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30 January 2013, Dhaka. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC, submitted a memorandum on increasing violence against women to the deputy speaker of National Parliament, Shawkat Ali on January 29, 2013.  A gathering of civil society members, activists, academicians, students, journalists, lawyers and policy makers was arranged by the Prothom Alo Trust to address concerns on this critical issue and discuss a memorandum drafted to call for immediate measures to stop further violence against women.

Recently there has been a dramatic increase in the rate of women and child abuse, acid attacks, rape and murder. Often there is noticeable lack of proper steps taken in accumulating evidence and witness against those who have been arrested, helping many of the culprits to escape federal punishment. As such, the violence against women continues to increase.  In the memorandum, a three-point demand was raised, stipulating proactive role by the law enforcement agencies to stop violence against women, exemplary punishments of the criminals by justice department, and improved laws to ensure justice for every incident.

The Prothom Alo Trust organised the meeting and procession in collaboration with Sommilito Sangskritik Jot, Muktijuddho Jadughor, Ain O Salish Kendra, Gono Shakkhorota Abhijan, Bangladesh Mohila Porishad, Acid Survivors Foundation, various development agencies, women foundations, cultural groups, Prothom Alo Bondhu Shova, and members of various other professional organisations.  After the meeting at the Shahid Minar, where Sir Fazle read out the memorandum, a procession was held. A small representative team, headed by Sir Fazle, went forward to submit the memorandum to the deputy speaker.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013 18:00

Deepshikha 2012 Grand Finale

23 January 2013, Dhaka. On 11 January 2013, the grand finale of Deepshikha – a cultural competition for BRAC pre-primary and primary students – was held at Rabindra Sarobor in Dhanmondi, Dhaka. Competitions were held in four categories – song, dance, recitation, and drawing – with 106 students participating. A series of school, branch, district, and divisional level competitions were held since March 2012, and involved thousands of children from across Bangladesh, after which these talented finalists were selected to compete in the finale. The winners of last year’s competition also performed at the grand finale event.  The culminating competition was very well-attended, drawing a huge audience eager to see the performances of these gifted students. 

Renowned artists from different fields including Ferdous Ara, S. I. Tutul, Laila Hasan, Shimul Mustafa, and Kanak Chapa Chakma, served as judges and selected the winners from the participants. Dr Mahabub Hossain, executive director of BRAC, and joined by other BRAC directors, distributed the prizes to the winners.

In collaboration with the popular television channel, Channel I, five video episodes on the Deepshikha programme (two on the quarter-final, two on the semi-final, and one on the grand finale) have been prepared for telecasting. On 15 January 2013, just after the broadcast of the grand finale, a talk show on Deepshikha was also telecast on Channel I, where the Secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, Mr MM Niazuddin, renowned novelist Selina Hossain, and director of BRAC Education Programme Dr Safiqul Islam, participated as discussants. These broadcasts were aimed popularising the concept of co-curricular arts activities amongst Bangladeshi communities.




About Deepshikha
The Deepshikha competition series was first initiated in 2011 in an effort to encourage young students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to discover their hidden talents and express their creativity. This cultural competition is the latest of BRAC’s efforts to incorporate more experiential and kinaesthetic learning into traditional education in order to promote the holistic development of its students. Co-curricular activities in BRAC schools include songs, rhymes, drama, storytelling, drawing, games, and other practical hands-on exercises. BRAC believes that these sorts of activities help to develop a child’s social, emotional, and communication skills, creating more well-rounded students who will be more likely to succeed in the future.

Looking Forward
The response from students, parents, and communities to the Deepshikha programme has been overwhelmingly positive, and has helped to build support and enthusiasm for increasing co-curricular activities in BRAC pre-primary and primary schools.

The success of Deepshikha has inspired the BRAC Education Programme (BEP) to revisit the current structure of co-curricular activities. BEP plans to modify its programme of co-curricular activities to increase the emphasis on rhythmic and kinaesthetic intelligences within the curriculum, incorporating more physical and artistic activities. Currently Deepshikha is developing master trainers (MT) on drawing, song, and dance in order to enhance the capacity of local staff and teachers in these areas, enriching these practices in BRAC schools. Thirty local resource persons (LRPs) have also been appointed as part of a pilot programme to develop expertise in song and dance amongst teachers.

The participants of the Deepshikha competition will also be tracked and supported as they continue their education so that they can further develop their special talents. Deepshikha has been working with the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (National Academy of Fine and Performing Arts), who offered training to Deepshikha participants in song, dance, recitation, drawing, etc. at their district-level academies all over Bangladesh. Shishu Academy has now also consented to provide training to Deepshikha participants at district Shishu Academies.

Thus, the Deepshikha programme is a promising initiative to enrich BRAC’s pre-primary and primary education and to inspire and engage its students. Deepshikha kindles the inner talents of underprivileged children, nourishing them and encouraging them to pursue education goals they would never have dreamed of before.



22 January 2013, Dhaka. BRAC  Gender Justice and Diversity Division (GJD) organized a Youth Dialogue  on “Gender Equality and Youth” with a support from Youth Forum for  Poverty Alleviation and Development (YFPAD) in BRAC Auditorium, BRAC  Centre on January 22, 2013. Sheepa Hafiza, Director, Gender Justice  & Diversity and Migration, BRAC graced as the chief guest while  Ahsanul Islam, Program Head and Gabriel Baroi, Program Coordinator  attended as special guests. YFPAD President Raquibul Islam chaired and  Secretary General GalibIbn Anwarul Azim moderated the session.

YFPAD  is a new generation youth platform which promotes youth inclusion to  development, and had been a partner of BRAC Advocacy Unit for Social  Change for last two years. The platform contributed to the BRAC advocacy  campaign on ultra-poverty issues titled ‘Challenging the Frontiers of  Poverty Reduction- Targeting the Ultra Poor (CFPR-TUP)’ successfully.

This  dialogue is a part of a GJD-YFPAD joint campaign titled ‘Awakening  Youth Campaign for Reducing Vulnerability of Women’ that aims to engage  youth actively into gender equality and women empowerment processes.  About 50 youth leaders from 30 youth led voluntary groups participated  in the dialogue and discussed how to include younger people –both women  and men—in existing development practices to reduce different forms of  violence against women and girls. They vowed to work as agents of change  through a commitment and to form an allied network involving youth  towards gender equality and women empowerment. They also agreed to join  the upcoming collective initiatives undertaking by GJD and YFPAD. These  include awareness workshops, alternative youth parliament, essay  competition, video documentary contest, photography contest, wall  magazine competitions in schools, awareness creating cycle rally and  many more!

The youth led organizations comprise of Counterpart  International; Economics Study Centre, Dhaka University; Business and  Economics Forum, BRAC University; Initiative For Peace; Voluntary Work  for Social Change; Architecture Lab Ltd; Humanity Foundation; Young  Pioneers; Dhaka University Reading Club; Dhaka University Film Society;  Dhaka University Debating Society;  Jahangirnagar University Debating  Society; North South University Debating Club; Asian University Debating  Club; Green University Debating Club; Spondon Madrasha Debating  Society; Dhaka City College Debating Club; BRAC University Art Society;  BRAC University Adventure Club.

Participants from other  organizations also like Center for Policy Dialogue; Department of Women  and Gender Studies, DU and BRAC Development Institute attended the  dialogue.

GJD as part of its innovation is prioritizing the  involvement of youth in its programs. GJD realizes that many problems  including violence and sexual harassment against girls cannot address  effectively unless youth, boys and men are included in the drives.


24 January 2013, Dhaka. BRAC was ranked as the top NGO in The Global Journal’s list of the 100 Best NGOs in the World in 2013. The only NGO from Asia in the top ten, BRAC exceeded its previous rank of fourth place in 2012, surpassing other global NGO’s such as Oxfam, Care International, and Save the Children International.

In it’s special edition, The Global Journal, a Switzerland based magazine stated, “A member of the era-defining 1970s wave of Bangladeshi micro credit and microfinance pioneers alongside the Grameen Bank and ASA, BRAC has since gone on to outspace its old counterparts and assume an unparalleled position in the crowded field of international development.”

The magazine considered approximately 450 NGOs this year who were evaluated based on three criteria: impact, innovation and sustainability. “While size is not often an indication of quality, BRAC represents a welcome outlier and a continuing force for good at the global level,” the magazine stated.

BRAC, currently in its 41st year of operation, was founded by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed during the aftermath of Bangladesh’s Liberation War. The organisation is now the largest development organisation in the world, operating in 11 countries across Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

In his reaction to the recognition Sir Fazle said “I hope this will encourage BRAC to continue its work with innovation and efficiency towards creating more opportunities for the poor. I thank the BRAC family for their effort and dedication for making BRAC what it is today.”

For details, visit The global Journals website:


23 January 2013, Dhaka. In a new publication by the Rockefeller Foundation, titled Rebound: Building a More Resilient World, BRAC' lessons of what resilience means and what it requires was shared. Through BRAC's experiences, they explored some of the ways to help prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from the acute shocks and chronic stresses of the 21st century.




22 January 2013, Dhaka. BRAC organised a press conference on Wasfia Nazreen’s return to the country after her successful expedition to Mount Vinson, the highest point of Antarctica. She reached at Dhaka airport on 22nd January at 9.20 am local time by Qatar Airways where she was received by BRAC officials. She reached the peak of Mount Vinson on 4th January 2013, as the fourth leg of her “Bangladesh on Seven Summits” campaign which kicked off on 26th March 2012.

Executive Director of BRAC Dr Mahabub Hossain, Head of Communication and Service Quality of BRAC Bank Zeeshan Kingshuk Huq, Head of Marketing Sania Mahmood from bKash, and Rashida Parveen from BRAC’s adolescent development programme were present at the press conference. Wasfia handed over the flag of Bangladesh, given to her on the flag-off ceremony of her expedition, to the ED, bKash and BRAC bank officials. The Mount Vinson expedition of Bangladesh on Seven Summits was supported by BRAC in collaboration with bKash Limited and BRAC Bank Limited. Wasfia Nazreen will also work as BRAC’s Goodwill Ambassador for the next one year to champion the cause of women empowerment. Congratulating Wasfia, Dr Mahabub Hossain said he hopes Wasfia “can be an idol for young girls and women to look up to, and that many young girls can draw inspiration from her”.

While sharing her experience of the expedition she mentioned that, “climbing Mount Vinson was a much tougher challenge than Mount Everest, due to cold winds and much lower temperature. However, I started Seven Summits to inspire girls, and I am proud to accomplish this with support from BRAC”.

Wasfia set off on her expedition with a flag-off ceremony on 8th November 2012 to climb Mount Vinson. She reached Canada on 29th November 2012 and underwent a three week long extensive training and acclimatisation in winter wilderness of Canada with Patrick Morrow, the first person in the world to have finished climbing the seven summits 30 years ago. Finally, she left for Antarctica from Chile on 29th December 2012.

On the eve of Bangladesh turning 40, she had taken up the challenge of climbing the highest mountains of each of the seven continents to celebrate women’s progress of the last four decades and highlight to the world the resiliency of our people.


14 January 2013, Dhaka. BRAC distributed 50,000 blankets worth around BDT  1 crore 60 lakhs in the coldest districts of northern Bangladesh.

In addition, 3,079 blankets have been provided to all the female artisans in the Ayesha Abed Foundation (AAF) in Nilfamari, Kurigram and parts of Sherpur, which was a collaborative effort of AAF, BRAC bank and bKash. CFPR-TUP programme also distributed 34,076 warm clothes in 39 districts including blankets, shawls, sweaters, children's wear etc. through Gram Dariddro Bimochon Committee (Village Poverty Reduction Committee).

As the country is hit by the third cold wave of this season, people in the northern part of the country are hit the hardest, causing loss of many lives including young children. BRAC promptly took an initiative to distribute blankets from 10-14th January 2013 in eight districts. 8000 blankets in Rangpur, 9000 in Kurigram, 5000 in Lalmonirhut, 6000 in  Nilfamari, 5000 in Thakurgaon, 5000 in Panchagar,11000 Dinajpur, and 1000 in Pabna have been distributed.

Regional managers of BRAC’s education programme, health nutrition population programme, microfinance programme, and challenging the frontiers of poverty reduction-targeting ultra-poor programme (CFPR-TUP) and District BRAC representatives (DBRs) from the eight districts distributed the blankets, with support from local government officials.

07 January 2013, Dhaka. Wasfia Nazreen, the youngest Everest summiteer of the country, reached the peak of mount Vinson, the highest point of Antarctica, on 5th January, 2013, according to her spokesperson. She is the first Bangladeshi to climb Mount Vinson of Antarctica, the most isolated continent of the earth. This was the fourth leg of her “Bangladesh on Seven Summits” campaign that kicked off in 26th March, 2011.

She called her spokesperson Korvi Rakshand in Bangladesh from the summit, using a satellite phone, at 9:30 pm (BST) and said: "This was the hardest among the summits, but I did it for the nation so that we can start 2013 with new hopes, that everything is possible if our efforts are sincerely put into it.”

Congratulating Wasfia on this extraordinary achievement, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC said “Wasfia has shown the world how strong and courageous Bangladeshi women are. She is an inspiration to all women as we strive towards equity for all women in this world"
With a Flag-Off ceremony on November 8, 2012, Wasfia set off on her expedition to climb Mount Vinson. She reached Canada on 29th November, 2012 and went through a 3 week long extensive training and acclimatisation in winter wilderness of Canada with Patrick Morrow, the first person in the world to have finished seven summits 30 years ago. Finally she left for Antarctica from Chile on 29th December, 2012.

Mahabub Hossain ED of BRAC said,” Wasfia’s success reflects the enormous stride Bangladeshi women have taken towards empowerment and independence. I wish her all the best for her future endeavours.”

On the eve of Bangladesh turning 40, she had taken up the challenge of climbing the highest mountains of each of the seven continents to celebrate women’s progress of the last four decades and highlight to the world the resiliency of our people.

The Vinson expedition of Bangladesh on Seven Summits was supported by BRAC in collaboration with bKash Limited and BRAC Bank Limited. Wasfia Nazreen will also work as BRAC’s Goodwill Ambassador for the next one year to champion the cause of women empowerment.

Vinson Massif is about 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) from the South Pole and is about 21 km (13 mi) long and 13 km (8.1 mi) wide.  At 4,892 metres (16,050 ft), the highest point is Mount Vinson, which was named in 2006 after Carl Vinson, long-time member of the U.S. Congress from the state of Georgia.

Updates on her journey will regularly be posted on Facebook and Twitter via both Bangladesh on Seven Summits & BRAC pages.


27 December 2012, Dhaka. BRAC Founder and Chairperson, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed has been selected to receive a Central European University (CEU) Open Society Prize for 2013. The award is in recognition of Sir Fazle’s outstanding contributions to the principles of open society, and for his leadership and unwavering commitment to humanitarian aid and development as the founder of BRAC. 

Former recipients of the CEU Open Society Prizes include Sir Karl Popper (1994), Václav Havel (1999), Ricardo Lagos (2006), Carla Del Ponte (2007), Kofi Annan (2008), Martii Ahtisaari (2009), Louise Arbour (2010), the late Richard C. Holbrooke and Javier Solana jointly (2011), and Aryeh Neier (2012).  The prize will be presented in Budapest, Hungary, on 13th June 2013 at the annual commencement ceremony of Central European University. Sir Fazle will also deliver the commencement address on the topic of legal empowerment of the poor.

BRAC has been tackling poverty and empowering the poor, not only in Bangladesh, but also in 10 other countries spanning Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, changing lives of millions. In the span of four decades, BRAC has grown to become the largest development organisation in the world in terms of the scale and diversity of its interventions.

Central European University was founded in 1991, and is a new model for international education in Europe; a significant Central European convener on contemporary economic, social, and political issues; and a source of support for building open and democratic societies that respect human rights.


Tuesday, 18 December 2012 18:00

BRAC receives Good Practices Award for GQAL

26 December 2012, Dhaka. BRAC has won a Good Practices Award for its Gender Quality Action Learning (GQAL) programme, implemented by Gender Justice and Diversity.

The Good Practices Award was jointly undertaken by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and UNFPA Bangladesh. There were two categories for NGOs’ violence against women (VAW) interventions —national and local; BRAC was the only NGO to win the award in the national category.

The award giving ceremony took place on 20th December 2012 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Dhaka.

Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs graced the occasion as the chief guest. In her speech, she called for all to end once and for all this demonic practice which is a social malice.

Mr Arthur Erken, UNFPA Representative in Bangladesh was also a special guest at the event.
Ms Sheepa Hafiza, Director, Gender Justice & Diversity and Migration programme, received the award on behalf of BRAC, and expressed her gratitude to the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and UNFPA. She also thanked her BRAC colleagues for their commitment to the GQAL programme, as well as congratulating the thousands of GQAL women and men who she said really deserve this award.

GQAL is considered an important step in the internal process of promoting gender equality within BRAC. This was a training focused programme, which was launched in 1995, and aimed at improving gender relations both at the organisation level and community level. This aspect not only makes GQAL unique within the scope of Bangladesh, but also because GQAL’s approaches include both women and men from the same family.

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