BRAC

BRAC

Sunday, 16 October 2016 00:00

The Jibika Project

Jibika-Project

 

In 2014, Chevron announced a USD 10 million commitment to create the Bangladesh Partnership Initiative (BPI), a five-year programme to support economic development for communities in the greater Sylhet region. Working with local non-governmental organisations and international development organisations, BPI aims to design effective and need-based social investment projects through three work streams: enterprise development, workforce development, and enabling growth and opportunity.

The Jibika project, the first of BPI’s enterprise development workstreams is being implemented by BRAC. The project‘s goals are to strengthen governance of community-based self-help groups and subsequently improve livelihoods of the marginalised farming households by promoting entrepreneurship and providing need-based training and guidance. To achieve these results, BRAC is working with over 100 village development organisations (VDOs) located around the regions of Chevron operations.

About the partnership
BRAC and Chevron believe in taking an integrated approach to supporting economic development in areas where they operate. Through Jibika, at least 20,000 people in the community will be given the resources they need to create better lives for themselves. From this group, 1,500 or more clients will establish or expand enterprises.

In addition to providing training in enterprise development and business management, as well as seed funding to VDO members, the Jibika project will establish 20 producer groups around four income-generating trades- goat, duck, and cattle rearing, and vegetable cultivation, of which Jibika will do extensive value chain development work. As part of its social empowerment interventions, the project will provide training on key social issues including dowry and early marriage prevention. Prior to all enterprise development and social programmes, Jibika will focus on improving the governance and developing the capacity of the targeted VDO and their members. The project will leverage BRAC’s integrated development programme by incorporating gender empowerment, health, microfinance, and skills training in agriculture, livestock rearing, and business development.

Objectives

  • Introduce social programming into VDOs and improve access to government services.
  • Create sustainable income and employment opportunities through value chain development in targeted sub-sectors and other need-based income-generating activities, and establish market linkages.
  • Improve the governance and institutionalisation of village development organisations.

 

Coverage

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District

Sub-districts

# Unions

#Villages

#HHs

Total Population

Sylhet

Sylhet Sadar

3

30

1,220

6,648

Maulvibazar

Kamalganj

1

11

549

2,990

 

Sreemangal

2

11

765

4,167

Habiganj

Nabiganj

3

28

1,137

6,195

Total

 

9

80

3,671

20,000

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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.

 

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International-Charity-web

BRAC was ranked the top International Charity of the Year for 2016 by the Charity Times Awards on 28 September. The award is organised by Charity Times Magazine, a trade publication for the UK non-profit sector. Lewis Temple, CEO of BRAC UK, received the award on behalf of BRAC.

The award highlighted BRAC’s history of designing and implementing solutions at scale, particularly the ultra poor graduation approach, which helps the poorest graduate out of poverty.
 
The award now in its 17th year was held in London. The event works to shine a celebratory light on the sector, raise standards and offer ongoing professional development to the thousands engaged in charitable work in the UK. BRAC was pleased to share the short list for International Charity with six outstanding organisations, including Hospices of Hope, Send a Cow, Shivia, United World Schools, Vision for a Nation Foundation and Y Care International.

Charity Times is a leading business and management magazine for UK non-profit professionals. It offers a wide range of in-depth, independently-written features and news analysis. Each year, the Charity Times Awards work to honour the outstanding professionals in the varied fields of charity management; recognise, celebrate, and promote best practice; support continuing professional development; contribute to raising the standards of charity management; promote and raise the profile of the charity sector; and provide recognition for those who are providing effective support to the sector.

To know more about the awards, please visit: http://www.charitytimes.com/awards/index.php

 

 

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It is with great regret that we inform that Mr Md Mainuddin Ahmed (44), Senior Area Manager, Small Enterprise Programme (SEP), BRAC Uganda was killed on 27 September, 2016 by unidentified miscreants. The Uganda police post-mortem report confirmed that he died due to strangulation.

Mr Mainuddin and our service staff Mr James Aworu were found unresponsive in the area office in Lira town on 27th morning. They were immediately taken to the Lira Regional Referral Hospital where the doctors declared Mr Mainuddin deceased.

Mr Aworu was admitted in critical condition and is now out of danger.

Mr Mainuddin’s laptop and phone were missing from the office. Uganda Police has commenced the investigation, but no arrests have so far been made.

BRAC Uganda office is coordinating with the Uganda government and Bangladesh consular office in carrying out all necessary official procedures involving the incident.

BRAC has informed Mr Mainuddin’s family in Bangladesh, confirming that the BRAC family stands beside them in this hour of terrible loss. He served the BRAC Microfinance programme for 18 years. Among his dearly loved ones, Mainuddin leaves behind his wife and two sons. His permanent residence is Kollyanpur, Dhaka.

BRAC started its operations in Uganda in 2006. It has around 2400 staff, of which 98 per cent is local staff members, making it the largest NGO in Uganda. To date BRAC has served 4.4 million people, which is almost 12 per cent of Uganda’s population. To know more about BRAC Uganda please click here.

 

 

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Research findings from LANSA-BRAC examines the relation of agriculture and nutrition

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Bangladesh achieved remarkable success in alleviating poverty but lags in the field of nutrition. Presently, 7.3 million children under the age of five are stunted while 2.9 million children are undernourished. To overcome this, experts are stressing on the diversity of agricultural production and agri-food value chain beyond farm to ensure food security, and fight against under nutrition.

On Tuesday, speakers shared such findings at a seminar titled ‘Nexus between Agricultural and Nutrition: Bangladesh Case’ at the BRAC Centre in Dhaka. The seminar was organised jointly by BRAC’s research and evaluation division, and international research partnership Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) which is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), UK.

Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, was present as chief guest at the seminar. Welcome speech was given by Prof. Abdul Bayes, director of research and evaluation division, BRAC. Dr Md. Sirajul Islam, programme head of BRAC's agriculture and food security programme presented findings from a research on the potential of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in curbing under nutrition in Bangladesh. The session was led by the head of BRAC’s impact assessment unit Andrew Jenkins where International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)’s Chief of Party Dr Akhter Ahmed, BRAC’s Research and Evaluation Division’s senior research fellow Barnali Chakraborty, researcher of BRAC-LANSA Dr Uttam Kumar Deb also presented papers. The presentations were followed by open discussion.

Addressing the key points of the research, Dr Md. Sirajul Islam said, “We need to focus on how the process of agri-food value chain and market distribution can be developed. That way, nutrition and food security for poor people can be ensured. This is going to be the next success of farm under food distribution management." He also mentioned that orange-fleshed sweet potato, which contains Beta-Carotene can play a vital role to preventing under nutrition problem.

Dr Akhter Ahmed said that the main objective of IFPRI's Agriculture, Nutrition, and Gender Linkages (ANGel) project in Bangladesh is to increase investment in agricultural activities and enable women to play a crucial role in curbing down under nutrition.

About nutritional wellbeing in Haor areas of the country, Barnali Chakraborty said, “Nutrition problem is extreme in Bangladesh, and 45 per cent children are stunted in the Haor areas. To prevent this situation, BRAC initiated a pilot project in 2013 in the upazila level.”

Dr Uttam Deb's paper indicated that diet diversity has increased in recent times and involvement in diversified agriculture (crop, horticulture, livestock and fish farming) contributes towards better nutrition (measured through BMI) and low income inequality.

Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, said, “Government has taken different initiative to develop and increase nutrition for mass people. Ministry of Agriculture is evaluating various methods for nutrition enhancement through Agriculture, Nutrition, and Gender Linkages (ANGel) project.

 

 

 

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Emily Coppel Headshot sm

Special to the Philanthropy Journal

By Emily Coppel

A little more than 30 years ago in Bangladesh, Naveen’s* mother was about to give birth to a baby girl. Her family was relatively well off, and she was able to deliver in one of the better hospitals in the country. But complications arose just after Naveen came into the world: her mother began to hemorrhage internally; she was bleeding profusely and her fever wouldn’t drop. The doctors said Naveen’s mother had an infection, and the hospital had just one dose of antibiotics. Thankfully, she could afford the antibiotics. Miraculously, she survived.

High maternal and child mortality rates historically have been seen as a telling indicator of a country’s failing health system. In 1980, the situation was especially stark in Bangladesh: two in every 25 babies would die as an infant; one in every hundred mothers would not survive childbirth. With 84 million people (now nearly 160 million) living in a country the size of Iowa, a public health solution needed to be expansive.

BRAC LogoAlthough it isn’t well known in the US, one of the largest NGOs in the world began in Bangladesh in the 70s. Known as BRAC, the organization now reaches 138 million people, in 11 countries worldwide, with programs that range from healthcare to education, gender justice to microfinance. Recently, BRAC was ranked the number one NGO in the world by NGO Advisor, largely because of its unique self-financing model – 70 percent of the organization’s budget comes from its own social enterprises.

But in the 80s, BRAC was still growing, developing programs to help the country recover from the 1971 war of independence and a series of cyclones, both of which contributed to devastating, widespread poverty. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, a former Shell Oil executive, founded BRAC because he was motivated by the urgent needs of his fellow Bangladeshis. The country’s pressing health crisis was foremost in Abed’s mind.

Faced with the challenge of extremely high maternal and child mortality rates, another organization might have built a hospital or shipped medical supplies to Bangladesh. Abed and BRAC took a different approach. At the time, diarrheal disease was one of the biggest killers of children. The disease precipitated severe dehydration, leading to a loss of electrolytes that was lethal for children. In rural areas of Bangladesh, few people knew how to treat sick children suffering from the disease.

BRAC researchers developed a simple yet life-saving solution: a combination of salt, sugar and water, which, if given in the correct proportion, would rehydrate children and decrease their likelihood of death to just one percent. A pinch of salt, one fistful of sugar and a liter of water created the perfect elixir. The formula was only one part of the solution; teaching and persuading families to give this liquid to their children was the real hurdle.

BRAC piloted a project that trained volunteers from communities without access to health resources. These volunteers were women, over the age of 25, with a basic level of education. They became community health workers, known in Bangladesh as Shasthya Shebikas.

The Shasthya Shebikas trained new mothers face-to-face on how to make and administer the rehydration solution to their children. They revisited mothers regularly, testing them on how to make the mixture correctly and ensuring they gave it to their children when they fell sick. After significant trial and error, BRAC altered the teaching approach and established incentives for effective training. The program worked. BRAC scaled up to ultimately reach 12 million households in almost every village in Bangladesh.

In 1988, one in five children died from cholera or diarrheal-related disease. By 2007, it was one in 50.

When BRAC pivoted to address maternal health in the 80s, this massive network of Shasthya Shebikas proved instrumental. BRAC trained them in pre- and post-natal care to ensure that pregnant mothers had the tools for a safe and healthy birth. These volunteers visited mothers regularly throughout their pregnancy, monitoring their vital signs and referring them to nearby clinics when necessary.

The organization also sold medicine to Shasthya Shebikas at a low cost, and they in turn sold them to villagers for a low, fixed price. The program became self-financing, and the health workers were even able to make a small profit. Today, BRAC has a network of more than 100,000 health workers in seven countries, reaching millions worldwide.

This approach – finding a simple solution, testing it and scaling it up – is used by BRAC across health, education, financial empowerment, livelihood, and all of its program areas.

For mothers like Naveen’s, faced with complications giving birth, or nursing a sick child, it’s often the low-tech solutions – a trained health worker, access to medication, or a rehydrating liquid – that offer the real miracles. It’s the simple solutions that save the most lives.


*Naveen’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.

 

This article was originally posted here: http://pj.news.chass.ncsu.edu/2016/08/01/brac-usa/

 

 

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The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the government today regarding BRAC’s taxable status. The income tax law changed over time and, as a result, the taxable amount applied to BRAC changed. BRAC contested that non-profit organisations should be exempt from income tax.

Today's ruling overturned the High Court verdict from 2014 that declared that the income from BRAC’s social enterprises would be exempt from income tax. BRAC is a non-profit organisation and the income generated by BRAC’s social enterprises supports BRAC’s social development programmes. In the 2014 financial year alone, BRAC paid more than 91 crore taka (11.61 million USD) in tax and other forms of revenue.

BRAC respects the latest ruling by the Supreme Court, the full text of which has not yet reached BRAC management. Once this verdict is received, we will take legal counsel and decide our next course of action.

Our social development programmes across the country and millions of people who benefit from them will not be adversely affected by the outcome of this ruling.

 

 

MoU-BRAC-Orbis

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Dr Munir Ahmed (country director, Orbis International Bangladesh) and Dr Kaosar Afsana (director of HNPP, BRAC) exchange the MoU in presence of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed (founder and chairperson of BRAC).

BRAC and the US-based international organisation, Orbis International, with the support of Qatar Development Fund, has signed an agreement today for extending quality modern eye care treatment for the ultra poor. It aims to strengthen community eye health services across four districts, increasing access to eye care for children in Bangladesh. This activity forms part of a new initiative called Qatar Creating Vision (QCV).

The agreement was signed at BRAC Centre, in the presence of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, chairperson of BRAC, Dr Kaosar Afsana, director of BRAC Health, Nutrition and Population Programme, and Orbis International Bangladesh's country director, Dr Munir Ahmed, and director of programmes, Md Alauddin.

At the occasion, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed said, “Many are suffering from vision problems, helping those unfortunates to see the world with primary care service is crucial. We must work collectively to ensure the primary eye care service for all.”

Country Director of Orbis International Bangladesh, Dr Munir Ahmed said, “We have committed to achieve the Vision 2020 goal, and without universal eye health coverage, this would be impossible.”

A spokesperson from Qatar Development Fund said, “Half of childhood vision loss can be prevented or cured, so there is much that can be done, particularly for children in hard-to-reach or poor areas.”

According to the MoU, Orbis International will partly fund the construction of four vision centres, contributing around BDT 13 million, based on the model of primary health care centres to provide free eye check-ups. These centres will be built in the Khansama Upazila of Dinajpur, Nandail Upazila of Mymensingh, Dumuria Upazila of Khulna, and Homna Upazila of Comilla. The five-year-long MoU between BRAC and Orbis International will continue till June 2020. Supported by the Qatar Development Fund, the initiative will conduct one million eye tests, treat 100,000 children with uncorrected refracted errors, and perform 10,200 eye surgeries.   
 
At the signing ceremony, BRAC informed that 16 more vision centres will be constructed. The main objective is to ensure quality eye care services for the ultra poor through telemedicine technology. Furthermore, the middle class will receive eye check-up, registration, necessary suggestions and treatments at reasonable costs.

 

 

Thursday, 14 July 2016 00:00

BRAC evacuates staff from South Sudan

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BRAC evacuates staff from South Sudan after violence erupts

Vice President Riek Machar arrives in Juba on a UN flight from Gambela Ethiopia on April 26, 2016

 

 

A delicate ceasefire appears to be holding in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, after five days of heavy fighting between forces loyal to the President, Salva Kiir and those loyal to the vice-president, Riek Machar. There is widespread concern that violence will breakout again leading to calls for a buffer zone to be established. The rival forces from the Dinka and Nuer tribes battled each other using anti-aircraft guns, artillery attack helicopters and tanks, almost five years to the day after South Sudan declared independence from Sudan.

More than 300 people have been killed in the violence, including many civilians, and 36,000 people have been displaced with some seeking shelter in UN compounds and others hoping to make the long journey to Uganda and find safety. On Monday evening the clashes terminated following orders from senior leadership on both sides.

BRAC have been working in South Sudan since 2006 delivering services in education, youth empowerment, peace building, healthcare and nutrition, agriculture and food security, and livelihoods. When independence came in 2011, BRAC staff supported the world’s newest country to develop schools and reach remote villages to deliver healthcare. Currently working in 11 counties across 4 states, BRAC have created opportunities for more than 1.3 million people.

The deteriorating security situation in South Sudan is deeply concerning and BRAC has temporarily evacuated staff from areas where violence has erupted. We are additionally concerned about the impacts of sustained civil conflict on a vulnerable population that is already threatened by famine in some locations. As soon as the situation allows BRAC will continue reaching out to communities in need across our operations.

 

 

BRAC media brief on food shortage in Thanchi

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BRAC organised a press briefing today on Thursday on the food shortage in Thanchi upazila. BRAC directors KAM Morshed (left) and Gawher Nayeem Wahra (middle) and Thanchi local inhabitant Piyaching Mro.

Non-governmental organisation BRAC has urged the government to undertake long-term measures to sustainably solve the ongoing food shortage in the remote Thanchi upazila of Bandarban. Among a number of recommendations it has made includes urgent measure to issue voter identity cards to the citizens inhabiting remotest part of the upazila, which will ensure proper distribution of the government food aid.

BRAC organised the media briefing on Thursday at the BRAC Centre at Mohakhali to share its observations from the two field visits its officials made in the current month. More than a dozen staff members including the director of its Disaster Management and Climate Change (DMCC) programme visited the remote upazila.

DMCC director Gawher Nayeem Wahra made the recommendations at the briefing. Among other speakers at the event were Mr KAM Morshed, director, Advocacy for Social Change, Technology and Partnership Strengthening Unit, Piyaching Mro, local community leader in Thanchi, Khamlai Mro, former Thanchi upazila chairman, Apul Tripura and Chinmoy Mro of local civil society organisation Grouch and local volunteer Rajumoy Tanchangya.

The recommendations included cash assistance besides giving rice, fixing date, time and place for rice distribution and informing it to the families affected beforehand, strengthening of malaria diagnosis and treatment for remotest villages, providing alternative means for earning, creating suitable linkages to bring agro-produce to the market, developing transport communication.

BRAC officials said they have identified 1000 households in most need and already handed Tk 2000 cash to 200 families each to enable them to buy medicines and food.

Gawher Nayeem Wahra said, 'According to our estimates, around 20 thousand people of Thanchi upazila are suffering from food shortage. People in Tindu and Remakri unions along with 11 villages in the remotest part of Thanchi Sadar union are suffering the worst. In these areas Mro, Khumi, Tripura, Khyang and Bawm are in worse situation'.