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Tuesday, 18 December 2012 18:00

BRAC receives Good Practices Award for GQAL

26 December 2012, Dhaka. BRAC has won a Good Practices Award for its Gender Quality Action Learning (GQAL) programme, implemented by Gender Justice and Diversity.

The Good Practices Award was jointly undertaken by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and UNFPA Bangladesh. There were two categories for NGOs’ violence against women (VAW) interventions —national and local; BRAC was the only NGO to win the award in the national category.

The award giving ceremony took place on 20th December 2012 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Dhaka.

Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs graced the occasion as the chief guest. In her speech, she called for all to end once and for all this demonic practice which is a social malice.

Mr Arthur Erken, UNFPA Representative in Bangladesh was also a special guest at the event.
Ms Sheepa Hafiza, Director, Gender Justice & Diversity and Migration programme, received the award on behalf of BRAC, and expressed her gratitude to the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and UNFPA. She also thanked her BRAC colleagues for their commitment to the GQAL programme, as well as congratulating the thousands of GQAL women and men who she said really deserve this award.

GQAL is considered an important step in the internal process of promoting gender equality within BRAC. This was a training focused programme, which was launched in 1995, and aimed at improving gender relations both at the organisation level and community level. This aspect not only makes GQAL unique within the scope of Bangladesh, but also because GQAL’s approaches include both women and men from the same family.

23 December 2012, Dhaka. As per WHO report, at least 10 per cent of TB patients in the world are children and yet only three per cent of them have been detected in Bangladesh, despite being ranked sixth among the 22 High Burdened TB countries in the world. Experts illuminated this dire issue at the roundtable on “Child TB: Achievements and Way Forward”. The roundtable was organised jointly by the National TB Control Programme, Directorate of Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Daily Jugantor and BRAC at BRAC Centre, on December 22, 2012.

In his speech, the honourable chief guest Muhammad Humayun Kabir, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare said, “This is a timely occasion as situation demands more attention on Child TB detection and its preventions because child development is a crucial issue to our prosperity.”

Mr Rafiqul Islam Ratan, Panel Editor, the Daily Jugantor, chaired the occasion and Mr Asraful Alam Pintu, Senior Sub-Editor, the Daily Jugantor, was the moderator. Dr Ahaque Hussain, Director, MBDC, and Line Director, TB & Leprosy, and Prof Ruhul Amin, Pediatric Pulmonologist, Dhaka Shishu Hospital, were present as special guests.

Keynote was presented by Dr Mojibur Rahman, National Programme Cosultant, NTP. Paediatricians, TB experts and representatives from NTP partners were – Dr Nuruzzaman Haque, Programme Manager, National TB Control Programme, Dr K Zaman, Scientist & Epidemiologist, ICDDR’B, Dr Asif Muztoba Mahmud, Associate Professor, Respiratory Medicine, IEDCR, Dr Md Abdur Shakur Khan, Assistant Professor, NIDCH, Dr Sayeda Afrooja, Professor and Head of the Department, Paediatrics, Sir Solimullah Medical College & Hospital, Professor Dr Khan Nizamuddin, Head of the Department, Paediatrics, Shaheed Monsur Ali Medical College & Hospital, Dr Shakil Ahmed, Assistant Professor, Shaheed Sohrawardi Medical College & Hospital, Dr Vikarun Nissa, NPO, WHO, Khair Uddin Ahmed Mukul, NATAB, Dr Akramul Islam, Associate Director, BRAC Health Programme, and many others from the civil society and media houses were present in the roundtable.

In her welcome speech, Dr Kaosar Afsana, Director, BRAC Health Programme, emphasised on increasing attention and works on Child TB in the coming days.

Detection of TB among children becomes difficult when the children under 10 are unable to provide cough and intestinal juice, and as a result, X-ray and Tuberculin tests show doubtful or insufficient results. Experts emphasised on the collection of previous records, close observation on growth curves (Graphical features of Weight by Age), and routine check-up through smearing (if available), weighing, X-ray, Tuberculin test etc of TB suspect children to meet the goal. Absence of proper guidelines was the primary cause behind the below per case detection rate; it has been published in 2012 and need to be circulated nationwide to help/support the physicians for comprehensive handling of Child TB cases, they added.

The chair of the event, Mr Rafiqul Islam said, “The role of media in effective messaging and awareness build-up is well recognised; though on question of media mobilisation, we can step forward through time to time, sitting with focal media groups, targeting the respective pages in the dailies.”

20 December 2012, Dhaka. Kevin Watkins, Senior Fellow, Centre for Universal Education, Brookings Institute, Washington, DC, said, “Bangladesh has achieved enormous progress in education but some challenges like financing, child labour, natural disasters etc. still exits”. Mr. Watkins, the former director and lead author of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report (GMR), presented a speech on ‘Education MDGs and Beyond’ which was held on 19th December, 2012, at BRAC Centre auditorium.

Mr. Shymol Kanti Ghosh, Director General, Directorate of Primary Education and Rasheda K. Chowdhury, Executive Director, CAMPE were also present  in the event. The entire session was chaired by Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive director, BRAC.

In his speech, Watkins introduced the audiences with a new concept of ‘Education Poverty’ and ‘Education marginalization’ and also talked about post MDGs.  The situation of people with less than four years of education is termed by him as ‘Education Poverty’ and according to his findings most of the developing countries in the world are submerged in this situation.

According to him, ethnicity, indigenous status, cast, language, location & livelihood, disability and HIV & AIDS are some of the key determinants of education marginalization. Mr. Watkins is also the author of Human Development report for UNDP. His research focuses on education, globalisation and human development.

Mr. Shymol Kanti Ghosh, mentioned in his speech that despite achieving development in the access to schools in Bangladesh, maintaining the quality of education is still a challenge.

Dr. Mahabub Hossain concluded the session echoing with Watkins’s presentation, “we must link marginality with education and look for post MDGs at international level as well as Bangladesh.”

13 December 2012, Dhaka. Dr. Sajia Afrin Eva, 27, a part-time physician at BRAC’s Dokhinkhan Clinic, was brutally murdered on Friday, November 30, 2012 while on night duty (Inna Lillahi Wah Inna Ilaihi Raziun).  The BRAC family is shocked and deeply saddened at the tragic death of Dr. Sajia.

BRAC continues to keep in constant touch with the family of the deceased and is ready to provide whatever support is necessary to ensure that justice is done. It may be mentioned that on December 2, 2012, Mohammad Faysal, a caretaker of the clinic, was arrested and sent to jail after he confessed before magistrate to strangling Dr Sajia.

BRAC’s policies are developed to ensure safety and security of all its employees at every level, but following this tragic incident, BRAC has decided to implement further stringent security measures at BRAC health centres to ensure that such occurrence are not repeated. BRAC will also continue to do all it can ensure the safety of its 45,000 staff members who work at over 2,500 BRAC facilities around the country.

Dr. Sajia started working at BRAC Health Clinic, Dokkhinkhan as a part time doctor from October, 2012.  She had graduated from Sylhet Osmani Medical College and was undergoing advance post graduate training at Shaheed Sarawardi Medical College Hospital.

BRAC held a Doa & Milad Mahfil at its head office at BRAC Centre on December 05, 2012 to pray for the eternal peace of the departed soul, which was attended by family members of the deceased and BRAC senior management and staff, including the Founder and Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed and Executive Director, Dr. Mahabub Hossain.


11 December 2012, Dhaka. BRAC has received the GAVI CSO Special Recognition Impact Award at GAVI 5th Partners Forum in Dar-es-Salaam. A special dinner was held on 6 December to honor those who have made a difference in the lives of children in developing countries and their communities through the effective delivery of immunisation programmes.

This year, additional special recognitions were given to individuals and non-government partners who work in immunization, from advocacy to research and innovation, to sustainable financing and partnership.

BRAC received the special recognition for CSO (civil society organisation) impact. This acknowledges the unique contribution of BRAC to delivering immunisation services, improving immunisation coverage and advancing in-country advocacy. BRAC sits on national health policy committees and last year through its community mobilisation efforts fully immunised over 1.1 million Children.

On behalf of BRAC, Senior Director, Mr Faruque Ahmed, who is also the past GAVI CSO Board Member, Dr Sharmin Akhter Zahan,  Program Manager Health,  and past GAVI CSO Special Adviser, and Mr Gunendu Roy, BRAC Tanzania Country Representative has received this prestigious award in presence of GAVI Board Members and Special Guests. Mr Dagfinn Høybråten, current GAVI Board Chair, Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of East African Community and past Health Minister of Rwanda, Dr Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF, Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health, WHO, Mr Bill Roedy, Chairman and Chief Executive, MTV Networks International (MTVNI), Yvonne Chaka Chaka, South African singer  and founder of "Princess of Africa Foundation”, Mr Steve Davis, President and CEO, PATH, Mr Chris Elias, President, Global Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and so many distinguished  personals including Health Ministers from around 50 countries were present on the ceremony.

The GAVI Special Impact Award is indeed a great recognition for BRAC for participating in noble child survival initiatives in Bangladesh through community mobilization and becoming a part of making an impact on health service delivery in Bangladesh.





Sunday, 09 December 2012 18:00

Aarong wins UNESCO Award of Excellence 2012

10 December 2012, Dhaka. This year Aarong has been awarded the prestigious 2012 UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts in South-East Asia and Asia for Jamdani stole, silk Nakshi Kantha table runner and bridal jewellery box. These products were selected by UNESCO out of 189 nominations received from ten countries. The products were judged on excellence, authenticity, innovation and marketability with pre-conditions of respect for environment and social responsibility.

The UNESCO panel of expert praised Nakshi Kantha table runner for its “Fine execution of the traditional Nakshi Kantha embroidery on the piece with contemporary selection of colours and design, bringing traditional folk art into modern households” and bridal jewellery box for its “Very fine execution of the traditional Nakshi Kantha embroidery, enhanced by the bright red colour with perfect finishing and its multiple compartments that make it fully functional.”

In 2006, Aarong was granted UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts in South-East Asia and Asia for Terracotta fruit bowl. The earthen bowls, Nakshi Kantha table runner and bridal jewellery box are available in all Aarong outlets.

Owned by BRAC, the fashion retailer Aarong is one of Bangladesh's largest chains. This chic brand began as a humble means to an end for a quiet organisation fighting to uphold the dignity of marginalised people. In 1976, when BRAC first began to support silk firming for Bangladeshi women, the only buyers were a few scattered retailers in Dhaka. Weeks, even months would pass between supply and payment - until BRAC intervened.

Aarong, which means "market" in Bengali, was born to ensure that poor silk farmers were paid on time to feed their families.

Today, Aarong is a fair trade organisation that supports more than 65,000 artisans, 85 percent of whom are women. It is an example to the world of how the poor, when organised properly, can generate a financial surplus to support vital development work.


04 November 2012, Dhaka. Dokhinkhan BRAC Clinic’s part-time physician, Dr. Sajia Afrin Eva, 27, was brutally murdered on Friday; November 30, 2012 during her duty hour (Inna Lillahi Wah Inna Ilaihi Raziun).  BRAC family is deeply shocked and mourns at the sudden demise of Dr. Sajia.

Following a high level management meeting, BRAC authority has decided to provide all out financial and legal support to the deceased family to run and facilitate free and fair judgment of the murder case filed by her father, Monirul Islam, in addition to providing financial compensation to Dr. Sajia’s family.

Dr. Sajia started working at BRAC Health Clinic, Dokkhinkhan as a part time doctor from Ocrober, 2012.  She had graduated from Sylhet Osmani Medical College and was undergoing advance post graduate training at Shaheed Sarawardi Medical College Hospital.

BRAC authority will hold a Doa & Milad Mahfil at its head office, BRAC Centre located at 75 Mohakhali, Dhaka on December 05, 2012 at 4.00pm for the eternal peace of the departed soul.

BRAC authority strongly condemns the untoward incident that took life of Dr. Sajia Afrin Eva and wants the real criminals to be brought under the law ensuring justice to the deceased.


18 September 2012, Dhaka. Twenty one trained women drivers received certificates from the Communication Minister, Obaidul Quader MP, on the occasion of “Promoting Women in Driving Profession” event held on September 18, 2012. This successful first batch of BRAC driving school has finished a rigorous eight weeks of residential driving training and is now ready to be employed.

Congratulating BRAC on this initiative, the minister said “These certified trained female drivers will face no problem in getting employment as Nitol Niloy group has already agreed to recruit them along with BRAC”. Director of BRAC Procurement, Estates and Management Services, Mr Ahmed Najmul Hussain, mentioned in his keynote presentation that research conducted by BRAC shows 42 percent of the drivers know the basic traffic regulations , whereas 41 percent actually follows them. Identifying the huge lack of properly trained drivers in the country he mentioned, “BRAC will train 400 instructors and 600 female drivers through this driving school project with the support of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA)”.

Additional Inspector General of Police, Mr Nazmul Haque, and Chairman of BRTA, Mr Md Ayubur Rahman Khan, was present at the event as special guests.  Group CFO of BRAC Mr Shib Narayan Kairy, and Senior Director Mr Asif Saleh spoke among others. The event was chaired by Managing Director of BRAC investments, Mr Muhammad A (Rumee) Ali.



14 November 2012, Dhaka. BRAC has partnered with Educate A Child (EAC), an initiative which was launched today by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the wife of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The initiative is to build 400 boats, and establish 500 schools for children from disadvantaged backgrounds living in the flood plains of the remote parts of Bangladesh by 2014. In addition, EAC will provide funds for 2,000 slum schools in urban areas. This announcement came during the World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE), which is being held from Nov 13th-15th in Doha, Qatar.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson, Asif Saleh, Senior Director, Strategy, Communication and Capacity, and Dr Safiqul Islam, Director Education, of BRAC were invited to participate at the summit.

Earlier, on October 22nd, Her Highness inaugurated a BRAC boat school in Derai, Shunamgonj, Bangladesh. Following the visit, she said “The children who still have no access to schooling are the hardest to reach, in the most persistently difficult situations of poverty, conflict, natural disaster or marginalisation. I recently visited education projects in…… the marshlands of Bangladesh, the combination of flooding and poverty make normal schooling almost impossible. Here, ‘floating schools’ serve a dual purpose – they act as a bus, collecting the children, and as a classroom, providing education. This solution is innovative and inspiring and the children I met were so happy to learn – an opportunity often denied to their parents."

Her Highness also serves as Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, and has been listed in Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most influential women for her special contribution in education and the development sector both, at both the national and international arena.

The high-impact, low-cost model of BRAC primary schools give disadvantaged students a second chance at learning. Through slum schools and boat schools, education is provided to children, particularly those affected by displacement, discrimination and extreme poverty in urban slum areas and seasonally submerged areas.



Wednesday, 07 November 2012 18:00

Wasfia Nazreen’s 2012 Vinson Massif Expedition


08 November 2012, Dhaka. A Flag-Off ceremony for “Wasfia Nazreen’s 2012 Vinson Massif Expedition” was held at 6:30 pm on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at the BRAC Centre Auditorium.

Wasfia Nazreen, the youngest Everest summiteer of the country is setting off to an expedition to climb Mount Vinson of Antarctica, the remotest continent on Earth, for the fourth leg of her “Bangladesh on Seven Summits” campaign. On the eve of Bangladesh turning 40, she had taken up the challenge of climbing the highest mountains of each of the seven continents to celebrate women’s progress of the last four decades and highlight to the world the resiliency of our people.

BRAC, bKash and BRAC Bank are the supporters of this expedition to the highest mountain of Antarctica. At the flag-off event, BRAC also announced its pledge to collaborate with Wasfia Nazreen by making her its Goodwill Ambassador for the next one year. In this one year, she will work to champion the cause of women empowerment and motivate, encourage and inspire the young women leaders of the country.

Tamim Iqbal, national cricket player and youth icon, hailing from Wasfia’s hometown Chittagong, attended the event as a special guest. Tamim lauded Wasfia’s pioneering feat and commended her courage for her upcoming risky journey. “I request our young generation to come out and do something for the nation and themselves” he stated.

Renowned social activist Ms. Khushi Kabir, Coordinator, Nijera Kori, saluted Wasfia’s efforts to bring Bangladeshi women on the map. “Wasfia has created an example for all of us. Not just as a woman but also as a citizen of Bangladesh, conquering the seven summits is not an easy task”, said Kabir.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Chairperson of BRAC, and the Guest of Honour of the event said: “BRAC has been working for women empowerment since years and having Wasfia as a goodwill ambassador will further enhance our endeavours. Hopefully her successful venture will bring forward more people to support her in this incredible journey”.

Though Shakib Al Hassan could not make it to the event, he sent his best wishes for Wasfia. “It is a matter of pride to me that a Bangladeshi woman is pursuing such activities and I am confident that this will inspire our youth to take on “out of the box” challenges in any field of activities.”

Wasfia in her speech mentioned “If by finishing my seven summits I can create an impact to even 10 women’s life, I will consider myself successful”. She also expressed her humblest gratitude to her sponsors for supporting her.

Wasfia leaves the country this month to first spend three weeks of training and acclimatisation with Patrick Morrow, the first person in the world to have finished seven summits roughly 30 years ago, in winter wilderness of Canada, and then from there she will set her foot on Antarctica via the Chilean territory.

Updates on her journey will regularly be posted on Facebook and Twitter via both Bangladesh on Seven Summits & BRAC pages.

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