30 January 2012, Dhaka. The results are in! There were a lot of great ideas and feedback from all of our supporters. Congratulations to the ten innovators who have made it to the next round:
You can still see descriptions of all the innovative projects on BRAC's Facebook page.
1 February 2012, Dhaka. In Bangladesh, the development organization's Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program gives millions of the rural poor a fresh start with latrines at prices fair to buyers and sellers alike.
Rushada Shahad doesn’t run your typical home improvement showroom. You’ll find no stainless steel fixtures and chrome faucets in her backyard in the Bhaluka subdistrict of rural Bangladesh, where she runs a business selling latrine slabs and pillars. But what this enterprise and others like it lack in luxury, they make up for in impact, providing sanitation to tens of millions of Bangaldesh's rural poor.
BRAC, a global development organization based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, has announced it is financing the start-up of more businesses like Rushada's in a bid to reach households trapped in extreme poverty. With a new round of financial assistance from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the organization has begun rolling out the second phase of its WASH [Water, Sanitation and Hygiene] program. The first phase has already reached over 25 million people.
Rushada is a “sanitation entrepreneur” trained and financed by BRAC. Micro-franchised start-ups like hers are a “business in a box,” launched by individuals -- but with a business model, marketing support and interest-free loans provided by the organization.
“The WASH program of BRAC has provided 25.5 million people with sanitation, a remarkable increase,” says Babar Kabir, the director of the program. “We look forward to the second phase of the program, where we’ll direct our attention to the ultra-poor, or people living at the bottom 10 percent of the economic pyramid. We are working to eliminate open defecation in Bangladesh.”
BRAC, by most standards is the world's largest non-government organization, is currently scaling up market-based solutions such as these -- most of them developed in its home country of Bangladesh -- in 10 countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
About 2.6 billion people around the world lack access to basic sanitation, according to the United Nations. Lack of toilets perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition, with lack of access to clean water and sanitation killing an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five each year and children missing 443 million total school days annually due to related illnesses.
Late last year, BRAC received a three-year grant of up to $17 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its BRAC wash program in rural and semi-urban areas of Bangladesh.
11 January 2012, Dhaka. At the evening from 06.00pm to 09.00pm on January 07, 2012 the amazing and colorful function had get started through tuning the flute with drumbeats as keep hold the heritage of Bengal. Accordingly inaugural session of a few minutes went with different fine tuning activities of Art culture, specified by the starting song “Sob Cota Janala Khule Dao Na .....” and 10 candles lightening with recalling memory / reflections sharing from participants having past or present relation with the works of this section.
Former ED of BRAC and Adviser to the Caretaker Government Abdul Muyeed Chowdhury; Former Adviser to the Caretaker Government and ED of CAMPE Rasheda K. Chowdhury; ED of BRAC, Dr. Mahabub Hossain; Member of Planning Commission, Dr. Samsul Alam; Chairman – PSC, Ex Cabinet Secretary and former Advisor of this section Dr. Saadat Husain; Director, Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) Dr. Nurul Islam; Bureau Chief – Associated Press (AP), Farid Hossain; CEO - Boishakhi TV, Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul; Professor SIT Vermont, USA, Jeff Unsicker; renowned folk singer Mr. Fakir Alamgir; Ex. ProVC BRAC University and Ex. member of BRAC Governing Body Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed; Pro VC – BRAC University Professor Md. Golam Samdani Fakir; Director of the Institute of Governance Studies, Barrister Monjur Hussain and many other renowned persons of society and senior most persons of BRAC line management were present in the function.
Director, Gender Justice & Diversity and Advocacy Sheepa Hafiza delivered her welcome speech mentioning Goal & Objectives of this section, achievements and future plan. In her speech, she commemorates and highly emphasized on the Advocacy program launching speeches by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Chair Person, BRAC on December 24, 2002. The function was conjugated with inauguration of Policy Advocacy Course facilitated jointly by – Advocacy for Social Change, BRAC; Institute of Governance Studies, BRAC University and School of International Training (SIT), Vermont USA for both of local and foreign candidates.
With well wish and congratulation from other participant’s of the function, ED of BRAC Dr. Mahabub Hossain said “Continuous research works to find out laps and gaps, necessity estimation are in need to ensure better performance by advocacy activities.”
Finally the occasion went to the more colorful cultural show performed by the performers of BRAC Adolescent Development Program (ADP), Mr. Fakir Alamgir and a local group of artists.
11 January 2012, Dhaka. at Channel i office, Dr. Mahbub Hossain, Executive Director- BRAC, Safiqul Islam, Director- Education Programme , Faridur Reza Sagar, Managing Director, Impress Telefilm Ltd and Channel-i have attended the press conference event of Deepshikha, a cultural competition programme by BRAC Primary and Pre-primary school students. On press conference officially BRAC and Channel i declared details about ‘Deepshikha’ and the reason behind starting the competition.
At the beginning of February 2011 the competition was started at root level and it continued . Finally 150 participated were selected from divisional level. Well known celebrity like Shubir Nandi, Ferdous Ara, Laila Hasan, Minu Haque, Shomorjit Roy Chowdhury, Konokchapa Chakma, Jhorna Sarkar and Rabi Sankar Moitri were in the judge panel. Quarter final and grand finale will be broadcasted in Channel i.
Besides regular classroom study BRAC school students are involved in extra-curricular activities like singing, dancing, acting, drawing and reciting. BRAC School teachers help them to learn these with fun. Deepshikha is an initiative by BRAC Education Programme to bring out their hidden talents.
09 January 2011, Dhaka. At BRAC Centre, DG of Youth Development Directorate AKM Manjurul Haque and BRAC Education Programme's Director Safiqul Islam attended the ceremony of signing Memoranda of Understanding between BRAC and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The MoU will enable BRAC Multipurpose Community Learning Centres' members to receive institutional and non-institutional skill development training provided by Youth Development Directorate.
Every year 10,000 members (50% female) of BRAC Multipurpose Community Learning Centres will receive skill development training from Youth Development Directorate. Among members female candidates will get higher priority. BRAC will look after the logistics part.
BRAC Executive Director, Mahbub Hossain, Director of Communications Asif Saleh and Director of Training Abdur Razzaque were also speakers at the event.
AKM Manjurul Haque said that from this agreement both parties will be benefited as both of them have similar objective and that is to develop skilled society. Dr. Mahbub Hossain mentioned that we need to integrated approach to develop our youth. We can be economically advanced country if we can make them productive. This agreement is a good example of private-public partnership.
28 December 2011, Dhaka. On 26 December 2011 Primary Terminal Examination results came out. BRAC Primary School students have excelled in achieving a pass rate of 99.83%, with 70% of them receiving, A , A or A- grade. This is marginally higher compared to country's aggregate pass rate of 97.26%. However, BRAC students complete the 5 years primary cycle in 4 years while formal/mainstream primary schools in 5 years.
From BRAC Primary Schools 1,65,234 students attended the exam, 1,65,006 students passed the exam and 4,313 students got GPA-5. This year, a total of 23,16,521 students from all over the country from 87,832 schools registered for the exams, of whom 21,85,747 showed up in the exam halls.
We have special focus on Ethnic children and Children with special needs who can not fit themselves in mainstream primary schools. >From our schools 4,923 children with special needs appeared in the exam and 4,913 students passed the exam (99.80% pass rate). In BRAC Primary schools Children with Special Needs receive corrective surgeries along with devices like wheelchairs, hearing aids, glasses and ramps.
This year 6,488 BRAC Primary schools participated in Primary Terminal Examination, among them 546 BRAC Primary schools were especially for disadvantage background like ethnic minority group. This year 9,777 ethnic children appeared in the exam and 9,735 students passed the exam (99.57% pass rate). In BRAC schools ethnic children receive class lecture and course materials in their own languages up to grade two so that they can overcome language barriers and cultural gaps.
The examinations began on November 23 and ended on November 30. Students of class-V must qualify at the terminal exams to enrol in class-VI. Replacing the division system, this year's results were in grades in conformity with other public exams.
27 December 2011, Dhaka. BRAC Education Programme has been distributing a warm clothes worth around two crore taka. Warm clothes are distributed in 14 districts amongst 1,08,750 students of underprivileged backgrounds.
In the middle of this month multiple individuals in Bangladesh’s northern regions lost their lives due to lack of adequate warm clothing. The temperature recently significantly dropped, leaving many villagers unprepared for the elements, often leading to tragedy. BRAC Education Programme has taken prompt initiative to distribute warms clothes and it has projected cost 18,158,250 taka to give warmth in poorest and coldest areas. Distribution has been started on 17 December 2011 and it will be ended hopefully by first week of January 2012. It has been circulated with the support of local government officials.
The districts include Panchagor, Thakurgoan, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Netrokona, Serpur, Jamalpur, Mymensing, Chuadanga, Meherpur,Sunamgonj, Moulovibazar and Hobigonj.
BRAC is also hosting a “warm clothes drive” in Dhaka, in which individuals can donate old/used clothes. The donation bin is located on the first floor of BRAC Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
05 December 2011, Dhaka. “What we could not explain easily through regular teaching method, e-content helps to do it easily. Students usually memorize formula, now we can explain all formula easily through this interactive content”. These were the words of a Mohiuddin Deyan, Mathematics teacher from Dewyahata A J High School, Mirjapur, Tangail, on the positive impact of the use of interactive videos in his school.
On November 30, 2011, BRAC Education launched e-education.brac.net to make secondary education one step ahead. From this site high school teacher, students in fact anyone can view online or download interactive educational materials which are based on based on the national curriculum. It is an endeavor to make the textbook contents easier, interactive and stimulating. It also ensures conceptual clarity and better application of learning materials and aims to increase the teachers’ understanding of the lessons. On April 3, 2011, BRAC launched two interactive educational CDs for General Science and General Math for high school education in Bangladesh. These were the very first CDs that have been launched by BRAC Education Programme. Initially in e-education.brac.net site General Science (grade 6) and General Mathematic (grade 6) and English (grade 9 & 10) will be available. It will be always upgraded with more interactive contents as per National Curriculum & Textbook Board Bangladesh. These contents have been introduced through various activities, games, cartoons and animation to make the learning joyful and participatory.
It is found that the drop out rate is very high among high school students. On the inauguration event Dr. Shafiqul Islam, Director BRAC Education Programme mentioned that technology has its own attraction which holds students in study. He shared the story that how it was started when BRAC found that the main problem of our education system is decreasing teaching quality.
Dr. M. Kaykobad, Professor Department of Computer Science and Engineering - BUET suggested that BRAC should share this content in education oriented programmes on TV channels.
M Nazrul Islam Khan, National Project Director of the A2I appreciated the effort of BRAC and mentioned ‘Access to Information’ has interest with work with BRAC to expand technology based education in rural areas. He also mentions government’s initiative to use technology in high schools around the country. Government has a plan to use solar panel where electricity is unavailable.
The online contents were launched at the end of the event by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the Founder and Chairperson of BRAC. He mentioned that we can bring the change if we are determined to do it.
Dr. Mahbub Hossain- Executive Director of BRAC, Asif Saleh - Director BRAC Communications, a team from A2I , government officials and BRAC staffs were present there.
03 December 2011, London. Regional Representatives for the Vision Bangladesh campaign in Cheltenham and Gloucester Mr. Mohammed Hafizur Rahman and Mr. Akik Fozlur Rahman officially launched the campaign in their two regions at the Spice Lodge, Montpellier Drive in the presence of Cheltenham’s MP Mr. Martin Horwood and Asian restaurateurs in their regions.
Vision Bangladesh is a ground breaking partnership between BRAC and Sightsavers – two highly respected international charities. The aim is to eradicate avoidable blindness in Sylhet by 2013 and across the whole of Bangladesh by 2020.
A simple 20 minute operation costing only £20 can change a person’s life forever.
Martin Horwood, MP of Cheltenham, with years of international development experience in the past described the project as unique and stated:
“This £1 on the bill is ingenious and should win a fundraising award. It is easy for restaurants to implement and affordable for the donors.”
He also supported the effort that restaurants in Cheltenham were putting in to make this fundraising campaign become a success.
Regional Representative of Cheltenham Mr. Mohammed Hafizur Rahman and proprietor of “Spice Lodge” generously hosted the event. Being a strong supporter of the campaign and having already started the fundraising in his restaurant he commented:
“Vision Bangladesh is a unique campaign targeting 100,000 cataract operations in a matter of 3 years. It is a project that is worth applauding and I feel a stronger bond as it’s initially happening in Sylhet where I am originally from. I am proud that I am part of something where with such little money, we can have such a great impact to restore sight to so many people.”
The Regional Representative of Gloucestershire Mr. Akik Fozlur Rahman and proprietor of Rajdoot restaurant in Cirencester happily stated,
“I am so happy to be a part of this brilliant campaign. This campaign gives me, other restaurant proprietors and the wonderful customers who support it, the chance to donate very little and restore sight to poor people who would not have a chance to support themselves and their families."
Rokib Ali, Proprietor of Biplob Restaurant in Swindon expressed a strong connection with the project when he clearly recognized one of the patients to be a tailor from his village, who had his sight restored by the campaign in Bangladesh and said,
“This project should be a brilliant success. We are all behind you to support you in this excellent endeavour in helping so many people across Sylhet division.”
Vision Bangladesh’s British-Bangladesh regional representatives cover England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each regional representative is responsible for mobilising restaurants in their area and supported by BRAC UK with the necessary materials and administration. To date, the campaign has secured commitments of up to 300 restaurants with more joining up every week.
Customers at participating restaurants will be given the option of donating £1 per table at the end of their meal. Those not wishing to take part can easily opt out. It is expected that each participating restaurant will be able to raise £1,000 during October and November. 95% of funds raised will go directly to deliver the Vision Bangladesh programme in Sylhet Division, Bangladesh. Since 2011, Vision Bangladesh has organised more than 21,000 successful cataract operations in Sylhet Division and is on target to eradicate avoidable blindness in Sylhet by 2013.
Participating restaurants in Cheltenham are: Spice Lodge, Sami’s Spice, Balti Wala, Kings Balti, Kashmir Tandoori, Robis Takeaway, Indian Brasserie, Vojon Restaurant, Raj Dut Restaurant, India Gate, and Real Spice. Participating restaurants in Gloucestershire are: Rajdoot Restaurant, Biplob Tandoori, Jaflong, Curry Garden, Lalbag, Gulshan, Mela, Jewel in the Crown, The Raj, Jack Spice, Taj Mahal in Swindon and Taj Mahal in Chippenham, Raja, Moonlight, Bengal Spice, Bengal Balti, Sultan Restaurant in Cirencester and Sultan Restaurant in Melksham, Spice of Asia and Tamarind.
Members of the public can also donate online at www.brac.net/visionbangladesh or by a simple text message. Text BRAC20 and the amount you wish to donate (up to £10) to 70070 (e.g your text could read BRAC20 £10).