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29 July 2009, Dhaka. BRAC is leading a $15 million initiative to rebuild war-torn communities in West Africa, four organizations supporting the effort announced in New York, US recently.

The Soros Economic Development Fund, Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Omidyar Network, and Humanity United are funding this groundbreaking initiative to support families and prevent renewed conflict.

“This investment in the people of West Africa comes at a critical time,” said Stewart Paperin, president of the Soros Economic Development Fund. “With their countries emerging from devastating civil wars, this support gives people the tools to rebuild.”

BRAC, one of the world’s largest anti-poverty groups, is providing microfinance, health, and agricultural support in Sierra Leone and Liberia. It anticipates that over 500,000 people will benefit from these programs.

“In the face of overwhelming need, BRAC’s work has real potential to create opportunities for hundreds of thousands of families to stabilize their lives and build for the future,” said Matt Bannick, managing partner of Omidyar Network. “Our investment will help catalyze this economic and social impact.”

Since March, BRAC has opened 20 new microfinance branches in Sierra Leone and Liberia and will add 20 more by the end of the year. BRAC made its first loans in June. Over the next two years, it will provide financial services to tens of thousands of women, as well as agricultural supplies and training to small crop and livestock farmers. BRAC will also prepare four hundred community based health volunteers to provide ongoing essential healthcare and help fight deadly diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, and cholera.

“People desperately need to earn a living,” said Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC. “Despite the many challenges these countries face, Liberia and Sierra Leone are uniquely positioned to become models for successful development in West Africa. We are committed to providing training and resources so that the poor, especially women, can unleash their capabilities as entrepreneurs and improve their livelihoods.”

BRAC’s work in Sierra Leone and Liberia is being funded through a combination of grants and equity, and BRAC is negotiating additional debt capital to finance the loan portfolio. This two-year pilot program will help BRAC build a long-term sustainable strategy for integrated development in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

23 August 2009, Dhaka. BRAC is pleased to announce that an agreement was signed on August 21st with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) under which DFID will provide a grant of  £18.5 million (BDT 2,049 million) to support the operation of BRAC’s Education Programme for the financial year 2009-2010.

The Programme is funded by a consortium of donors including the Government of the United Kingdom.

The agreement  was signed by Mr. Chris Austin, Country Representative of DFID Bangladesh, and Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC, at a simple ceremony in front of the Uttar Korail BRAC primary school in Gulshan’s Korail slum.

DFID Country Representative Chris Austin and BRAC Executive Director Dr. Mahabub Hossain sign the agreement in a BRAC Primary school yard at Korail Slum, Gulshan

DFID Country Representative Chris Austin and BRAC Executive Director Dr. Mahabub Hossain sign the agreement in a BRAC Primary school yard at Korail Slum, Gulshan

Under the terms of the grant, funds will primarily be used to support the running of 30,000 pre-primary and 33,000 primary BRAC schools across the country. Part of the funds will be allocated for building capacity of teachers working in secondary schools as well as for livelihood and skills development training for adolescent and youth under BRAC’s adolescent development and continuing education programmes.

While signing the agreement, Mr. Chris Austin reaffirmed UK government’s commitment to ensure every child's right to education. He said, “This is a grant for BRAC that’s going to help a million boys and girl come to a school like this, who otherwise won’t have a chance to go to school. The other important thing to remember is the boys and girls will stay in school; the quality of their learning will be really good. The opportunities they will have as individuals will be good and the idea is they will graduate in to the state system.  We are giving all the children the best possible chance”.

Dr. Hossain said “ This generous support provided by DFID will help BRAC continue its education programme at the same level during the current world financial crisis and continue to provide basic education to one million children left out of the formal education system and to enhance the quality of 2000 poorly performing secondary schools.”.

21 August 2009, Dhaka.  -- “BRAC is making an impressive contribution to the development of Bangladesh.  I was very impressed with the BRAC programs I observed in Gazipur district.”, reported the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, James F. Moriarty, following a recent BRAC visit. The Ambassador, along with Mrs. Lauren Moriarty, Mr. Carey Gordon, Deputy Mission Director, USAID, and other Embassy staff, visited BRAC programmes in Gazipur district on August 18 to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of BRAC.

US Ambassador Observing Activities of a BRAC Village Organiation Meeting at Dhanua village of Sreepur upazila

US Ambassador Observing Activities of a BRAC Village Organisation Meeting at Dhanua village of Sreepur upazila

Ambassador Moriarty’s visit began with the observation of a microfinance group meeting in Dhanua village of Sreepur upazila.  He had lively exchanges with the group members about loan sizes, use of the loans by the women, means of repayment and their economic condition after becoming a BRAC borrower.

The US Embassy team observed several activities of the BRAC Health Programme. They learnt about the GoB-BRAC partnership programme for controlling tuberculosis (TB), including the first hand role played by BRAC Shasthya Shebikas (health volunteers) who administer the Directly Observed Therapy Shortcourse (DOTS) to TB patients.  They met with several members of the community who are undergoing treatment and then visited a GoB Community Clinic where the TB smears are processed in a mobile laboratory. Ambassador Moriarty also spent some time talking with a pregnant woman as well as a young mother and her newborn, who are receiving support from BRAC’s Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health programme.

Later, the Ambassador and the team observed a human rights and legal education class for women in Faridpur village and engaged in discussions with the BRAC para-legal volunteer and members of the class.  In reply to Ambassador Moriarty’s query about the most common legal problems faced by the community, the women cited land issues.

During his visit the Ambassador also met with the staff of BRAC’s Sreepur Area Office and the Gazipur Civil Surgeon.

 

16 September 2009, Dhaka. BRAC won the 'Bdjobs.com Best Employer Award 2008' from the category of NGO/Development sector.  Bdjobs.com, the leading job portal in Bangladesh, has announced the winners of the 'Best Employer Award-2008' at a press conference held at its conference hall in the city on Saturday 29th August, 2009.

The selection of the award winning organisations has been based on a perception survey participated by 4,514 professionals.

For other industry/sector Grameenphone from telecommunication, Standard Chartered Bank from the bank and financial Institution, GraphicPeople and SoftwarePeople from Information technology (IT), Channel i from the media, Youngone group from textile and garment and British Americal Tobacco Bangladesh from consumer goods/ FMCG won the award.

16 September 2009, Dhaka. BRAC and Bangladesh Bank signed an agreement on disbursement of agriculture credit to sharecroppers. Under the deal, BRAC in association with other organisations will distribute the credit across the country.

Early this fiscal year, the central bank had announced an allocation of TK 500 crore as agriculture credit dedicated exclusively for the sharecroppers. This is the first ever credit allocation for the sharecroppers in the history of Bangladesh.
 

Bangladesh Bank Govronor Dr. Ataur Rahman, General Manager S. M. Moniruzzaman, BRAC Finance & Account Director S. N. Kairy and BRAC Founder & Cairperson Fazle Hasan Abed at the signing ceremony

Bangladesh Bank Govronor Dr. Ataur Rahman, General Manager S. M. Moniruzzaman, BRAC Finance & Account Director S. N. Kairy and BRAC Founder & Cairperson Fazle Hasan Abed at the signing ceremony

Bangladesh Bank earlier decided to disburse a total agriculture credit of TK 12,000 crore, including allocation for the sharecroppers for fiscal 2009-10. The allocation of increased farm credits is to support the government’s bid to boost agricultural production and keep food prices at an affordable level.

03 September 2009, Dhaka. BRAC and the International Potato Center (CIP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for sweet potato and potato collaborative research and development on 3rd September in BRAC Centre, Dhaka.

CIP is a non-profit scientific organisation established under the Consultative Group of International Agriculture Research (CGIAR) headquartered in Lima, Peru. The center works to bring about sustainable increases in production and utilisation of potato, sweet potato and other roots and tubers in the developing countries and management of agricultural resources in the Andes and other mountain areas.

BRAC and International Potato Center signs MoU for potato research and development

 

BRAC carries out agricultural extension, research and support services for poor farming households in Bangladesh including those pursuing sweet potato and potato livelihoods. Both BRAC and CIP consider sweet potato and potato as key livelihood commodities with high potential impact on poverty reduction, food security and nutrition improvement in Bangladesh. The MoU will remain in effect for a period of three years.

Collaborative Effort through CGI to Break the Cycle of Disease and Poverty in Haiti

 

25 September 2009, Dhaka. Fonkoze, BRAC, BRAC USA, Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante, CGAP, CHF Partners in Rural Development and Linked Foundation have joined forces to commit $50 million towards a two-year effort to implement a proven, replicable, cost-effective approach to improving health and reducing extreme poverty in Central Haiti.

President Clinton’s appointment as United Nations special envoy to Haiti and the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative draw attention to the extreme and persistent poverty in Haiti and the need for innovative solutions.

Fonkoze and Zanmi Lasante, two leading Haitian NGOs with decades of experience in the target area, together with BRAC, the largest NGO in the Global South, and other organizations are using their complementary strengths to improve health, eliminate extreme poverty, and develop youth leaders in this hemisphere’s poorest country.

"The needs are so great," said Fazle Hasan Abed Founder and Chairperson of BRAC.  "We will work in partnership to address each facet of extreme poverty and to break its grip."

Targeting 575,000 people in Haiti’s Central Plateau, the major components of this commitment involve building:

» Safety nets with transitions to sustainable enterprise for the most vulnerable;
» Comprehensive health services;
» Food security and agricultural training and employment;
» Improved water access and sanitation; and
» Youth leadership development and training.

“Bringing together our combined successes and expertise in a comprehensive economic, health, and leadership development approach is the precise, direct strategy needed at this crucial time,” said Anne Hastings, Director of Fonkoze.  “We all seek to build a sustainable future for Haiti and her people.”

Collaborative Effort through CGI to Break the Cycle of Disease and Poverty in Haiti

16 October 2009, Dhaka. In keeping with the theme for this year’s International Day for Eradication of Poverty, “Children and families speak out against poverty” BRAC organized, among other events, an art festival titled “Drawing a World Fit for All Children” at the Central Shahid Minar from 9 am to 12 pm. Over 300 students from mainstream institutions such as Scholastica and Sunnydale came together with children from disadvantaged backgrounds from BRAC, Streetwise, Surovi schools as well as differently abled children from Beautiful Mind school to work together to draw their vision of an ideal world.

The event was sponsored by BRAC Enterprises with transport sponsor Aktel and media partner Radio Foorti. Event highlights included musical and dance performances by the children and a closing ceremony attended lead by BRAC Founder and Chairperson Fazle Hasan Abed and senior officials from BRAC, BRAC Enterprises and Aktel.

This was most likely the first time such an event involving children from all walks of life was organized in the hope that the experience would inspire a mutual curiosity and respect for each other in the children and also result in a wonderful, colorful expression of their idea of a poverty free world.

The occasion was also the launch of a mobile photo exhibition depicting images of people from all across Bangladesh working to overcome poverty. The exhibition sponsored by BRAC Bank Ltd., displaying photographs taken by students at Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography, aims to generate optimism in the audience and act as a call to action in joining the fight against poverty. The exhibit was on display at Shahid Minar grounds during the art festival and will be present at several other prominent locations around the city during the following week.

In addition, BRAC and the Bangladesh Government are jointly organizing human chains, discussion sessions and cultural programmes at the district level on October 17th.

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15 September 2009, Dhaka. Under BRAC Education Programme’s (BEP) Medhabikash Programme 10 girl students have been awarded BRAC-Rai Foundation Scholarship-2009 (2nd Batch). Before departing for India, recipient students met BRAC Chairperson Fazle Hasan Abed on September 09, 2009 at his office.
 
Under the scholarship programme they have gone to Rai Foundation, Delhi to pursue their under graduation courses. Out of 10 girls, 4 will study Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in EIILM University, Sikkim and 6 will study BBA in Behror campus, Rajasthan of Rai University. 1st Batch’s 10 girls of Medhabikash programme have already been studying B. Tech (IT & Communication) in EIILM University, Sikkim.

BRAC-Rai Foundation Scholarship-2009 recipient students met BRAC Chairperson Fazle Hasan Abed at his office

BRAC-Rai Foundation Scholarship-2009 recipient students met BRAC Chairperson Fazle Hasan Abed at his office

Mr. Abed urged the students to come back to Bangladesh completing their study abroad and serve the nation with dexterous ability.He advised the students to work in a way so that thousands of the poor students can be benefited out of their services. “Keeping the poor people aside, Bangladesh cannot expect prosperity” he said to the students.

Among others Executive Director, BRAC Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Director,Dr. Safiqul Islam, Programme Head Md. Shahidul Hasan were present during the meeting.

Scholarship covers expenditure like tuition, boarding, lodging, medical by Rai University and all kinds of transport inside Bangladesh and up to Delhi; visa processing and passport cost by BRAC Education Programme.

Rai Foundation, India was established by renowned industrialist and philanthropic Mr. Venai Rai. It has chain colleges/universities all over India. Rai institute rankings 10 among the top institutes in India. For promoting talents Mr. Venai Rai launches GIRL GENIUS, GIFTED GIRL SCHOLARSHIP. At the outset, it offers the scholarship only to India’s disadvantaged students. Later on the support was extended to other countries including Bangladesh, Mauritaus, Bhutan, Nepal, Brazil, African countries. Rai Foundation offers 10 - 20 scholarships to Bangladesh underprivileged girl students through BEP’s Medhabikash programme each year.

Collaborative Effort through CGI to Break the Cycle of Disease and Poverty in Haiti

 

25 September 2009, Dhaka. Fonkoze, BRAC, BRAC USA, Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante, CGAP, CHF Partners in Rural Development and Linked Foundation have joined forces to commit $50 million towards a two-year effort to implement a proven, replicable, cost-effective approach to improving health and reducing extreme poverty in Central Haiti.

President Clinton’s appointment as United Nations special envoy to Haiti and the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative draw attention to the extreme and persistent poverty in Haiti and the need for innovative solutions.

Fonkoze and Zanmi Lasante, two leading Haitian NGOs with decades of experience in the target area, together with BRAC, the largest NGO in the Global South, and other organizations are using their complementary strengths to improve health, eliminate extreme poverty, and develop youth leaders in this hemisphere’s poorest country.

"The needs are so great," said Fazle Hasan Abed Founder and Chairperson of BRAC.  "We will work in partnership to address each facet of extreme poverty and to break its grip."

Targeting 575,000 people in Haiti’s Central Plateau, the major components of this commitment involve building:

» Safety nets with transitions to sustainable enterprise for the most vulnerable;
» Comprehensive health services;
» Food security and agricultural training and employment;
» Improved water access and sanitation; and
» Youth leadership development and training.

“Bringing together our combined successes and expertise in a comprehensive economic, health, and leadership development approach is the precise, direct strategy needed at this crucial time,” said Anne Hastings, Director of Fonkoze.  “We all seek to build a sustainable future for Haiti and her people.”

Collaborative Effort through CGI to Break the Cycle of Disease and Poverty in Haiti

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