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10 December 2011, Dhaka. The 5th annual e-Asia event, Asia’s largest ICT for Development Conference and Exhibition convened in Dhaka from 1st – 3rd December 2011 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. The conference focused on e-technology and the progress, prospect and problems faced in Bangladesh with regards to innovative technology in an Asian context. With the slogan ‘Realising Digital Nation’, the event commemorated the launch of Digital Bangladesh 2021, an initiative to increase ICT literacy in the country, provide government services through e-platforms and generate more employment in the service industry for the increasing number of young professionals entering the job market.

As one of the Knowledge Partners for the event, BRAC, in conjunction with BRAC University and BRAC, showcased their innovative developmental products and shared their expansion activities in agriculture, education, human rights, healthcare and disaster management using information and communication technology. Some of these include iCARESS (Integrated Collaboration and Rapid Emergency Support Services), which is designed to address comprehensive collaboration effort across various BRAC programmes, educational materials in conjunction with Computer Aided Learning, the launching of BRAC’s e-Education website and the various products under their Solar project (e.g. flashlights). Also showcased at the BRAC stall was ChondroBot, a mining device constructed by students from BRAC University which facilitated their progress to the second round in NASA’s 2nd Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition earlier this year.

Representing BRAC at the various seminars were Dr. Safiqul Islam, Director, BRAC Education Programme, who chaired the session on Future Classroom: Increasing Learning Achievements; Asif Saleh, Director, Communications who presented on Electronic and mobile payments - Financial Inclusion for the unbanked, with relation to bKash; and Masum Billah, Program Manager PACE, BRAC Education Programme and Mahmuda Yasmin Shaila, a Lecturer at BRAC University, both of whom addressed Localised Content for Digital Learning.


09 December 2010, Dhaka. From One to Many: Scaling Up Health Programs in Low Income Countries, published by The University Press Limited was recently launched. The book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning about both the problems and the opportunities involved in effectively scaling up health programs.

The book is a collection of articles submitted to the International Conference on Scaling Up Health Programs, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2008. This edited volume is comprised of 17 chapters, two of which focus specifically on BRAC's efforts and successes in scaling up maternal health programs as well as the rural tuberculosis program.

In the foreword, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, Sir Fazle Abed, writes, "the problems of poverty and disease are immense, therefore so should be the scale of the solutions." This edited-volume takes a deep look at many of the health care problems faced by the world's poorest, and provides a framework for understanding the challenges and opportunities within the field.

From One to Many: Scaling Up Health Programs in Low Income Countries has been released in Bangladesh, Germany and Switzerland and was edited by:

  • Richard A. Cash: Senior Lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health, Visiting Professor at the James P. Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University; BRAC USA Board Member
  • A. Mushtaque R. Chowdhury, Associate Director at the Rockefeller Foundation, Professor at Columbia University in New York
  • George B. Smith, Food Systems Expert
  • Faruque Ahmed, Director of the BRAC Health Program

07 December 2011, London. Leading Asian restaurants in Surrey proudly handed over multiple cheques last night to Vision Bangladesh - an ambitious charity project eradicating cataract blindness in Bangladesh.

Loyal customers have been donating generously during October and November to help pay for operations in Bangladesh where there are high levels of blindness because of poverty and lack of facilities. 

It costs just £20 to pay for one sight saving operation.

Jubair Zaman, owner of the award winning Curry Inn restaurant in Cranleigh (, explained how he raised more than £400 in just over two weeks:

"We signed up for Vision Bangladesh's £1 on the Bill campaign. We found that people were really happy to give £1 or more on to their normal bill. It was a simple way of raising funds for a really important cause. We would like to thank our customers for their generous support."

Other restaurants - such as the Indus Restaurant in Banstead and Star of India in Cheam - also raised significant amounts from collecting small voluntary donations during October and November. 

Mr. Malik, Proprietor of “The Star of India” Indian cuisine, hosted the cheque handing ceremony of the £1 on the bill campaign in the Surrey region in collaboration with Mr. Shah Abdul Malik Azad, Regional Representative of Surrey and General Secretary of the Bangladesh Caterers Association (Surrey Region). The group of more than 20 restaurants in Surrey are planning other fundraising events in the Spring to help reach the target of raising £1.5 million for Vision Bangladesh by 2013.

Members of the public can continue to donate online at or by a simple text message. Text BRAC20 and the amount you wish to donate (up to £10) to 70070 (e.g. your text could read BRAC20 £10).

To date, BRAC and Sightsavers have completed more than 29,000 successful cataract operations since January 2011 and are ahead of target to eradicate avoidable blindness in Sylhet Division by 2013.

95% of funds raised will go directly to deliver the Vision Bangladesh programme in Sylhet Division, Bangladesh.

Sunday, 04 December 2011 18:00

Secondary Education, one step ahead

05 December 2011, Dhaka. “What we could not explain easily through regular teaching method, e-content helps to do it easily. Students usually memorize formula, now we can explain all formula easily through this interactive content”. These were the words of a Mohiuddin Deyan, Mathematics teacher from Dewyahata A J High School, Mirjapur, Tangail, on the positive impact of the use of interactive videos in his school.

On November 30, 2011, BRAC Education launched to make secondary education one step ahead. From this site high school teacher, students in fact anyone can view online or download interactive educational materials which are based on based on the national curriculum. It is an endeavor to make the textbook contents easier, interactive and stimulating. It also ensures conceptual clarity and better application of learning materials and aims to increase the teachers’ understanding of the lessons. On April 3, 2011, BRAC launched two interactive educational CDs for General Science and General Math for high school education in Bangladesh. These were the very first CDs that have been launched by BRAC Education Programme. Initially in site General Science (grade 6) and General Mathematic (grade 6) and English (grade 9 & 10) will be available. It will be always upgraded with more interactive contents as per National Curriculum & Textbook Board Bangladesh.  These contents have been introduced through various activities, games, cartoons and animation to make the learning joyful and participatory.

It is found that the drop out rate is very high among high school students. On the inauguration event Dr. Shafiqul Islam, Director BRAC Education Programme mentioned that technology has its own attraction which holds students in study. He shared the story that how it was started when BRAC found that the main problem of our education system is decreasing teaching quality.

Dr. M. Kaykobad, Professor Department of Computer Science and Engineering - BUET suggested that BRAC should share this content in education oriented programmes on TV channels.

M Nazrul Islam Khan, National Project Director of the A2I appreciated the effort of BRAC and mentioned ‘Access to Information’ has interest with work with BRAC to expand technology based education in rural areas. He also mentions government’s initiative to use technology in high schools around the country. Government has a plan to use solar panel where electricity is unavailable.

The online contents were launched at the end of the event by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the Founder and Chairperson of BRAC. He mentioned that we can bring the change if we are determined to do it.

Dr. Mahbub Hossain- Executive Director of BRAC, Asif Saleh - Director BRAC Communications, a team from A2I , government officials and BRAC staffs were present there.

03 December 2011, London. Regional Representatives for the Vision Bangladesh campaign in Cheltenham and Gloucester Mr. Mohammed Hafizur Rahman and Mr. Akik Fozlur Rahman officially launched the campaign in their two regions at the Spice Lodge, Montpellier Drive in the presence of Cheltenham’s MP Mr. Martin Horwood and Asian restaurateurs in their regions.

Vision Bangladesh is a ground breaking partnership between BRAC and Sightsavers – two highly respected international charities. The aim is to eradicate avoidable blindness in Sylhet by 2013 and across the whole of Bangladesh by 2020.

A simple 20 minute operation costing only £20 can change a person’s life forever.

Martin Horwood, MP of Cheltenham, with years of international development experience in the past described the project as unique and stated:
“This £1 on the bill is ingenious and should win a fundraising award. It is easy for restaurants to implement and affordable for the donors.”

He also supported the effort that restaurants in Cheltenham were putting in to make this fundraising campaign become a success.

Regional Representative of Cheltenham Mr. Mohammed Hafizur Rahman and proprietor of “Spice Lodge” generously hosted the event. Being a strong supporter of the campaign and having already started the fundraising in his restaurant he commented:
“Vision Bangladesh is a unique campaign targeting 100,000 cataract operations in a matter of 3 years. It is a project that is worth applauding and I feel a stronger bond as it’s initially happening in Sylhet where I am originally from. I am proud that I am part of something where with such little money, we can have such a great impact to restore sight to so many people.”

The Regional Representative of Gloucestershire Mr. Akik Fozlur Rahman and proprietor of Rajdoot restaurant in Cirencester happily stated,
“I am so happy to be a part of this brilliant campaign. This campaign gives me, other restaurant proprietors and the wonderful customers who support it, the chance to donate very little and restore sight to poor people who would not have a chance to support themselves and their families."

Rokib Ali, Proprietor of Biplob Restaurant in Swindon expressed a strong connection with the project when he clearly recognized one of the patients to be a tailor from his village, who had his sight restored by the campaign in Bangladesh and said,
“This project should be a brilliant success. We are all behind you to support you in this excellent endeavour in helping so many people across Sylhet division.”

Vision Bangladesh’s British-Bangladesh regional representatives cover England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each regional representative is responsible for mobilising restaurants in their area and supported by BRAC UK with the necessary materials and administration. To date, the campaign has secured commitments of up to 300 restaurants with more joining up every week.

Customers at participating restaurants will be given the option of donating £1 per table at the end of their meal. Those not wishing to take part can easily opt out. It is expected that each participating restaurant will be able to raise £1,000 during October and November. 95% of funds raised will go directly to deliver the Vision Bangladesh programme in Sylhet Division, Bangladesh. Since 2011, Vision Bangladesh has organised more than 21,000 successful cataract operations in Sylhet Division and is on target to eradicate avoidable blindness in Sylhet by 2013.

Participating restaurants in Cheltenham are: Spice Lodge, Sami’s Spice, Balti Wala, Kings Balti, Kashmir Tandoori, Robis Takeaway, Indian Brasserie, Vojon Restaurant, Raj Dut Restaurant, India Gate, and Real Spice. Participating restaurants in Gloucestershire are: Rajdoot Restaurant, Biplob Tandoori, Jaflong, Curry Garden, Lalbag, Gulshan, Mela, Jewel in the Crown, The Raj, Jack Spice, Taj Mahal in Swindon and Taj Mahal in Chippenham, Raja, Moonlight, Bengal Spice, Bengal Balti, Sultan Restaurant in Cirencester and Sultan Restaurant in Melksham, Spice of Asia and Tamarind.

Members of the public can also donate online at or by a simple text message. Text BRAC20 and the amount you wish to donate (up to £10) to 70070 (e.g your text could read BRAC20 £10).

Thursday, 01 December 2011 18:00

BRAC Uganda wins two Financial Reporting Awards

02 December 2011, Kampala. BRAC Uganda, one of the leading non-governmental development organisations in Uganda, last Friday, 25th November 2011, won two of the maiden Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) Financial Reporting Awards. The first award, being the best in the NGO Category Financial Reporting Award 2011 and, the other, a Bronze Award, being the third best overall in Financial Reporting 2011 in all sectors in the Country. These follow the Gold Award for Social Performance Management awarded by the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU) to BRAC Uganda in September.

The ICPAU awards were presented to BRAC Uganda’s Principal Accountant, who is responsible for all BRAC Uganda finances, Mr.  Daniel Businge, by the Uganda Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Maria Kiwanuka at a presentation dinner held in the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala. In a speech during the award ceremony the Honourable Minister said” “The accountancy profession plays a crucial role in the prudent management of economic resources, both in the private sector and public sectors, through the application of professional standards.”

The ICPAU Financial Reporting Awards aim at encouraging the implementation of financial reporting standards as well as improving the quality of financial and business reporting in Uganda. The awards which drew 37 participants were open to all organisations which produce annual reports in the country and were meant to provide an opportunity to the participating organisations to benchmark their reports against the ICPAU’s criteria of good financial reports. Each annual report was judged against itself, based on its success in communicating its organisation’s story.

The awards were sponsored by Vision Group, East African Development Bank, The African Capacity Building Foundation and the National Planning Authority.
“These two Awards in Financial Reporting justify our major goal of ensuring clear, reliable and understandable financial reports for our major partners and other stake holders,” Mr. Businge said.

BRAC Uganda, providing access to finance and critical livelihood development services to thousands of the country’s poorest people, has been operating in the country for only five years in which it has grown to be the largest NGO in the country. These awards are confirmation that alongside growth, BRAC is putting equal emphasis on ensuring transparency and accountability.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 18:00

South Asia Social Forum ends with new hopes

01 December 2011, Dhaka. Five day long South Asia Social Forum (SASF), an international platform to address different contemporary issues for a peaceful South Asia from November 18-22 ended with new hopes and new determination to build a new South Asia. SASF, Bangladesh 2011 was organized with 13 plenary, hundreds of seminars, youth forum, social fair, film show, art camp, cultural show etc.

BRAC has participated in this wonderful international event. More than thousand BRAC people participated of the inauguration rally. Dr Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC, Sheepa Hafiza, Director, Gender Justice & Diversity and Advocacy for social change were present as speaker in different plenary and seminar.

SASF expressed their determination with “Dhaka Statement” where the participants expressed their solidarity to mobilize their efforts in order to assert the agenda of people’s economic survival and political autonomy against all forms of authoritarianism, hierarchy and domination;

The main theme for the South Asia Social Forum 2011 Bangladesh was set "Democracy for Social Transformation in South Asia: Participation, Equity, Justice and Peace". This theme is to highlight and oppose the neo-liberal, hegemonic and authoritarian “poverty reduction” development policy and paradigm. The forum is intended to focus on this structural concern with a clear transformational agenda.

More than seven hundred international and several thousand national participants attended the event. Over six hundred organisations took part in the forum and more than 150 activities took place. University of Dhaka (DU) was co-host of the programme.

21 November 2011, Dhaka. The GAVI Alliance (formerly the “Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation”) is Geneva-based public-private partnership which strives to improve health in the world’s poorest countries. The Alliance connects developing countries with government donor organisations, the World Health organisation, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.

GAVI provides life-saving vaccines and works to strengthen health systems. In its first decade of work, GAVI has financed the immunisation of 325.6 million children and prevented more than 5.5 million premature deaths.

On November 11th 2011, BRAC played co-host to The GAVI Alliance Board Meeting and associated events. The week began with the GAVI-Civil Society Organisation Steering Committee meeting, a series of activities and field visits, in addition to the observance of World Pneumonia Day. The week then ended with a culminating GAVI Board meeting from the 15th to the 17th.

Members from participating countries led the Steering Committee Meeting. Among others, Rosemary Anderson Akola (Oxfam Ghana), Awunyo-Akaba  (Future Generations International, Ghana), Sabrina Bakeera Kitaka (Uganda Pediatric Association), Daniel Berman (Médecins sans Frontier, Switzerland), Marwin Meier (World Vision Germany), Naveen Thacker (Indian Academy of Pediatrics) and Simon Wright (Save the Children) were present. Dr. Akramul Islam, Programme Head, BHP, and Dr. Sharmin Akhter Zahan, Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, acted as BRAC participants.

On November 12th, as an observance of Pneumonia Day, participants travelled to various field sites to raise awareness and to network with GAVI-CSO and country CSOs like BRAC. Three Parliamentary Members from the UK, Mr. Ivan Lewis MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development; Lord Mohamed Iltaf Sheikh of Cornhill, Vice-Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Bangladesh and Mr. Jim Dobbin MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Global Action against Childhood Pneumonia has joined the visit. Along with the CSO-SC and British MPs, representatives from MOHFW of Bangladesh Govt. and EPI and DG Health were present. The participants were divided into three groups in three sites that included visits to the local Upazila Health Complex to observe the cold chain system for vaccination, immunisation in government community clinic and CSO activities for health education and community mobilisation for immunisation in BRAC’s field operation. A video message by BRAC’s founder and chairperson, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, stressing the importance of preventative measures for pneumonia in Bangladesh was shown while concluding the session in Ruposhi Bangla Hotel on the 13th of November.

Field visits for the board members were organised on November 14th in different locations, including Upazilla Health Complexes, community clinics, where immunisation sessions occurred, as well as neighbourhoods, to view the activities of community mobilisation for immunisation by BRAC Health Volunteers.

Over the next two days, the GAVI Alliance Board Meeting began in the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel, Dhaka. The meeting started with a welcome speech by Mr. Dagfinn Høybråten, Chair, GAVI Board and former Health Minister of Norway. The CEO Report was presented by Dr Seth Berkley, who mentioned and reported, “I would particularly like to highlight and thank Faruque Ahmed as a former Board Member and Director of the BRAC  Health Programme, which represents one of the best examples of the power of civil society in Development in Bangladesh and the world”.

GAVIs Immunisation short film transmitted an interview conducted by Saleha Akhter, a member of BRAC’s Adolescent Development Programme with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheik Hasina as well as those involved in Bangladesh's remarkable success over the last decade to reach children with vaccines including a health worker, a mother, BRAC's Faruque Ahmed, and the Minister of Health. The next session followed with Prof. AFM Ruhal Haque’s Country Report on Bangladesh, where Prof. Haque again mentioned the CSOs role.

The concluding session was remarkable as the CEO and Chair Mr. Høybråten renewed his thanks for the work of the Bangladesh Government and the partners like UNICEF, WHO and particularly BRAC, in the efforts of immunisation and vaccination.

21 November 2011, Dhaka. Lessons Learned Sharing Session on “Active Citizens and Accountable Local Government” project of Community Empowerment Programme, BRAC, with assistance from United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), was held on 21st November, 2011, at BRAC Centre Inn.

The session was chaired by Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director, BRAC. Dr. Akbar Ali Khan, former Adviser of the Caretaker Government was present as the Chief Guest at the session. We were also honored to have Dr. Asif Nazrul, Professor, Department of Law, Dhaka University as Special Guest, and Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, Vice President and Country Director, The Hunger Project-Bangladesh and Dr. Dilara Chowdhury, Professor, North South University as guest speakers. The welcome address inauguration of the session was given by Anna Minj, Director, Community Empowerment Programme, BRAC. Presentation on lessons learned from the “Active Citizens and Accountable Local Government” project was given by Kazi Nazrul Fattah, Programme Manager, Community Empowerment Programme, BRAC. Representatives from various government, non-government organizations, embassies, members of the civil society, Union Parishad Chairman and representatives, and project beneficiaries and participants were also present.

The main aim of the Active Citizens and Accountable Local Government project was to create conditions for more active civic engagement among rural poor citizens and strengthen capacities of local government towards more accountable and effective governance. The main activities of the project included creating Citizens Committees as ward level community watch groups of the local governments and evaluation of the Union Parishad through these rural people. Through this project grassroots people became sensitized about their rights and civic responsibilities. In addition, local government representatives became sensitized about their responsibilities.

The Active Citizens and Accountable Local Government Project was implemented in 10 Upazilas in Bogra and Jessore. Direct project beneficiaries and participants under this project included 1,357 Union Parishad representatives, 300 Polli Shomaj (19,500 members), and 300 Citizens Committees (4,917 members).

In the lessons learned sharing session, all the speakers and participants agreed that if the Active Citizens and Accountable Local Government Project is scaled up and implemented,  local communities will be able to get better access to service and resource delivery. They also agreed that grassroots people will become aware about their citizens rights and responsibilities, and get access to dependable information about resources and services of the local government through such initiatives. The project has made local government more sensitized towards better service delivery, becoming more transparent and accountable towards pro-poor good governance, benefitting the poor, and marginalized, especially women. Pathways for good governance will be created through the active participation the local community as well as local government representatives and administration.

Dr Akbar Ali Khan, former advisor to the Caretaker Government commented, “I am a strong supporter of local governance and administration. Decentralized local governance needs to be empowered for grassroots community empowerment and development. Local Governance Commission needs to be created to monitor and audit activities of the local government.” In addition, Dr. Akbar Ali commented that, “The Active Citizens and Accountable Local Government project made good achievements, whose best learnings should be scaled up for greater impact.”

Dr. Asif Nazrul, Professor, Dhaka University, in his speech, commented, “Grassroots participation is a key essential component for ensuring transparency and accountability of the local government. The Right to Information Act provides good opportunity for increasing people’s access to information and ensuring good governance.”


16 November 2011, Dhaka. Bangladesh’s top NGOs and businesses united under the banner of the "Every Mother, Every Child" initiative which was launched in 20101, by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon. The Secretary General is visiting Bangladesh for the second time during his term. The event at the Sonargaon Hotel, was co-hosted by BRAC, icddr b, the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations Foundation and sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank.

BRAC, the world’s largest NGO based in Bangladesh, committed $260 million to global programmes which directly work to achieve the goals of the UN initiative.

"We need to focus on providing access to a continuum of care across different stages of the human life cycle in order to effectively address this challenge," said Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairman of BRAC.

During the event, iccddr,b Executive Director Alejandri Cravioto, said "Improving maternal and child health is central to the research agenda of icddr,b. Our commitment this evening is to the expansion of our services to include comprehensive obstetric services to reduce maternal deaths to zero in the Matlab areas."

The Finance Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Abul Mal Abdul Muhith, along with other reputed members of the political, media, and business community were present at the meeting.

Key note speaker, Ban Ki-Moon praised the cooperative between the public and private sector in Bangladesh.
"The United Nations has initiated a global movement to empower women and children of our world. The results are remarkable. And nowhere is this more important than here in Bangladesh," said BanKi-Moon.

The mentioned global effort received significant amount of support from the private sector on a global scale. 191 states and partners have made 206 commitments to "Every Mother, Every Child". Within five years it is anticipated partners will commit another $40 Billion.

Many members of the Bangladeshi private sector are showing particular interest in reaching the Millennium Development Goals, and supporting the "Every Mother, Every Child" programme.

Only sixteen countries are expected to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, which include eradicating poverty and protecting the planet, Bangladesh being one of them.

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