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30 years ago, as maths guy (MA corpus christi cambridge) my main focus  became the search for conscious or humanly pursposeful networks/organisations/economic and education models (for example we pioneered research of the world's biggest brand or investment leaders- who would uniquely miss what if you didnt exist ? more than half of people we interviewed in public got very cross or evasive which rather proved the point of conscious purpose isnt not exponentially audited yet in the west) 

now that we've entered the last decade of the possibility of sustaining our species, you would think that conscious searching would be what the internet and media and education is used for

the fact that this is not energetically so is seen by the UN and former wall street banker turned conscience best seller mark thornton:

humanity's greatest goals are not yet connected to the 300 trillion dollars of most liquid assets big banks have to invest with

my research shows that most big charity's dont work on sustainability goals effectively wherever the top person spends most time fundsraising but at the same time it is fortunate that girls and the world's largest ngo partnership is also the most conscuiously purposeful network( because its leader prefers to live and  learn with the poor than to  glitter

 sadly there is not one western university that helps students truly study this network- if you think there is and are happy for us to publlish Q&A on your claim lets have at it isabella@unacknowledgedgiant.com

meanwhile here's the case of the most purposeful network partnership in girls world- enjoy or if you dont understand ask a question and we will try and find a link to explain 

 BRAC transformed markets’ value chains – livelihood education for all, financial, agricultural, health, legal and safety , crafts, cultural,  technological – to be integrated by the world’s poorest village women across generations. Grassroots networks multiplied to design a new economical model for a developing nation- the 8th most populous one Bangladesh. Social business models replaced, international aid, loans and charity; and where youth was concerned direct observable results for gifting were demonstrated (aka conditional cash transfer modeling). Today BRAC is the world’s largest NGO partnership- its unique purpose empowering women to end poverty is a benchmark in the race for sustainability that urgently embraces all 7.5 billion peoples on mother earth. What was once a 50 square mile lab is arguably now the gateway of Sino-South Asia where 3 billion people live – many families still racing to end poverty and communally facing the deepest of sustainability challenges. Let’s tour BRACS 7 by 7 year evolution to action learn from courageous human networking that is as inspiring as entrepreneurial revolution -and women empowerment - can get.

72-79 BRAC founded  in 1972 a year after the birth of the nation of Bangladesh when Fazle Abed Shell’s former CEO for East Pakistan went to live and learn with villagers in a 50 square mile area. A rural space that had never seen electricity grids nor other infrastructure AND one that had also just witnessed a million people die from a local cyclone and the war of independence. Now turned into a bottom-up lab for skilling whole communities to do as much of their own disaster relief as possible and bridging economic development through piloting microfranchise solutions- innovations were both organic and adapted through partnerships around the world gravitated by a servant leader whose career had already established a network of trust among business and social leaders.

 

Note exponentially:

Even when BRAC wins market leadership it ensures it never loses touch with the very poorest

Unlike large NGOs who find it costly to identify the poorest, BRAC is embedded in community networks and their trust and girls’ vision

 

BRAC designs microfranchises – lowest cost livelihood training with market  secured by BRAC. These can require just as much time and concept development as any market challenge.

girls1979.JPG

BRAC is a non-profit private organi­zation of Bengalis whose rural develop­ment plans have served hundreds of villages throughout Bangladesh. At the heart of BRAC's philosophy is the expectation that the villagers will achieve a level of competence that will later enable them to carry out programs without BRAC's help. The. idea is to make villages economically. independent, In Jamalpur, the women are organizing cooperatives, education, and family health programs - all run by the village women themselves. Flora Moon, 1979

The women of Jamalpur, Bangladesh, are breaking with tradition - a tradition that has kept them secluded in the houses of their husbands for centuries. They are learning to read and write. They are finding out about the causes of poverty and disease around them. They are teaching one another about farming and weaving, health and medicines. They are assuming public roles of leadership and management for the first time in their history and are contributing to local economic development through successful production cooperatives. It is hard for us in the West to imagine the drama involved in such profound changes. These Bengali women have always assumed heavy responsibilities and worked long hours to maintain their households. But their work was neither visible nor recognized and they bore their burdens in isolation.

At the age of five or six, Jamalpur girls begin rearing their younger brothers and sisters. They usually do not go to school. If they do, they seldom attend past primary school. Often they are given less food to eat and fewer clothes to wear than their brothers, for their status is second to any male born into the family. When she grows up, a Jamalpur woman can expect 11 to 12 pregnancies and several miscarriages and infant deaths. She will spend 14 to 16 hours a day housekeeping, childrearing, farming, threshing, husking, preparing and preserving food, spinning and weaving. She will also tend livestock, collect fuel, make fishnets and carry water. Her husband works fewer hours out in the fields, where communal activity is too public for women. By the age of thirty she will probably be a grandmother and will be considered too old to be useful. Her contributions to family economics are essential, and she must know a great deal to carry out her roles effectively. But she earns no income or recognition. Her low status is deeply ingrained in her culture. If she were not poor, she would work less but would still be socially isolated by the ‘purdah' tradition.

The goal of the Jamalpur Women's Program is to provide ‘functional education' - education suited to the needs of the villagers: raising the level of literacy, improving personal health, ad­vancing economically and increasingly cultural awareness. This provides an opportunity for critical self­awareness in relation to that environment, for building confidence in the women's own creativity and in their capabilities for action. Villagers are learning to focus on and analyze their own problems and to see the advantage of coming together in groups, such as village cooperatives.

79-86 Scaling Nationwide from health service to microfinance plus

86-93 While Grameen consults international ; BRAC consolidates local roots eg 40000 schools; and poultry becomes first major brac Enterprise (now 13) as market leader (1 million livelihoods)

93=00 Tech partners come to rural Bangladesh-  BRAC establishes city bank and a university

00-07 BRAC goes international- typically one major partner per Muslim country entered. BRAC-Bangladesh discovered by Jim Kim, Gates, Soros and Quadirs.

07-14 brac becomes largest ngo partnership  – and develops bkash fintech of world’s largest cashless bank, and human network to respond to Ultra Poverty

14-21 … PTO


.Breaking news summer 2018- what would the world uniquely miss if alumni networks of sir fazle abed brac and jack ma alibaba

had never existed? Probably our species would lose all chance of youth sustainability now the UN has admitted it has 17 goals but no financial access -chris.macrae@yahoo.co.uk

best news for girls ending extreme poverty i have ever heard (whats yours?) https://m.bdnews24.com/en/detail/business/1487934

 

 

 the east is lucky that girls world number community-grounded education system and tech partners is brac epicentred in bangladesh- arguably the most critically underdeveloped section of the eurasian coast - which 20 lifetime partners have most help brac advance girls hold up half the sky over 45 years? where could the region's belt roads most gain from brac connections? BRI.school WAIIB.com linkedin UNwomens chris.macrae@yahoo.co.uk Norman Macrae Foundation sino-uk publishers of World Record Jobs Creators 

BRAC internet - partners Japan-US-Bangla

MyBrac beta with Duke U

World Bank prioritises Ultra Poor collaboration networking

brac's home web 1 2 3 4
fan web of sir fazle abed

About BRAC Partners

Strategic Partners

Institutional Donors

Government Alliances Corporate Alliances

Implementation Partners Knowledge Partners

 

Partnerships for BRAC International

  

British Aid plus commonwealth friends have put many billions into brac's early stage schools - the one area that aid or conditional cash transfer is vital-wherever possible brac sustains its development networks 

KDDI (Japan cellular)

bracnet.net

internet 

 BRAC has supported livelihood development of 2% of poorest women in world- its about poverty allevation's total total community-based training systems far beyond classrooms; although WISEedication newtorks put brac at the beginning of all of their celebrations of what education can sustain- check with us which wise summits maximise in-network connecting with bracLegatum / MIT coding partners sought Bangladesh out as the first place to explore fintech leapfroging revolutions of banking for next billion - after some experiements with yunus they chose brac to develop the mp3 world's largest cashless bank www.bkash.com; coding finance for poorest with brac also attracted  kenya's original project leader of mpesa

 

 researchgate@ brac

http://research.brac.net/new/

01 February 2015, Dhaka. BRAC's research and evaluation division launched its new website research.brac.net today. This new initiative was taken with the aim to disseminate its research publications to a wider audience as well as to bring research more prominently in development discussions. Integrating many features of web 2.0, the new website presents augmented user interactivity and mobile friendliness with clear navigations. The publications can be now read online plus social media tools have been amalgamated for easy sharing of information.

Dr Mahabub Hossain, the advisor to BRAC's executive director and present head of RED, chaired the launching event 

 

BRAC was encouraged to start sharing its knowhow in Africa with 3 types of partners leading the call- mastercard foundation particularly in uganda wanted to see brac build the world's laresgt network of adolesecent jobs clubs for girls  Gates Foundation wanted to see if brac's agricultural value chains knowhow cpould be brouigh to tanzania at the same time as extending the end poverty integrity of mpesa there Soros wanted to see BRAC help some of the ost desperate nations including liberia and south sudan where last mile health and safety serviices needed to com first BRAC has co-led rice science to end poverty since the 1970s - earliest partners included China and nippon Japan - these days the IRRI contries networ of rice science is a partnering epicentre BRAC first became famous for its capability as a nation wide educator with oral rehydration - a committment sir fazle made to celebrate the year of child 1979 - over next decade UNICEFS James Grant became a lead partner of brac - tiday the schoolof [public health at brac university is named after James Grant and counts leading partners such as Mailman school of health columbia university........... partnerships with autralian aid and partners- strategic development the global fund - working on last mile services for tb, aids etc iccbr.b expertise in cholera and other ifant dsiseases including malnutition - a core content partners of jame grant schoolof public healthunilever to chech water purificato and wash program includin toilet soap 

imf/world bank - not obvious if currently active

 

 

BRAC and of education above all and un academic impact hub to ensure learning for refugees   brac and jica   

Driving Development: A Story of BRAC's Evolution and Effectiveness

By Mahabub Hossain (Editor) Shib Narayan Kairy (Editor) Abdul Bayes (Editor)

Publisher(s): The University Press Limited (UPL)   

First Published: First edition, 2016 No. of Pages: 356 Weight (kg): 1

UPL Showroom Price: 750.00 BDT


 
Price: $24.00

Bangladesh can duly boast of the status of “Development Puzzle”. The country sustained economic growth averaging 6.7 percent per annum over the last decade; also displayed remarkable advancement in social indicators such as reduction in incidence of poverty, infant and maternal mortality, fertility, food insecurity etc. In driving such socio-economic development in Bangladesh over the last forty years or so, BRAC has played a pivotal role in supporting government initiatives as well as pursuing programmes of its own domain. BRAC is now about 45 years old and this watershed moment provided an opportunity to reflect on the last four decades or so. More importantly, the aim is to look ahead for the challenges that would be confronted by BRAC. In the backdrop of these factors, this book inscribes the evolution of development interventions made by BRAC, including the mistakes made and the lessons learnt, in its efforts to contribute to socio-economic advancement of the country. As usual, that should be alongside the government, the corporate sector, other civil society organisations, and development partners.

This book is an edited volume of contributions made by insiders of BRAC – the senior programme leaders who themselves have had their career advancement being involved in the management of the programme, and professionals of the BRAC’s Research and Evaluation Division (RED) who were intimately involved in studying the programmes and assessing the impacts.

Contents:

1. Introduction> Mahabub Hossain> Background / Development Challenges of Bangladesh / Vision and Mission of BRAC / BRAC’s Development Interventions: An Overview / BRAC Enterprises / BRAC International / Organisation of the Book.
2. Education: Facilitating Human Resource DevelopmentSamir Ranjan Nath and Safiqul Islam> Introduction / Progress in the Education Sector in Bangladesh / BRAC Education Programme / Studies on BRAC Education Programme / Concluding Remarks.   
3. 
Reaching Healthcare to Grassroots> Syed Masud Ahmed, Kaosar Afsana, Akramul Islam and Faruque Ahmed> Introduction: Bangladesh Health Scenario / BRAC Health Programme (BHP) / Role of Research in Shaping BHP / Impact of BRAC Health Interventions / Conclusions.
4. 
Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health> Hashima-E-Nasreen and Kaosar Afsana> Introduction / BRAC Maternal and Child Health Programme / Achievements of the Programme / Lessons Learnt / Conclusions.
5. Nutrition Interventions for Improved Child Health> Barnali Chakraborty and M Raisul Haque> Introduction / Nutrition Situation: The Bangladesh Context / Evolution of BRAC Nutrition Interventions / Research Support to Nutrition Programme / Conclusions.
6. Microfinance: Financial Inclusion for Employment Generation> Mahabub Hossain and SN Kairy> Introduction / The Microfinance Landscape in Bangladesh / BRAC Microfinance Programme / Review of Progress / Future Outlook / Impact of Microfinance: A Review of Studies / Concluding Remarks.
7. Challenging the Frontier of Poverty Reduction: Targeting the Ultra Poor> Mahabub Hossain, Anindita Bhattacharjee 
and Narayan C DasPoverty: The Bangladesh Context / BRAC’s Targeted Poverty Reduction Programme / CFPR-TUP Programme’s Achievements / Conclusions.
8. 
Agriculture for Food Security> Mahabub Hossain, M Sirajul Islam, SC Nath, MA Saleque and Mokarram Hossain> Introduction / Agricultural Growth in Bangladesh / BRAC Interventions in Agriculture / Conclusions.
9. 
Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Disaster Management> Nepal C Dey, Tahera Akter, Sifat E Rabbi and Babar Kabir> Introduction / The Bangladesh Situation / BRAC Development Interventions / BRAC Studies on Environmental Issues / Impact Assessment Research / Concluding Remarks.  
10. 
Community Empowerment and Local Governance> Mohammad Rafi, Kazi Nazrul Fattah, Sharin Shahajahan Naomi and Anna Minj> Introduction / Community Empowerment Programme / Community Institution Building / Strengthening Local Governance / Reaching Information to Marginalised People / Community Radio: The Radio Pallikantha / Special Projects / Citizen Engagement for Effective Governance / Accessing Benefits of Right to Information Act / Enhancing Social Capital of Village Organisation Members / Studies on the Relevance and Effectiveness of the Programme / On Power Structure and Community Based Institutions / On Active Citizenry / On Strengthening Village Organisation / On Violence against Women / Concluding Remarks.
11. 
Human Rights and Legal Aid Services> Mohammad Rafi, Sharin Shajahan Naomi and Faustina Pereira> Introduction / Features of HRLS Programme / Community Services / Legal Service Providers / Legal Education for Raising Awareness / Legal Support Services / Alternative Dispute Resolution / Panel Lawyer / Community Mobilisation / Human Rights Implementation Committee / Legal Rights Implementation Committee / Recent Initiatives / Public Interest Litigation / Introspection of HRLS through Research / Developing Pedagogy and HRLE Curriculum / Conclusions.
12. 
Gender Justice and Women’s Empowerment> Sheepa Hafiza, Rumana Ali and Mohammad Rafi> Introduction / Gender Equality in Bangladesh / BRAC Interventions for Women’s Empowerment / Gender Justice and Diversity Division / Studies on Gender Issues / Conclusions.
13. 
Trajectory for Institutional Development> Abu Ahsan, Mohammad Rafi and Andrew Jenkins> Introduction / Early Developments: From Poverty to Power / Conscientisation’ and Mobilisation of the Oppressed / Successes and Challenges in the 1980s / Institutional Scope
Conclusions.
14. 
Evolution of Development Management in BRAC> Sukhendra Kumar Sarkar> Introduction / Management of Integrated Development Projects in the 1970s / Scaling up for Impact: Lessons from OTEP / Drivers of Success of OTEP / Other Drivers of Sustaining Efficiency and Effectiveness with Growth / Chronology of Development Interventions / BRAC International Operations.  
15.
Governance, Transparency, Enterprises and Financial Sustainability> SN Kairy> Introduction / Governance and Transparency in BRAC / Finance and Accounts / Financial Growth / Towards Financial Sustainability / Growth of Assets / Conclusions.
16. 
Reflections on Drivers of BRAC’s Success> SalehuddinAhmed> Introduction / Drivers of Success / Organisational Culture: Scope of Improvement / Conclusion.   
17.
Research Driving Development> Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury and Andrew Jenkins  
18.
Conclusion> Mahabub Hossain      

xTestimonies

Sultana Rural Civil Society Member BRAC Across Bangladesh, BRAC operates more than 280,000 village organizations, 12,000 community forums, and nearly 800 district level forums. All these groups are dedicated to supporting poor women in their goal to improve their lives and that of their communities. Every week 8.45 million women across Bangladesh attend their BRAC meetings to receive loans, understand their rights, and claim their entitlements. One woman describes how BRAC has enabled her to defend her own and other women’s rights and become a leader for her community. Sultana has felt the frustrations of poverty, abandonment, and inequity, and knows what it takes to overcome them. BRAC's social development program allowed Sultana to act on a determination to transform herself and her community. Every day, Sultana fights battles for those who cannot fight for themselves, continually inspired by her recollections of injustice. As a twelve year old girl, having just started fifth grade, Sultana was forced to drop out of school to marry a man she did not know. Throughout her marriage, Sultana suffered mental and physical abuse. One day, when Sultana was seventeen, her husband stopped coming home. "He just stopped paying my costs," Sultana recalls, "and then he married another woman even though I was still here." Sultana was left to fend for herself without money, education, or employment. Refusing to be a victim, Sultana approached BRAC's Human Rights and Legal Services Program to file a lawsuit against her husband. "I was very young and I didn't understand how the process was going to work," Sultana remembers, "but I went to them and I told them my complaints." Sultana's assertiveness was rewarded. She won the case, and now her former husband provides her with financial support. Intent on establishing her independence, Sultana joined a village organization and started a tailoring business with a loan from BRAC. Though her life was now stable, she knew deep within herself that more needed to be done: "I still felt the pain from when my husband tortured me, and I realized that there must be many other women who still feel that same pain." This realization opened an important chapter in Sultana's life. She discovered a frightening pattern of violence and suppression affecting women throughout her community. "I went through the village and started speaking to many women, I learned about their pain and frustration." Sultana had fought her own battle, now she was going to start fighting for her community. Sultana helped BRAC start a Polli Shomaj, a committee to defend the rights of the poor, in her village. With a burning desire to help the abused women of her community, Sultana took advantage of this opportunity: "I made sure that we started the Polli Shomaj so that no other women could be tortured like this". The Polli Shomaj proved its value to the village by exposing and solving cases of domestic violence. “[At first] people in the village didn't understand the work that we were doing, they didn't like it that we were bringing women out of the house,” she says. “But now people listen to us and talk to us," Sultana says, "people search for us to speak of their problems." Another recurrent issue that Sultana fights is the lack of transparency within the local government. Although challenging government corruption is a complicated and difficult task, Sultana uses the power of the Polli Shomaj to mobilize groups of women to fight for their government entitlements. Sultana has also joined the district level community group, the Union Shomaj, which connects women leaders in the same area so they have greater influence in local politics. "They were selling away our opportunities," Sultana said. "We now have formed a group to make sure we know about these opportunities...the chairman can ignore one voice; ten voices make the chairman listen." Sultana is proud to pave the way for many rural Bangladeshi women who are claiming their rights for the first time. Firmly focused on the future, Sultana is confident that her Union Shomaj has the dedication and the support that it needs to continue to build momentum. "Alone, we don't have any weapons to fight our battle, but with BRAC we can. They are our arms," she says. Sultana fights for her community every day: "We can definitely win this war. We are trying everything to win this war... We will try forever.

*** 

Shadia Khatun Community Health Volunteer BRAC At the heart of BRAC’s health program are community health volunteers – Shasthya Shebikas. This network of 70,000 volunteers visits more than 18 million homes every month offering primary health care services. They are supervised by a second line of health workers known as Shasthya Kormis. One health volunteer describes how she became a health volunteer and the positive impact it has on her life and confidence levels. There was a time when Shadia was afraid every time she left the house. "I would always cover my head and stand in the corner,” she recalled. Shadia’s life is now quite the opposite. Since becoming a BRAC Shasthya Shebika, community health worker, Shadia says, "Things are different than they were before. I am much more confident." Shadia’s transformation began eight years ago. Her youngest daughter was suddenly struck blind and Shadia did not know how to take care of her. “I didn’t know where to take her. I visited so many doctors and no one could help.” In response to this situation, and despite the fact that she had never received an education, Shadia dedicated herself becoming a Shasthya Shebika. Today, Shadia is a highly competent health worker. “I am always busy,” she remarked. “I visit fifteen homes every day. I find out who is pregnant, who is taking pills, and who is getting injections. If I find someone who has been coughing for 3 weeks, I tell them to get tested for TB. This is my work.” When Shadia first established herself as the community health volunteer, people treated her with respect and admiration for the first time in her life. Previously known as one of the quieter members of her community, she had become accustomed to being ignored by her neighbors. Now she is seen as one of the most important people in her village. “Everyone in the village knows I am a Shasthya Shebika," she said. "If someone becomes sick, everyone tells them to come to my house.” The respect Shadia receives from her peers motivates her to work harder. She does not rest until she knows that every person has received the support they need. Shadia sees it as her duty to do all she can to take care of the community she loves. “I want to work for these people. I’m not very beautiful, I don’t have that much money, but still people look for me. That’s why whenever they call for me, I will always go.” Shadia is proud of how far she has come since starting her work as a health volunteer. "Before, when a visitor would come, even if they were BRAC officers, I would shake with nerves," she said. "Now I have become courageous; now I stand confidently.” 

*** 

 Shamima Community Health Worker BRAC BRAC’s award winning national health program covers a target population of 98 million people with essential health care services, maternal, neonatal and child health initiatives, tuberculosis and malaria control, and water, sanitation and hygiene implementation. The extensiveness of BRAC’s reach is possible through its network of 74,000 all women community health volunteers and 6,300 community health workers who make 18 million home visits every month. One community health worker explains why she decided to join BRAC and help improve the health of Bangladesh’s rural villagers. Four years ago, Shamima chose to give her life a new purpose. She had a supportive husband and a growing son, but she spent all of her time in the home. She craved more responsibility and wanted an opportunity to become a leader in the community. She also wanted to spend time helping local women and their families. Then she heard about BRAC. She was inspired by their mission to bring healthcare to rural families and applied to become a Shasthya Kormi - a community health worker. What began as a personal goal of empowerment and life improvement has now transformed her community and improved the health of families throughout the region. Shamima feels highly respected whenever she walks into a village. “I love how people come running to talk with me and ask how I am,” she shares. She meets with groups of village women everyday and helps them with their immediate health concerns. She also makes sure to take the time to build personal relationships with the women. As she empowers others with knowledge and selfesteem, Shamima gains their trust and friendship in return. “Everyone has accepted me very well,” she says, “The women of the communities praise me for my work.” Shamima also visits 25 individual households each day to provide families with primary healthcare. By teaching women to promote good health practices and delivering services and medical supplies, she ensures the wellbeing of the entire community. “It is our practice to talk with women so much that now whenever we talk, we become very connected,” Shamima says. “Women can share their problems with other women so they open up to us and accept us willingly.” Without Shamima’s work, the medical options for community members are limited. The government hospitals are often inaccessible and overcrowded, and the private clinics are too expensive. Shamima goes straight to the patient. From within a patient’s home she monitors health, provides treatment, and contacts BRAC clinics for more severe health concerns – especially complications in pregnancy. “People rely on BRAC because we can take medicine to their door,” Shamima explains. “We ensure that they get services.” Shamima has changed her own life by changing the lives of others. She is thankful for her ability to impact the community and for the purpose that it gives her in return. “As long as I am alive,” she shares, “if I can continue with my work as a Shasthya Kormi, I will be happy.”

***

 Mohammed Baset Legal Aid Lawyer BRAC BRAC’s human rights and legal services department has to date provided legal education to 3.5 million poor women in Bangladesh and operates the largest NGO legal aid service in the world. The legal aid clinics help BRAC members as well as poor non-members of the community resolve their conflicts through either Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or the formal legal system. BRAC staff lawyers take action when court procedures are required. One such lawyer, Mohammad Baset, explains his role and success in seeking justice for vulnerable women and children. “Guilty.” Upon hearing the judge’s ruling, Mohammad Baset smiled with joy and relief. He had worked towards this verdict for three years and with a single word his effort was validated. For Mohammad and his fellow lawyers at BRAC’s Legal Aid Clinic, there is no better feeling than helping the powerless and voiceless claim their rights. Today they had done just that, gaining justice for a seven-year old girl who was raped three years ago. Originally a trial lawyer in the criminal courts, Mohammad left his high-paying job to work for BRAC and speak for those who had no voice. “I wanted to work for people who were unable to defend themselves,” he remembers. Now he assists local poor citizens in cases of divorce, alimony, and child support. “I like arranging settlements by helping people talk to each other,” he says. In the past decade, his team has assisted in 4,238 cases winning 9.3 million taka (USD 135,000) in alimony and financial support for poor women who once thought they would not receive anything. “The biggest reward of my job is seeing the huge smiles on the women’s faces when they finally receive their due.” Mohammad says that BRAC has developed a strong reputation among communities, lawyers, and state officials. BRAC independently evaluates all complaints it receives, confirming that victims’ claims are valid and that their evidence is compelling. “Judges are confident in our arguments,” and as a result,” Mohammad notes, “We usually receive a good verdict.” In addition to domestic cases, Mohammad is currently representing 36 victims of human rights violations, victims who would otherwise never receive justice. He tells of two girls who were attacked by a rich villager’s son. When the parents of the girls looked to the village council for help, their claims were ridiculed and dismissed. In another case, Mohammad represented a young girl who was raped by her two cousins on the way home from a meeting with her tutor. Doctors eventually needed to remove her uterus, rendering her incapable of ever having children. Mohammad explains that the difficult nature of these cases not only creates a great emotional burden for the victims and their loved ones, but that these cases are also a financial strain on families. Cases can take three or four years to resolve, and victims are often socially stigmatized, and struggle to regain a normal life. BRAC provides comprehensive services including medical treatment, psychological rehabilitation, financial opportunity, and social support to the victims and their families, while also dedicating a team of researchers, trial lawyers, and community workers to ensure that the trial is handled fairly. Mohammad is humbled by the support his team has received from the people and communities they help. BRAC’s legal aid focuses exclusively on serving those in need and does not take any money from their clients. Mohammad says money is not a motivating issue because the lawyers are constantly encouraged by the tremendous local praise and encouragement that they receive. “BRAC is highly regarded and esteemed in the community,” he says. “We feel like we can take on anything.” The hard work of Mohammad and his team has had a tremendous impact. 78 of the 82 rape cases his district has handled have received favorable verdicts, which make him optimistic for the future. “The cases are hard,” he says, “but we now have the confidence and the mental strength to take any case and fight for it.” Mohammad loves his job because he knows he is making a positive impact daily, both for individuals and for Bangladesh as a whole. “I’ve seen way too many unfair cases, and something needs to be done about it,” Mohammad states. “We provide a platform and a voice for the people. I want to leave Bangladesh in a better place for my son than it was for me.”  

*** 

Chameli Rema Secondary School Head Teacher BRAC In Bangladesh, only 54% of secondary school teachers are properly trained. Since 2002, BRAC has been running a secondary school teacher training program with 2,000 participating schools. The program has trained 18,000 teachers and head teachers. The head teacher of one of the best rural secondary schools in the country explains how BRAC has helped her improve the quality of teaching and learning at her school. Chameli Rema has been head teacher of Rangrapara Secondary School for twenty years. During this period, she has helped make it the second highest ranking academic institution in the region. To maintain a high standard, Chameli has diligently ensured an environment in which her students get the level of education they need to develop as thinkers and leaders. By working closely with BRAC, Chameli has ensured that teachers and students never run out of opportunities to improve themselves. To guarantee that the quality of instruction is constantly being enhanced, Chameli encourages her teachers to take advantage of teacher training courses offered by BRAC. She demonstrates her belief in the value of these courses by volunteering for them herself. “I was the first to receive training” she says, “and I have completed several BRAC training courses since then.” Following their head teacher’s example, the teachers enthusiastically attended BRAC's training courses. They were excited about the techniques that they learned and quickly applied them in the classroom. Having instilled an ambition of constant self-improvement in her teachers, Chameli observed improvement in the standard of education at her school. "After every BRAC training," she explains, "the teachers are more focused and dedicated to educating the students." Chameli is intent on giving the students the same opportunities at developing themselves as the teachers. She encourages students of all ages to participate in BRAC’s leadership training programs, which have had an impressive impact on her student body. “Before my students went to BRAC training, I was often unsuccessful when I tried to form groups for studying or organizing cultural events,” Chameli explains. “Now, whenever I instruct them to arrange activities for the school, they form groups themselves and they work together.” While Chameli has created a positive learning environment, it remains a challenge for her to open it to all students. “It is very hard for many of our students to pay the school fees, and a few are unable to pay at all." Dedicated to giving all children education opportunities, Chameli has developed alternate payment methods for families with financial issues. "The admissions fee of 300 taka (USD 7) should normally be paid in January," she said, "but I let poor families pay in six monthly installments.” Because of Chameli’s ability to overcome obstacles, she feels confident about facing challenges in the future. “My school will continue to improve,” Chameli insists. “I hope that in the next generation, everyone will be able to receive a proper education.   

*** 

Robia Khatun Village Organization Member BRAC

At the centre of BRAC’s approach are village organizations (VOs) – each with 30-40 members. These village organizations meet weekly to distribute loans, collect repayments and savings contributions, and raise awareness on many social, legal and personal issues affecting the everyday lives of poor women. New member, Robia Khatun, describes how the microfinance and human rights education she received helped her to leave poverty behind and assist others in the community. In the last twelve months, Robia Khatun has built a vegetable garden, taught her community about legal rights, and purchased her first pair of shoes. Twelve months ago, these were distant dreams when Robia was struggling every day to provide for her nine children. Robia's participation in BRAC's programs allowed her to move beyond that past. She has taken advantage of new opportunities to turn life around for her family and to invest in a brighter future for her village. A year ago, Robia could not gain access to financial credit. “Other organizations rejected me. They told that I was too poor and that I would not be able to repay the loans,” she said. “But BRAC didn’t do that. They gave me a loan and trained me on how to plant potatoes, chilies, and other vegetables.” Robia took advantage of her training and invested her 6,000 taka (USD 90) loan to cultivate vegetables and sell them at the local market, and has used her profits to dramatically raise her family's standard of living. "There were times when I didn’t even have enough rice to cook one full meal a day," she said. "Now that I am a part of BRAC, I can cook three meals or more a day for me and my nine children. That is why I am happy now.” Having found happiness in providing for her family, Robia pushed to further life enhancement by graduating from BRAC’s human rights and legal education course. She gained the knowledge and confidence to fight traditional pressures such as paying dowry and marrying children at a very early age. “I can now work to stop these problems," she said, "I’ll let my sons and daughters marry when they are of proper age and I will not pay a single penny on dowries.” Robia is realizing the extent to which her education on human rights and legal services has given her the power to help her community in the same way in which she is helping her family. Robia is especially proud that she no longer feels hopeless when she hears about cases of domestic violence. "Before, I would see these problems, but I couldn’t do anything because I didn’t know about legal rights,” she explained. “Now I know much more and I can help others in my community.” Robia has used her human rights education and access to BRAC's microfinance program to transform life for her family. She is now inspired to share her knowledge and provide help to the families that still do not understand their rights and opportunities. "I have more courage and I feel even my heart is stronger," she says.   

 

Futiker Ma Ultra Poor Program Member BRAC Futiker spent many years isolated and in despair after she was abandoned by her family and ignored by her community. Today, she is working her way out of extreme poverty after joining BRAC’s ground breaking ultra poor program. This two year program provides her with free assets – such as cows and goats for livestock rearing – free health care, business training, a small living allowance, and access to flexible small loans to expand her business. She is one of more than 800,000 ultra poor households that will benefit from the program over the next five years. All the women on the ultra poor program are widowed, abandoned or have husbands who are unable to work. In Futiker’s case, she was abandoned by her husband when he became mentally ill and disappeared, her son was only ten years old but they managed to cope together. After her son married, she was finally reduced to begging to survive. “My son and I used to stay and eat together," she says, "but after he married he couldn’t give me food and I had to eat by begging from door to door.” In July 2008, BRAC field staff visited her village and invited the whole community to attend their local Participatory Rural Appraisal meeting, which is designed to map out a village and identify extremely poor households in dire need of assistance. BRAC has developed a set of five criteria to determine whether an individual qualifies as being ultra poor. If a woman fulfills at least three of these, she is eligible for the program. Futiker fulfilled four criteria, as her household did not have an active male member, had no productive assets, owned less than ten decimals of land, and was dependent on begging as the only source of income. She joined the program and was given a weekly living allowance that allowed her to stop begging and start rebuilding her life. She also had the choice of which type of productive assets she received so she could start earning a stable income. “It was my choice to have a cow and two goats because I expect that they will give me a lot of money," she said. "I will be able to eat and maybe save some money too.” To make sure that Futiker will be able to use her assets to their full potential, BRAC provides technical assistance and training on how to successfully rear livestock. As she says, “the BRAC man comes to my house every Tuesday and teaches me about my cow and goats”. Futiker will be supported and advised over the next two years to make sure that she is making progress and becoming self-reliant. She has embraced the chance to improve her life, relishing the opportunity to forge a way out of the poverty and misery she had experienced. “I’m able to feed my goats and my cow in the morning, afternoon, and at night," she says, with a firm sense of pride. "I bought this food." 

 

Ahki WASH Teenager BRAC BRAC is working to improve water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and promote safe hygiene practices across Bangladesh. Promoting safe hygienic behavior helps break the contamination cycle of unsanitary latrines, contaminated water, and water borne communicable diseases. One determined BRAC teenager explains why she is so committed to helping the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Program (WASH) achieve its goals. Though only fourteen years old, Ahki is already a leader in her community. Education has helped define Akhi’s vision for the future and instilled in her a sense of responsibility. Through involvement in BRAC programs, Ahki gained the opportunity to improve life for herself and people in her village. She now teaches people in her community how to live safer and healthier lives. When Ahki was five years old, her village had no school and she wondered if she would ever receive an education. Since then, she has been able to take advantage of the opportunities BRAC has given her to become a well-rounded, educated young person. She attended a primary school that BRAC built in her village until she was ten. After finishing primary school, she joined BRAC's adolescent development program, where twice a week she joins other girls to study, share stories, and learn from one another in a safe place. She is also currently attending a public secondary school where BRAC runs a WASH program to encourage hygienic behavior. BRAC teaches students healthy habits and provides the school with resources to encourage a healthier way of life. When Ahki first went to the school, students had to use a dirty, broken toilet, but this changed when BRAC started the WASH program. “Because of WASH," says Ahki, "there is a new toilet in our common room and the toilet and hand pump are kept clean.” WASH has ensured a sanitary environment at her school and this has inspired Ahki to use her knowledge to create a lasting impact within the community. She encourages her classmates to reduce their personal risk of contracting diseases by implementing WASH habits at home and in their daily lives. “My parents are now much more aware of sanitation issues and I have also talked with my neighbors,” she says, speaking of her success in spreading the message of WASH. “I explain the benefits of keeping clean.” BRAC has been a part of Akhi’s life for more than eight years and promises to support her as she continues to pursue her dreams. She thanks BRAC for giving her opportunities to help others and increase her knowledge and empower herself. “If I ever get the chance to work for BRAC in the future, I will definitely do that,” she said. “It is important to make the people of our country more aware about cleanliness.”  

 


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friends discuss how to linkin brac 



We're indebted to our supporters for making 2016 a transformative year for people living in poverty worldwide. For its work, BRAC was recognized by NGO Advisor as the top NGO in the world for 2017.

To celebrate the announcement, Founder and Chairperson, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, spoke with NGO Advisor Editor-in-Chief Jean-Christophe Nothias.

"If BRAC is emblematic of anything, I would like to hope it is a concerted, long-term effort to transform the basic conditions of one’s society," Abed said.

Read the full interview between Sir Fazle and NGO Advisor...

The Guardian: can BRAC "banish extreme poverty?"



A reporter for the British newspaper The Guardian offers an in-depth examination of BRAC's proven Graduation program, "Targeting the Ultra Poor."

Read the article in The Guardian about BRAC's Graduation program...

Tackling youth unemployment in Bangladesh



The Global Center for Youth Employment highlighted BRAC's Skills Training for Advancing Resources program (STAR) as its featured partner this month. Shormila (pictured) is one of its many participants who benefited from a 6-month apprenticeship.

Read more about Shormila and the STAR program...

Social enterprises fight poverty and malnutrition in Uganda



A recent piece in the Inclusive Business Action Network (IBAN) featured some of the innovative work BRAC is doing in Uganda, where the orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) is economically empowering small-scale farmers and improving maternal and child nutrition.

Read the IBAN blog post here and learn more about how market linkages can improve both opportunity and health...

Video: Rewind 2016 with BRAC



Take a journey back through the last 12 months with BRAC's annual year-in-review video. In less than five minutes, get the highlights of BRAC's best year yet.

Watch BRAC's 2016 year-in-review video...
STAR program featured                                                                         
What is BRAC?  Formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, BRAC is a global leader in creating opportunity for the world’s poor.

Read more at BRACusa.org or read the BRAC Blog.

 

 

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