Long-term development commences alongside relief operations, signaling the beginning of a dual development and humanitarian mandate. First microloans provided, starting BRAC’s work in financial inclusion. BRAC renamed Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee. When supporting people affected by famine and flood, Abed bhai finds a village where all the men had left, and women were supporting each other–the start of the focus on women as the managers of development.
Manikganj integrated project starts, the first BRAC project that provides multi-faceted support to people using a holistic approach. Sericulture programme starts, generating employment for women in vulnerable situations. BRAC Sericulture becomes one of BRAC’s biggest social enterprises, continuing traditional silkmaking practices.
Aarong launches, to create livelihood opportunities for women in rural areas through craft, and ensure they are paid for their creations. Aarong later becomes country’s leading lifestyle brand, expanding its footprint internationally. First training and resource centre established; BRAC would need high quality managers in order to ensure quality work up to the last mile, and these centres would deliver that. As investment in training expands, these centres become learning centres.
Oral therapy extension programme launched, BRAC’s first nationwide door-to-door campaign. The success of the programme gave Abed bhai the confidence that behaviour could be changed through mass awareness. He knew BRAC could manage scale. This turning point could be termed the real birth of BRAC. The programme took a decade, virtually eliminated diarrhoea as a childhood killer and laid the foundation for BRAC’s work in health.
Poultry vaccination programme initiated, with the realisation that raising chickens could be a viable livelihood option at the household level for women in rural areas. Results in mass employment over the next 30 years, through creation of multiple social enterprises: BRAC Chicken, BRAC Poultry and BRAC Feed Mill.
Rural development programme formed; beginning of merging awareness building with economic activities. Child survival programme commences, launching work in infant and maternal mortality, which resulted in child-focused initiatives such as mass-scale immunisation, family planning and delivery centres. Focus turns to rights, particularly land rights for women in rural areas, and the human rights and legal services programme is introduced, which becomes the world’s largest NGO-led legal aid programme.
Dairy and Food Project launches, marking the beginning of BRAC Diary. The social enterprise grows to become Bangladesh’s third largest milk processor, supporting 45,000 dairy farmers across Bangladesh. Chittagong Hill Tracts development programme launched, marking the start of work with indigenous communities.
BRAC University establishes the James P Grant School of Public Health and the Institute of Educational Development, encouraging research into public health and education (particularly early childhood development). BRAC responds to the Asian Tsunami, marking its first international humanitarian response and rights.
Development programmes in Tanzania and Uganda commence. BRAC UK established to mobilise resources. Work in water, sanitation and hygiene started, which was to play a key role in eliminating open defecation in Bangladesh. Work in safe labour migration started, which was to become an important strategic area of operations.
Over 5,500 volunteer-run community learning centres start in secondary schools in rural areas in Bangladesh. This is supported by mobile libraries in hard-to-reach areas, to make literature accessible for all. BRAC goes to Haiti to respond to the deadly earthquake. BRAC International Holdings B.V. is established.
Radio Pollikontho launches in rural Bangladesh, broadcasting vital information in Sylheti dialect. The community radio is run entirely by adolescents and goes on to win several global awards. Boat schools are introduced, to bring primary education to children living in seasonally submerged areas, such as wetlands. The Strategic Partnership Agreement is signed with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, using international development goals as a framework to deliver long-term development impact.