BRAC

BRAC

What comes to your mind when you think of microfinance? To me it’s “easy access”- a key factor that has enabled the sector to reach 34 million poor people in Bangladesh, essentially bringing financial services to their doorstep. Read More.

I can think of few people who have done more for the world’s deprived population than Fazle Hasan Abed. His contribution spans Bangladesh where BRAC, the organisation he founded in 1972, services close to 10 million of the country’s underprivileged households. Through Abed’s commitment to serve the world’s deprived, BRAC has now extended its reach across the globe. Read More.

 

The many positive contributions made by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed testify to a life which has been eminently successful and a source of inspiration for others. A golden thread that runs through his range of activities is an abiding concern for bringing about change in the lives of human beings by affording them opportunities for realising their potential. His creative response to the challenge for change was as founder of an extraordinary NGO called BRAC. The institutions and activities sponsored and supported by BRAC reflect this concern, as these embrace, among others, education, health, human rights, the rule of law, and governance. Read More.

 

Brac Founder and Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed yesterday spent a busy day at work despite it being his 80th birthday, carving out time to enjoy a 4D exhibition and a festive programme when a book containing articles about him written by noted personalities was also unveiled. Former diplomat Faruk Chowdhury, who edited the book, presented Sir Fazle with a copy and the latter cut a cake, said a press release. Born in 1936 in Bangladesh, Sir Fazle was educated at both Dhaka and Glasgow universities. He was a professional accountant in his thirties, working as a senior corporate executive at Shell Oil when the 1971 Liberation War had a profound effect on him, dramatically changing the direction of his life. He left his job, moved to London and devoted himself to Bangladesh's war of independence. Read more

 

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New York April 19, 2016

BRAC and the LEGO Foundation have announced a $4.7 million, three-year partnership to promote the importance of learning through play for early childhood education in Bangladesh, Tanzania and Uganda.

Designed to emphasize the quality of learning as a hallmark of strong early childhood education, BRAC’s low-cost, high-impact Play Lab project will reach more than 7,000 children, aged three to five, across the three countries.

BRAC, an international development organization, has a widespread presence in Bangladesh, Tanzania and Uganda, with established education and poverty alleviation programs. The LEGO Foundation is recognized worldwide for its deep knowledge of children’s development and learning processes along with the training and tools that educators need to release children’s potential. The partnership marks the LEGO Foundation’s first major investment in learning through play in Asia and strengthens its efforts in East Africa.

“Play is now widely recognized as a key facilitator in the emotional development of children,” said Devon Ritzer, Education Program Manager for BRAC USA, BRAC’s US-based affiliate. “Children are able to explore different aspects of their identity and increase collaboration through play.”

The pilot will also include training for 480 adolescent girls as paraprofessional play leaders, sessions for 7,200 parents on the importance of play and the creation of 120 Play Labs.
Play Labs are spaces for children to engage in play. When used in tandem with a play-based curriculum, they help educators ensure children are learning while also fostering early childhood development.

The paraprofessional play leaders will be drawn from BRAC’s Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) program, which empowers teenage girls socially and financially and provides safe spaces for them to socialize and receive mentoring and life skills training.

“Evidence continues to link play to the development of executive functions, resiliency, creativity, problem-solving, social skills and emotional well-being,” said Aline Villette, Senior Programme Manager at the LEGO Foundation. “Allowing children to learn through play provides a strong foundation for learning and for life.”

The Centre for Play at BRAC University’s BRAC Institute of Educational Development in Bangladesh will play a key role in the initiative. The Centre for Play will design both the safe play spaces and low-cost learning materials for children.

The planning and design process will include the participation of community members to ensure that play environments are created in homes and community hubs that lack play spaces.
The joint project will also establish a global network of play-based learning experts to gather and assess international best practices, adapt and develop curriculum and materials, build staff capacity and advocate for children’s rights to access quality learning.

To assure the quality of the spaces and age-appropriate effectiveness of the play materials, while also providing opportunity to innovate throughout the project, the collaboration will also spearhead research and help develop assessment tools to monitor and evaluate the Play Lab model.

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Local Community Leader (LCL) Workshops
Workshops with community leaders aim to develop human rights awareness and increase gender sensitivity. Building bonds amongst the local elite translates into heightened engagement in reducing human rights violations that take place within the community and creates a platform for enhanced cooperation and reduced corruption among grassroots administration. By educating local influential personnel, an understanding of the legal system can diffuse into shared knowledge and action.

Saturday, 05 March 2016 18:00

Neuro-developmental disability (NDD)

Since 2003, BRAC has been working with CSN but children with any type of profound impaired are still segregated from BRAC School. To promote the rights of children, the CSN unit intended to ensure the enrolment of the profoundly impaired children where feasible. In 2013, the government signed neuro-developmental disability safely trust law and then BRAC started working as a pilot with ID along with autism, CP and down syndrome persons from the community named as neuro-developmental disability (NDD) centre. In 5 January 2013 the first NDD centre was opened in Korail slum of Dhaka jointly with BRAC’s health, nutrition and population programme (HNPP). Till June 2015, three more NDD centres have been opened respectively in Pabna, Gazipur and Khulna.

Quick facts:
40,316 CSN students

14,289 children receiving treatment

- 14,289 receiving eye treatment
- 414 received eye operation
- 2,920 received hearing treatment
- 820 received cleft lip and palate operation
- 2,947 provided with assistive device

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXLZn_0EZew.

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 18:00

Kumon mathematics at BRAC schools

Kumon is a Japanese math and reading method which is practiced in the Kumon centres. The first Kumon Centre was opened in Osaka, Japan in 1985. As of November 2014, over 4.3 million students have been enrolled under Kumon method in more than 30,000 Kumon Centres in 48 countries around the world. In Bangladesh, Kumon was firstly introduced in BRAC Education Programme by the fund of JICA. The pre-piloting started in three of BRAC Primary Schools (BPS) in November 2014 for math.

The Kumon method stands on two main pillars: ‘individualised instruction’ and ‘self-learning.’

The key element of the former is ‘study at the just right level’. To develop children’s scholastic ability, the most important thing is to help them derive joy from their studies. The 'just right level of study' is not just the level where a student can easily complete work; it is the level where, at any time with maximum effort, a student can progress on their own without being specifically taught.

Kumon defines the latter as the ability to set goals and solve unfamiliar and challenging tasks independently.

This ability is nurtured through encouraging students to solve materials on their own. As they go about their work independently the desire to learn and the ambition to advance forward are aroused.

Instruction is carried out so that children can experience over and over the sense of accomplishment and boosting of confidence that comes with solving problems by oneself. The accumulation of such experience nurtures in children the ability to independently take on new challenges. Kumon is mainly taught in mathematics.

Skills and Knowledge Acquisition (Style of Learning)
Kumon is a self-learning method based on individualised instructions and worksheets. Students start from a point where they can easily obtain, with maximum effort, a perfect score of 100. Studying at their own pace, at a level that is appropriate for their ability enables them to strengthen their foundations for learning as well as develop confidence, as they catch up to their grade level, and eventually even advancing far beyond it.   

Learning materials
The math component consists of a total of 5,520 worksheets divided into 28 levels (pre-school to high school level, and elective courses).
Worksheets have been specifically designed to advance in small steps. This allows students to progress smoothly at their own pace while learning at level most appropriate for them.

Worksheets focus on the development of strong calculation skills, by avoiding all unrelated concepts. This allows students to advance as quickly as possible on their own to high school level mathematics.

Role of teacher
Teachers are referred to as Kumon instructors. Rather than teaching the same content to all students collectively, as practiced in a regular school class setting, a Kumon instructor focuses on each individual. Her role is to ensure that every student is 'studying at the just right level,' taking a number of factors into account. These include closely observing a student's study behavior, and keeping records of daily progress which allows them to gain a sound idea of each student's progress and development. Another significant aspect of their role is to acknowledge the students' development by praising them for their achievements and encouraging them to set goals and take on further challenges.

BRAC signed a MoU with the ICT division of Ministry of Posts, Telecommunication and IT on 28 April 2014. The purpose of this partnership is to develop interactive multimedia content for primary education on mathematics, science and social science based on NCTB primary (class I-V) curriculum.

This will ensure conceptual clarity and better application of lessons for both students and teachers; improve the quality of education by shifting the style from teacher-centred to an interactive and engaging learner-centred classroom environment.

Mini library: In each of BRAC’s primary schools, there are mini libraries which help students to strengthen reading and comprehension skills.

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 18:00

Mobile library for BRAC Primary Schools

A student needs the right tools in order to boost critical thinking and become competent BEP recognises that developing the habit of reading from a young age enhances creativity and analytical thinking. It took the initiative to promote reading habit among its primary school students through mobile library. Currently, BEP is operating 2,715 mobile libraries. Students and teachers get the chance to go to the library twice a month.