19 December 2010, Dhaka. An article titled “Deltas in Space: The Space Technology Comes Down to Earth” by Michael Van Der Mark came out in the Dutch Magazine called ‘Deltas in Times of Climate Change’. The article talks about space technology and water management technology and how cooperation between the two sectors can result in many benefits. Space technology predictions can help predict weather and its benefits can even reach everyday farmers with water availability forecasts. The article says organisations such as BRAC can reap benefits from space technology by better understanding variations of weather through reliable and advanced predictions will mean less loss of lives and crops. The following are a few extracts from the article:
One of the organizations that could benefit from the developments is BRAC, a large organization working to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh and nine other countries in South Asia, Africa and Haiti. Based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, BRAC not only provides access to financial services but also to health, education, water and sanitation services. Dr Babar Kabir, BRAC’s Director for Water and for Disaster, Environment and Climate Change, explains that major challenges remain: “We need to ensure food security and reduce vulnerability to natural disasters. It is here that science (from satellite data downwards) can play a significant role, by providing early warnings and help us to better understand weather variability resulting from climate change.” Optimizing the hydrological data supply chain is important, says Dr Kabir, as it would link science to grassroots development: “Researchers have limited themselves to linking to academic institutions. They have ignored the strength of the NGOs and others who work for the development of the common people.” BRAC’s work focuses on the poor, especially women and children, and better understanding of variations in the weather through reliable and advanced predictions will mean less loss of lives and crops.
In the end it will be organizations like BRAC that will be able to issue better seasonal forecasts for local rice farmers, so that the premium on crop insurance can be reduced from four to three percent – a net gain of 25 percent!” Dr Kabir agrees. “Yes, definitely. Farmers, fishermen, small-scale private entrepreneurs – all will benefit. Given that the initial focus will be on weather forecasting and event predictions, the reliability of the data will be critical, whether it is to understand that a disaster is approaching or to provide very specific rainfall prediction. Tracking of the monsoon landfall is very important for agricultural activities in Bangladesh, as many crops are rain fed. Accurate rainfall prediction, when and how much, will help farmers to increase productivity. Once disaster prediction has been perfected, farmers can then be encouraged to engage in crop insurance.” Reliable data will mean that BRAC would be able to save on insurance premiums, enabling them to purchase data from the streamlined process. Nevertheless, Dr Kabir adds, “While BRAC is trying to develop its own expertise to understand the scientific data, it does not wish to duplicate efforts or expertise that already exists elsewhere. We need to find an easy way of coordinating both between and within the scientific community. We need data analysis based on client needs, and reports that are in non-scientific language.”
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12 December 2010, Kathmandu. BRAC was awarded the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) 2009 award in the category of Non Governmental Organisations for the Best Presented Accounts and Corporate Governance Disclosures.
Mr. S.N. Kairy, Director Finance & Accounts, received the award on behalf of BRAC at a ceremony held on Sunday, December 12, 2010 at the Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza in Kathmandu, Nepal. Mr. Surendra Pandey, Honourable Minister for Finance, Government of Nepal was the chief guest of the event. BRAC previously received the SAFA Award for the years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
SAFA is a forum of professional accountancy bodies committed to developing the accountancy profession in the South Asian region. The Best Presented Accounts awards are conferred on the basis of evaluation administered by SAFA's Committee for improvement in transparency, accountability and governance of published annual reports of entities from South Asian countries.
12 December 2010, Dhaka. With a vow to instigate public private participation in Safe Migration Management as well as creating a good rapport with recruiting agencies for pro-migration services, BRAC Advocacy Unit’s Safe Migration Facilitation Centre (SMFC) and The National Alliance of Migrant’s Rights, Bangladesh (NAMR’B) jointly organised a seminar on “Public Private Participation in Safe Migration Management” with the support of Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) at the Auditorium of BRAC Centre today. Currently SMFC is acting as the secretariat of NAMR'B on national level lobbying, advocating and creating pressure for pro-migrant issues. To keep NAMR’B moving ahead with national migration issues was another agenda for organising this seminar which was divided into three sessions with different key presenters, chairs and panel discussants.
The first session was represented by the civil society, the second by the recruiting agencies and the final session was facilitated by the representatives from Bangladesh Government. SK. Mojibul Huq, Manager, BRAC Advocacy Unit was the moderator of the seminar.
Dr. Uttam Kumar Das, Deputy Director of South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (SAILS) presented the keynote paper of the first session titled “Safe Migration and Bangladesh: Potentials, Possibilities and Problems”. The keynote paper of the second session was prepared by Mr. Ali Haider Chowdhuri, Secratery General, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agency (BAIRA) and was presented by Radyan Rahave from BRAC Advocacy Unit titled “Migration & Economic Development: Declaration as Thrust Sector in Bangladesh”. In the final session, Mr. Kafayet Ullah, Deputy Secretary to Bangladesh Government presented the key note titled “Managing Safe Migration: Public Private Cooperation”.
All the three sessions were followed by open floor discussions where all the participants expressed their thoughts and views on the respective topics. From their argument some very valid and important recommendations came out which would contribute to facilitate very effective and efficient public private participation in Safe Migration Management.
Mr. Anisul Islam Mahmud, Honourable Member of Parliament and Chair to Parliamentary Standing Committee of Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, was present as the Chief Guest in the seminar. Dr. Jafar Ahmed Khan, Honourable Secretary to Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE) inaugurated the seminar. Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC welcomed all the participants from the Government, recruiting agencies and NGOs in the seminar.
09 December 2010, Dhaka. From One to Many: Scaling Up Health Programs in Low Income Countries, published by The University Press Limited was recently launched. The book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning about both the problems and the opportunities involved in effectively scaling up health programs.
The book is a collection of articles submitted to the International Conference on Scaling Up Health Programs, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2008. This edited volume is comprised of 17 chapters, two of which focus specifically on BRAC's efforts and successes in scaling up maternal health programs as well as the rural tuberculosis program.
In the foreword, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, Sir Fazle Abed, writes, "the problems of poverty and disease are immense, therefore so should be the scale of the solutions." This edited-volume takes a deep look at many of the health care problems faced by the world's poorest, and provides a framework for understanding the challenges and opportunities within the field.
From One to Many: Scaling Up Health Programs in Low Income Countries has been released in Bangladesh, Germany and Switzerland and was edited by:
06 December 2010, Dhaka. A Japanese translation of the book ‘Freedom From Want’ has been published by Kumarian Press, Sterling, Virginia through Tuttle-Mori Agency Inc., Tokyo. The original English edition was written by Ian Smillie and was published in 2009. Freedom From Want traces BRAC’s evolution from a small relief operation indistinguishable from hundreds of others, into what is undoubtedly the largest and most variegated social experiment in the developing world. BRAC’s story shows how social enterprise can trump corruption and how purpose, innovation and clear thinking can overcome the most entrenched injustices that society can offer.
29 November 2010, Dhaka. A new book titled “From One to Many: Scaling Up Health Programs in Low Income Countries” was recently launched in Germany and Switzerland. Published by University Press Limited of Dhaka, the book has 17 chapters, including 4 on Bangladesh.
This edited volume is a collection of articles by eminent researchers and practitioners from around the world that were submitted to the International Conference on Scaling Up Health Programs that was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2008.
In Germany, the book was launched in Berlin during the 41st International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) World Conference on Lung Health (11 – 15 November, 2010). It was formally launched by Dr. Nobukatsu Ishikawa, the Director of the Research Institute of Tuberculosis (RIT), Japan.
Jalaluddin Ahmed (Asso. Director, BRAC Health Programme), and Dr. Nobukatsu Ishikawa, the Director of the Research Institute of Tuberculosis (RIT), Japan, AKM Amir Hossain (Additional Secretary, MoHFW, GoB), Faruque Ahmed (Director, BRAC Health Programme) - at the launch of the book
While in Switzerland, it was launched in Montreux during a conference on health system research (16 – 19 November, 2010) organised by World Health Organization (WHO). Dr Judith Rodin, the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, who was the chief guest on the occasion, formally launched the book. Three of the editors of the book Faruque Ahmed (Director, BRAC Health Programme), Richard Cash (Senior Lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health and Visiting Professor at BRAC University) and Dr. A. Mushtaque R. Chowdhury (Associate Director of the Rockefeller Foundation and Professor at Columbia University) were also present at the launching.
21 November 2010, Dhaka. BRAC’s Training Division has recently become an associate member of International Federation of Training & Development Organizations (IFTDO). The IFTDO is the world-wide federation (UK based) formed in 1972 to develop and maintain a world-wide network committed to the development and transfer of knowledge, skills and technology to enhance personal growth, human performance, productivity and sustainable development. Through its member organisations it represents more than 500,000 professionals in 50 countries.
BRAC’s Training Division works to develop the capacity of all BRAC employees as well as its volunteer workforce through regular and skills training. There are 20 Training and Resource Centres in Bangladesh. Training Centres have also been set up in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
4 November 2010, Lyon. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, attended the 2010 edition of the World Entrepreneurship Forum held in Lyon, France, earlier this month. This annual event gathers more than 100 personalities, from more than 50 countries, to share best and continuously renewing practices and to promote entrepreneurship and social justice on a global scale.
In 2009, at last year’s forum, Sir Fazle was awarded the first ever ‘Entrepreneur for the World’ Award in the ‘Social Entrepreneur’ category. He was invited to be a guest speaker at the ‘Learning from Entrepreneurs’ conference at this year’s event.
In his speech at the EMLYON Business School Campus, Sir Fazle shared his insights on his concept on development of social entrepreneurship to fight against poverty, and about social entrepreneurs’ acting and working as “global citizens”.
Sir Fazle commends the “emerging group of business entrepreneurs, whose bottom line is not single but triple” in creating “societal, environmental and stakeholder value”, along with the “social entrepreneur driven by the need to take actions and whose economic, social and environmental impact always results in greater social good”.
The World Entrepreneurship Forum is the first global think tank dedicated to entrepreneurs, creators of wealth and social justice, founded by EMLYON Business School and KPMG.
Photo Copyright (c) EMLYON business school
8 November 2010, Dhaka. As a part of the national level campaign on ultra poverty reduction, BRAC Advocacy Unit has successfully completed the week long ‘Inter College Debate Competition 2010 Dhaka’ (from November 2 to November 8) on ultra poverty issues at the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
On November 8, we hosted the final debate between Dhaka College and Dhaka Commerce College which was followed by a grand closing ceremony. The topic of the final debate was “Exact budgetary allocation will best contribute to alleviate extreme poverty.” Dhaka College came out as the champions and Dhaka Commerce College became the runners up of the competition beating 14 other renowned colleges from the city. Nahian Bin Khaled from Dhaka College was voted ”Best Speaker.”
The week long event full of logic, argument, agreement, disagreement and rebuttal came to an end following a grand closing where Suranjit Sengupta, Co-chair, Constitutional Amendment Committee & Chair, Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry was present as the Chief Guest and Sheepa Hafiza, Director, Gender Justice & Diversity and Advocacy, BRAC chaired the session. Professor Ainun Nishat, Vice Chancellor, BRAC University, Professor Sirajul Islam, President, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Professor Mafuza Khanam, General Secretary, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh and Mr. Abu Syed Khan, Executive Editor, the Daily Somokal were present as the Special Guests in the session. The guests highlighted BRAC’s contribution in extreme poverty reduction of our country. They also appreciated our initiatives to mobilise the youth in favour of the ultra poor through a scholarly tool like debate.
To increase youth participation in favour of the ultra poor, BRAC Advocacy Unit regularly organises quizzes, seminars and debates at grassroots to national level. This debate competition was another step to reach the youth group.
At the end of the debate a student forum titled "Poverty Alleviation Forum" was formed with the debaters from 16 colleges along with some members from Dhaka University Debating Society (DUDS) who will actively work on ultra poverty issues.
BRAC Advocacy Unit intends to take the students of the forum to field visits in order to get firsthand knowledge about the ultra poor. They will then carry out dialogue sessions and issues based activities on ultra poverty and thus contribute in the ultra poverty reduction of the country. We strongly believe such involvements in a national agenda will engage the students as ambassadors of social change both at family and community level.
03 November 2010, Dhaka. We had a grand opening of ‘Inter College Debate Competition 2010, Dhaka’ at the Asiatic Society premises which was followed by a colourful rally. Professor Dr. A.A.M.S. Arefin Siddique of Dhaka University inaugurated the programme while Rashed Khan Menon, MP and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee for Education was present as the Chief Guest.
Professor Sirajul Islam, Chairman Asiatic Society, Professor Mafuza Khanam, General Secretary, Asiatic Society and Mr. Sishir Shil, Secretary General; all Party Parliamentary Group were present as Special Guests in the Opening Ceremony. All the speakers highlighted BRAC’s contribution in extreme poverty reduction of our country. They also appreciated our initiatives to mobilise the youth in favour of the Ultra Poor through a scholarly tool like debate. BRAC Advocacy Unit honoured the guests with complementary crests.
At the very first day of the debate competition, four parliamentary debates were held among eight renowned colleges and madrasas of the city. All the topics were focused on ultra poor issues like gender equality, social justice, pro-poor budgeting and other similar issues.