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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'.

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NGO ADVISOR announced its 2016 Top 500 NGOs World rankings, and BRAC returned to the top spot

Geneva, Switzerland: BRAC, an international development organisation dedicated to spreading solutions to poverty worldwide, today was ranked the number one NGO in the world by the Geneva-based NGO Advisor, an independent media organisation committed to highlighting innovation, impact and governance in the non-profit sector. BRAC clinched the top spot as part of the 2016 Top 500 NGOs World rankings.

"This recognition is truly an honour," said Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC. "BRAC staff work tirelessly to both innovate and apply proven solutions at scale to empower people worldwide living in poverty. It is wonderful to see this dedication recognised."

Each year, NGO Advisor researches, evaluates and ranks NGOs from around the world, highlighting the best in their annual Top 500 NGOs World list. NGO Advisor announced the new rankings on its website Friday, June 17.

Of more than 500 organisations worldwide, NGO Advisor placed BRAC first in its international category, based on its impact, innovation and sustainability. BRAC was praised for its holistic approach to fighting poverty, treating it as a system of interrelated barriers that must be addressed concurrently. The ranking also highlighted the organisation’s history of designing and implementing solutions at scale.

“From the perspective of our ranking criteria – impact, innovation and sustainability – BRAC ticks every box. Over the course of its decades-long history, BRAC has assumed an unparalleled position in the crowded field of international development, all while remaining committed to a holistic, evidence-based approach to poverty reduction,” said Jean-Christophe Nothias of NGO Advisor in a statement.

BRAC, formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, was founded in Bangladesh in 1972, and today is a global leader in creating opportunities at scale as a means to end poverty. It is the world's largest non-governmental development organisation, touching the lives of an estimated 138 million people in 12 countries using a wide array of tools such as microfinance, education, healthcare, legal rights training and more to create opportunities for people most in need.

“As we noted last year, BRAC is in many ways a microcosm of the entire international development sector…gaining in independence from donor influence each year. It covers almost 80 per cent of its USD 684 million income through a burgeoning portfolio of catalytic social enterprises – a clear trend positioning the organisation in an enviable position of financial and programmatic sustainability,” said NGO Advisor on its website.

NGO Advisor combines academic rigour with journalistic integrity and autonomy, evaluating each organisation based upon its objective merits. Co-founded by Jean-Christophe Nothias, a journalist formerly with The Global Journal, the rankings methodology was first developed in 2009.

Nothias has since enlisted experts at The University of Geneva and partners from the non-profit sector to improve the evaluation metrics. Today, NGO Advisor presents its findings to an international audience of donors, volunteers, journalists, researchers, diplomats and non-profit leaders to showcase best practices and mirror the evolving values of the global community.

The new rankings include several notable organisations. The Skoll Foundation, a social entrepreneurship foundation based in Palo Alto, California, claimed the third spot, and Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders, the number two. The Danish Refugee Council and Oxfam rounded out the rankings in the fourth and fifth spot, respectively. Last year, BRAC was ranked number two, after initially taking the first place spot two years ago.

 

World Day for Cultural Diversity 2016

Unifying Uniqueness and Us

BRAC and BRAC International operating countries celebrated the Inclusion and Diversity Management Campaign (IDMC) day. This celebration is celebrated for the second time across BRAC’s head office and BRAC International countries on 21 May on world cultural diversity day under the theme “Unifying Uniqueness and Us”.

Likewise the last year, diversity day was celebrated in all BI countries, which had cultural and cooking events, games and dances. Additionally, this year’s programme took place over the course of a day and began in BRAC’s office premises with a display board erected for writing comments and hand printing to showcase what diversity means to BRAC. The main event began after lunch and was comprised of welcome speeches, presentations and panel discussions all relating to the importance of diversity to foster and instill its importance. The colorful cultural programme also featured performances from people of differing national, ethnic and physical abilities.

The main objective of the initiative was to enhance knowledge and sensitivity on diversity and inclusiveness and to increase empathy of other cultures through opportunities to interact with different cultures at the international level. The vision of IDMC is: to promote Intercultural sensitivity, embracing differences, easily adaptable mindsets and diverse perspectives, richer teams

Through a series of activities, this campaign aims to touch all the employees, all-level of staff and ultimately the programme participants (beneficiaries) along with the community.We hope to continue making great strides toward promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace to ultimately help achieve the vision of BRAC. 

Monday, 06 June 2016 00:00

National Safe Motherhood Day 2016

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National Safe Motherhood Day 2016 was celebrated on May 28 across the country to create awareness on maternity care for pregnant and lactating women.

The health, nutrition and population programme (HNPP) of BRAC participated in the event along with the government through various activities.  BRAC participated actively in all the government events at district and community level.

Let's have a look on BRAC's activities that were carried out on National Safe Motherhood Day 2016:

Activities done by essential health care (EHC) and maternal neonatal and child health programme (MNCH)

  • Community health workers of essential health care (EHC) and maternal neonatal and child health (MNCH) programme mobilised the pregnant women to deliver anti natal care (ANC) and post natal care (PNC) from community clinic.
  • Paramedics of MNCH rural programme provided free ANC/PNC to the women in char area.
  • Manoshi midwives provided ANC/PNC to the women in slum areas in BRAC delivery centres.
  • Field staff of HNPP attended a rally organised by the Ministry of Health of Bangladesh.

 

Activities done by Marketing Innovation for Health (MIH)

  • Staff of MIH and other programmes of HNPP participated in the rally in seven districts and 51 sub-districts organised by government.
  • Community health workers highlighted a range of topics like anti natal care, birth planning, usefulness of delivery kit among others during health education forum
  • Community health workers of MIH programme mobilised mothers to deliver comprehensive ANC through government service centres.

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Family planning, mother-child health and adolescent health service and campaign week 2016 was recently held across the country from 14-19 May. BRAC also observed this national event focusing on family planning counselling. BRAC worked intensively to promote family planning to create awareness among people concerning overpopulation, mother-child healthcare and adolescent health besides providing healthcare services to mothers, children and adolescents. Special daylong camps were organised at five maternity centres in Dhanmondi, Mirpur, Gulshan, Jatrabari and Uttara region of Manoshi project. Various family planning materials were distributed for free in those centres and people were advised on different methods of family planning. Md Delwar Hossain, director, directorate general of family planning, Dhaka division, Dr Md Abdul Haque AD, Dhaka and regional supervisor, FPCST-QAT, Mirza Kamrunnahar, DDFP, Dhaka district, Md Mizanur Rahman TFPO, family planning office Mirpur, Dhaka and other government officials visited the camps during the event.

Sunday, 29 May 2016 00:00

Road safety media gallery

Road Safety Programme Activities

 

 

Sunday, 29 May 2016 00:00

Community Road Safety NGO Network

BRAC offers training on community road safety to local NGOs. This coalition of nationwide organisations formed a Community Road Safety NGO Network under the umbrella of BRAC. These organisations are supported through resources by BRAC for conducting road safety training and awareness campaigns within their operating areas.

The most important goal of the NGO Network is to build the capacity of NGO's, so they too can write project proposals, apply for funds, and use the financial support of donors to implement projects in their locality. This is done with the aim of sustainability for road safety activities (even after BRAC stops their road safety interventions in the project areas).

NGOs interested to join the network are welcome to apply. Once accepted, a NGO receives a road safety flipchart, a demonstration on how to use it and a short lecture on road safety. Every batch of 30 new members receive a day long orientation training on road safety.

BRAC uses this platform to jointly pursue road safety projects with any member organisations in their areas of operation.  As of 2015, 337 NGOs have been brought under the network. BRAC also gives technical assistance to the member organisations so that they can conduct projects on road safety improvement.

Sunday, 29 May 2016 00:00

Institutional capacity building

  • The programme offers a six-day Training of Instructors (TOI) course. Till date, the training has been given to BRAC's 770 field workers. The graduates now conduct road safety trainings for field staff who ride motorcycles for day-to-day work.
  • The programme piloted a short training course styled “Driving Plus” in February 2002, based on the needs of drivers, passengers and supervisors of BRAC’s transport department. This training was conducted for several years. One result was that all the staff who made use of BRAC vehicles were made aware not to put pressure on the driver to drive faster.
  • BRAC Driving School gives all drivers of BRAC's transport department a bi-annual three-day residential refresher training on road safety and defensive driving.
  • The programme also offers bicycle-riding training to female supervisors of BRAC pre-primary schools and libraries since 2003. Till date, 1,562 supervisors have received this training.
  • BRAC’s road safety programme has included lessons on road safety education in the textbooks of BRAC non-formal primary education schools.
  • In its action research project in Betilla of 2004, the road safety programme raised awareness of the members of 200 local BRAC village organisations on road safety. During this project, 100 parents of BRAC's non-formal schools were engaged in a discussion on road safety issues at the monthly parent meeting.
  • Under the 'human resource policies and procedures', the programme has formulated twelve road safety related rules for staff motorcycle drivers and drivers of BRAC's transport department.
  • Under the influence of the road safety programme, BRAC drivers maintain a speed limit of 60 km/h or 70 km/h (contingent upon situation) while driving on the national highway.
  • The programme has raised the road safety awareness of staff with flyers and email.
Sunday, 29 May 2016 00:00

Community road safety projects

 

In our past projects, over 183,000 unique individuals have received face-to-face road safety messages or road safety training. In total, over 363,000 people have received road safety messages as a result of our past interventions. We have organised 53 community road safety groups and trained 52 grassroot organisations.

Here are some of the community road safety awareness campaigns undertaken by the road safety programme.


2005: Campaign on Dhaka-Sylhet highway with Roads and Highways Department (RHD), Ministry of Communication and World Bank
The project resulted in at least 120,000 unique individuals receiving face-to-face messages and training on road safety. These include 105,000 students – taught by their teachers, 2,019 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 12,500 rickshaw pullers (who received reflective stickers). Additionally, 26,625 people saw road safety theatre shows, 1,700 people multimedia shows, and 14,625 houses and shops were reached via door-to-door camapign for road safety sensitisation. At the end of the intervention, the majority of the population living in the project areas, numbering at least 540,000, had received some of the road safety messages. In an impact assessment with non-representative sample size, which did not include commercial motor vehicle drivers and rickshaw pullers, the majority had knowledge on some of the road safety messages of the project. Another impact assessment with non-representative sample size suggested that the road safety knowledge of commercial motor vehicle drivers improved significantly.

Furthermore, 39 community road safety groups were organised and trained, and leaders of 24 grass root organisations were trained and linked to road safety institutions. The community road safety groups planned and executed a host of actions, including arranging the provision of road safety engineering facilities.

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2006: Campaign for road safety education for school students in Khulna and Barisal with Local Government Engineering Department with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD)
The project resulted in 35,000 school students being sensitised about road safety (by their trained teachers) at their educational institutions. A non-scientific impact assessment indicated that the students showed a major improvement in their road safety knowledge. They were also encouraged to spread the road safety knowledge to people they knew. Besides, 20 local NGO's and community based organisations (CBO's) were trained on road safety.

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2007: Campaign on road safety awareness with RHD and DANIDA to promote institution building and capacity development of roadside communities along the highway to Kuakata
At least 25,000 unique individuals received face-to-face road safety messages or road safety training, and a significant portion of them got road safety instructions more than once during the project. Awareness activities were: training 96 teachers directly (and 551 teachers and 9000 students indirectly), training 500 commercial motor vehicle drivers, training 7,488 rickshaw pullers, staging theatre shows to a total audience of 17,650, giving multimedia shows to a total audience of 23,785, and giving road safety messages to 6,600 shops and 7,200 households (twice each) by going door-to-door. Almost all of the population living in the project area (numbering 50,000) received road safety messages.

Furthermore, eight NGO's (two executives or coordinators from each) and members of eight community road safety groups were trained on road safety. The workshop held with community road safety groups catalysed further actions for improving road safety.

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2011: Marking the launch of United Nations Decade of Actions for Road Safety
With a mission to improve road safety in Bangladesh, BRAC organised events marking the launching of the United Nations Decade of Actions for Road Safety 2011-2020 on May 11, 2011. Reflective stickers which enhance visibility at night of non-motorised vehicles were pasted on rickshaws to mark the start of the decade. Marking the start of the UN Decade, BRAC called for united efforts through major national dailies and spread awareness online.

2014: Road safety awareness project with Chevron Bangladesh for communities living near its Bibiyana gas field
In the first phase of the project, 5,240 unique individuals have received face-to-face messages on road safety. We have trained 25 head teachers, 157 teachers, 232 bus and truck drivers, 314 rickshaw pullers and 12 rickshaw van pullers. The teachers have in turn taught 4,500 of their students, who have also participated in a road safety quiz competition. Furthermore, six community road safety groups have been formed, trained and guided in their road safety action planning and execution. A scientific impact assessment is going to be carried out by BRAC’s research and evaluation division upon completion of the project.

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2015: Road safety awareness programme in Cox's Bazar and Gazipur districts

The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and BRAC Road Safety Programme signed an agreement to pilot a two-year road safety awareness programme. It is piloted in four upazillas of Cox's Bazar and Gazipur. This endeavour is a component of LGED's Second Rural Transport Improvement Project (RTIP-II), which is funded by the World Bank. The programme targets community residents comprising of students, teachers, street-side vendors, shopkeepers and drivers of non-motorised and motorised vehicles. Besides community engagement, it is designed to expand their understanding of road safety and help identify road safety problems in their communities so they can formulate solutions for tackling them.

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In phase one of this project, at least 55,000 unique individuals received face-to-face road safety messages and training. The expectation is that at least another 55,000 unique individuals will receive road safety messages because of students sharing their new knowledge with their family members, and of people watching any of the 216 large screen open-air video trainings. We are going to scientifically assess road safety knowledge of the 51,000 students who are taught by their school teachers, 2,200 commercial non-motor vehicle drivers and 1,200 commercial motor vehicle drivers after this phase.

There is also local capacity and ownership building. 30 community road safety groups, one in each of the campaign areas alongside roads are formed, trained and guided during and after their community road safety action planning workshop. 15 CBO leaders and 5 local LGED staff are trained to improve the road safety situation. Two upazilla road safety committees have been organised and activated.

 

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