18 February 2012, Dhaka. BRAC’s Human Rights and Legal Aid Services Programme, the world’s largest NGO led legal aid programme, has sought a unique way to commemorate its 25th anniversary of operations through organising the first ever Human Rights and Technology Seminar in Bangladesh on Saturday February 18th 2012 between 10:00 am-2:00 pm at BRAC Centre Auditorium.
Mr. Ashfaq Hussain, Joint Secretary, Bangladesh Government and e-Specialist, Supporting Digital Bangladesh Project, to the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Office will attend this event as the Chief Guest and Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC will chair this event. Mr. Syed Aminul Islam, Director (District Judge), National Legal Aid Services Organization (NLASO), Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliament Affairs, Peoples Republic of Bangladesh and Dr. Hameeda Hossain, Chairperson, Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) will be present as Special Guests.
The seminar intends to find avenues for exchange between the two different sectors that is, those involved in human rights and legal aid service delivery, and experts in technology so as to achieve maximum gains towards human development. This Seminar provides a platform for ICT for Development (ICT4D) with a very specific rights-based focus.
The joint initiative of BRAC HRLS and BRAC ICT, the software application called iCRESS (Integrated Collaboration and Emergency Support Services) will be demonstrated and shared in the seminar. This application provides a wide range of services to connect different end points of human rights service delivery operations. By using this software land entrepreneurs can send alerts and receive updates to HRLS at the Headquarter and HRLS is also able to monitor field operations in real time through tracking applications.
BRAC started its Human Rights and Legal Aid Services Programme in 1986 with an aim to provide access of legal education and legal aid services to the vulnerable and disadvantaged. Currently the programme operates 530 Legal Aid Clinics in 61 districts across the country.
19 February 2012, Dhaka. A national debate competition was launched in the city at Bashundhara City aiming to facilitate the underprivileged secondary schools students to enable their inbuilt talents and skills to flourish. On 18th February Saturday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by BRAC, Debate for Democracy and ATN Bangla to start national level debate competition among 8,000 secondary schools in rural areas. Around 40,000 secondary school students will attend workshop and participate in the competition.
Education Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Director General of Higher and Secondary Education Nomanur Rashid, ATN Bangla Chairman Dr Mahfuzur Rahman, ATN Bangla Senior Vice President Nowazesh Ali Khan, BRAC Executive Director Dr. Mahbub Hossain, BRAC Education Programme Director Dr. Safiqul Islam, BRAC Education Programme General Manager Dr Joya Sengupta, and Debate for Democracy Director Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury Kiron, among others, attended the MoU signing ceremony.
In his speech Education Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury said that debate is a healthy competition. It creates logical attitude among the debaters. Debaters learn to study beyond their textbooks and also learn how to use information in proper way.
BRAC Executive Director Dr. Mahbub Hossain said that to have economic growth of our country we have to introduce beyond school-soft skills for our growing number of youth. By different initiative we have to focus on quality education in secondary level.
BRAC Education Programme Director Dr. Safiqul Islam mentioned that this is the fourth year of organizing this competition at national level and this year one third secondary school students of our country will participate in the competition.
09 February 2012, Dhaka. Addressing the issue of youth unemployment, urban poverty and maternal mortality remains challenges of the future.
Vowing to continue with the mission of fighting poverty, BRAC is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its inception through reflection from the past to harness the potential for the future. In a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters Unity Auditorium today, Executive Director Dr. Mahabub Hossain said that BRAC’s success has largely been possible because of its innovative approaches towards development and its relentless pursuit of scale. He highlighted on some of the biggest innovations of BRAC and their contribution towards the national development. He cited the example of BRAC’s contribution to reduce child mortality significantly in Bangladesh from Diarrhea by visiting every single household in Bangladesh and teaching mothers how to use a simple formula of preparing Oral Saline. He also highlighted achievements in education where almost 5 million disadvantaged children got a second chance and graduated from its non formal primary schools. Similarly, he cited the success of giving a Bangladesh bank sanctioned seasonal, reduced interest loan with technical assistance to tenant formers. So far, almost 250,000 farmers, out of which 60,000 are women, have gotten this benefit and almost 400 crores taka has been disbursed. “When we saw that almost 15% of the extreme poor could not even get microfinance, we introduced a grant based technical assistance programme for them in 2002. Research conducted to analyze the effectiveness of the model shows over 1.3 million lifted themselves out of extreme poverty receiving support from this program.
Addressing the question of future challenges, Dr. Hossain said, “Although we are making tremendous stride as a nation. But problems remain. Tackling the issue of maternal death, nutrition deficiency, urban poverty and a holistic solution for opportunities for younger generation will be some of our future challenges,” said Dr. Hossain.
Chief Financial Officer, S.N. Kairy focused on BRAC’s transparency of financial records. He explained the various financial checks and balances that are currently in place. “BRAC is the only organization in Bangladesh which has the independent ombudsman to address concerns and complaints.” said Kairy.
The Director of Communications, Asif Saleh announced a series of events surrounding the 40thAnniversary events targeted towards reflection and discussion of the learning from past 40 years. There is a special event on February 10th showcasing various achievements and announcing of a forward looking agenda. Representatives of all 12 countries and friends of BRAC from all over the world will be present.
It will be followed by special awards and BRAC day for its employees and a CD launch with top singers to raise awareness on the issues concerning adolescent girls on International Women’s Day. A special international conference is being planned in October focusing on the south-south collaboration, MDG goal 8. Also its research wing is publishing a book on BRAC’s learning over the last forty years for the development practioners.
Representatives from BRAC’s operation in Uganda and Afghanistan, where BRAC is the largest NGO, Barbara Mirembe and Ghulam Mehdi also attended the press conference respectively. “The ideology of Sir Fazle Hasan in engaging local staff in its international programmes is undoubtedly effective and should serve as an example to other multi-national NGO’s,” said Mirembe. Both the operations have over 95% staff hired locally from those countries.
Founded as a rehabilitation mission in 1972 by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed in the aftermath of the Bangladesh War of Liberation, today BRAC has turned into one of the largest development organizations of the world operating in 10 other countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean touching the lives of almost 138 million people worldwide.
9 February, 2012, Dhaka. BRAC Education Programme, Post-Primary Basic and Continuing Education unit (PACE) has been selected as the recipient of the TESOL Presidents’ Award 2012. TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) honors the work of BRAC-PACE in promoting English language education and teacher training in Bangladesh.
TESOL International Association (TESOL) is a global education association representing more than 12,000 English language educators worldwide. The TESOL Presidents’ Award is selected annually by TESOL’s Executive Committee in recognition of individuals or entities who have supported efforts for the field in line with TESOL’s values. This year, the Executive Committee selected BRAC-PACE in recognition of its support for Education throughout Bangladesh, and in particular its promotion of English language teaching in primary, secondary and post secondary education.
The Presidential Plenary will be held on Friday, March 30, 2012 in the Grand Ballroom in the Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Around 7,000 Head Masters & Assistant Headmasters received Management training, around 30,000 Secondary School Teachers received subject based training and around 15,000 Secondary School Management Committee (SMC) members received training on School Management & Administration from BRAC Education Programme, Post-Primary Basic and Continuing Education unit (PACE). The Objective of this training & workshops are to improve the quality of education of mainstream Secondary Schools in rural areas.
30 January 2012, Dhaka. The results are in! There were a lot of great ideas and feedback from all of our supporters. Congratulations to the ten innovators who have made it to the next round:
You can still see descriptions of all the innovative projects on BRAC's Facebook page.
1 February 2012, Dhaka. In Bangladesh, the development organization's Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program gives millions of the rural poor a fresh start with latrines at prices fair to buyers and sellers alike.
Rushada Shahad doesn’t run your typical home improvement showroom. You’ll find no stainless steel fixtures and chrome faucets in her backyard in the Bhaluka subdistrict of rural Bangladesh, where she runs a business selling latrine slabs and pillars. But what this enterprise and others like it lack in luxury, they make up for in impact, providing sanitation to tens of millions of Bangaldesh's rural poor.
BRAC, a global development organization based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, has announced it is financing the start-up of more businesses like Rushada's in a bid to reach households trapped in extreme poverty. With a new round of financial assistance from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the organization has begun rolling out the second phase of its WASH [Water, Sanitation and Hygiene] program. The first phase has already reached over 25 million people.
Rushada is a “sanitation entrepreneur” trained and financed by BRAC. Micro-franchised start-ups like hers are a “business in a box,” launched by individuals -- but with a business model, marketing support and interest-free loans provided by the organization.
“The WASH program of BRAC has provided 25.5 million people with sanitation, a remarkable increase,” says Babar Kabir, the director of the program. “We look forward to the second phase of the program, where we’ll direct our attention to the ultra-poor, or people living at the bottom 10 percent of the economic pyramid. We are working to eliminate open defecation in Bangladesh.”
BRAC, by most standards is the world's largest non-government organization, is currently scaling up market-based solutions such as these -- most of them developed in its home country of Bangladesh -- in 10 countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
About 2.6 billion people around the world lack access to basic sanitation, according to the United Nations. Lack of toilets perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition, with lack of access to clean water and sanitation killing an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five each year and children missing 443 million total school days annually due to related illnesses.
Late last year, BRAC received a three-year grant of up to $17 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its BRAC wash program in rural and semi-urban areas of Bangladesh.
11 January 2012, Dhaka. At the evening from 06.00pm to 09.00pm on January 07, 2012 the amazing and colorful function had get started through tuning the flute with drumbeats as keep hold the heritage of Bengal. Accordingly inaugural session of a few minutes went with different fine tuning activities of Art culture, specified by the starting song “Sob Cota Janala Khule Dao Na .....” and 10 candles lightening with recalling memory / reflections sharing from participants having past or present relation with the works of this section.
Former ED of BRAC and Adviser to the Caretaker Government Abdul Muyeed Chowdhury; Former Adviser to the Caretaker Government and ED of CAMPE Rasheda K. Chowdhury; ED of BRAC, Dr. Mahabub Hossain; Member of Planning Commission, Dr. Samsul Alam; Chairman – PSC, Ex Cabinet Secretary and former Advisor of this section Dr. Saadat Husain; Director, Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) Dr. Nurul Islam; Bureau Chief – Associated Press (AP), Farid Hossain; CEO - Boishakhi TV, Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul; Professor SIT Vermont, USA, Jeff Unsicker; renowned folk singer Mr. Fakir Alamgir; Ex. ProVC BRAC University and Ex. member of BRAC Governing Body Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed; Pro VC – BRAC University Professor Md. Golam Samdani Fakir; Director of the Institute of Governance Studies, Barrister Monjur Hussain and many other renowned persons of society and senior most persons of BRAC line management were present in the function.
Director, Gender Justice & Diversity and Advocacy Sheepa Hafiza delivered her welcome speech mentioning Goal & Objectives of this section, achievements and future plan. In her speech, she commemorates and highly emphasized on the Advocacy program launching speeches by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Chair Person, BRAC on December 24, 2002. The function was conjugated with inauguration of Policy Advocacy Course facilitated jointly by – Advocacy for Social Change, BRAC; Institute of Governance Studies, BRAC University and School of International Training (SIT), Vermont USA for both of local and foreign candidates.
With well wish and congratulation from other participant’s of the function, ED of BRAC Dr. Mahabub Hossain said “Continuous research works to find out laps and gaps, necessity estimation are in need to ensure better performance by advocacy activities.”
Finally the occasion went to the more colorful cultural show performed by the performers of BRAC Adolescent Development Program (ADP), Mr. Fakir Alamgir and a local group of artists.
11 January 2012, Dhaka. at Channel i office, Dr. Mahbub Hossain, Executive Director- BRAC, Safiqul Islam, Director- Education Programme , Faridur Reza Sagar, Managing Director, Impress Telefilm Ltd and Channel-i have attended the press conference event of Deepshikha, a cultural competition programme by BRAC Primary and Pre-primary school students. On press conference officially BRAC and Channel i declared details about ‘Deepshikha’ and the reason behind starting the competition.
At the beginning of February 2011 the competition was started at root level and it continued . Finally 150 participated were selected from divisional level. Well known celebrity like Shubir Nandi, Ferdous Ara, Laila Hasan, Minu Haque, Shomorjit Roy Chowdhury, Konokchapa Chakma, Jhorna Sarkar and Rabi Sankar Moitri were in the judge panel. Quarter final and grand finale will be broadcasted in Channel i.
Besides regular classroom study BRAC school students are involved in extra-curricular activities like singing, dancing, acting, drawing and reciting. BRAC School teachers help them to learn these with fun. Deepshikha is an initiative by BRAC Education Programme to bring out their hidden talents.
09 January 2011, Dhaka. At BRAC Centre, DG of Youth Development Directorate AKM Manjurul Haque and BRAC Education Programme's Director Safiqul Islam attended the ceremony of signing Memoranda of Understanding between BRAC and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The MoU will enable BRAC Multipurpose Community Learning Centres' members to receive institutional and non-institutional skill development training provided by Youth Development Directorate.
Every year 10,000 members (50% female) of BRAC Multipurpose Community Learning Centres will receive skill development training from Youth Development Directorate. Among members female candidates will get higher priority. BRAC will look after the logistics part.
BRAC Executive Director, Mahbub Hossain, Director of Communications Asif Saleh and Director of Training Abdur Razzaque were also speakers at the event.
AKM Manjurul Haque said that from this agreement both parties will be benefited as both of them have similar objective and that is to develop skilled society. Dr. Mahbub Hossain mentioned that we need to integrated approach to develop our youth. We can be economically advanced country if we can make them productive. This agreement is a good example of private-public partnership.