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06 May 2012, Dhaka. Mohammed Mohiuddin (41), a Bangladeshi development specialist working for BRAC Afghanistan, who was tragically killed by armed miscreants in Afghanistan last Thursday, has been laid to rest today at his family graveyard in Fulbaria of Mymensingh district. A team of senior BRAC officials, including the Chief Financial Officer of BRAC Group S N Kairy and Directors Shabbir Ahmed Chowdhury and Najmul Hossain, attended the burial. The team received Mohiuddin’s body, which was flown back to Dhaka from Kabul earlier in the morning, at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and escorted it to his village in Fulbaria. Later the BRAC officials attended Mohiuddin’s namaz-e-janaja along with the upazila Chairman Anwar Kabir, government officials, local elites and people in the community.

Speaking on behalf of BRAC, Kairy said, ‘Nothing can truly recompense the family for the loss of their loved one. Yet BRAC will continue to do everything possible to provide support to the family, starting with a compensation of Tk. 10,00,000 in addition to whatever employee benefits that Mohiuddin’s family is entitled to.’ He also said that BRAC is reviewing its strategic plans for Afghanistan and has stopped deploying Bangladeshi staff in risky areas of Afghanistan. BRAC's staffs are our biggest asset and we will take every measure to protect them’, he said. BRAC will wait for the results of the investigations before drawing further conclusions in relation to the incident of killing.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conveyed her condolences at the tragic death of Mohiuddin to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed during her meeting with the BRAC Founder in Dhaka on Sunday morning. The Secretary of State also appreciated BRAC’s development efforts in Afghanistan.

Mohiuddin served BRAC for 14 years as a sector specialist in agriculture. He was posted at BRAC Afghanistan since 2009 in the community based livelihood improvement project in the Ghor Province in Western Afghanistan.

 6 May 2012, Dhaka — Knight Commander, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed and Nobel Laureate, Muhammad Yunus, have been marked as the creators of the world’s two best organizations – BRAC and Grameen Bank – by the visiting US secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. In an early morning 9 o’clock meeting on 6 May 2012, at the Gulshan Residence of the US ambassador of Bangladesh, Dan W Mozena; Sir Fazle and Dr. Yunus met with Secretary Clinton for an hour long discussion which was primarily focused on the development of Bangladesh and women’s rights and empowerment.

Various other national and regional issues were also brought into focus which included feasible solutions to the electricity crisis, the current political situation, mobile phone technology usage in disseminating developmental services, the country’s poverty reduction capacity, youth empowerment, development success achieved so far in Bangladesh and its enduring potential. The two visionaries of Bangladesh have requested the continued support and assistance from the US in regard to these issues.

During the meeting, Secretary Clinton expressed her deep condolences to the family and friends of Mohammad Mohiuddin, BRAC’s Area Manger in the western province of Ghor, Afghanistan, who died in an armed attack on 3rd May 2012. She praised and appreciated the micro credit system, giving due credit to BRAC and Grameen Bank for the sustainable progress in the social structure of Bangladesh. She expressed her gratitude to both of them for their commitment and hard work towards such development work.

For a developing nation like Bangladesh, she has ensured continued US assistance for the betterment of humanity. Secretary Clinton said that she has known Sir Fazle and Dr. Yunus for almost 25 years and honours them as “national treasures” with the hope that the Government will also treat them accordingly.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC and BRAC International, expressed his profound shock and grief at the untimely death of Md. Mohiuddin, a Bangladeshi BRAC staff working in Afghanistan.

Sir Fazle said, “I join Mohiuddin’s family in this moment of grief. I wish them the strength and courage to help them pass through this difficult time. Mohiuddin demonstrated great bravery and dedication in serving humanity by working closely with the Afghan communities. I know that this is an irreparable loss, but BRAC will do everything possible to provide support to his family.

This tragedy highlights the commitment of our staff including Bangladeshi development experts who take significant risks to work for the underprivileged people in different parts of the world. BRAC will continue to work in difficult areas of Afghanistan, but with the deteriorating security situation we are acting with great urgency to review our plans to ensure staff safety.”

4 May 2012, Dhaka. On Thursday, May 3, a group of four armed men broke into BRAC staff residence in the western province of Ghor, Afghanistan. We are deeply saddened to announce that the incident led to the tragic loss of a life of one of our own.

BRAC leadership wishes to extend sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of our Area Manager, Mohammad Mohiuddin. He was 41 years old and left behind a wife and two children in Fulbaria, Mymensingh. We are doing everything we can to assist his family during this difficult time. Mohiuddin served with BRAC for 14 years as a sector specialist in Agriculture. He was working at BRAC Afghanistan since 2009 and helped many Afghan families improve their lives through his work in community based livelihood improvement project in Ghor. He recently started working for a new project on water management which has a partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock in Afghanistan.

BRAC has been working in Afghanistan since 2002. With 3,000 staff including 152 Bangladeshi, the organization has a direct programme presence in 23 provinces and through partnership with local NGOs in the remaining 11 provinces, including the ones where insecurity has been on the rise in recent times. BRAC is the largest development organization in Afghanistan serving 29.8 million poor, with a focus on women and girls to help them come out of poverty and lead a healthier and more empowered life.

We are closely monitoring developments in Afghanistan with great concern as the overall security situation in the country is increasingly deteriorating. Safeguarding the interests and well-being of the Bangladeshi and Afghan staff deployed in areas where insecurity is rising, remains our top priority.

Friday, 27 April 2012 18:00

Observation of World Malaria Day 2012

28 April 2012, Dhaka. World Malaria Day was observed on April 25, 2012 by BRAC Health Programme (BHP) and BRAC Advocacy for Social Change. This event was a joint initiative of BRAC and National Malaria Control Program (NMCP).The daylong programme included rally and Discussion Meeting where Government official and representatives from non Government organisations participated.  The rally, started from National Museum and continued to Bangla Academi ; was followed by a discussion meeting at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel where Prof. A. F. M. Ruhal Haque M.P, Minister, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare was present as chief guest. Dr. Captain (Retd.) Mozibur Rahman Fakir M.P, State Minister, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Prof. (Dr.) Syed Modasser Ali, Adviser, Health & Family Welfare and Social Welfare Affairs Dr. Md. Humayun Kabir, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Begum Akhtari Momtaj, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare were present as Special guests. The meeting was chaired by Prof. Dr. Md. Sefatullah, DG, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Representatives from 21 NGOs, Journalists were present at the meeting.  Prof. Benazir Ahmed, Director, Disease Control, DGHS gave a presentation on the current situation of Malaria in Bangladesh highlighting treatment condition and future plan.   A theme song on malaria sung by renowned artist Samina Chowdhury was released on this occasion. A documentary on World Malaria Day observation was telecasted on April 27, 2012 at BTV containing interviews, rally, highlights of discussion meetings and message for public.

10 April 2012, Dhaka. In a unique event that highlights government and NGO partnership, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is signed today between BRAC and the Directorate of Women Affairs. Under this MoU, the parties will work together to replicate the model of BRAC’s Adolescent Clubs in seven districts: Gopalganj,Sirajganj, Thakurgaon, Rangamati, Moulvibazar, Jhalokathi, and Chuadanga. The Government will be using this BRAC model, which has been replicated in Africa and currently has over 260,000 members in Bangladesh in establishing their own Adolescents Clubs to empower young women.

BRAC will provide technical assistance; prepare training modules, and other support materials that will play a crucial role in the implementation of this endeavour.

The MoU is signed by, Md. Ashraf Hossain, Director General, Directorate of Women Affairs and Dr Safiqul Islam Director, BRAC Education Programme. 

Executive Director Dr. Mahbub Hossain mentioned that NGOs shows innovative and effective path to implement a goal, but to bring out the positive impact in large scale government has the capability ; NGOs can work with government in root level and by working together synergic result will be produced. He believes that adolescent clubs will bring positive changes and uphold the gender parity in the society. 

Md. Ashraf Hossain, Director General, Directorate of Women Affairs mentioned that Government has adopted National Women Development Policy (NWDP). Their road map is to transform the society from patriarchy approach to gender equality. This signing ceremony will work as milestone towards their goal.

Director of Communications Asif Saleh, Deputy Director of Directorate of Women Affairs Zakia Yasmin Zoardar, Programme Coordinator of BRAC Education Programme Md. Monowar Hossain Khondakar, BRAC Adolescent Programme Manager Rashida Parveen were also present.

Currently BRAC runs more than 8,000 Adolescent Clubs for young women from underprivileged backgrounds. The clubs offer adolescents life skills based education- facilitated by their peers – that focus on different social and health related issues, such as reproductive health, sexual abuse, children’s rights, gender, HIV/AIDS, STI, eve teasing (verbal sexual abuse), child trafficking, substance abuse, violence, family planning, child marriage, dowry, and acid throwing. Kishori Kendros provide the opportunity for girls to learn valuable skills by offering Livelihood Training courses on tailoring, embroidery, journalism, poultry, livestock, and beauty care to empower individuals to become financially independent.

Research findings show how ADP – Adolescent Peer Organized Network (APON) course graduates become empowered in terms of participation in and control over decision making and in nurturing leadership qualities to be the agents of social change. The study also captured how the target groups’ attitudes towards early marriage, dowry, reproductive health knowledge, health seeking behaviour, knowledge on HIV/AIDS along with other STDs, awareness on social and gender perceptions vary from the general adolescents nationally.

Wednesday, 07 March 2012 18:00

BRAC releases star-studded musical album

08 March 2012, Dhaka. Innovative collaboration features singers from BRAC’s Adolescent Development Programme.

The largest Bangladeshi non-governmental organization is releasing a first of its kind musical album, featuring members of its Adolescent Development Programme.  Containing nine tracks, the album is collaboration with top musicians from the country, including Arnob, Habib, Bappa, Balam, Fahmida Nabi, Kona, Labik,Palbasha and Sohini.

"It was a great pleasure working on this project with the girls. I hope they benefited from the experience of working in the recording studio. I wish them all the best!” said Balam.
Bappa also added “The album reflects the talent of these young girls. I feel privileged to be to be a part of this initiative”

The album, titled Nari (Bangla for ‘woman’) releases on International Women’s Day, 8 March. Every song relates the slogan “Connecting girls, inspiring the future”, the theme of this year’s celebration.

The Founder and Chairman of BRAC, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed recently at a speech on the occasion of the 40th anniversary re-affirmed his organisation’s ardent commitment to women’s empowerment during a gala which celebrated BRAC’s 40th Anniversary. “We have come far but we still have a lot to accomplish in the field of women’s empowerment. Once women realise their true potential, only then they will be able to write their own stories of success”, said Sir Fazle.

BRAC Director of Communications, Asif Saleh said that “BRAC is about realising potential of the people who have been excluded by the system. This album shows what these girls are capable of if given a chance.”

All major distributors of audio CD’s and all outlets of Aarong will sell the album throughout the country. The individual artists participating in the collaboration are also heavily promoting the launch.

The young women of the Adolescent Development Programme were featured in a reality TV show in 2009, titled Naache Gaane Number 1 as well as Meghe Dhaka Tara in 2011. These programmes were an initiative of BRAC to promote and inspire underprivileged adolescent girls from every corner of the country in participating in cultural and artistic events.

BRAC’s Education Programme opened the Adolescent Clubs giving girls the chance to socialise, play indoor games, sing, dance and exchange views and experiences-all activities that were frowned upon in their homes. It offers adolescents life skills based education- facilitated by their peers- on different social and health related issues. Livelihood Training courses are offered to girls to empower them financially. More than 8000 clubs are present in 57 districts reaching over 200,000 adolescents.

Watch "Revive": a song by BRAC adolescent girls

BRAC Haiti staff celebrate International Women's Day

For the first time, BRAC Haiti staff celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March 2012. Local and international staff from the Country Office and the Limb & Brace Center started the day by attending a women’s forum hosted by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The theme of the forum was to ensure the voices of Haitian women are included in the country’s reconstruction, and to advocate for the active participation of women in reconstruction efforts. Women’s groups and community-based organizations from all over the country participated in the event, along with business and civic leaders, and politicians, including President Michel Martelly and his wife, First Lady Sophia Martelly.

In the afternoon, staff gathered in the Country Office, where Country Representative Rakibul Bari Khan presented the latest data on the challenges women face locally and globally. Senior Education Officer Doris Valcin shared information on the plight of adolescent girls based on her participation in BRAC’s Global Learning Meeting. Finally, Jackson Naudé, Logistics Officer, highlighted the important role women play in Haitian society. Staff also watched a clip from the documentary film Poto Mitan: Haitian Women Pillars of the Global Economy.

Following the presentations, all staff discussed how BRAC Haiti can improve upon its gender inclusion and equality efforts. From that discussion, three suggestions emerged:

  1. Improve efforts to recruit and retain women.
  2. Increase and encourage discussions about gender issues with program participants.
  3. Respect and support women in their roles in the office and at home.

Through the end of the year, BRAC Haiti will monitor its progress in supporting gender issues.

Outdated approaches to teaching must give way to modern schooling that prepares the poor for a 21st century knowledge society, says founder of the world's largest development organization.

2 March 2012, Dhaka. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of the world’s largest development organisation, BRAC, called for innovative solutions to address the needs of the burgeoning youth population in developing countries in an address delivered in February celebrating the 40th anniversary of BRAC.

As dignitaries gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to celebrate BRAC’s 40th birthday, Sir Fazle, who founded the organisation in 1972, announced a new youth strategy as BRAC scales up operations in 10 African, Asian and Caribbean countries. He also called for doing away with “outdated approaches to teaching” in the developing world, calling most public education systems in the developing world unsuitable for preparing students for the 21st century knowledge society.

“You will be happy to learn that BRAC is in the process of developing a comprehensive strategy to help the vibrant, innovative and entrepreneurial younger generation of today to realize their potential, and be the agents of change within their communities,” Sir Fazle said.

The chairperson, who could not attend the gathering for health reasons but delivered the address via a spokesperson for the organization, called for education reform in poor countries. “Unfortunately, public education systems in most developing countries are unfit and unsuited to prepare our youth for the 21st century knowledge society that we must aspire to,” he said.
“Outdated approaches to teaching must give way to new techniques that teach our children not to memorize texts, but to think critically and solve problems creatively. We must give greater thought, and direct greater resources towards early childhood development, and social and emotional learning.”

BRAC is the largest secular, private education provider in the world, with over 5 million students having graduated from its alternative primary schools, dubbed “second chance” schools targeting those left behind by official educational systems. Sir Fazle has been hailed as an innovator in the field of education, winning the inaugural WISE Prize for Education in Qatar, styled as a Nobel for the field of education, last year.

In his speech, BRAC’s chairperson spoke of the “remarkable” progress of the organisation’s home country, Bangladesh, “in almost every major indicator of human development” over the last 40 years. “Today, the progress we have made is the envy of most of the developing nations in South Asia and beyond,” he said.

Infant mortality, for instance, has dropped from 200 per 1,000 live births to less than 50, and maternal mortality from 800 deaths per 100,000 live births to less than 200. Fertility rates have fallen dramatically as well: The average Bangladeshi mother now has just 2.7 children as opposed to 6.5 in 1972. Literacy rates have risen from 25 percent to over 65 percent.

“While it is true that no single organization can take credit for this amazing turnaround, we at BRAC can nevertheless take great pride in the role that we have played in support of governmental efforts to bringing about these successes,” says Sir Fazle. “From immunizing children to popularizing the use of oral rehydration therapy, from providing essential healthcare through a cadre of barefoot health volunteers to providing safe places for mothers to give birth, from curing tuberculosis to improving sanitation, BRAC’s work in public health has contributed to each of our country’s achievements in the health sector.”

Sir Fazle, who turns 76 this year, called on BRAC to remain a “trailblazing organization” as the leadership baton passes to a younger generation. “In these twilight years of my life, I feel a sense of comfort and satisfaction in knowing that we have an able and competent leadership team at BRAC,” he said. “I am confident that this team will ensure BRAC achieves even greater success and impact when I call time on providing leadership to this organization that I have built.”

A champion of girls’ education and the empowerment of women, Sir Fazle lamented the relative lack of progress in those areas. “Gender equality remains the greatest unfinished agenda not only of my life’s work but of our time. Although we have worked for the last 40 years to try to ensure that all citizens can live with dignity and respect and enjoy equal rights as human beings, I am sorry to say that patriarchy remains entrenched in our social and religious practices.”

01 March 2012, Dhaka.  BRAC International is pleased to announce that Faruque Ahmed will be assuming the role of Deputy Executive Director of BRAC International from March 1, 2012. Prior to this, Ahmed was the Director of BRAC Health Programme for 10 years and played a critical role in shaping its overall health strategy. Under his leadership, BRAC Health Programme developed effective partnership with government, donors,other NGOs and private sectors and scaled up national programmes for Tuberculosis and Malaria control, and implemented innovative community based solutions like essential health care, maternal, neonatal and child health, nutrition, eye care and many other critical public health interventions in Bangladesh. He nurtured BRAC's health programme from a modest size to one of the largest in the world, managing several programmes with a reach around 100 million.

Prior to joining BRAC, Ahmed worked for the World Bank. Ahmed is a member of the working group of Bangladesh Health Watch, a civil society initiative, Vice Chair of Bangladesh Country Coordination Mechanism for Global Funds for AID Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and a member of World Bank Civil Society Consultative Group on Health, Nutrition and Population. He also represented civil society on the GAVI Alliance Board and has represented BRAC in a number of national and international forums. A wide array of his writing on public health appears in international publications, and in 2011, Ahmed co-authored the book "Making Tuberculosis History."

He completed Masters in Health Sciences from John Hopkins University and Masters in Economics from University of Dhaka.

Mr. Ahmed has established himself in BRAC as a proven, highly creative and decisive leader and change agent.

His predecessor Dr. Imran Matin has decided to accept the role of  Director of International Programme at Save the Children International  in London.  BRAC International thanks him for his dedicated contribution  to BRAC for the past 11 years.

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