28 April 2012, Dhaka. World Malaria Day was observed on April 25, 2012 by BRAC Health Programme (BHP) and BRAC Advocacy for Social Change. This event was a joint initiative of BRAC and National Malaria Control Program (NMCP).The daylong programme included rally and Discussion Meeting where Government official and representatives from non Government organisations participated. The rally, started from National Museum and continued to Bangla Academi ; was followed by a discussion meeting at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel where Prof. A. F. M. Ruhal Haque M.P, Minister, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare was present as chief guest. Dr. Captain (Retd.) Mozibur Rahman Fakir M.P, State Minister, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Prof. (Dr.) Syed Modasser Ali, Adviser, Health & Family Welfare and Social Welfare Affairs Dr. Md. Humayun Kabir, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Begum Akhtari Momtaj, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare were present as Special guests. The meeting was chaired by Prof. Dr. Md. Sefatullah, DG, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Representatives from 21 NGOs, Journalists were present at the meeting. Prof. Benazir Ahmed, Director, Disease Control, DGHS gave a presentation on the current situation of Malaria in Bangladesh highlighting treatment condition and future plan. A theme song on malaria sung by renowned artist Samina Chowdhury was released on this occasion. A documentary on World Malaria Day observation was telecasted on April 27, 2012 at BTV containing interviews, rally, highlights of discussion meetings and message for public.
The global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement continues to gain momentum today with the convening of 27 leaders committed to advancing the strength and security of nations by improving maternal and child nutrition. This influential group, appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to represent the many countries, organizations and sectors working to improve nutrition, will serve as strategic guides for this global Movement.
“Never before have so many leaders, from so many countries and fields, agreed to work together to improve nutrition,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The Scaling Up Nutrition Movement gives all of us, including the UN, an opportunity to support countries in their efforts to end hunger and malnutrition.”
The members of the Lead Group include Heads of State from countries that have prioritized efforts to scale up nutrition, as well as representatives of the donor, civil society, business and UN system organizations that are aligning resources to help SUN countries drive progress. Members of the Lead Group are listed below: additional Members may be invited to join later.
The Group’s role is to ensure that the countries at the heart of the Movement are supported as they work to create tangible and sustainable improvements in nutrition. In addition to providing strategic oversight, the Lead Group will help to mobilize support and strengthen both coordination and accountability within the Movement. Twenty-seven countries have chosen to join the SUN Movement so far, with more set to join in the coming months.
Scaling Up Nutrition, or SUN, is a global push for action and investment to improve maternal and child nutrition. Evidence shows that proper nutrition during the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday gives children a healthy start at life. Poor nutrition during this period leads to irreversible consequences such as stunted growth and impaired cognitive development.
Improving nutrition is a precondition to achieving goals of eradicating poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating disease—which all contribute to a stronger future for communities and nations.
“It is time to recognize nutritional status not only as a marker of progress in development, but also as a maker of progress – and a key to more sustainable development. We must invest now in programmes to prevent stunting or risk diminishing the impact of other investments in education, health and child protection,” said Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, who has been appointed by Secretary- General Ban to chair the Lead Group.
SUN helps governments, civil society, businesses, development agencies, international organizations and foundations to synergize their support to communities as they reduce malnutrition – and demonstrate their results. By integrating solutions across sectors and creating new partnerships, SUN creates sustainable change and tangible results that no one programme, organization, business or government could achieve alone.
The diverse experience and expertise of the Lead Group reflect the core SUN principle that real progress can be made by engaging multiple stakeholders towards a common goal.
“This is a historic moment for nutrition,” said Dr. David Nabarro, Coordinator of the SUN Movement. “Today a group of world leaders pledges to work together to improve the nutrition of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children. Their two-year commitment to SUN illustrates the urgency and priority that these leaders place on alleviating malnutrition, as well as a recognition of the incredible impact that improved nutrition could have on the future of both individuals and nations.”
Members of the Lead Group for the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement
Civil Society Organizations
Foundations and Alliances
Source: UNITED NATIONS
10 April 2012, Dhaka. In a unique event that highlights government and NGO partnership, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is signed today between BRAC and the Directorate of Women Affairs. Under this MoU, the parties will work together to replicate the model of BRAC’s Adolescent Clubs in seven districts: Gopalganj,Sirajganj, Thakurgaon, Rangamati, Moulvibazar, Jhalokathi, and Chuadanga. The Government will be using this BRAC model, which has been replicated in Africa and currently has over 260,000 members in Bangladesh in establishing their own Adolescents Clubs to empower young women.
BRAC will provide technical assistance; prepare training modules, and other support materials that will play a crucial role in the implementation of this endeavour.
The MoU is signed by, Md. Ashraf Hossain, Director General, Directorate of Women Affairs and Dr Safiqul Islam Director, BRAC Education Programme.
Executive Director Dr. Mahbub Hossain mentioned that NGOs shows innovative and effective path to implement a goal, but to bring out the positive impact in large scale government has the capability ; NGOs can work with government in root level and by working together synergic result will be produced. He believes that adolescent clubs will bring positive changes and uphold the gender parity in the society.
Md. Ashraf Hossain, Director General, Directorate of Women Affairs mentioned that Government has adopted National Women Development Policy (NWDP). Their road map is to transform the society from patriarchy approach to gender equality. This signing ceremony will work as milestone towards their goal.
Director of Communications Asif Saleh, Deputy Director of Directorate of Women Affairs Zakia Yasmin Zoardar, Programme Coordinator of BRAC Education Programme Md. Monowar Hossain Khondakar, BRAC Adolescent Programme Manager Rashida Parveen were also present.
Currently BRAC runs more than 8,000 Adolescent Clubs for young women from underprivileged backgrounds. The clubs offer adolescents life skills based education- facilitated by their peers – that focus on different social and health related issues, such as reproductive health, sexual abuse, children’s rights, gender, HIV/AIDS, STI, eve teasing (verbal sexual abuse), child trafficking, substance abuse, violence, family planning, child marriage, dowry, and acid throwing. Kishori Kendros provide the opportunity for girls to learn valuable skills by offering Livelihood Training courses on tailoring, embroidery, journalism, poultry, livestock, and beauty care to empower individuals to become financially independent.
Research findings show how ADP – Adolescent Peer Organized Network (APON) course graduates become empowered in terms of participation in and control over decision making and in nurturing leadership qualities to be the agents of social change. The study also captured how the target groups’ attitudes towards early marriage, dowry, reproductive health knowledge, health seeking behaviour, knowledge on HIV/AIDS along with other STDs, awareness on social and gender perceptions vary from the general adolescents nationally.
BRAC’s first-ever Facebook competition is officially over! Congratulations to our winner, Daniel Ng from the University of Virginia on his ‘Play’ Project– a community playground project with the objective of creating safe accessible spaces for underprivileged children to play.
“Wow, thank you so much for choosing me! I feel so honored and fortunate and excited to be able to work with such a renowned organization as BRAC,” says Daniel. “I had no expectations of winning since I knew I was competing against very qualified and remarkable people. I still can't believe I won.” Daniel is a freshmen who’s interested in studying Global Development and Statistics.
A special mention goes out to our runners up; Maya – a community empowerment project for women, and Amadeyr Cloud’s digital content delivery project.
In January, we received over 40 submissions from around the world and finally narrowed it down to seven best innovations with potential to be implemented at BRAC. We convened several internal judging panels to make our final decision. The winner gets the unique opportunity to work with BRAC’s Social Innovation Lab in Bangladesh. We thank all our participants for their submissions and look forward to organizing similar projects in the future.
“This was our first attempt to organize a Facebook contest and the response was great! The quality of the submissions we received was very impressive,” stated Mr. Asif Saleh, BRAC’s Director of Communications and the Social Innovation Lab. “We look forward to having similar events in the future to not only foster innovation, but get people thinking more seriously about some of the social problems we face today.”
For the first time, BRAC Haiti staff celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March 2012. Local and international staff from the Country Office and the Limb & Brace Center started the day by attending a women’s forum hosted by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The theme of the forum was to ensure the voices of Haitian women are included in the country’s reconstruction, and to advocate for the active participation of women in reconstruction efforts. Women’s groups and community-based organizations from all over the country participated in the event, along with business and civic leaders, and politicians, including President Michel Martelly and his wife, First Lady Sophia Martelly.
In the afternoon, staff gathered in the Country Office, where Country Representative Rakibul Bari Khan presented the latest data on the challenges women face locally and globally. Senior Education Officer Doris Valcin shared information on the plight of adolescent girls based on her participation in BRAC’s Global Learning Meeting. Finally, Jackson Naudé, Logistics Officer, highlighted the important role women play in Haitian society. Staff also watched a clip from the documentary film Poto Mitan: Haitian Women Pillars of the Global Economy.
Following the presentations, all staff discussed how BRAC Haiti can improve upon its gender inclusion and equality efforts. From that discussion, three suggestions emerged:
Through the end of the year, BRAC Haiti will monitor its progress in supporting gender issues.
08 March 2012, Dhaka. Innovative collaboration features singers from BRAC’s Adolescent Development Programme.
The largest Bangladeshi non-governmental organization is releasing a first of its kind musical album, featuring members of its Adolescent Development Programme. Containing nine tracks, the album is collaboration with top musicians from the country, including Arnob, Habib, Bappa, Balam, Fahmida Nabi, Kona, Labik,Palbasha and Sohini.
"It was a great pleasure working on this project with the girls. I hope they benefited from the experience of working in the recording studio. I wish them all the best!” said Balam.
Bappa also added “The album reflects the talent of these young girls. I feel privileged to be to be a part of this initiative”
The album, titled Nari (Bangla for ‘woman’) releases on International Women’s Day, 8 March. Every song relates the slogan “Connecting girls, inspiring the future”, the theme of this year’s celebration.
The Founder and Chairman of BRAC, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed recently at a speech on the occasion of the 40th anniversary re-affirmed his organisation’s ardent commitment to women’s empowerment during a gala which celebrated BRAC’s 40th Anniversary. “We have come far but we still have a lot to accomplish in the field of women’s empowerment. Once women realise their true potential, only then they will be able to write their own stories of success”, said Sir Fazle.
BRAC Director of Communications, Asif Saleh said that “BRAC is about realising potential of the people who have been excluded by the system. This album shows what these girls are capable of if given a chance.”
All major distributors of audio CD’s and all outlets of Aarong will sell the album throughout the country. The individual artists participating in the collaboration are also heavily promoting the launch.
The young women of the Adolescent Development Programme were featured in a reality TV show in 2009, titled Naache Gaane Number 1 as well as Meghe Dhaka Tara in 2011. These programmes were an initiative of BRAC to promote and inspire underprivileged adolescent girls from every corner of the country in participating in cultural and artistic events.
BRAC’s Education Programme opened the Adolescent Clubs giving girls the chance to socialise, play indoor games, sing, dance and exchange views and experiences-all activities that were frowned upon in their homes. It offers adolescents life skills based education- facilitated by their peers- on different social and health related issues. Livelihood Training courses are offered to girls to empower them financially. More than 8000 clubs are present in 57 districts reaching over 200,000 adolescents.
Watch "Revive": a song by BRAC adolescent girls
20 Feb 2012, Dhaka. Leading British Bangladesh business and community leaders visited Sylhet this month to see for themselves the incredible progress of the highly successful Vision Bangladesh programme – a joint initiative between BRAC and Sightsavers that aims to eradicate cataract blindness across the whole of Sylhet Division by the end of next year.
The programme is well on track to achieving this goal – having exceeded targets in 2011 and setting the standard across the country for large scale reduction of blindness in poor communities.
All members of the UK delegation have been active fundraisers and supporters for the programme; raising funds through their restaurants and businesses, making personal donations, and promoting the project through the Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK.
Mr. Monchab Ali, JP, Senior Adviser to the Vision Bangladesh National Committee, Proprietor of Bengal Dynasty Restaurants and long time supporter of the project was very moved by the experience:
“It is a great thing to see what people have donated towards to help poor patients who couldn’t pay themselves for such a life transforming operation.”
Dr. Musharraf Hussain, President of the Bangladesh Medical Association, UK, and supporter of Vision Bangladesh said:
“The surgeon and the whole team were extremely professional and competent. The infection rate is effectively zero because of the advanced self-sealing technique they use. It is very impressive.”
The group saw all the stages of the process from the outreach work in remote villages to reach the most isolated blind patients to an actual cataract operation at VARD eye hospital, Balanganj. The whole process is extremely quick with patients taken directly from screening camps to the hospital and back at home following successful surgery within 36 hours of diagnosis.
2 March 2012, Dhaka. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of the world’s largest development organisation, BRAC, called for innovative solutions to address the needs of the burgeoning youth population in developing countries in an address delivered in February celebrating the 40th anniversary of BRAC.
As dignitaries gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to celebrate BRAC’s 40th birthday, Sir Fazle, who founded the organisation in 1972, announced a new youth strategy as BRAC scales up operations in 10 African, Asian and Caribbean countries. He also called for doing away with “outdated approaches to teaching” in the developing world, calling most public education systems in the developing world unsuitable for preparing students for the 21st century knowledge society.
“You will be happy to learn that BRAC is in the process of developing a comprehensive strategy to help the vibrant, innovative and entrepreneurial younger generation of today to realize their potential, and be the agents of change within their communities,” Sir Fazle said.
The chairperson, who could not attend the gathering for health reasons but delivered the address via a spokesperson for the organization, called for education reform in poor countries. “Unfortunately, public education systems in most developing countries are unfit and unsuited to prepare our youth for the 21st century knowledge society that we must aspire to,” he said.
“Outdated approaches to teaching must give way to new techniques that teach our children not to memorize texts, but to think critically and solve problems creatively. We must give greater thought, and direct greater resources towards early childhood development, and social and emotional learning.”
BRAC is the largest secular, private education provider in the world, with over 5 million students having graduated from its alternative primary schools, dubbed “second chance” schools targeting those left behind by official educational systems. Sir Fazle has been hailed as an innovator in the field of education, winning the inaugural WISE Prize for Education in Qatar, styled as a Nobel for the field of education, last year.
In his speech, BRAC’s chairperson spoke of the “remarkable” progress of the organisation’s home country, Bangladesh, “in almost every major indicator of human development” over the last 40 years. “Today, the progress we have made is the envy of most of the developing nations in South Asia and beyond,” he said.
Infant mortality, for instance, has dropped from 200 per 1,000 live births to less than 50, and maternal mortality from 800 deaths per 100,000 live births to less than 200. Fertility rates have fallen dramatically as well: The average Bangladeshi mother now has just 2.7 children as opposed to 6.5 in 1972. Literacy rates have risen from 25 percent to over 65 percent.
“While it is true that no single organization can take credit for this amazing turnaround, we at BRAC can nevertheless take great pride in the role that we have played in support of governmental efforts to bringing about these successes,” says Sir Fazle. “From immunizing children to popularizing the use of oral rehydration therapy, from providing essential healthcare through a cadre of barefoot health volunteers to providing safe places for mothers to give birth, from curing tuberculosis to improving sanitation, BRAC’s work in public health has contributed to each of our country’s achievements in the health sector.”
Sir Fazle, who turns 76 this year, called on BRAC to remain a “trailblazing organization” as the leadership baton passes to a younger generation. “In these twilight years of my life, I feel a sense of comfort and satisfaction in knowing that we have an able and competent leadership team at BRAC,” he said. “I am confident that this team will ensure BRAC achieves even greater success and impact when I call time on providing leadership to this organization that I have built.”
A champion of girls’ education and the empowerment of women, Sir Fazle lamented the relative lack of progress in those areas. “Gender equality remains the greatest unfinished agenda not only of my life’s work but of our time. Although we have worked for the last 40 years to try to ensure that all citizens can live with dignity and respect and enjoy equal rights as human beings, I am sorry to say that patriarchy remains entrenched in our social and religious practices.”
01 March 2012, Dhaka. BRAC is announcing the Media Award to encourage Mass Media and recognize media activities in favor of National Tuberculosis Control Program. Interested Journalists from all seven divisions of Bangladesh are invited to send their published and/or telecasted write-ups or Television Reports on Tuberculosis along with a complete Bio-data and 2 (two) Passport size photographs. The write-ups or reports published and telecasted during the period January 2008 to December 2011 will be considered.
Download details (in Bangla)
Download bio-data form (in Bangla)
01 March 2012, Dhaka. BRAC International is pleased to announce that Faruque Ahmed will be assuming the role of Deputy Executive Director of BRAC International from March 1, 2012. Prior to this, Ahmed was the Director of BRAC Health Programme for 10 years and played a critical role in shaping its overall health strategy. Under his leadership, BRAC Health Programme developed effective partnership with government, donors,other NGOs and private sectors and scaled up national programmes for Tuberculosis and Malaria control, and implemented innovative community based solutions like essential health care, maternal, neonatal and child health, nutrition, eye care and many other critical public health interventions in Bangladesh. He nurtured BRAC's health programme from a modest size to one of the largest in the world, managing several programmes with a reach around 100 million.
Prior to joining BRAC, Ahmed worked for the World Bank. Ahmed is a member of the working group of Bangladesh Health Watch, a civil society initiative, Vice Chair of Bangladesh Country Coordination Mechanism for Global Funds for AID Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and a member of World Bank Civil Society Consultative Group on Health, Nutrition and Population. He also represented civil society on the GAVI Alliance Board and has represented BRAC in a number of national and international forums. A wide array of his writing on public health appears in international publications, and in 2011, Ahmed co-authored the book "Making Tuberculosis History."
He completed Masters in Health Sciences from John Hopkins University and Masters in Economics from University of Dhaka.
Mr. Ahmed has established himself in BRAC as a proven, highly creative and decisive leader and change agent.
His predecessor Dr. Imran Matin has decided to accept the role of Director of International Programme at Save the Children International in London. BRAC International thanks him for his dedicated contribution to BRAC for the past 11 years.