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Last modified on Sunday, 23 June 2013 18:00

BRAC reaches out to the grassroots people to identify the post-2015 development agenda

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24 June 2013, Dhaka. BRAC reiterated its commitment to assist Bangladesh in attaining the Millennium Development Goals and vowed to make lasting changes in people’s lives based on a grassroots survey conducted this year. BRAC’s executive director Dr Mahabub Hossain presented the findings of the survey, followed by the official launching of the 2012 annual report and an open discussion session aimed at taking a closer look at the upcoming development priorities in the development agenda and BRAC’s role in it. Looking ahead to the post-2015 agenda, BRAC surveyed 30,234 grassroots voices on high priority development interventions. The findings from the survey surmised that gender justice, prevention of child marriage and dowry, reduction of poverty, food security, universal primary schooling, greater employment generation, safe drinking water and good sanitation for all, and ensure safer roads are the high priorities for the grassroots people.

M M Akash, professor at University of Dhaka, expressed his surprise at some of the findings. "For stopping violence against women and preventing child marriage and dowry to be the first priority for rural people is noteworthy and surprising considering how prevalent it has been in Bangladesh in the past." He added, "This says something about grassroots people."

Badiul Alam Majumder, country director of The Hunger Project, commented on BRAC's findings, "People are increasingly becoming authors of their own futures."
Present during the occasion was Managing Director of BRAC Enterprises & Investments Muhammad A (Rumee) Ali, BRAC Group CFO S N Kairy, BRAC International’s Executive Director Faruque Ahmed, Senior Director of Strategy, Communications and Capacity Asif Saleh, Senior Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, and Disaster, Environment and Climate Change Dr Babar Kabir, Senior Director of Aarong, BRAC Dairy and Ayesha Abed Foundation Tamara Abed, and all the directors of BRAC’s various programmes.

Also present were distinguished guests from several organisations, including Anisa Haq, Institute of Educational Development, BRAC; M M Akash, University of Dhaka; Bushra Binte Alam, World Bank; Susan Davis, BRAC USA; Naomi Hossain, IDS; Laurie Thompson, UKAID; Rubana Ahmed, Policy Research Institute; Ferdous Jahan, BRAC Development Institute; Shahrukh Safi, AusAID; and Badiul Alam Majumder, The Hunger Project.

Mr Saleh moderated the open discussion session, with participation from the civil society organisations, government officials, and BRAC’s senior officials.
Bangladesh has made significant progress in achieving the MDGs since 2000. Economic development, health, education, sanitation, gender, justice and social awareness programmes are some of the areas where BRAC, alongside the government, have successfully collaborated.

As of December 2012, Bangladesh has halved the rate of extreme poverty, and BRAC’s ultra poor programme has played a crucial part, serving 1.4 million households. In the education sector, the enrolment rate in primary education stands at 90 per cent, and BRAC’s ‘second chance schools’ have provided more than five million children with primary education. In 2012 BRAC’s health programme extended its maternal, neonatal and child health services to char areas of northern Bangladesh, contributing to Bangladesh’s success in meeting the MDG to reduce maternal mortality. BRAC also partnered with the government to combat childhood tuberculosis - a long-neglected scourge in Bangladesh. As part of their initiatives to provide safe drinking water, BRAC built water facilities in 175 sub-districts, providing an estimated 12 million people with safe drinking water.

The list of priorities which were the findings of the grassroots survey are all in sync with the proposed Bellagio goals submitted by the UN’s High Level Panel in May 2013, highlighting the people’s aspirations in Bangladesh are closely aligned with the global development agenda proposed by the Panel. While good governance, gender justice, and security and safety priorities and common goals which the people of Bangladesh have identified with the UN Panel, the people are still concerned will underdeveloped transport and power infrastructure, neither of which are included in the global agenda. Resonating voices across the world, people in Bangladesh also feel that income inequality, the root cause of many of the development problems, has not been addressed by the global agenda.

Dr Mahabub Hossain, responding to questions from the media and guests, said, "Inequality is a big issue that we obviously need to address and BRAC's programmes are working towards mitigating many aspects of inequality, injustice and discrimination."

Download BRAC annual reports here: http://www.brac.net/content/annual-report-and-publications

 

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