06 June 2013, Dhaka. Civil Society Alliance for Scaling Up Nutrition, Bangladesh (CSA for SUN, BD) organised a meeting with nutrition and policymakers on “Exploring Opportunities for Scaling Up Nutrition” on June 04, 2013 at Spectra Convention Centre. Policymakers were invited to the meeting to discuss issues relating to nutrition and ways to improve the nutritional status of the country. Honourable State Minister for Women and Children Affairs, Meher Afroze Chumki, MP attended the event as the chief guest whereas the event was chaired by Dr. Sultana Khanum, SUN global civil society network focal point. Dr. Rukshana Haider, Chairperson of CSA for SUN, BD, Dr. Kaosar Afsana, Secretary of CSA for SUN, BD, Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, Programme Manager of IPHN attended the meeting as special guests.
On the onset, Dr. Sultana Khanum welcomed and thanked all participants and guest for attending event. She also mentioned that the event has been organised in alignment with the Global Hunger Summit, 2013 titled “Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science” Summit scheduled to be held on June 08, 2013 at London.
Dr. Rukshana Haider, Chairperson of CSA for SUN, BD in her speech highlighted that malnutrition in children and women still remains as a frontline challenge for Bangladesh and therefore collective multi-sectoral approach should be adopted to combat malnutrition in Bangladesh.
Dr. Kaosar Afsana, Secretary of CSA for SUN, BD in her speech stated that nutrition is not a standalone agenda rather requires multi-sector approach including nutrition, education, water, sanitation, agriculture, etc. According to her, a well-nourished woman would deliver a healthy baby and “if the baby gets proper nutrition he/she will grow strong and will succeed in schools and earn more”.
She pointed out that Investing in nutrition is a smart decision as she said “It can increase a country’s GDP by at least 2 to 3 percent annually. Investing a dollar in nutrition can result in a return of up to $ 30.”
The chief guest, Meher Afroze Chumki, MP Honourable State Minister for Women and Children Affairs stated that her ministry is relentlessly working to uplift the nutrition of women and children since about two third of the country’s population is composed of women and children. She shared that the government along with other stakeholders including NGOs and private sector has been able to significantly reduce maternal mortality ratio which has been accredited by the global community.
Following the panel discussion, the floor was made open for open opinions and questions.
In response to the statements and queries, the chief guest stated that maternity leave cannot be made specific since mothers face problems both before and after delivery. Therefore, the leave is given as per advice of the doctor.
28 May 2013, Dhaka. BRAC’s chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed spoke at the 19th International Conference on The Future of Asia in Tokyo, Japan last week.
The annual forum, held this year on 23-24 May, brought political leaders and top business executives together to discuss the future of Asia-Pacific nations and how development in the region stands to impact the global economy.
In a dialogue with Akihiko Tanaka, President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), BRAC's founder and chairperson said the poor needed more than money alone to improve their lives.
"You can help the world’s poorest people with assistance more than investment," Sir Fazle said. "You need to provide nutrition and education to get the poorest to an appropriate level for entering industry."
He added, "We need to provide skills training so people have an opportunity to earn income."
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe
In addition to the Nikkei and Japan Center for Economic Research organised forum, Sir Fazle met with the Japanese press and prominent business executives such as the president of Kumon, Japan’s number one education company. On 27 May, the chairperson attended a press conference in Tokyo organised by Alliance Forum Foundation (AFF) to discuss BRAC’s work with the AFF, the BracNet project and microfinance graduate course, and spoke about microfinance’s potential to create a stable middle class in Africa.
22 May 2013, Dhaka. BRAC’s community empowerment programme (CEP) with the support of Saferworld has initiated a project on community safety and security, titled “Improving the conditions for reconstruction and development in South Sudan, Yemen and Bangladesh Project”. The project aims to improve public safety and security at the grassroots community level and contribute to more effective and accountable state institutions. It uses a participatory framework built on the active engagement of rural communities in identifying safety and security concerns and comes up with local context-sensitive solutions to address those issues. Its current project is an extended replication of a successful piloting by BRAC and Saferworld, which will work with communities to identify their security needs, and with those who are best placed to respond to them, including local authorities and development actors.
A high level meeting of BRAC and Saferworld was held on May 11, 2013, at BRAC Centre in attendance of Dr Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director, BRAC and Mr Paul Murphy, Executive Director, Saferworld, and both shared their valuable opinions regarding this new initiative in perspective of Bangladesh. Ms Anna Minj, Director, Community Empowerment Programme & Integrated Development Programme, BRAC and Ms Chamila Hemmathagama, Head of South Asia Programme, Saferworld were also present in the meeting and shared their profound views throughout the meeting.
CEP shared the findings of community safety and security needs assessment conducted at the project sites to give a clear understanding of the local safety and security concerns. The attendees emphasised on the contribution of BRAC-Saferworld partnership to create safer communities by increasing public safety and security through more active, informed and inclusive societies. They highlighted the importance of creating a platform for sharing this participatory based project learning and experiences at both national and international levels, for ensuring the betterment of the community people by responding to their safety and security needs more accurately.
A few of the staffs who work at the grassroots level, pointed out that the longer timeframe of the project gradually makes the development easier which also leads to the consistency. They also referred to the vibe of progress of the project as self realisation of the community people has already started taking place during the systematic process of focus group discussion. Mr Murphy concluded by mentioning their eagerness on continuing their collaboration with BRAC by teaming up and learning together. He also specified that the best way to manage such projects is by keeping the communication channels as much open as possible. The Community Safety and Security Project is being implemented across 16 sites within five districts of south-western region of Bangladesh, i.e. Faridpur, Gopalganj, Bagerhat, Jessore, and Satkhira, for the duration of June 2012 to June 2016. This project is being funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Royal Netherland Embassy, and the Netherlands through Saferworld.
15 May 2013, Dhaka. BRAC’s chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed addressed The International Congress “Culture: Key to Sustainable Development” which is being held in Hangzhou, China, from May 15 to May 17.
“Culture is not just theatre and arts and crafts; it’s also about how we deal with the challenges of life and in doing so shape our world view,” explained Sir Fazle to members of the global community and major international stakeholders on the first day of the conference. He spoke in a plenary high-level discussion on ‘Culture in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda’.
Taking the example of how BRAC, in the 80s, reached 12 million households and taught 90 per cent of mothers how to make oral rehydration solution (ORS), Sir Fazle said, “In doing so it influenced how diseases and treatment are understood and power is gained over adversity. This was both a health intervention and a profoundly cultural act as it affected the world view of millions.”
Sir Fazle described how BRAC’s social enterprise arm, Aarong, brought together crafts and livelihood issues and has become one of the most successful commercial innovations. It reintroduced revived dying crafts, established new products and fashions and linked producers to the market. “Supporting cultural heritage is not enough,” said BRAC’s founder and chairperson. “It’s important to make them sustainable through access to market, going to scale and creating livelihoods. Today thousands of women who are employed as craft makers are also preserving and expanding our cultural heritage.”
He also shared his belief that empowerment and development are cultural ideas: “Culture lives in development and vice versa. By strengthening one, we enrich the other.”
This is the first International Congress specifically focusing on the linkages between culture and sustainable development organised by UNESCO since the Stockholm Conference in 1998.
Other speakers at the global forum include UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, H.R.H Prince Sultan Saudi bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and former Governor of Canada, Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean.
16 May 2013, Dhaka.
Photo copyright: BRAC/Ferdous Uddin Ahmad.
As Bangladesh braces itself for cyclone Mahasen hitting its coastal areas today, a combined effort by different BRAC programmes, including Disaster, Environment & Climate Change (DECC), is mobilising precautions. The coast between Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar currently hoists a danger level of 7, on a scale of 1 to 11.
Standard operation procedures (SOP), established by DECC, are being followed to maximise the efficiency and resources of all necessary actions taken during different phases of this natural disaster. Emergency team meetings are being held in BRAC’s field offices and a situation room, activated in Dhaka’s head office to coordinate a prompt response, is managing constant updates from over a dozen districts as well as different international and national weather modelling sources.
District BRAC Representatives (DBR) in coastal districts formed the Incident Command System (ICS), following BRAC’s SOP, and are compiling resource maps, making inventories, disseminating information on protocols to the public, listing necessary emergency materials and identifying possible retail vendors that can help. They are also working with local authorities such as in Chittagong, Bagerhat, Cox’s Bazar, Barisal and Khulna, which are conducting consecutive emergency meetings to assess the situation.
BRAC closed its schools in vulnerable areas yesterday and ensured all government and BRAC cyclone shelters were opened and properly prepared. It is also providing meals for evacuated community members at cyclone shelters as and where necessary.
The extended BRAC family, including village organisation members, community health workers, school teachers and adolescent leaders, are being advised to carry out their roles as first responders alongside BRAC staff. Teams from BRAC’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), Health, Nutrition and Population programme (HNPP) and DECC are also ready to provide support as first responders if an emergency situation arises.
For up to date information as the situation develops, please check our blog.
Media spokesperson from BRAC:
Dr Babar Kabir
Senior Director, Disaster, Environment & Climate Change
For Bangladesh Media:
Mahbubul Alam Kabir
Sr. Media Manager, Communications
For International Media:
For International Media(From May 21st):
Deputy Manager, Communications
12 May 2013, Dhaka. BRAC has announced changes to its senior level management. A circular was sent out on the 7 May, 2013.
Faruque Ahmed, Senior Director, BRAC International has been promoted to the position of Executive Director, BRAC International. In addition to all country representatives, BRAC Internatinal's chief financial officer and the director of internal audit will be reporting to Mr Ahmed.
Executive Director, BRAC and Vice Chairperson, BRAC governing body will provide support and guidance to BRAC International's agricultural programmes and research and evaluation department respectively.
Held on 29 and 30 April, BRAC’s Global Learning Meeting continued the work that began in Bangladesh in 2012, creating a network and platform to share knowledge and strategies for effective adolescent and youth development programming.
BRAC is the world’s largest implementer of the "girl effect" which is the unique potential of 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world. Our programmes have led to a rich reserve of knowledge and experience, and this meeting enabled sharing of global best practices to design effective programmes for adolescents and youth.
The Global Learning Meeting fittingly took place in the world's youngest country in terms of the age of the population (78 per cent being under the age of 30), where we have seen measurable improvements in the lives of girls as the result of targeted interventions that empower girls both socially and financially.
The meeting was produced in partnership with Nike Foundation. Senior management and programme designers from 11 countries where BRAC operates, as well as representatives from Nike Foundation, NoVo Foundation, Save the Children, Population Council and UNICEF, attended the meeting.
More information and photos from the proceedings will be updated here and on the BRAC Blog in the coming days.
02 May 2013, Dhaka. Dr. Mahabub Hossain, executive director of BRAC, has been selected as one of the 500 most powerful people in the world by Foreign Policy – a global magazine of politics and economics. Dr Hossain is the only one chosen from Bangladesh to have claimed a position in this very prestigious power map.
The Foreign Policy adheres to a ‘list of lists’ approach by which they consult various distinguished and globally influential sources like Fortune Global 500, Forbes World’s Most Powerful People, World 500, Top 100 NGOs, International Media Corporations, World University Rankings, Wall Street Journal Market Watch and such others, and pick 500 people who have proven to possess the outstanding capability of influencing global trajectories. In February 2013, BRAC was ranked number one among the top 100 NGOs in the world.
Dr Hossain joined as Executive Director of BRAC in June 2007. Prior to joining BRAC, he was head of the Social Sciences Division at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines, and coordinator of the Consortium for Unfavourable Rice Environments (CURE) in Asia. Dr Hossain began his career in 1970, as a staff economist at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (former PIDE) and rose through the ranks to become its director general during 1988-91. He also worked as a visiting scientist at the Institute of Developing Economies in Tokyo (1981), the International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC (1985-87), and the Overseas Development Institute, London (1990).
Dr Hossain received his MA in Economics from Dhaka University in 1969 and PhD in Economics from Cambridge University, England in 1977. His major area of research interest is on the rural development policies. Dr Hossain serves as a member of the Board of Governors at Bangladesh Agriculture University, Mymensigh, and BRAC University. He is a founding member of the North-South University Foundation, and a member of the Advisory Council of the CGIAR Harvest Plus Project run by IFPRI and CIAT, the Rice Advisory Council of the Syngenta Corporation for Asia and the Pacific. He is the Chairperson of Bangladesh Rice Foundation, a civil society think tank on rice policies. He is also a member of the Global Knowledge Advisory Commission of The World Bank.
Full list is available here: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/29/the_500_most_powerful_people_in_the_world
27 April 2013, Dhaka. On 23 April 2013, BRAC successfully launched the livelihood enhancement through agricultural development (LEAD) project in Tanzania. This four-year long project is a collaborative initiative of UK government and BRAC which will be implemented in 18 regions in Tanzania. The project seeks to increase rural income, build capacity of smallholder farmers, and improve agriculture productivity and food security. The project consists of two main components –agriculture (maize) and livestock (poultry), and will work directly with 48,000 poultry farmers in the country to build their capacity, assist them in accessing high quality farming inputs, and creating marketing facilities for their produce.
BRAC’s Founder Chairperson, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed chaired the ceremony. Also in attendance were the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries development, Dr David Mathayo; British High Commissioner to Tanzania Dianna Melrose; and Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s office (Environment) Mr Charles Kitwanqa.
15 April 2013, Dhaka. On April 11, 2013, BRAC launched a 3 year long food security project in Liberia aiming to increase food security in poor rural parts of the country through production, processing and marketing of livestock. The project was launched in collaboration with the ministry of agriculture and the European Union Delegation to Liberia.
The launching ceremony took place at the Corina Hotel in Monorvia, where findings of a recent market survey conducted by BRAC Liberia research unit were presented. The project is expected to reduce poverty by increasing food security through improved sustainable livestock production amongst 12,650 farmers, increasing household incomes and developing the capacity of the local relevant institutions to enable them for developing national livestock strategy.
The national livestock coordinator at the ministry of agriculture, Mrs. Elizabeth Wiles, Agriculture manager of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, Adolf Cires Alonso, Country representative of BRAC Liberia Mohammed Abdus Salam were present at the ceremony.