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Last modified on Thursday, 15 February 2024 13:11

BRAC and USAID launch the Bangladesh America Maitree Project to enhance the capacity of local NGOs Featured

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Today (15 February 2024), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and BRAC launched the new Bangladesh America Maitree Project that will expand new funding and training opportunities directly to grassroots-level nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to implement development programs in the communities they serve.

USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman and BRAC Executive Director Asif Saleh jointly announced the Maitree Project alongside representatives from local NGOs around the country. The project will establish a competitive grant-making facility in which local NGOs can apply for grants to conduct projects in health, education, agriculture, climate resilience, or address other development needs in their communities.

Local organizations will also receive training to improve proposal writing, project design and operational capacity – while strengthening their ability to collaborate, build networks, and develop local solutions to tackle development challenges.

“Locally-led development is the cornerstone of USAID’s philosophy and we are excited to partner with BRAC to help smaller NGOs improve their development programs and foster a more vibrant civil society,” said USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman.

Md. Saidur Rahman, Director General (DG) of the NGO Affairs Bureau at the Prime Minister’s Office, welcomed the Bangladesh America Maitree Project and emphasized the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors for the advancement of the country.

In his remark, BRAC Executive Director Asif Saleh said, “Localization is not an end in itself, but rather a means to an end. BRAC started as a relief organization but it grew bigger by continuously listening to the community. All its activities including microfinance, education, and health started as a response to community needs. Local level NGOs must devise their own solutions to address specific challenges instead of relying on donor-driven approaches. And that is why I am so excited about this Maitree Project, which aims to advance locally-led development.”

Local NGOs operating at the grassroots level have played a vital role in boosting Bangladesh's socio-economic development. As the country is eyeing graduation, local NGOs and civil society organizations can more easily adopt innovative program design methods, form partnerships with the private sector, and enhance their organizational strengths – enabling Bangladesh to witness a stronger civil society, significantly contributing to its path to becoming a middle-income country.

The Maitree Project will provide local NGOs with more resources for innovation and growth, and will actively transform the local partner ecosystem by promoting collaboration, coalition-building, and advocacy at various levels. The ultimate goal is to create a more resilient and dynamic civil society, benefiting Bangladesh's overall economic progress.

With support from USAID, the Bangladesh America Maitree Project is implemented by BRAC and aims to strengthen civil society in Bangladesh.

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