The World Bank and BRAC today signed a Memorandum of Understanding at an online event to collaborate to improve road safety in Bangladesh.
The event titled ‘Road Safety Collaboration: Reducing Road Fatalities 50% by 2030’ also launched a Road Safety Awareness Campaign along the 48KM Jashore-Jhenaidah corridor as part of the partnership. The campaign will complement the World Bank-supported WeCARE project, which was approved in June 2020 and aims to upgrade the existing two-lane highway, Bhomra-Satkhira-Navaron and Jashore-Jhenaidah, to a safer four-lane highway.
BRAC and the World Bank will partner together to promote safety for women in public transport systems and conduct training and skills building for men and women drivers. BRAC’s driving school’s initiative ‘Women behind the Wheels’ has so far trained approximately 214 women as professional drivers.
Globally, about 1.35 million people die every year in road accidents. In Bangladesh, road crashes are the fourth leading cause of death of children aged between 5 and 14, and 67 per cent of the victims are within the age group of 15-49 years.
"Under the leadership of Honorable Prime Minister H. E. Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has taken actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of cutting the number of road traffic fatalities by half within the next decade,” said Honorable Minister of Road Transport and Bridges, Mr. Obaidul Quader, who joined the virtual event as Chief Guest.
“With more awareness and safer behaviors by road users, training of drivers, and better roads, Bangladesh is taking a comprehensive approach for ensuring road safety.”
“Road safety has become an economic and development priority for any country,” said Dandan Chen, Acting Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“We are proud to be part of the government’s commitment to better road safety through a National Road Safety Program. Our partnership with BRAC will reinforce the support to the program for improving road safety in both rural and urban areas in Bangladesh.”
The collaboration will support exchange of knowledge and raise awareness among stakeholders to reduce fatalities and injuries from road accidents. This will help the country adopt interventions based on the Safe-System Approach, including safe roads and safe behaviors, as recommended globally.
Since 2011, under BRAC’s community road safety awareness program, over 1.2 million people have received training on the safe use of roads. In addition, 5,451 schoolteachers and 498,000 school children have received special awareness training on road safety.
Asif Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC, said, “I believe this joint initiative between BRAC and the World Bank will be a big step forward to take the road safety system in the project area to a new level. With the support of the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, we aspire to take BRAC's community led road safety model across Bangladesh.”
“The government, development partners, non-government organizations and most importantly the citizens need to work together like this in finding more comprehensive long term systemic solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of reducing traffic fatalities by 50 per cent,” he added.
Ahmed Najmul Hussain, director, BRAC Road Safety Programme, said, "I believe that undertaking more such community-driven awareness initiatives for the other highways of the country such as the one to be implemented under this MoU along the Jashore-Jhenaidah highway will substantially help reduce the number of road crashes."
Response and recovery efforts supported by $300,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan, the super cyclonic storm that devastated coastal communities in Bangladesh in late May, BRAC has been carrying out response and recovery efforts, made more complex by the COVID-19 pandemic. With more than 200,000 homes reportedly destroyed or damaged, families sought refuge in neighboring homes and shelters, increasing the chance of contracting COVID-19 in the absence of social distancing.
BRAC has quickly started to provide multi-purpose conditional (repairing of houses and latrines, and installation of tippy taps) cash support to 4,600 cyclone-affected households to enable families to return to their own homes in 10 sub-districts in the districts of Satkhira, Khulna and Bagerhat. The cash assistance of BDT 5,000 (USD ~$60) per household is being provided by mobile money transfers in two installments. Training is also being provided to residents to install hand washing stations through demonstration efforts, maintaining social distance, so they can wash their hands safely and reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Without access to clean water, it is difficult to maintain basic hygiene practices to prevent contraction of COVID-19 and diarrhoea. Awareness messages on basic hygiene practices and COVID-19 infection prevention and control are being disseminated by BRAC staff, who are trained on COVID-19 prevention practices.
BRAC’s emergency response is supported by a $300,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant funded relief and recovery efforts to people suffering the impact of Amphan in Bangladesh.
BRAC’s disaster response efforts in Bangladesh have benefited from funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation several times in the last 13 years, starting with Cyclone Sidr in 2007. Most recently, the foundation provided a grant of $300,000 last year for flood relief.
“BRAC has always looked to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a key partner in our effort to provide life-saving services to the most vulnerable people, especially during humanitarian crises,” said Asif Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC. “This support was no exception. It allowed us to mobilise resources quickly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide much-needed cash support to the families most affected by Cyclone Amphan so they can get back on their feet.”
Mr Md Zahid Ahsan Russel, minister of state for youth and sports of Bangladesh, said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has allocated land near the National Parliament House in the capital to build an international standard complex for adaptive sports. "Athletes with disabilities will be provided with all kinds of facilities in this complex," he said in his speech at an event today on Thursday (5 March) at the BRAC Centre at Mohakhali in Dhaka city.
The event, a special lecture followed by a press briefing, was organised on the occasion of Dhaka visit by Ms Aki Taguchi, former celebrated athlete of Paralympic and currently vice president of Paralympians Association of Japan. The visit is part of a campaign to raise public awareness about the Paralympic Games and the importance of establishing an inclusive society for the greater wellbeing of everyone, particularly the persons with disabilities.
The Embassy of Japan, in cooperation with BRAC, arranged the programme with state minister Mr Md Zahid Ahsan Russel being present as the guest of honour. Mr Ito Naoki, Japanese ambassador in Bangladesh, also addressed the audience at the event.
Ms Aki Taguchi, said, "Persons with disabilities have a lot to contribute to the wellbeing of the society. Twenty-five years ago, I received severe injury in my spinal cord in an accident. I could not stand on my feet. Later on, I took up beam rifle. At one point, I represented my country in the Paralympic Games and made history as I had passed into the final round."
Calling on the persons with disabilities in Bangladesh to engage in sports, she further said, "I want persons with disabilities to come forward to take up sports and bring honour for Bangladesh."
Ms Taguchi represented Japan in the shooting events for three years in a row at the Paralympic Games which are Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Beforehand in the morning, she visited the Neurodevelopmental disability centre (NDD) operated by BRAC Education Programme in Korail slums in the capital. Later she remarked, "During my visit to the BRAC School, I had caught sight of a school playground nearby. There I saw all other children were playing with the children with disabilities. It's a scene that you'll witness in a very few countries of the world. BRAC is doing commendable work. This is what the reality should be everywhere."
The organisation maintains its top ranking as it continues the legacy of late founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed
BRAC has been ranked the world’s number one non-governmental organisation (NGO) of 2020 by NGO Advisor, an independent Geneva-based media organisation. BRAC, a leading development organisation based in Bangladesh, retained its top spot in part due to its robust leadership and governance structure and continued commitment to systemic change.
“We are deeply grateful and humbled to receive this accolade. 2020 will be the first year for BRAC family without our Founder, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. We take this recognition as a reminder to be worthy of his legacy and continue the fight for a world free from all forms of exploitation and discriminaton,” said Ameerah Haq, Chair, BRAC Global Board.
After nearly five decades of experience in Bangladesh and beyond, BRAC recently announced a new 2030 strategy that prioritises scaling its global reach, targeting participants with multiple interventions, and developing collaboration and knowledge-sharing leadership across the development sector. In 2019, it formed a new Global Board to lead and implement this strategy.
“In the BRAC Global Strategy, Sir Fazle has set an audacious goal for us, empowering at least 250 million people to have control over their own livelihoods by 2030. We’ll keep striving every day to make his vision a reality,” Ms Haq added.
Jean-Christophe Nothias, Editor-in-Chief and CEO of NGO Advisor, cited BRAC’s renewed commitment to innovation and impact and its advanced preparations to transition leadership and governance responsibilities to the next generation of leaders as key factors that contributed to the number one ranking.
“This 2020 list is launched with excitement as the social profit sector keeps growing and transforming the world, but also with sadness as the founder of BRAC, Sir Fazle, passed away in 2019,” wrote Jean-Christophe. “He was a man of outstanding stature and humanity; he was at the forefront of systemic changes we are still aiming for. We have reason to believe that BRAC is on its way to pay a sustainable tribute to its founder by keeping its leading, driving role in the social profit sector.”
NGO Advisor publishes rankings for the top 500 global NGOs each year, drawing upon publicly-available data and focusing on impact, innovation, governance, and sustainability as key factors informing the rankings.
2020 marks BRAC’s fifth consecutive year in the number one spot. BRAC shares the top five with several high-impact peers, including Médecins Sans Frontières, Danish Refugee Council, Open Society Foundations, and Mercy Corps.
With profound sadness, BRAC, one of the world’s leading development organisations, announced today the passing of its Founder, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG. He was 83 years old.
Sir Fazle breathed his last this evening while undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospitals in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was battling a malignant tumour of the brain.
His body will be placed on the Army Stadium premises in the capital on Sunday (22 December) from 10.30am to 12.30pm to allow people from all walks of life to pay their last tributes. His Namaz-e-Janaza will also be held there at 12.30pm. He will be laid to rest at the graveyard in Banani, Dhaka on the same day.
Ms Ameerah Haq, Chair, BRAC Global Board said in a statement, “Unfaltering dedication, focus and work ethic are what we have always experienced in Sir Fazle, or Abed Bhai, as the BRAC family calls him lovingly. He always put others before himself and let his work speak for itself. Even when BRAC attained its global stature, his concern and focus were on the less fortunate in society and those whose potential needed nurturing. He embodied the highest level of integrity, humility and humanity, which continues to be the essential guiding spirit of BRAC.”
The Honourable President of Bangladesh Mohammad Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina both expressed their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed.
Sir Fazle started BRAC in 1972, at the age of 36, as a small relief and rehabilitation project in north-eastern Bangladesh. Over the past 47 years, BRAC has grown to be one of the most effective non-governmental organisations in the world, touching the lives of over 100 million people worldwide. BRAC is a unique ecosystem comprising development programmes, microfinance, social enterprises, a university, bank and a range of mission-aligned investments. BRAC currently operates in 11 countries in Asia and Africa, with affiliate offices in the USA, UK and the Netherlands.
About Sir Fazle Hasan Abed
Sir Fazle was born in 1936 in Bangladesh. He studied Accountancy in London, qualifying as a Cost Management Accountant in 1962. While he was working as a senior corporate executive at Pakistan Shell Oil, the 1970 cyclone and 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh dramatically changed the direction of his life. He left his job and moved to London, where he helped initiate Action Bangladesh and HELP Bangladesh in support of the Liberation War.
Early in 1972, after the war was over, he returned to the newly-independent Bangladesh, finding the economy in ruins. The return of 10 million refugees who had sought shelter in India during the war called for urgent relief and rehabilitation efforts. Sir Fazle established BRAC to address the needs of refugees in a remote area of north-eastern Bangladesh, guided by a desire to help people living in poverty develop their own capacity to better manage their lives.
Today BRAC is one of the largest NGOs in the world, operating across eleven countries in Africa and Asia. Its primary objective is to empower people living in poverty and inequality. In 2019, for the fourth year in a row, BRAC was ranked first among the world’s top 500 NGOs by Geneva-based NGO Advisor; based on its impact, innovation and sustainability.
Sir Fazle was honoured with numerous national and international awards for his achievements in leading BRAC, including the Yidan Prize for Education Development (2019), LEGO Prize (2018), World Food Prize (2015), Spanish Order of Civil Merit (2014), Inaugural WISE Prize for Education (2011), David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2008), Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award (2007), UNDP Mahbubul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development (2004), Olof Palme Prize (2001) and Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (1980).
He has also been recognised by Ashoka as one of the ‘global greats’; and is a founding member of its prestigious Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship. He was a member of the Commission on Health Research for Development (1987-90), the Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation (1991-92) and the High-level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (2005-2008). In 2010, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George by the British Crown in recognition of his services to reducing poverty in Bangladesh and internationally. Sir Fazle was a member of the Group of Eminent Persons appointed by the UN Secretary-General in 2010 to advise on support for the Least Developed Countries. In 2014 and 2017, he was named in Fortune Magazine’s List of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. Sir Fazle was honoured with a Dutch Knighthood in 2019.
Dr Martha Chen
Dr Martha (Marty) Chen is a lecturer in urban planning and design at the Harvard Graduate school of Design and co-founder, international coordinator emeritus and board member of the global network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). An experienced development practitioner and scholar, her areas of specialisation are employment, gender and poverty with a focus on the working poor in the informal economy.
Before joining Harvard in 1987, Dr Chen had two decades of resident work experience in Bangladesh with BRAC, and in India with Oxfam America. She co-founded and, for 20 years, led the WIEGO network which is well known worldwide for its work to improve the status of the working poor in the informal economy through stronger organisations, improved statistics and research and a more favourable policy environment.
Dr Chen received a PhD in South Asia Regional Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She was awarded a high civilian award, the Padma Shri, by the Government of India in April 2011; and a Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War award by the Government of Bangladesh in December 2012.
Dr Chen is chair of the BRAC Global board, having earlier served on the BRAC Bangladesh board, and chair of the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) board.
Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman
Economist and social thinker, Hossain Zillur Rahman is a leading policy voice of Bangladesh with wide-ranging experiences within and outside government. Holding a Masters in Economics (Dhaka University) and Ph.D in Political Sociology (Manchester University), Dr Rahman founded the Dhaka-based think-tank Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) in 1996 and was elected Chairperson of BRAC, Bangladesh in 2019. He led the internationally known 62-village Analysis of Poverty Trends Project at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (1989-98) and was Lead Consultant in drafting Government of Bangladesh’s poverty reduction strategy in 2004. He was appointed a member of the Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation (2003-06) and also served on the board of the central bank of Bangladesh. Dr Rahman has authored influential works such as Rethinking Rural Poverty (SAGE, 1995), Local Governance and Community Capacities (UPL, 2002); Governance and State Effectiveness in Asia (PPRC/IDS: 2006); Unbundling Governance (PPRC, 2007); Researching Poverty from the Bottom up (PPRC/Grameen Trust, 2007); Bangladesh 2030: Strategy for Accelerating Inclusive Growth (DCCI/PPRC, 2010); Bangladesh Urban Dynamics (PPRC/World Bank, 2012); Bangladesh: Primary Education Stipends (PPRC/UNICEF, 2013); Social Protection in Bangladesh (UPL, 2014); Road Safety in Bangladesh (PPRC/BRAC, 2014); Realizing UHC Goals: Challenges & Opportunities for Bangladesh (PPRC, 2016); The Urban Spectrum: Metropolitan to Mofussil (PPRC/BBS, 2016); Exploring a more effective pro-poor targeting approach (PPRC/USAID, 2018). Dr Rahman was a key contributor to the adoption of a national social security strategy and remains an active policy researcher on issues of sustainable urbanization, social protection, health, inclusive growth, quality education, governance, WASH, road safety and population policies.
Dr Rahman served as Advisor (Cabinet Minister) for the ministries of Education and Commerce in the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh (2007-08) and was credited with a lead role in the subsequent return of Bangladesh to electoral democracy. He was awarded the Dr. John Meyer Global Citizenship Award by the Institute for Global Leadership, Tufts University in 2009. Dr Rahman was one of the three awardees of the Gold Medal Award 2013 of Rotary International Bangladesh for his services to humanity.
Ms Ameerah Haq is a former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support. She held the position of Under-Secretary-General from 2009 till her retirement and was the senior-most Bangladeshi national in the United Nations during those years. She most recently served as the Vice-Chair of the High- Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations for the UN. She has over 39 years of UN experience, including 19 years in field assignments. She was the last Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in the UN Integrated Mission in Timor- Leste. She has also held the positions of Deputy SRSG and UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, as well as Deputy SRSG and UN Resident Coordinator in Afghanistan. In addition, Ms Haq has held senior positions within the UN Development Programme (UNDP)and has served as United Nations Coordinator in Malaysia and Laos.
Ms Haq currently serves on the Board for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva, on the Group on Human Rights Up Front, and on the Board for the Peace Operations Training Institute, Williamsburg, Virginia. She is also a Advisor to the United Nations Foundation in Washington and a member of the Special Advisory Group of the Challenges Forum of the Folke Bernadette Academy of Sweden. Ms Haq lectures frequently at universities and speaks at seminars hosted by think tanks and non-governmental organisations.
During her service in the UN, Ms Haq was awarded the highest Presidential Medal in East Timor by President Jose Ramos Horta, the highest civilian medal of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Malalai Medal of Honor from President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, which is among the highest civilian honours given for courage and dedication. She is also the recipient of the Julia Taft Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award during the time she served as Humanitarian Coordinator for her work in Darfur, Sudan.
Ms Haq received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio in 1969. She subsequently went on to receive a Master of Science degree in Community Organization and Planning from Columbia University, New York in 1972, and a Master in Business Administration from New York University in 1974.
Ms Haq is the mother of two children, Sheehan Perera and Nadina Perera.
Lord Mark Malloch-Brown KCMG
Mark Malloch-Brown is president of the Open Society Foundations, the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. In his career of service, Malloch-Brown has worked to advance human rights, justice, and development in a variety of roles: serving as deputy secretary general of the United Nations under Kofi Annan; heading the United Nations Development Programme; directing external affairs at the World Bank; and working as a British government minister.
Malloch-Brown co-founded Crisis Group, which works to prevent and resolve deadly conflict. More recently he chaired Best for Britain, an organization advocating internationalism as a practical approach to global problems. He has worked with a range of private companies and has led the boards of the Royal Africa Society, the UN Foundation, and the Business Commission for Sustainable Development.
An international thought leader and advocate on human rights, gender and social justice issues, Irene Khan is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, and Distinguished Fellow at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva. Ms. Khan was Secretary-General of Amnesty International from 2001 to 2009, and Director-General of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) from 2012 - 2019. Prior to that, she worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for 21 years at headquarters and in various countries.
Ms Khan sits on the Boards of several international NGOs and think tanks, and has been a member of the World Bank’s Gender Advisory Council. She has received several honorary degrees and prestigious awards, including the Sydney Peace Prize in 2006 for her work to end violence against women and girls. Her book, The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights, has been translated into seven languages. Born in Bangladesh, Ms Khan studied law at the University of Manchester and Harvard Law School.
Raymond C Offenheiser
Raymond C Offenheiser is Director of the McKenna Center for Human Development and Global Business, part of the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs, where he also serves as Senior Advisor to the Dean and Distinguished Professor of the Practice providing strategic leadership to the McKenna Center’s academic, research, and public policy activities. A widely known nonprofit leader, innovator, and international development expert, Offenheiser served as President of Oxfam America for 20 years. Prior to joining Oxfam, Offenheiser represented the Ford Foundation in Bangladesh and the Andean and Southern Cone regions of South America, as well as directing programmes for the Inter-American Foundation in Brazil and Colombia.
At the 2012 G20 Summit, Offenheiser was appointed by the Obama Administration to represent civil society on the leadership council of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa. He currently is the Chair of the Board of BRAC USA and a member of the board of BRAC Global which oversees the work of all BRAC affiliated entities across the world. He is also a board member of the Oxfam America Action Fund and the Consensus Building Initiative. He also serves on the Forum for Corporate Responsibility for BHP Mining Corporation and the Development Partners Initiative. Offenheiser was a co-founder of the ONE Campaign and the Washington, DC based, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network, and the Food Policy Action Network. He has also served on the advisory boards of the World Economic Forum, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute, the World Agricultural Forum, the Gates Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and both Harvard and Cornell Universities.
Ken Caldwell has held a wide variety of executive and non-executive leadership roles in international development and humanitarian organisations over the past 30 years.
He has served as Global Programmes Director at Save the Children, and Executive Director of WaterAid International. He is Chair of the Board Programme Committee at Oxfam GB, and has also served as a board member of the Institute of Development Studies, as a member of the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Development, and as the Founding Chair of BOND (the representative body for UK INGOs). He has worked with a wide range of leading global NGO federations, providing advice on global strategy and governance issues, and has published research on INGO governance.
Ken was elected as Chair of BRAC UK in May 2021, and joined the BRAC Global Board in June 2021.
Dr Zainab Usman
Zainab Usman is a senior fellow and director of the Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. Her fields of expertise include institutions, economic policy, energy policy, and emerging economies in Africa. Prior to Carnegie, Usman served at the World Bank as a public sector specialist where she was concerned with social sustainability, policy reforms, natural resources management, and disruptive technologies. She has worked on these issues in Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Congo, Serbia, Tanzania, and Uzbekistan. She has also worked at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford and has consulted for the Department of International Development (DfID).
Usman’s research has been published on various academic, policy, and media platforms. She is author of the book Economic Diversification in Nigeria: the Politics of Building a Post-Oil Economy, which was selected as one of the Best Books of 2022 on economics by the Financial Times. She is also co-editor of the book The Future of Work in Africa: Harnessing the Potential of Digital Technologies for All. Usman contributed to the World Bank’s flagship report on Rethinking Power Sector Reforms in Developing Countries. Usman’s other analytical pieces have been published in the journal of African Affairs, the World Bank’s Policy Research and Working Paper Series, and as book chapters in edited volumes with Oxford University Press and James Currey. Her written and broadcast commentary has appeared in Al-Jazeera English, BBC, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Project Syndicate, and The Washington Post, among others.
Usman obtained her doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Oxford.
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG, Founder and Chair Emeritus of BRAC, has been decorated Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau for his longstanding, dedicated and successful work in alleviating poverty especially of women and children.
Sir Fazle accepted today the insignia of the Royal Knighthood bestowed upon him by H. E. Mr. Harry Verweij, Dutch Ambassador to Bangladesh, on behalf of His Majesty King Willem Alexander of The Netherlands.
A brief ceremony took place at Sir Fazle's residence in Dhaka city in the evening. Sir Fazle's family members along with representatives from the Netherlands embassy were present at the event.
"On behalf of His Majesty the King it is my great honour and privilege to present to you the insignia of Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau,” Ambassador Verweij said.
Sir Fazle expressed his delight at the acknowledgement by the Dutch Crown. "Being named an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau is an immense honour," he said. “The Netherlands has been a great friend and supporter to BRAC over the decades and our connection with the country has deepened since establishing the base of our international operations there 10 years ago. This recognition is a testament to that friendship. As BRAC expands globally, we look forward to working together to advance the causes of people living in situations of poverty and deprivation”.
The ambassador in his speech highlighted Sir Fazle's holistic vision and entrepreneurial approach to poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. “Sir Fazle has always strived to uphold human dignity, resilience, integrity and inclusion - these values have been at the heart of the successful development of BRAC."
“The fact that, for BRAC, the empowerment of women is not a secondary aim but a guiding principle of all of its programmes and enterprises, is greatly appreciated. BRAC’s anti-poverty work is recognized across the world, including in The Netherlands,” the ambassador further stated. He also mentioned the long-standing and close connection between BRAC and his country.
The Order of Orange-Nassau is awarded for longstanding meritorious service to society, the State or the Royal House of The Kingdom of The Netherlands.
Cyclone Bulbul is continuing to gather strength and expected to hit the coastal belt of Bangladesh in the early hours of Sunday. The cyclone will affect coastal areas, as well as Khulna and Barisal divisions, according to data available from the Bangladesh Meteorological Department. The cyclone is expected to generate a maximum wind speed of 5-124 km per hour. Nine coastal districts have been named as highly probable target zones; Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Barguna, Pirojpur, Patuakhali, Bhola, Jhalakathi and Barisal.
BRAC has mobilised response preparations, with a particular focus on Satkhira, Khulna and Bagerhat. BRAC field operatives are working in coordination with the local government and the Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP). Messages have been delivered via community radio and CPP and BRAC volunteers have sent messages to the communities living in Ukhiya and Teknaf. BRAC's Humanitarian Crisis Management Program have disseminated warning and awareness messages door to door using the Communication for Development volunteers.
Sajedul Hasan, Director of BRAC Humanitarian Programme, said that according to BRAC’s policies, cyclone simulation exercises have been undertaken in the vulnerable coastal communities for the last fortnight. Our disaster management team has been working as per our standard operating procedures for preparing with disasters. Specialised medical teams are ready to go, and our goal will be to deliver dry food, safe water and emergency medical care within 72 hours to those who have taken shelter or been injured.
View the situation report to learn more about BRAC's preparedness for the response.
Update (10 November 2019): Severe Cyclone Bulbul has weakened into a deep depression and the signal was lowered down from ten (10) to three (3) this morning (BMD). It hit Bangladesh last night making landfall in Sundarban of Khulna division around 12:00AM. At this time, wind speed was 74 kmph and the tide was low. The depression is forecasted to move in the north-west direction as it further weakens. A total of four (4) deaths have been reported.
BRAC staff standing by at the high risk districts have reported many uprooted trees and some damaged houses causing injury to people; especially at Satkhira, Barguna, Khulna and Bhola districts. At all districts, poultry farms, agricultural land, fish and shrimp farm enclosures were submerged by saline water. Apart from this, a BRAC office building at Shoronkhola, Bagerhat was partially damaged due to a fallen tree. View the latest situation report to learn more.
As flood water recedes from most parts of Bangladesh and tough challenges such as scarcity of drinking water and sanitation, and risks of spreading of water-bourne and other diseases emerge, BRAC allocates BDT 3.5 crore to fund post-flood relief and rehabilitation efforts. This is an addition to the BDT 50 lac that BRAC had already allocated for emergency flood response in July.
The fresh allocation comprises a grant of USD 300,000 (roughly equal to BDT 2.5 crore) from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that BRAC received recently to provide emergency humanitarian aid to people affected by flood in Bangladesh. The remaining BDT 1 crore is pulled from BRAC’s internal sources.
This fund is being spent to provide for multi-purpose cash transfers of BDT 4,500 per household and distributing hygiene kits to help more than 6,000 flood-affected households in four of the worst affected upazilas: Dewanganj in Jamalpur district, Chowhali in Sirajganj district, Sadar upazila in Gaibandha district, and Chilmari of Kurigram district.
With the cash, the recipients will be able to meet immediate needs such as purchasing food, safe drinking water, educational materials, livestock fodder and reducing health risks such as diarrhoeal, skin and eye diseases, and repairing damaged houses. BRAC is spending one part of the allocation to repair school buildings, donate boats to school children, and deploy teams of health workers in some of the remote areas.
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extends its deep sympathy to the victims of the devastating floods in Bangladesh,” said Mark Suzman, Chief Strategy Officer and President, Global Policy and Advocacy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We are providing this emergency grant to bolster recovery efforts, such as helping to prevent the outbreak of water-borne diseases and other severe health risks associated with flooding.”
BRAC launched a coordinated relief effort in mid-July, less than a week after flood water started inundating the low-lying districts in the north of the country. More than a thousand relief workers, including those from BRAC’s Upazila Disaster Management Teams (UDMTs), were rapidly deployed, with initial efforts reaching over 14,000 households in 36 of the most impacted upazilas in 13 districts until 8 August, 2019 with food and cash packages, safe drinking water, as well as the installation of toilets, tube wells, and bathing cubicles.
“Post-flood rehabilitation is no less challenging than during-flood operations, considering shortage of work, drinking water and disease outbreaks. Another big challenge is to cover those who were left out in the first phase. As this year’s flood is already labelled as one of the worst in recent years, everyone with the means must come forward to join the relief efforts,” said Asif Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC Bangladesh.
The new allocation will help expand response to cover those households that are led by women and have elderly, pregnant, or disabled family members, or who have lost all assets. Priority is being given to the upazilas that have experienced extremely severe flooding, feature a high proportion of affected households, or have not received adequate levels of aid already. The BRAC Humanitarian Programme (BHP) has been closely monitoring the situation and coordinating all the efforts with the local government and administrative offices, and other relevant stakeholders.
The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation has contributed in disaster response in Bangladesh through BRAC several times in the last 12 years starting with Cyclone Sidr operations in 2007.
To learn more about BRAC's flood response visit: http://response.brac.net/flood-2019/
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC, is retiring from his role as the Chairperson of the Governing Body of BRAC Bangladesh and BRAC International. He is transitioning to the role of Chair Emeritus, effective August 2019.
This transition is part of Sir Fazle’s long standing practice of building strong succession at BRAC. Sir Fazle founded BRAC in 1972, at the age of 36, and served as its Executive Director until 2001. At the age of 65, he retired from the Executive Director position of BRAC and was elected as the Chairperson of the BRAC Bangladesh Governing Body. Later he was also elected as the Chairperson of the BRAC International Board. He is stepping down from his governance responsibilities and in the coming months, as Chair Emeritus, he will focus on guiding BRAC’s global strategy and governance structure.
“For the past few years, I have put a lot of thought and preparation into planning my succession at BRAC. Now, at the age of 83, I feel it is the right time for me to step down from my role as Chairperson and focus my time on guiding the future strategy of BRAC,” Sir Fazle said.
“BRAC has never been about me or any one person. I may have been the founder, however, our strong foundation and reputation are built on the commitment, hard work and dedication of our staff. We are grateful and fortunate to partner with Governments, mission-aligned donors, partners and peer organisations along the way,” he added.
BRAC recently appointed Asif Saleh as the new Executive Director of BRAC Bangladesh. Dr. Muhammad Musa joined as the Executive Director of BRAC International in May 2019. Asif Saleh and Dr. Musa will be in charge of all executive management and operational functions for BRAC and BRAC International respectively, taking BRAC’s vision of building an equal world ahead.
Two very eminent personalities are joining BRAC and BRAC International Boards as Chairpersons. BRAC Governing Body elected Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, renowned academic, economist and policy maker as the new Chairperson. Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman is a leading policy voice of Bangladesh with over three decades of experience. He is the founder and Executive Chairman of the think-tank Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC). He was Lead Consultant for preparation of the first poverty reduction strategy paper (Unlocking the Potential, 2005) of the Government of Bangladesh and was a member of the SAARC Poverty Commission. Dr. Rahman has also sat on the Board of the Bangladesh Central Bank.
Ms. Ameerah Haq has been elected as the Chairperson of the BRAC International Board. Ms. Ameerah Haq is the former UN Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support (2012-2014). She held the position of Under-Secretary-General from 2009 till her retirement and was the senior-most Bangladeshi national in the United Nations during those years.
Dr. Rahman and Ms. Haq, along with the other Board members, will oversee the governance aspects and provide independent oversight to the Executive Directors of BRAC Bangladesh and BRAC International respectively.
Sir Fazle started BRAC in 1972 with a small relief and rehabilitation project in North-Eastern Bangladesh. Over the past 47 years, BRAC has grown to be one of the most effective non-government organisations in the world, touching the lives of over 110 million people worldwide. BRAC is a unique ecosystem comprising of development programmes, microfinance, social enterprises, a university, bank and a range of mission aligned investments. BRAC now operates in 11 countries in Asia and Africa and have affiliate offices in the USA and UK.
Under the new leadership and guidance of Sir Fazle as Chair Emeritus, BRAC will continue to serve people in need with the right resources and opportunities and transform them into agents of change in their own lives.