelihoods and food security in Bangladesh and around the world.

Now in 10 countries, BRAC has built a global network of 150,000 micro-franchised entrepreneurs providing services in agriculture, poultry, livestock and health. Abed calls it a “holistic, sustainable, market oriented approach” to poverty alleviation that uses microloans, training and branding, while offering borrowers low-cost access to inventory, efficient distribution systems and continuous support.

“BRAC provides the branding, inventory and training to the micro-entrepreneurs, who in turn provide training and product to BRAC microfinance clients and others in the villages where BRAC operates,” writes Abed and co-authors Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Susan Davis, and Rod Dubitsky in the paper, “Using Microfinance Plus Agricultural Services to Improve Rural Livelihoods and Food Security,” which will appear in the forthcoming volume New Pathways out of Poverty (Sterling, Va.: Kumarian Press).

“The entrepreneurs, in turn, earn income by selling the goods BRAC provides at a mark-up. For example, BRAC entrepreneurs earn between $15 and $20 per month in the provision of poultry vaccination services. Farmers in turn get a valuable service and expect to benefit by enjoying a material drop in poultry mortality. Such a ‘Business in a Box’ not only provides a valuable service and income, it is a more sustainable model than other programs that provide vaccines free (which may not be available to all farmers and may not be reliably available).”

Micro-franchising has proved useful in bridging the last mile in the delivery of vital goods and services, says Susan Davis, the president and CEO of BRAC USA and one of the paper’s co-authors. “A poor person can find a bottle of Coca-Cola today anywhere in rural Africa – but not mosquito bed nets and condoms,” says Davis. “Distribution is a real challenge that organizations never speak about, but it is one of the most critical hurdles in reaching the poor. Microfinance institutions can effectively bridge this gap. For instance, BRAC reaches more than 8 million women, every week – at their doorstep, in providing credit and financial services. Can you imagine the potential of a sustainable distribution model like this?”

BRAC began its experiments with micro-franchising decades ago when it realized that merely lending to the poor would not be enough to lift them out of poverty. Dramatic improvement would come, however, with better access to markets, fairer prices, knowledge transfer and higher quality inputs like high-yield seeds and new breeds of chickens. BRAC created agricultural enterprises and services to enhance the business prospects of its microfinance borrowers and other members of poor communities. It used the same approach in providing health care, raising an army of “community health promoters” to provide simple but vital services in slums and villages, like de-worming medication and oral rehydration solution to treat diarrhea in young children.

Though largely unknown outside the international development community, experts have long noted the size and scope of BRAC’s success in Bangladesh. Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion, has called BRAC “the most astounding social enterprise in the world.” The Economist called it not only the largest but “one of the most businesslike” nongovernmental organizations in the world.

Today, BRAC is scaling up its micro-franchising approach outside its native Bangladesh. Through a ground-breaking $45 million partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, BRAC has built a network of 3,500 micro-franchised entrepreneurs in Uganda providing critical livelihood and health services to the poor. It currently operates in ten countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Haiti, Liberia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda.

About BRAC
BRAC, formerly the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, is a global development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor to bring about change in their own lives. BRAC’s holistic approach aims to achieve large scale, positive changes through economic and social programs that enable women and men to realize their potential. BRAC was launched in Bangladesh in 1972 and today reaches more than 138 million people in Africa and Asia through its programs that address poverty by providing micro-loans, self-employment opportunities, health services, education and legal and human rights services. Learn more at http://www.bracusa.org.

About the Microcredit Summit Campaign
The Microcredit Summit Campaign is a project of RESULTS Educational Fund, a U.S.-based advocacy organization committed to creating the will to eliminate poverty. The Campaign was launched in 1997 and, in 2007, surpassed its original goal of reaching 100 million of the poorest families, providing credit for self-employment and other financial and business services. The Global Microcredit Summit 2011 is held November 14-17 in Valladolid, Spain. http://www.globalmicrocreditsummit2011.org.

10 November 2011, Kampala, Uganda. Highlighting the importance of close coordination between government, NGOs and private sector, Minister of State Dr. Prof. Z. Nyira has urged all to work together in order to establish the ultimate goal of creating a ‘Healthy Uganda’. He was inaugurating the day long workshop focused on availability and awareness of nutrient-rich food crops in Uganda.  The event brought together key policy makers and representatives from development partners including donors, civil society and academia working on food security, nutrition and bio-fortification. 

Stressing the urgency of the matter, the minister said that 38% of Ugandan children are stunted, 16% are underweight and 6% are categorized as wasted.  He added that this prevalence means that 2.3 million young children in Uganda today are chronically malnourished.

Executive Director of BRAC Dr. Mahabub Hossain echoed the danger of the situation and said BRAC is committed towards ensuring food and nutrition security.  He said that mal-nutrition is a result of lack of nutrients in the food intake of particularly the poor and bio-fortification in crops in an area Government and Private Sector should seriously focus on to change this situation.

Deputy Executive Director of BRAC Dr. Imran Matin stressed the need for stronger cooperation since multi dimensional problem that requires an integrated approach.

The minister praised BRAC’s initiative in Uganda and said its scale showed its efficiency and welcomed the latest advocacy effort on malnutrition.

The day long workshop saw a number of presentations on global initiatives and status of bio-fortification in the world and in Uganda, Uganda nutrition action plan, challenges for future among many. The participants shared knowledge to enhance the extension, awareness and marketability of nutrient-rich food crops among rural farmers.

01 November 2011, Dhaka. We are proud to announce that Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, has been awarded the first WISE Prize for Education  in recognition of his 40-year career dedicated to alleviating poverty  through education. On November 1, 2011, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin  Khalifa Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar presented Sir Fazle with  the prize, which is the world’s first major award for education, before  1,300 delegates at the opening session of the third World Innovation Summit for Education  (WISE). For this inaugural edition, following a pre-selection by a  Committee, a prestigious Jury selected Sir Fazle as the inaugural  Laureate. Sir Abed received an award of $500,000 (US) and a specially  designed gold medal, bearing the word “education” in over 50 languages.

 In his citation of the Laureate, WISE Chairman H.E. Dr. Abdulla bin Ali  Al-Thani said: “Fazle Hasan Abed’s life and career embody the values of  WISE. He recognized that education is a passport to social inclusion  and opportunity. He discovered a successful formula, and he adapted and  expanded it – first in Bangladesh and then in other countries. As a  direct consequence, millions of people around the world lead healthier,  happier and more productive lives. His vision, resourcefulness and  determination are vital ingredients of the innovation process and he  stands as an example to all of us who believe that education, more than  anything else, determines the destiny of individuals and societies. The  Jury saw him as an ideal WISE Prize Laureate.”

In acceptance remarks,  Fazle Hasan Abed said: “I thank the Qatar Foundation for instituting  this magnificent Prize and for honouring me and BRAC with its first  instalment. It is on behalf of the 50,000 BRAC staff and nearly 40,000  BRAC school teachers that I humbly accept this prize. I have discovered  time and again in my four decades of work with BRAC that education is  the fundamental catalyst for change. It is easy to get overwhelmed by  the large numbers. But we must always remember that the changes happen  in individual lives and families. Many of the graduates of BRAC’s  non-formal schools have gone on to receive University degrees and have  become Doctors, Lawyers and Engineers. One girl has gone on to win  Bangladesh’s version of American Idol. These young people may have  achieved different things in their lives but one thing that they had in  common – education has unlocked new opportunities for all of them.”

 The establishment of the WISE Prize was announced at the closing of the  last WISE Summit in December 2010 as a major accolade to recognize an  individual or team for an outstanding, world-class contribution to  education. In addition to the gold medal, the winner receives an award  of $500,000 (US). Following an international call for nominations, an  11-strong international committee of educational experts made a  preliminary assessment and a high-level Jury of five eminent  individuals, chaired by Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, took the final  decision.

Under Sir Fazle’s visionary leadership, BRAC has  grown to become the largest provider of private, secular education in  the world, contributing to the pre-primary, primary and secondary  education of more than 10 million students. Click here to find out more about BRAC’s groundbreaking interventions in education.

31 October 2011, London. Channel S viewers and studio guests donated generously to Vision Bangladesh during a live eight hour telethon organised by BRAC UK in October.

Highly respected leaders from the British Bangladesh business communities – including famous celebrity chefs and award winning restaurateurs – turned up in force to support the goal of eradicating avoidable blindness in Sylhet by 2013 and in Bangladesh by 2020.

Barrister, Anwar Babul, was the host for the evening and welcomed guests many of whom are participating in Vision Bangladesh’s £1 on the Bill restaurant campaign.

Monchab Ali, Vision Bangladesh’s Regional Representative for the North-West and former Chairman of the Greater Sylhet Council was joined by other Regional Representatives, Dobir Miah (Rochdale), Shabbir Ahmed Chawdhury (Oxford), Shah F. Athar (East Sussex), Rokib Ali (Kent), and Raja Ali (Portsmouth) to discuss their role in the fundraising efforts.

Rois Ali, celebrity chef, endorsed the campaign and his involvement as Coventry Regional Representative. Azizur Rahman, in his capacity as senior advisor to £1 on the Bill campaign, encouraged more restaurants to sign up and take part.

BRAC UK was particularly honoured to have the Chairman of Channel S himself, Ahmed US Samad Choudhury JP, appear in the studio and support the fundraising effort.
Alsaz Kabiri, proprietor of Greenwich Linen, supplying restaurants across the UK, Mujib Islam, Managing Director of Media Link, and Nazmul Islam, Chairman of Oldham Bangladesh Association also pledged their continued support to the campaign.

Nilopar Uddin, a lawyer and former volunteer of BRAC came to discuss her first hand experience of BRAC in Bangladesh, and Ryo Osaki, an eye surgeon, explained the simplicity of the cataract operation.

BRAC UK was represented by trustees Robert Evans and Murad Qureshi AM and Vision Bangladesh Project Manager, Tanha Habib.

Abdul Khan, Programme Officer, and Gihan Chowdhury and Shamina Banu, Global Youth Workers, for BRAC UK’s Beyond Boundaries programme also motivated more young British-Bangladeshis to get involved.
 

 

Now Available: Buy The Book from amazon


27 October 2011, Dhaka. At the prestigious International Union against TB and Lung Disease’s annual conference in Lille, France, BRAC formally launched its new book “Making Tuberculosis History: Community-based Solutions for Millions”.  As part of a vibrant public-private partnership led by the National Tuberculosis Program, BRAC treats close to 100,000 patients annually in Bangladesh.  BRAC’s efforts to scale-up internationally offer exciting evidence that their community-based program is widely adaptable, by other stakeholders and even for other health conditions.  As Victoria Treland of RESULTS USA remarked at the event, “this book is so important is that it really shows what is possible”.   In an era of increasing technology and tools marred political and financial commitments mar the social development sector worldwide, and so  telling of the vast achievements Bangladesh has made in TB has never been timelier.  Indeed, the conference’s theme, “Partnerships for scaling up and care” emphasized a growing global appetite for examples of effective programs and tools to help them impact their communities.

Faruque Ahmed, Director of BRAC Health Programme, initiated the ceremony by walking the audience through the book’s contents, describing BRAC’s evolution from a Liberation War rehabilitation organization in 1972 into a comprehensive, anti-poverty organization focused on empowering the poor.  Its program combating tuberculosis began over twenty-five years ago and was part of a movement that revolutionized how TB control was conceived globally. “Can we apply our knowledge from the TB program to better prevent post-partum hemorrhage and death during childbirth?” Mr. Ahmed speculated, “Where else can these lessons be applied?”

Several global experts offered prepared reflections on Making Tuberculosis History.  Diana Weil, Coordinator of Policy, Strategy and Innovations in the Stop TB Department, World Health Organization described her excitement when observing BRAC’s program first-hand. “So often, peer-reviewed papers only describe what has been done.  Here you learn what’s going on between the lines and the complexities of what it takes to do this kind of work”.  Bertie Squire, President of the Union and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine said he was most struck by how accessible the community health volunteer model made not just tuberculosis treatment, but the equally important steps of screening and diagnosis.  “BRAC was determined to take the services to the community […], an enormous step to make sure that accessing health care didn’t further impoverish patients, as is so often the case.”

Representing two of BRAC’s longest-running partners, Asique Hussain of the National Tuberculosis Programme of Bangladesh, and Isao Osada, of the Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association, served as panelists.  Dr. Hussain shared the government’s ongoing efforts to establish 13,500 community clinics, which will further improve access to TB treatment nationwide.  He, along with other speakers, emphasized the role of this book as an advocacy tool to sustain political commitment and a resource for learning.  “I’m very glad that they’ve published the book to help share the knowledge and lessons around the world.” Osada noted examples of BRAC’s innovation in community-based programming and the depth of the institutions’ three-decade relationship.  “We are very proud to have been a collaborative partner for this great achievement”, he concluded.

Additional launch events will take place in other cities in the coming  months. Making Tuberculosis History is available for purchase from  University Press Limited and Amazon.com. For information on obtaining copies of the book in the US, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Buy The Book from amazon

BRAC formally launched its new book Making Tuberculosis History: Community-based Solutions for Millions at the annual conference of the prestigious International Union against Tuberculosis (TB) and Lung Disease on October 27, 2011. As part of a vibrant public-private partnership led by the National Tuberculosis Program, BRAC treats close to 100,000 patients annually in Bangladesh. BRAC’s efforts to scale internationally offer exciting evidence that their community-based program can be adapted globally.

Bertie Squire, President of the International Union Against Tuberculosis & Lung Disease, said, “BRAC was determined to take the services to the community, and this was an enormous step to make sure that accessing health care didn’t further impoverish patients, as is so often the case.”

Victoria Treland, Director of Program Development of RESULTS USA, said, “This book is so important is that it really shows what is possible.”

In an era of increasing technologies and tools marred by concerning wanes in political and financial commitment worldwide, telling Bangladesh’s story of huge achievements in TB has never been timelier. Indeed, the conference’s theme, “Partnerships for scaling up and care,” emphasized a growing global appetite for examples of effective programs and tools to help them achieve impact in their own communities.

Faruque Ahmed, Director of BRAC’s Health Program, initiated the book launch ceremony by describing BRAC’s evolution from a Liberation War rehabilitation organization in 1972 into a comprehensive, anti-poverty organization focused on empowering the poor. Its program combating tuberculosis, a disease closely linked with poverty, began over 25 years ago and was part of a movement that revolutionized how TB control was conceived globally.

“Can we apply our knowledge from the TB program to better prevent post-partum hemorrhage and death during childbirth?” Mr. Ahmed speculated. “Where else can these lessons be applied?”

Nils Billo, Executive Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, commended BRAC’s honesty in describing challenges of past and present. “Even building on experiences in Bangladesh, where there were certainly big challenges, Afghanistan must be even harder and yet the program is going to scale. Making TB History shows that this is not easy, and goes through the many steps it took to get TB services to the community.

Additional launch events will take place in other cities in the coming months. Making Tuberculosis History is available for purchase from University Press Limited and Amazon.com. For information on obtaining copies of the book in the US, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About BRAC

BRAC is a global development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor to bring about change in their own lives. BRAC’s holistic approach aims to achieve large scale, positive changes through economic and social programs that enable women and men to realize their potential. BRAC was launched in Bangladesh in 1972 and today reaches more than 138 million people in Africa and Asia through its programs that address poverty by providing micro-loans, self-employment opportunities, health services, education and legal and human rights services. Learn more at http://www.bracusa.org.

26 October 2011, Dhaka. "Radio Pollikontho", a community radio network initiated by BRAC, has started its test transmission in the area of Chandnighat union of Moulovibazar district. It will cover a radius of 17 km around the station at Moulovibazar Sadar.

Mr. Md. Mostafizur Rahman - District Commissioner of Moulovibazar, Md. Ashraful Alam Khan - UNO Upazila Moulovibazar, Anna Minj - Director, BRAC Community Empowerment Programme, A.H.M. Bazlur Rahman - Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh NGO's Network for Radio and Communication were present to attend the inauguration of test transmission.

Members of the press, BRAC officials and members of the executive committee of "Radio Pollikontho" were also present in the ceremony.

"Radio Pollikontho" aims to be established a sustainable media and promote local people’s access to information. The programmes will focus issues on women and children’s development, ensure people's participation in rural development and promote local culture and heritage. News and entertainment activities will aired in the local dialect.

With assistance of the BRAC Community Empowerment Programme and members of the community, the network is expected to become a popular and effective tool to increase community awareness.

"Radio Pollikontho" is expected to start its full fledged transmission soon.

Chairperson's Remarks at the South Asia Economic Summit Conference

22 October 2011.
Fourth South Asia Economic Summit,
Current Phase of the Recovery and Implications for South Asia,
Speech delivered by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Guest of Honour.

"It seems that South Asia weathered the fall outs of the global economic and financial crisis relatively well, though the impact of the recent euro crisis on exports and growth in South Asia is still uncertain. These aggregate level perspectives of the macroeconomic adjustments however do not fully reveal the new set of risks that are emerging along with the traditional structural problems and the prevalent widespread poverty and vulnerability. It is these human dimensions of the crisis that I want to focus on in my brief remarks.

The poor are hit the hardest by any economic downturn. The poor take much longer to recover, as recovery in real wages and employment take much longer than recovery in GDP. Poorer people are affected more than others because they have fewer buffers, and because the range and effectiveness of their buffers are inadequate. The poor lack assets and predominantly possess unskilled-labour and engage in the informal sector. This restricts their ability to cope by switching jobs, and expose them to unregulated labour markets. In addition, economic downturns push poor households into a vicious cycle of poverty. They are often forced to respond with measures that keep them poor: reducing the number and quality of meals, postponing health-related expenditure and withdrawing children from school. These actions lead to lower future income-earning potential for current and future generations, resulting in a trap of persistent poverty.  And the women and children bear the greatest brunt of these damaging fluctuations and adjustments.

The immediate and the longer term, perhaps even inter generational impact of the global food crisis, fallout of the economic and financial crisis, has been dire and the term ‘recovery’ is perhaps too premature to be used in describing its current phase. Let’s put the trend in some perspective. In 2007 alone, the prices of principle food staples—rice, corn, soybeans and wheat, effectively doubled throughout the world. This was an unprecedented rise and it revered the more than 50 years of declining prices. We know the results which were immediate and devastating. By the most conservative estimates, globally, the number of hungry or chronically malnourished rose by at least 100 million, to nearly one billion people—that is almost one seventh of the world’s population.  Though the grain prices have declined substantially since 2008, experts agree that they are poised to rise again.

Recent evidence from developing country settings confirms that increases in food prices cause maternal and child under nutrition levels to rise rapidly.  And the negative impact starts with the unborn child in the womb—it is quality and not just the quantity of the diet during pregnancy that is important for successful birth outcomes. The consumption of more expensive micronutrient rich food (milk, green leafy vegetables and fruits) during pregnancy is found to be positively associated with the size of the infant at birth. Rapidly increasing food prices are also likely to cause nutritional insults very early in pregnancy, which will influence later fetal and infant growth. The full human cost of the food crisis may thus well be intergenerational and very expensive for the society and the economy.

The crisis has a number of drivers which include the diversion of grains in North America and Western Europe to bio fuel production; higher energy costs which translate into more expensive chemical fertilizers; and financial speculation over staple crops, which cause price fluctuations. The situation is further aggravated by underlying trends such as rapid population growth. Climate change is also threatening to lower crop yields at precisely the time when staple foods urgently need to be produced.

What needs to be done? Issues of both production and distribution are important here and should be approach in an integrated way. In my view, we should focus on two strategic priorities that lie at the centre of both the production and distribution aspects of the problem—getting elimination of hunger and malnutrition at the centre of our politics and reenergizing the women’s economic empowerment agenda.

We know that food, hunger and politics are inextricably linked. When governments have been committed, progress has been very rapid, as the examples of China, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico and most brilliantly Brazil have demonstrated conclusively over the last three decades. In contrast,  the prevalence of underweight children in the South Asian countries barring the shining example of Sri Lanka, is among the highest in the world, and is nearly double that of Sub-Saharan Africa with dire consequences for mobility, mortality, productivity and economic growth. Unless governments are made to care for its citizens going hungry and are fully committed to reducing the number of hungry and chronically malnourished people, no solutions will have the political teeth to make the real dent.

We need to turn this agenda as a central part of our political process and one of the non negotiable KPIs of any regime. Concrete targets and action plan in reducing the number of citizens who are hungry and are chronically malnourished should be a critical part of every electoral manifesto and this has to be made a popular topic of public debates. The targets have to be broken down by local constituencies to reflect regional differences and also to decentralize and amplify citizen monitoring and voice. A compact between the different development actors will be forged at every political constituency to deliver on the local target plan. In the final analysis, food security is an issue of citizenship and a matter of fundamental citizenship rights. We need to centre our politics around this fundamental element of the social contract between a citizen and her state.

Let me now turn to the other strategic priority— eliminating the gender gap. There are two very influential global reports—the Global Hunger Index (GHI) report and Gender Gap Report (GGR). IFPRI researchers examined the relationship between these two indices and found gender inequality and hunger go hand in hand--- an important step to ending world hunger is thus empowering women and eradicating gender disparities in education, health, economic participation, and political opportunities.

What type of gender gap matters more for hunger? Is it different in different parts of the world? The Gender Gap Index is divided into four sub components—economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. The researchers find that while in Sub Saharan Africa, the gender gap in educational attainment is the primary driver, in case of South Asia; it is the gender inequality in the health and survival domain, i.e. the inequality between men and women in healthy life expectancy and sex ratio at child birth, which is the main driver of hunger. Here's a statistic to digest - 49 percent of children under five in South Asia are underweight. In sub-Saharan Africa, a region many associate with images of starving children, the figure is 28 percent. India, Bangladesh and Pakistan together account for half the world's underweight children. This is directly related to women’s status in south Asia.

To address this, it is important that we invest in women’s and girls’ nutrition over the life cycle and build support for women’s empowerment in communities. I would like to underline the focus on taking a ‘life cycle’ approach to nutrition and the importance of empowering the women beyond the household—in public life and in her community. Ultimately, the structural cause of the gender gap is the inequality that exists in economic and political participation—narrowing this gap is fundamental to sustaining any progress that is made in addressing the gender gaps in the more practical needs domain. Working at the policy and advocacy level to strengthen women’s property rights and creating pressure from below by improving women’s legal awareness are keys to addressing the structural constraints.

As citizens of a part of the world that is successfully tackling the complex challenges of economic management and delivering on solid growth in an uncertain world, we cannot accept the political irresponsibility of our governments failing to ensure that no one suffers the indignity of going hungry and the denial of an opportunity to realize the full potential of our children because of being malnourished. This is doable-- one of the greatest accomplishments of the 20th century was to make famine which seemed inevitable, a rarity. Today, famine is almost invariably the product of evil governments or no governments. So with right politics as global humanity we have been able to consign to the museums the hunger that kills. The 21st century challenge is to do that for the hunger that stunt and wastes our potential. "

 

22 October 2011, Dhaka. “Poribesh Poricchonno Rakhi, Shobai Mile Shustho Thaki” (Clean neighbourhood, Feeling good) with this slogan, the Slum Poverty Alleviation Committee of Mohammadpur Johuri Moholla Slum arranged a cleanliness day on 22 October, 2011. With the presence of community leaders, Ward Commission representatives and area police representatives, the programme begins with cleaning the slum neighbourhood, roads and households, along with creating awareness among the slum dwellers to keep their surroundings clean and hygienic.

BRAC’s Ultra poor programme’s urban initiative organised the discussion, followed by a rally in the neighbourhood and providing the ultra poor members with waste baskets to continue maintaining their locale clean. Many children from the slum participated and learned about this issue. In addition to that, it worked on strengthening the linkage with local government, affiliates and Dhaka City Corporation with the ultra poor community in Mohammadpur Slum. The programme was implemented in the light of creating an overall culture of healthy living, and setting the best possible personal and environmental hygiene based standards for the urban slum dwellers.

According to the local slum dwellers, the programme left a lasting impact on their community. Many visitors expressed interest in setting up a similar programme in their own locality.

 

12 October 2011, Dhaka. As part of BRAC Advocacy month-long activities on the observance of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2011, Dhaka University Debating Society (DUDS), in cooperation with Advocacy for Social Change, BRAC and Youth Forum for Poverty Alleviation and Development (YFPAD), has organised a debate competition titled BRAC Advocacy 1st Inter Hall Female Debate Championship 2011 in the University of Dhaka on Ultra Poverty issue at TSC, Dhaka University on October 2-3, 2011.

Advocacy for Social Change, BRAC seeks to mobilise and raise awareness among youth towards the issue of extreme poverty. We organise quiz, seminar and debate from grassroots to national level to address the issue. We have already reached 2.17 million school, college and university level students. Now we have taken a step forward in engaging the youth of urban areas.

The topic of the final debate was “We are Poor because we are Poor.”  Samsun Nahar Hall, became the champion and Bangladesh-Kuwait Maitree Hall, was the runner-up.

Dr. A.A.M.S Arefin Siddique, Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University was present as the Chief Guest of the event. Special guests were Professor Dr. Mahbuba Nasrin - Professor of mass communication & journalism department, Moderator of DUDS; Professor Mahfuza Khanam; General Secretary of Asiatic Society, Bangladesh; Khushi Kabir - Coordinator of Nijera Kori and Sheepa Hafiza - Director of BRAC Gender Justice & Diversity and Advocacy. Provosts of female halls and Alamgir Hossain - Director of TSC were also present.

We strongly believe that engaging the youth in such national issues will bring about positive changes in the future.

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