Dr. Fauzia Khan addressing learners in BRAC Primary school
The additional secretary Government of Sindh and the head of curriculum wing of Sindh, Dr. Fauzia Khan, inaugurated a BRAC Primary school in Baldia Town, Karachi.
BRAC in Pakistan, with financial support from DFID, has established 300 non-formal schools for out-of-school, marginalised children in April 2017. 9,000 learners have been enrolled in Karachi, Khairpur and Kambar Shahdadkot districts of Sindh province.
Dr. Fauzia Khan inaugurating the new school
During the opening ceremony of the school, Dr. Khan appreciated BRAC's efforts to provide education to out-of-school children, especially girls. She addressed the community and parents, and she encouraged learners to put their heart and mind in their studies. She also welcomed new admissions to the school and met with the school management committee members. “This project will significantly improve the net enrolment rate of Sindh province," she exclaimed, and pledged to extended the full support of the Government of Sindh for the capacity building of BRAC’s teachers.
BRAC in Pakistan has started 1,500 primary schools and enrolled 46,566 out-of-school children in the rural and urban slum areas of Sindh. 5,493 learners were successfully graduated and mainstreamed into middle schools with the help of the Education and Literacy department of the Government of Sindh.
BRAC announced five winners for bringing innovative solutions to the growing challenges faced by the people living in cities across Bangladesh. The mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Annisul Huq, announced the winners at an event organised at BRAC Centre today (7 May 2017).
Praising the initiative he said, “It’s wonderful to see the youth coming up with so many innovative ideas for the country. I really appreciate BRAC’s effort in creating a space and scope to incubate these innovations.” He also added, “The city corporation is always ready to support the new innovators to bring their ideas into effective solutions. We are hopeful for the results. Thanks to all the participants who joined the competition.”
Launched in October 2016, the competition created a platform for innovators, young entrepreneurs and university students to offer their solutions to the growing problems in urban areas. The three specific problem areas were: health, transportation and informal sector employment. The goal is to find the best ideas in Bangladesh and support innovators to build them into sustainable social enterprise models.
Around 600 applicants registered for the competition. 33 were short-listed for submitting full proposals. 13 teams were selected for the final round.
A jury of 5 experts including development practitioners and investors assessed the proposals on sustainability, relevance and human centricity of the design. Five teams are finally selected as winners. The winning teams are: Bhumijo and Bloodman in health category, Driver Mela and Servicing Campus in employment category and Amar Bike in transport category.
Winners will build their prototypes and test them in the field with BRAC in the next six months. They will receive mentoring, skills development and support, as well as a grant amount up to BDT 5 lac and linkage to potential investors.
The runners up of the competition are HealthSoc and The Neem Squad in health category, BlueSynaps, Team B and Unigigg in employment category and Barisal-1 and SmartTraffic in transport category. Identity Inclusion got special mention in health category.
Present as special guest, Executive Chairman of PPRC Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman said, “Innovation always works when there is an ecosystem. Innovative mind-set is another essential component of this system. I am happy that the competition was not Dhaka based, rather it was Bangladesh based, which proves that innovative mind-set is everywhere. We just need to give them a platform. The Urban Innovation Challenge not only ensured that platform but it also helped to produce responsible citizenship.”
In the concluding remarks, BRAC’s senior director Mr Asif Saleh said, “With our experience from the last 45 years, we can guide the young innovators to bring their ideas into a sustainable solutions. In order to do so, all of us the innovators, the mentors and the investors have to work together.”
Shout-Daily Star partnered the Urban Innovation challenge for youth engagement, Radio Shadhin for radio engagement, Beatnik for digital engagement and IDEO.ORG for knowledge management.
This competition was a part of BRAC’s newly launched urban development programme which focuses on improved service delivery, mobilisation and governance.
Participants at the Sphere Standards Review consultation convened by BRAC in Uganda
BRAC Uganda’s Emergency Response Programme organised a consultation workshop to review the Sphere Standards in Uganda on 12 April 2017, at Africana Hotel in Kampala.
BRAC convened the meeting of development partners in Uganda, including UNDP, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), War Child, Mercy Corps, Caritas and Catholic Relief Services, to share experiences from across different development sectors – food security and nutrition, WASH and health, shelter and non-food items, as part of a review exercise that will eventually feed into the overall global revision of the Sphere Handbook 2018 edition. According to the Sphere Project website, the year-long review and revision process offers opportunities for all users across the globe to engage and participate in the Handbook’s revision.
The Sphere Standards are the collective minimum set of principles that humanitarian actors agree to be guided by and harmonise the interpretation and execution of various interventions. The Standards stem from the Sphere Project - a voluntary initiative that brings a wide range of humanitarian agencies together around a common aim - to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance and the accountability of humanitarian actors to their constituents, donors and affected populations.
BRAC expressed today that it supports the demand of local communities for authorities to postpone the leases of haor waterbodies for one year and allow people affected by the current flooding to continue open-water fishing.
BRAC organised the press conference titled 'Haor crisis and our responsibilities' today on Wednesday (26 April 2017) at the Sagar-Runi Auditorium of Dhaka Reporter's Unity. BRAC arranged the press conference focusing on the responsibilities and plans to address the crisis on a long-term basis.
Joya Sengupta, lawmaker from the Sunamganj-2 constituency, Gawher Nayeem Wahra, director, BRAC Disaster Management and Climate Change programme, and KAM Morshed, director, Advocacy for Social Change, were present at the press conference. Representatives from the grassroots development organisations were also present at the event including, Nazmul Haque, executive director, Institute of Development Affairs (IEDA), MH Talha Chowdhury, executive director, Upama - Unnayan Parikalpanay Manush, and Muhammed Musa, executive director, Chetona Paribesh O Manob Unnayan Sangstha, Faruq Ahmed, chairman, Ashtogram union council, and Bidhan Chandra Chowdhury, chairman, Sulla union council.
Jaya Sengupta said, ‘The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief has already started distributing relief in the haor area. We want other organisations to come forward to the aid of the affected people as BRAC is doing.’ She further warned that if the Water Development Board fails to take immediate measures to solve the waterlogging problem of the haor area such crises will return again.
Gawher Nayeem Wahra said, 'BRAC has already undertaken an emergency relief initiative for the five haor districts. Our initiative comprises distribution of fodder to 7,000 families and immediate assistance for 50 thousand families worth BDT 15 crore, but relief is not enough to solve this crisis. We need long-term planning with pragmatic solutions.'
Local public representatives expressed deep concern over the distribution of relief, saying that many people cannot collect the relief as they have not been properly informed of the time and place of distribution. They also demanded more budget allocation to ensure proper rehabilitation of those affected.
At a recent event held in BRAC Driving School (BDS) in Dhaka, speakers stressed the urgency of ensuring international standard drivers training for all professional drivers. They also stated that such training would improve the attitude and skills of the drivers resulting in safer roads for all.
Earlier in April, ENA Transport Company, which is one of the biggest bus operators in Bangladesh decided to train 200 of its drivers by BRAC Driving School. These drivers are being put through a three-day residential training called Shurakkha. This is a defensive driving training course for in-service bus and truck drivers and focuses on modifying their attitude and behaviour.
On 18 April, M Mashiur Rahman, who is both secretary of National Road Safety Council and chairman of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority visited BDS to observe this training and distributed certificates to the successful participants. In his speech he urged upon all transport companies to help the government in reducing road crash by training their drivers. "Think about your families when you drive. It will encourage you to drive safely." he said to the participants. He urged that in-service drivers should consider driving training from institutions like BDS after expressing his contentment on Shurakkha.
BRTA's director of Road Safety, Mahbub e Rabbani and director of training, M Sirajul Islam, director of BRAC's road safety programme, Najmul Hussain and the managers and trainers of BDS attended the event.
Since 2012, BRAC Driving School has been offering Shurakkha. The course was developed by BRAC with support of Hubert Ebner - an organisation specialised in drivers training.
A study by BRAC reveals that the training not only improved safe driving skills of drivers but saved 30 per cent of transport operating costs. Shurakkha is provided in two formats - a three-day residential training and the other is a two-day residential and practical road test using vehicle mounted P - Drive system that grades drivers on their attention to safety, driving, attitude and behaviour.
BRAC will support 50 thousand families over the next month to cope with the immediate impact of the floods on their crops and livelihoods.
The non-governmental development organisation had already begun its regular relief efforts immediately after the floods hit. With the fast deterioration of the situation and spread of floodwaters, it is undertaking added emergency relief activities. A long-term rehabilitation programme will be launched in coming months, depending on the needs of the changing situation.
The emergency relief programme will be carried out in four districts; Kishoreganj, Sunamganj, Habiganj and Netrokona, in coordination with local government authorities.
Gawher Nayeem Wahra, director of BRAC's Disaster Management and Climate Change programme said, 'The situation has rapidly deteriorated in the last 48 hours. A new crisis has also emerged as fish and ducks are also dying, in addition to the widespread flooding of crops. This effort will support families to cope with the immediate crisis’.
Ten media professionals received Migration Media Award 2016, an initiative of BRAC to recognise the media’s role in promoting safe migration through objective journalism. The awards were given at a ceremony organised today on Wednesday (12 April 2017) at the BRAC Centre in the Dhaka city.
The awardees are:
Print media – 1st – Belal Hossen Biplob, The Daily Star; 2nd - Adil Sakhawat, Dhaka Tribune; 3rd - Abu Jor Ansar Uddin Ahamod, The Daily Samakal.
Television report – 1st – Mashrequl Islam Rahat, Maasranga TV; 2nd – Sabina Yesmin, ATN News; 3rd – Meraj Hossen Gazi, Bangla Vision.
Television programme – 1st – Hassan Ahamed Chowdhury Kiron, for programme telecast on ATN Bangla.
Radio – 1st – Md Mustafizur Rahman, Bangladesh Betar.
Online – 1st – Md Shariful Islam Hasan, Daily Prothom Alo.
Local journalism – 1st – Faruque Ahmad, Trishal upazila correspondent, The Daily Ittefaq.
Additional secretary to the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Jabed Ahmed attended the event as the chief guest with BRAC executive director Dr Muhammad Musa in chair. Noted writer and researcher Syed Abul Muksud was present as the special guest. The jury board members Syed Ishtiaque Reza, director news, 71 TV, Robaet Ferdous, associate professor, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Dhaka University, KM Ali Reza, deputy chief, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, and Jasiya Khatoon, director, WARBE-DF, were also present. BRAC Senior director for strategy, communication and empowerment Asif Saleh moderated the event.
Additional secretary Jabed Ahmed said, ‘The government wants everyone who seeks to work abroad has skill training before migrating. But it is not easy, it is a challenging task.’
Writer and researcher Syed Abul Muksud said, ‘We should not blame the government for all that are going wrong with the migrant workers. To solve the issues the government along with individuals, civil society, recruiting agencies, NGOs and representatives from the international NGOs needs to work hand in hand.’
BRAC ED Dr Muhammad Musa called on the media professionals to focus in their work all the sides of the migrant workers’ life right from the pre-departure situations to their effort to reintegrate into the society after coming back home. Hassan Imam, programme head, BRAC Migration Programme, in his keynote paper also said the media can play an even more effective role by giving coverage to the issues migrant workers or those aspiring to go abroad face at all the phases including the realities they deal with after they return.
The internal audit department normally conducts audits at all our cost centres on a sample basis. All departments or units in which irregularities are detected through the course of normal internal audit are then audited. Audits take place at least once a year and twice or more in locations and on programmes where a closer watch is warranted.
External audit of Stichting BRAC International, BRAC International Holdings B.V. and all of our legal entities are undertaken annually. Financial transparency is ensured by BRAC International’s finance and accounts division, which prepares financial statements following the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and relevant countries’ laws.
BRAC International strives for excellence and transparency in financial reporting. In Uganda, BRAC has been recognised as the best NGO in the Financial Reporting Awards in both 2011 and 2012. It received the first runner-up award in the same category in 2013 and 2014, for its preparation, disclosure and maintenance of a commendable financial reporting platform.
Stichting BRAC International
BRAC International Holdings BV
Successfully incorporated in the Netherlands in March 2009, Stichting BRAC International can be described as a general welfare institution that threads together BRAC International’s diverse development programmes around the globe into one unique garment. Our activities focus on long term sustainable poverty reduction. Our unique holistic approach to poverty alleviation and empowerment of the poor include a range of core programmes in economic and social development, health, education, human rights and legal services, as well as disaster management.
We are based in the Netherlands and our reach is far greater as we are incorporating our operations in Africa and Asia under Stichting BRAC International. We plan to expand our presence in other countries in the near future.
How Stichting BRAC International is structured
Our current operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Philippines, Myanmar and Nepal are brought under Stichting BRAC International. In each of these countries, entities are legally registered with the relevant authorities.
Stichting BRAC International’s vision is of a just, enlightened, healthy, and democratic world free from hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, and all forms of exploitation based on age, sex, and ethnicity.
Our mission is to work with people whose lives are dominated by extreme poverty, illiteracy, disease, and other disadvantages. With a holistic approach, we strive to bring about positive changes in the quality of life of the poor.
We achieve our mission by:
Stichting BRAC International aims to contribute to welfare activities to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of the poor. In line with the sustainable development goals (SDGs), Stichting BRAC International will work to:
Stichting BRAC International will receive grants, charities, and other assistance to the attainment of its goals.
Faruque Ahmed is the executive director of BRAC International. He previously held the position of senior director at BRAC International. He is also a member of the executive management committee.
Prior to this, Mr Ahmed was the director of BRAC’s health programme for 10 years, playing a critical role in shaping the organisation’s health strategy and scaling several community-based health and nutrition interventions.
Before joining BRAC, Mr Ahmed worked as senior operations officer in the health, nutrition and population team at the World Bank, Bangladesh.
Mr Ahmed started his career as a research and planning officer in 1976, and then worked in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. He serves as a member of the working group of Bangladesh Health Watch and formerly represented civil society on the GAVI Alliance board.
Mr Ahmed completed his master’s in health sciences from Johns Hopkins University, and master’s in economics from the University of Dhaka.
Strategy, Communication and Empowerment
BRAC and BRAC International
Asif Saleh is the senior director of strategy, communications and empowerment for BRAC and BRAC International. He oversees advocacy, information and communications technology, communications and the social innovation lab. He also leads the empowerment cluster, which includes migration, human rights and legal aid services, the urban development programme and the skills development programme.
Prior to joining BRAC in 2011, Mr Saleh was an executive director at Goldman Sachs and also worked at GlaxoWellcome, NorTel and IBM.
Upon his return to Bangladesh in 2008, he worked as a policy specialist for the UNDP-funded Access to Information Programme (A2i) at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Mr Saleh is the founder of Drishtipat, a global organisation with chapters across the globe focusing on human and economic rights of Bangladeshis. He was recognised for his work by Asia Society’s Asia 21 programme in 2008, the Bangladeshi American Foundation in 2007, and was selected as an Asia 21 Fellow in 2012. He was selected to be a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2013.
Mr Saleh holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an MBA in management from NYU Stern School of Business.
He is a member of the board of director for BRAC Net and IPDC, one of the oldest financial institutions in the country. He also chairs BRAC IT Services Limited. He is a board member of multiple non-profits, such as 1 Degree Initiative, Spreeha, Institute of Informatics and Development. Mr Saleh is a member of the advisory council of the Public Interest Registry and a 2013 mentor of the Unreasonable Institute.
Director, Africa Region
Lamia Rashid is the director of the Africa Region, BRAC International. She is responsible for developing and implementing country programmes, focusing on sector plans, resource mobilisation, and quality of country operations.
Previously, Ms Rashid served as the country director of Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh. Prior to this, she was the associate director of BRAC International where she led strategy formulation for the BRAC International countries, as well as large-scale country and multi-country programmes. She identified fundraising, business development and partnership opportunities for countries, regionally and globally.
Ms Rashid has worked in international development for over 22 years in several countries in Asia and Africa and in organisations including Save the Children and the World Bank. Her expertise lies in the areas of programme management, strategy development, technical support and policy analysis. She has a master’s in development studies from London School of Economics and Political Science.
Microfinance, BRAC and BRAC International
Shameran Abed is the director of BRAC’s microfinance and ultra poor programmes. BRAC’s microfinance programme serves more than five million clients in seven countries in Asia and Africa, and has total assets exceeding USD 1.7 billion. BRAC’s ground-breaking ultra poor programme has graduated more than 1.7 million households out of the direst forms of poverty and social deprivation and has inspired the global uptake of the ‘graduation model’ to tackle extreme poverty.
Mr Abed also serves as the chairman of BRAC Bank’s mobile financial services subsidiary, bKash, and is on the boards of IPDC Finance Limited and Guardian Life Insurance Limited. Additionally, he is a member of the Microfinance CEO Working Group and sits on the Microfinance Network Steering Committee and the World Economic Forum Financial Inclusion Steering Committee.
Mr Abed is a lawyer by training, having been made a barrister by the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in London, UK. He completed his undergraduate studies at Hamilton College in the United States, majoring in economics and minoring in political science.
Nanda Dulal Saha
BRAC and BRAC International
Nanda Dulal Saha FCA is the director of internal audit for BRAC and BRAC International. He also served on the board of BRAC EPL Investments Limited from 2009 to 2014. He joined BRAC in 2007 as the head of internal audit. He has over 14 years of experience in internal control system, assurance, accounting, finance, compliance, risk management , tax matters, and legal affairs.
Prior to joining BRAC, Mr Saha worked in audit and assurance services with Rahman Rahman Huq, Chartered Accountants, a member firm of KPMG International.
Mr Saha is a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh, and a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), USA and IIA Bangladesh. He is also a member of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), USA and ISACA Dhaka, Bangladesh Chapter. He served as director– membership of the ISACA Dhaka, Bangladesh Chapter for the period 2011-2015. He is currently a member of the Technical and Research of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh.
Chief People Officer
Munmun Salma Chowdhury is the chief people officer of BRAC International. Before joining BRAC, she was the global HR generalist in CARE USA (based in Bangladesh), covering 13 countries in Asia and the Middle East. She led the HR network of CARE in Asia and the Middle East, developed policy guidelines for an empowered and equitable workforce, and led the female leadership programme of CARE in Asia. Prior to that, she was the regional human resources business partner for Asia at CARE USA.
Prior to that, Ms Chowdhury served as the general manager of HRD, programme coordinator of education, and held several other positions at CARE Bangladesh. She also worked for Unity for Social and Human Action and the Association for Development Agencies of Bangladesh. Ms Chowdhury holds a master’s and PhD in psychology from the University of Dhaka.
Saif Md Imran Siddique
Saif Md Imran Siddique joined BRAC in January 2016 as the director of finance for BRAC International. Previously, he worked as the assistant vice president in Total Access Communication PCL (DTAC) in Bangkok, Thailand, under the Financial Planning and Analysis Division. Prior to that, he was the head of financial planning and budgeting at Robi Axiata Ltd in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
He began his career at Grameenphone Limited in 2001. After a brief study break, he joined Grameenphone again in 2004 and worked for nine years, where he served last as the general manager and head of business performance reporting.
Mr Saif brings with him a wealth of leadership and managerial experience in the telecommunications sector, especially in the areas of strategic financial management and cost efficiency initiatives, business planning, dynamic forecasting, business performance analysis, financial statements and management reporting. He holds an MBA from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA, and a BBA from North South University, Dhaka.
M Anwar Hossain
Country Representative, BRAC Afghanistan
Country Representative, BRAC Pakistan
Country Representative, BRAC Philippines
Country Representative, BRAC Liberia
Tapan Kumar Karmaker
Country Representative, BRAC Sierra Leone
Rakibul Bari Khan
Country Representative, BRAC Tanzania
Country Representative, BRAC South Sudan
Kazi Faisalbin Seraj
Country Representative, BRAC Myanmar
Country Representative, BRAC Uganda
Country Representative, BRAC Nepal
Tapan Kumar Karmaker
Managing Director, Micro finance Ltd., Liberia and Sierra Leone
CEO, Microfinance Ltd., Uganda