Formal inauguration of the school building through cutting the ribbon by the respective guests
On 28 November 2016, BRAC Afghanistan Education Programme inaugurated a school building in the Paghman district of Kabul Province. It was constructed under community-based girls’ education project in Afghanistan, and funded by Global Affairs Canada.
The new school houses five classrooms for 150 students. It was jointly inaugurated by Dr M Ibrahim Shinwari, deputy minister of General Education from Ministry of Education and by His Excellency Ken Neufeld, Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan.
Classrooms visit by the Chief Guests
The construction of the school is a valuable addition to an area that has scarce educational opportunities.
Distinguished guests who attended the inauguration include Hamid Akram, the provincial governor, Dr M Ibrahim Shinwari, the deputy minister, His Excellency Ken Neufeld, Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan and Mohammed Shanti, the first secretary of the Canadian embassy in Afghanistan.
The Canadian Ambassador appreciated BRAC’s efforts in the successful implementation of the girls’ education project. He urged the Ministry of Education and local communities to build strong collaborations to promote education for children in Afghanistan.
NGO Advisor announced its new list of best NGOs in the world for 2017, and BRAC retained the top spot.
BRAC was ranked the number one NGO in the world for the second consecutive year today by the Geneva-based NGO Advisor, an independent media organisation committed to highlighting innovation, impact and governance in the nonprofit sector. BRAC retained the top spot as part of the 2017 Top 500 NGOs World rankings.
“It is an honour to see that BRAC has retained the number one position once again,” said Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, BRAC’s founder and chairperson. “Every day, more than 100,000 of our staff across the world continue to empower people living in poverty. We are committed, now more than ever, to keep looking for answers to poverty and deprivation – to find out what works and apply the lessons.”
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 Monday, January 9. This is the third best-in-class ranking for BRAC in four years.
“Again in 2017, BRAC is the leading organisation in the Top 500 NGOs World rankings, meaning number one in terms of innovation, impact and governance. The agile giant keeps challenging itself to serve more and more communities around the world,” said NGO Advisor Editor-in-Chief Jean-Christophe Nothias in a statement.
In an exclusive interview, Sir Fazle says, “The idea behind BRAC is to change systems of inequity.”
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 systems-based structure, ensuring sustainability through a variety of revenue streams.
“Pragmatic, adaptive, BRAC can now play any game, whether using for-profit or nonprofit approaches, to face and challenge systems of inequity,” said NGO Advisor in its review of BRAC. “BRAC ticks every box this year, with extra scoring for the clarity of its five-year strategic vision and its willingness to expand its international outreach…Today, BRAC is more than a reference; it is leading the nonprofit world toward its next degree of efficiency and leverage.”
BRAC was founded in Bangladesh in 1972, and today is a global leader in developing cost-effective, evidence-based poverty innovations in extremely poor, conflict-prone and post-disaster settings. These include programs in education, healthcare, microfinance, girls’ empowerment, agriculture, human and legal rights, socially-responsible businesses, a bank, a university, and the world’s largest mobile money platform. In 2016, BRAC employed more than 100,000 people in 11 countries, with a total global expenditure of about $900 million.
BRAC is also unique among the world’s major nonprofits in that its overall budget is majority self-financed. In Bangladesh, where BRAC was founded and the site of its global headquarters, BRAC financed 76% of its $682 million average annual national budget from 2011 to 2015 from its own socially-responsible businesses. However, much of BRAC’s most important work – including its schools, healthcare, ultra-poor graduation programme, climate change resilience, and most of its programmes outside Bangladesh – remains heavily reliant on outside donors.
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 nonprofit sector to improve the evaluation metrics used to determine the rankings. Today, NGO Advisor presents its findings to an international audience of donors, volunteers, journalists, researchers, diplomats and nonprofit leaders to showcase best practices and mirror the evolving values of the global community.
The new rankings include several important 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 Ashoka rounded out the rankings in the fourth and fifth spot, respectively.
Research shows that there is a significant return on investment made in the education sector. The national budget allocation for the sector, however, remains insufficient. In the pre-primary level, every 1 taka spent leads to a return of 19 taka. This was the primary focus of the seminar ‘Bangladesh education policy priorities’, held on 4 January 2017 at BRAC Centre.
BRAC, together with the international research institute, Copenhagen Consensus Center organised the event to discuss the strategies recommended for realising the Vision 2021 of the Bangladesh government. The minister for primary and mass education, advocate Mustafizur Rahman attended as the chief guest, while the additional secretary of the Ministry of Education, Chowdhury Mufad Ahmed was present as the special guest.
The programme was chaired by the director of BRAC’s education programme, Dr Safiqul Islam. KAM Morshed, director of BRAC’s advocacy for social change, moderated the first session. The keynote speakers at the event were Dr Atonu Rabbani, associate professor, Department of Economics, University of Dhaka; Dr Ahsanuzzaman, assistant professor, Department of Economics, North South University; and Dr S M Hafizur Rahman, professor, Institute of Education and Research, University of Dhaka. Mr Hasnuzzaman Zaman, outreach manager of Copenhagen Consensus Center made the opening statement.
The chief guest, advocate Mustafizur Rahman said, “Bangladesh will prioritise psychosocial stimulation for children and secondary education for girls.”
UNICEF representative, Edouard Beigbbeder said, “I hope the interventions discussed will be taken by the government and we can consider for implementation.”
The second session of the seminar was moderated by Gawher Nayeem Wahra, director of BRAC’s disaster management and climate change programme.
Some of the major challenges raised include the lack of quality education, high dropout rates in secondary schools, not evaluating students based on proper merits, high teacher to student ratio, and lack of accountability of teachers.
Talat Mahmud, director of education, Save the Children, Dr SM Hafisur Rahman, professor at Institute of Education and Research, University of Dhaka, Mohammed Shahidul Islam, education team leader, USAID, and Professor Abdul Bayes, director of BRAC’s research and evaluation division also spoke at the seminar.
BRACATHON, the marathon coding competition for social good returns for the second year under the slogan 'Code for Bangladesh'. Registrations have opened on 8 January 2017 and will continue until 2 February. The 36-hour long hackathon will take place from 17-18 February at BRAC University.
The competition will provide funding up to USD 5,000 along with 6-month long implementation and development support for the winners. Interested participants can register by visiting the BRACATHON website.
BRACATHON - BRAC's first ever hackathon is a platform for coders to code for social good. BRAC under its initiative to promote technology that contributes to social innovation, created the platform in 2015. Participants will compete to provide useful mobile applications to solve a particular problem. Winners will be decided based on impact, innovation, functionality and quality of the proposal. This year James P Grant School of Public Health, Plan international, biTS, bracnet and bdnews24 have joined as partners to take the competition to the next mile.
View more details here: http://bracathon.brac.net/
On 4 November 2016, a team of European Union delegates including the Ambassador of Liberia, MsTiina Intelmann and two Estonian members of Parliament, Mati Raidma and Mart Nutt visited BRAC Liberia office at Tarbar community, Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
The delegates visited the feed mill and poultry hatchery and met several model poultry farmers. They discussed the supply and demand of poultry and pig feed, and the poultry value chain.
The team congratulated BRAC for the new project called, ‘Supporting the poor and food and nutrition insecure to react to crises and strengthen resilience in Liberia’ that started in October 2016.
The EU delegates visited a BRAC model poultry rearer, Rachael Mama Joe at her house. Joe is known in her community for her hard work and success. She bears all expenses of raising her family and sending her children to school.
BRAC team with EU delegates in a hatchery and feed mill in Liberia.
Today on Monday (12 December) BRAC in a prompt move distributed relief among the victims of the fire that ravaged the Sattala slum at Mohakhali in the Dhaka city in the early hours today. A total of 115 families each received a blanket, a bar of soap, a sweater, two cooking and frying pots, spoons, two plates and a jar of water from BRAC staff in afternoon. Also identity cards were provided to these families which may help them receive relief assistance in future.
A meeting in this regard was also organised on the local IPH School and College premises today in which 30 NGOs participated. Facilitated by BRAC URBAN Development Programme, the participants reached a decision to strengthen the coordination of the relief and assistance activities for the Sattala slum victims.
On the other hand, BRAC has increased its time of the campaign for donations for the fire victims of Korail slum in Mohakhali. The campaign that began on December 7 will now end on December 17 (Saturday), instead of December 14, as previously announced. Under the new arrangement of the campaign, a portion of the donations received through campaign will be directed at the victims of Sattala slum. For this an additional amount of Tk 26 lakh will be needed.
Under the special donation campaign BRAC hopes to collect one crore 23 lakh and 75 thousand taka. The United Nations Development Programme has already donated Tk 65 lakh to BRAC from its own fund. The rest we expect to collect through other organisations and individuals. The fund will be distributed to 495 families who are major victims of the Korail slum fire. Each of these families will receive Tk 25 thousand if the fund can be raised as expected.
Interested organisations and individuals can send donation through bank account and bkash with details below.
Account name: BRAC, BRAC Centre, 75 Mohakhali
Bank name: BRAC Bank
Account number: 150120-2316474001
Bkash number: 01730321765 (instruction)
You are also requested to visit site for further details: response.brac.net
2000 people are homeless after Dhaka’s biggest slum caught fire on Sunday, 4 December. 495 households were destroyed in less than two hours.
BRAC has started a donation drive to raise BDT12,375,000 (BDT25,000 per family) for helping them to rebuild their lives. UNDP has contributed BDT 65, 000, 00 from their emergency fund. The remaining BDT 5,875,000 needs to be raised.
BRAC is working with Dhaka North City Corporation and various NGOs and community organisations in Korail in this effort.
225 children and eight pregnant mothers no longer have a place to sleep. Winter has just started, and the people who lost their homes in the fire have lost everything.
Interested people can donate directly to BRAC via a BRAC bank account,
Account name: BRAC, BRAC Centre, 75 Mohakhali
Account number: 150120-2316474001
Or Bkash number: 01730321765 (instruction).
BRAC has been supporting families since the fire started. BRAC staff were on the ground during the fire, shepherding children and young people through the chaos into a safe space nearby. The space was kept open, with food and water provided until everyone was connected to their families in the evening. Two pregnant mothers were evacuated.
In the two days following the fire, utensils and cookware, 500 blankets and hygiene soaps were distributed. Sir John Wilson School’s donated 758 pieces of clothing. Eight pregnant mothers received BDT 1,000 each in cash and will continue to receive free maternal health care for the next one month. BRAC will continue to provide treatment through a temporary medical camp.
To find more updates about the donation drive please visit: http://response.brac.net
BRAC Uganda has been recognised for its excellent performance in financial reporting. We received the award in the NGO category at the 2016 Financial Reporting (FiRe) Awards, which took place on 10 November 2016 at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
We have been recognised every year since the awards were launched in 2011. This year, we competed against 20 other NGOs. The awards also recognise entrants from various industries including financial institutions, consumer and industrial products, education institutions, insurance services, the public sector and regulatory bodies and associations.
(Left to right) BRAC Uganda finance manager, Ronald Kasozire, accounts manager, Sachindra Ghosh, chief finance officer, Richard Kigozi and country representative, Bhuiyan Imran from BRAC received the award.
As one of the largest development organisations in the country, serving over four million people and employing over 2,400 Ugandans, we are engaged in poverty alleviation initiatives that include, but are not limited to, microfinance and small enterprise development, community healthcare and nutrition, agriculture and seed distribution, education and youth empowerment and livelihood programmes. We have established reporting systems to ensure transparency and enable successful implementation of our multi-sectoral programmes. These also ensure that we adhere to international financial reporting standards. It encourages more organisations to embrace quality financial reporting to improve their operations and comply with application financial reporting frameworks.
The FiRe Awards aims to promote financial reporting in compliance with international standards set out by the International Accounting Standards Board. It is organised by the Council of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda, Uganda Securities Exchange and the Capital Markets Authority.
BRAC launches Urban Innovation Challenge 2016
BRAC launched a competition today to find solutions to the growing challenges faced by people living in cities across Bangladesh. The Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Mr Annisul Huq, launched the Urban Innovation Challenge at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre. The Mayor hailed the initiative as a major milestone in Bangladesh’s progress in urban development, saying “Compared to other countries, Dhaka is more densely populated. 140000 people live per square kilometer. We are struggling to find a better solution for managing the street hawkers and transport problem of the city. So I would urge the urban innovators of our country to come up with innovative and inclusive solutions for these. Mayor’s office will be happy to take those ideas.”
Urbanisation in Bangladesh has accelerated rapidly in the past few decades. This is having drastically negative effects on health, transport and employment. Dhaka is the 9th most densely populated city in the world, and around1100 migrants arrive in the city every day.
BRAC has initiated the year-long challenge to create a platform to work with innovators, young entrepreneurs and university students to improve life in cities across the country. The goal is to find the best ideas in Bangladesh and support innovators to build them into sustainable social enterprise models. The challenge will focus on three specific problem areas: health, transportation and informal sector employment.
Potential challengers must submit their applications by November 30. Shortlisted applicants will then be asked to submit full proposals, and a high-profile jury will select 4-5 winners. Winners will build their prototypes and test them in the field with BRAC from April- August 2017. They will receive mentoring, skills development and support, as well as a grant amount up to BDT 5 lac and linkage to potential investors.
Executive Chairman of PPRC Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman praised the initiative at the panel discussion, saying, “The solutions have to be specific from the user’s perspective. But at the same time it has to be comprehensive keeping both the megacity and the towns in mind.”
The panel also included Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed, founder and chairperson of Bishwo Shahitto Kendro. He said, “Dhaka is a city of immense possibilities. We need to think about our cities by ourselves. Our youth have possibilities, talent and ideas, we can guide them making those into reality.”
Young entrepreneurs speaking at the event included the founder of 10 Minute School, Ayman Sadiq, and founder of Identity Inclusion, Shamsin Ahmed, who spoke on entrepreneurship in a session titled “Udbhaboner Golpo.”
Partnering for the Urban Innovation Challenge are Shout-Daily Star for youth engagement, Radio Shadhin for radio engagement, Beatnik for digital engagement and IDEO.ORG for knowledge management.
This initiative is a part of BRAC’s newly launched urban development programme which focuses on improved service delivery, mobilisation and governance.
As the world celebrates the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October, BRAC, Australia, and the UK reiterated their commitment to investing in girls’ empowerment and working with the Government of Bangladesh to end child marriage. This joint statement is released as part of the activities undertaken by the partners with the Government of Bangladesh.
In issuing the statement, BRAC’s Executive Director, Dr Muhammad Musa said, “Every day, BRAC helps girls in Bangladesh reach their full potential through a comprehensive approach which includes creating economic, health-related, educational and leadership opportunities. After over 40 years of experience in advancing women and girls’ rights, we are determined now more than ever, to ensure that no girl is born into a community where she isn’t given the chance to learn and become a leader.”
Jane Edmondson, Country Representative for the UK’s Department for International Development Bangladesh said: “Children need learning and play in a safe environment to reach their potential. Too many girls and boys still miss out. And for some girls, harmful practices in society such as child and forced marriage and domestic violence make it doubly hard. Girls are less likely to finish school and less likely to find work. Changing all this is essential to reducing poverty in Bangladesh and to achieving sustainable economic growth”.
“Helping young women and girls to reach their full potential is critical to Bangladesh achieving its economic and social goals”, added Australian High Commissioner, Julia Niblett. “This is why Australia, together with the UK, is proud to support BRAC’s efforts to empower girls, supporting them to achieve their full potential”.
With the support of Australia and the UK, BRAC’s social and economic development programmes empower adolescent girls through the largest network of adolescent development clubs in Bangladesh. Girls who have been members of these clubs are more likely to be involved in income-generating activities and avoid early marriages, than girls who did not join the clubs.
In Bangladesh, considerable progress has been made in improving the lives of adolescent girls over the last 15 years. More girls than ever are enrolling in schools and access to health care has improved. But while 69 per cent of girls enrol in secondary education, almost one in two drop-out before completing their schooling. This is linked to the continued prevalence of child marriage. Though the proportion of girls marrying in their teens has been declining for 10 years or so, the country still suffers from one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world with over half of women currently between the age of 20-24 having married before their 18th birthday; and almost one in five having married before their 15th birthday.
Coordinated and focussed efforts are being taken from both the government and civil society groups to fight what has been termed as one of the most critical barriers to large scale development efforts. The government’s present commitment to reform the 1929 Child Marriage Restraint Act and set the minimum age of marriage at 18 is an important development in line with other international and national laws and policies protecting the rights of children. Similarly, the initiation of drafting a National Plan of Action to End Child Marriage demonstrates that along with its neighbours with similar socio-cultural contexts, such as Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh too is moving ahead on its child rights and gender equality agenda.
Australia, BRAC and the UK are focussed on continuing their work together to address these issues through effective programmes and also developing new programmes that address emerging social problems related to child marriage.
Adolescent girls are one of the most powerful agents for change in the world. Educated adolescent girls are able to fight child marriage, protect themselves from teenage pregnancy and build healthier futures for themselves.