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05 November 2012, London. On 24 October the University of Manchester honored Sir Fazle Hasan Abed with an accolade for his outstanding services in tackling poverty and empowering the poor in Bangladesh and globally through BRAC, the organisation he founded and leads.

In an address delivered on behalf of the honorary graduates, Sir Fazle said:

"Universities through the centuries have played an unmatched role in creating new knowledge, educating leaders and thinkers who shaped our societies, and spearheaded innovation and enterprise. This University [of Manchester], over the years, has encompassed a number of centres of excellence within its fold and has emerged as one of the largest in Europe. Frontier research to expand the horizon of human knowledge, as well as research and education in economic, social and behavioural sciences continue apace, so that human societies can find ways of living in peace with justice and equity, and in harmony with our planet’s ecosystems.

The pivotal role of universities prompted BRAC to found BRAC University in Bangladesh in 2001. Although BRAC University is 188 years younger than THIS university, we share the same beliefs – that we need to train and educate a new generation of creative leaders that can challenge existing thinking and ideas, and build a sustainable future for our planet."

Sir Fazle’s visit to Manchester was hosted by Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM) and Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI) in recognition of the more than 20 years knowledge creation partnership between the University of Manchester and BRAC. The partnership began in the 1990s with Professor David Hulme’s collaborative studies of BRAC’s development initiatives that led to its ground-breaking ultra-poor programme. BWPI and IDPM have close collaborations with BRAC University researching climate change and urban poverty and effective states and inclusive development.

University of Manchester also recognized Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall, renowned mathematician and former Lord Mayor of Manchester Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw, Shoe repair firm founder John Timpson and president of the International Paralympics Committee Sir Philip Craven as outstanding individuals to receive the honorary degrees.


24 October 2012, Dhaka. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder of BRAC to speak at the next Cambridge Leadership Seminar.

Cambridge Judge Business School is pleased to welcome Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Chairman and Founder of BRAC, as speaker at the next Cambridge Leadership Seminar taking placeon Friday 26 October.

In his talk, Sir Fazle will address the role that social innovation plays in his organisation BRAC, which he established to alleviate poverty and empowerment of the poor and has now grown to become the largest development organisation in the world in terms of scale and He will also look at why innovation is one of the most important challenges facing managers around the world and how in the current environment the idea of frugal or ‘Jugaad’ innovation has rapidly caught the attention of managers and leaders.

Sir Fazle will also talk about his role of social enterprises, one such innovation, which played a key role for the growth and sustainability of BRAC.

Having received numerous awards, including the D. Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2008), the Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award (2007), the PKSF Award for Lifetime Achievement in Social Development and Poverty Alleviation (2007), Gates Award for Global Health (2004), and UNICEF’s Maurice Pate Award (1992), Sir Fazle is also recognised by Ashoka as one of the ‘global greats’ and is a founding member of the Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship.

Commenting on Sir Fazle’s impending visit, Professor Jaideep Prabhu, Nehru Professor of Indian Business at Judge Business School, said: “Sir Fazle and BRAC, the organisation he founded and leads, are legends in the world of development and innovation. We are honoured and delighted to have him visit Cambridge Judge Business School and speak to our faculty and students as there is so much we can learn from him.”

View Sir Fazle Hasan Abed’s profile:

06 October 2012, Madrid, Spain. On October 5, 2012 Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC, one of the largest development NGOs, gave a lecture at IE School of Arts & Humanities, in which he analyzed the key issues in poverty alleviation. BRAC currently operates in 10 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, and its work touches the lives of an estimated 126 million people. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed was joined by Arantza de Areilza, Dean of IE School of Arts & Humanities, and Javier Gila, President of the Asociación AIDA – Ayuda, Intercambio y Desarrollo.

In 1972, Bangladesh was the second poorest country in the world. Back then, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed created BRAC with the aim of improving people’s living standards and education. In order to do this, BRAC focused its work on marginalized groups, especially women, who, in the words of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, “tend to have fairly realistic outlook on situations”. As an example of best practices, BRAC promoted the intervention of experts by interviewing mothers in order to understand the reasons behind such a high mortality rate in Bangladesh. The findings concluded that most children died due to dehydration caused by diarrhea. BRAC also implemented a plan to promote ways to reduce the country’s high birth rates. To do so, it was crucial to know and understand the “beliefs, wishes, and thoughts” of the population, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed recalled.

In addition to reducing infant mortality and fostering ways to lower Bangladesh’s high birth rates, over the past decades, BRAC has also played an active role in the field of education, key factor in a country’s socioeconomic development. Moreover, BRAC runs one of the largest private school systems in the world, with over a million students. During his lecture at IE School of Arts & Humanities, Sir Hazle Hasan Abed pointed out that, “at BRAC schools, students learn to think”. BRAC has also established a joint program in Education and Leadership with Columbia University geared toward Bangladeshi government officials. Sir Abed likewise insisted in the importance of promoting community development, “empowering those in need so that they can find solutions to their own problems”.

Finally, BRAC has also established a financial institution focused on financing small and medium enterprises. BRAC Bank has grown to become the fifth largest bank in Bangladesh. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed closed his lecture by saying that, “to me business opportunities exist only if they entail improving, developing, or helping someone or something”.

04 September 2012, Dhaka. On Thursday, 16 August, the government of Sierra Leone declared the cholera outbreak a national humanitarian emergency. A presidential taskforce was established shortly after the declaration. As of 24 September, Sierra Leone has recorded over 14,000 cases and 240 deaths in 10 out of 13 districts.

BRAC has taken up various measures to ensure full assistance to the affected and distraught in Sierra Leone. In collaboration with the country's district health management teams (DHMT), we are providing the necessary support to disseminate cholera prevention messages through our network of 660 community health promoters (CHP) and 33 programme assistants in the Western area, Port Loko, Bombali, Tonkolili, Bo, Kenema, and Kono districts.

We are providing approximately SLL 43 million (USD 10,000) as cash grant for immediate emergency support and mobilising our human resources to provide the DHMTs with the following services:

  • Promoting and distributing oral rehydration solution (ORS) aqua tabs and disinfectants through the CHPs
  • Arranging regular health meetings in communities to influence behavioural change
  • Providing refreshers training on cholera preparedness to the CHPs who are assisting to disseminate cholera prevention messages
  • Providing DHMTs with necessary tools and supplies such as, IV ringers lactate, ORS, Doxacycline capsules, zinc and disinfectants

The DHMTs have requested for further assistance from BRAC in raising community awareness in distant chiefdoms to ensure a greater coverage.   

"In this critical time, we remain committed to doing our best to help the government of Sierra Leone contain the epidemic by mobilising both human and additional financial resources, and using our knowledge in dealing with communicable diseases through a community-based approach," said Faruque Ahmed, Senior Director of BRAC International.

BRAC started its operation in Sierra Leone in 2008, and has reached over 700,000 Sierra Leoneans with activities in microfinance, agriculture, livestock, poultry, health and legal services. We are a global leader in creating large-scale opportunities for the poor, touching the lives of an estimated 126 million people – a global movement bringing change to 10 countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
Help us address the humanitarian emergency in Sierra Leone by making a donation at

01 September 2012, Dhaka. A Lessons Learned Sharing Session on “Social Mobilization and Accountable Local Governance towards Creating MDG Unions” – a joint initiative of BRAC Community Empowerment Programme and The Hunger Project-Bangladesh, was held on Wednesday, 29th August 2012 at VIP Lounge, National Press Club, Dhaka.

Dr. Akbar Ali Khan, former Adviser of the Caretaker Government was the Chief Guest at the session. We were also honored to have Ms. Shaheen Anam, Executive Director, Manusher Jonno Foundation and Mr. Hasan Mazumdar, Country Representative, The Asia Foundation, as Special Guests, and Dr. Tofail Ahmed, Adviser, Local Governance, UNDP, Professor Salahuddin M Aminuzzaman, Ph.D, Department of Public Administration, University of Dhaka, and Ms. Shanaz Arefin, National Coordinator, Local Governance Project, SHARIQUE as Guest Speakers. Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, Global Vice President and Country Director, The Hunger Project-Bangladesh presented the keynote paper of the programme, while the session was inaugurated by Ms. Anna Minj, Director, Community Empowerment Programme and Integrated Development Programme, BRAC. The session was chaired by Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director, BRAC. Present at the occasion were nearly 200 participants, including Union Parishad representatives, project beneficiaries, representatives from government-nongovernment organizations, policy makers, journalists, and members of the civil society.

26 August 2012, London.

Community health promoters doing role play at a refreshers training for  malaria prevention at a BRAC branch in Paynesville, Monrovia, Liberia.

BRAC UK recently commissioned and facilitated an external evaluation of BRAC Liberia and BRAC Sierra Leone’s health programmes.

Since starting the programme in late 2008, BRAC has established a combined network of nearly 1,300 community health volunteers and staff in both countries delivering essential health care services in five key areas: reproductive healthcare;
Malaria control; TB control; family planning; and basic curative services.

The programme reaches a population of more than half a million people in Liberia (20 districts) and close to 800,000 people in Sierra Leone (7 districts).

Independent consultant, Sybil Bailor, who conducted the evaluation, ensured that all stakeholders were involved in the process including key partners in government and civil society, and local leaders and community participants. In the executive summary, she wrote:

“BRAC is seen as a valued partner in health in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The essential healthcare model implemented by BRAC is unique in the way it actually delivers practical and real health care in the community based on tried and tested methods improved over many years in Bangladesh and other parts of the world where poverty, war, and conflict have completely eroded the formal health system.”

The report made recommendations for including: the need for a simpler referral system to community health volunteers and increase uptake of government services; the opportunity for more malaria and tuberculosis treatment as part of the community healthcare approach; and the need for a publicity strategy to raise awareness of BRAC’s work in health, agriculture and livelihoods.

For a copy of the report, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

19 July 2012, London. A cheque hand-in ceremony was held by the Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs on 18 July 2012 in Birmingham, where £1350 was donated towards the Vision Bangladesh project to eradicate cataract blindness within the Sylhet division by 2013. The event was attended by Walsall’s Deputy Mayor Mohammed Nazir, the Executive Committee of the Staffordshire region and prominent local business leaders.

Pictured (from left to right) Dilu Mia, Abdul Gafur, Farooq Uddin, Abdul Shahid, Mohammed Nazir (Deputy Mayor of Walsall), Tanha Habib (BRAC UK), Imam Uddin (President of the Guild of Bangladesh Restaurateurs), Sadiq Miah, Suruk Miah and Mostaffa Juboraj.


Deputy Mayor Mohammed Nazir expressed his appreciation for the “brilliant work” that BRAC is doing to alleviate cataract blindness in Sylhet Division. This was echoed by Imam Uddin, President of the guild, Staffordshire region:

“It gives me great pleasure in commending BRAC for their commitment and efforts in helping disadvantaged people around the world in restoring their affected sight.”

Mr. Imam Uddin also commended the innovative idea of adding a voluntary donation as part of the ‘£1 on the Bill’ campaign, enabling customers to join in the fun of fundraising for a good cause. The guild was pleased to find that many customers donated more than £1 once they were told of the benefits of their donation.

Cataract blindness is very common in Bangladesh, with 80% of cases being preventable and curable. Due to a lack of health resources and financial constraints a majority of these patients, many of whom are from impoverished backgrounds, cannot afford to have their sight restored. This is where Vision Bangladesh, a joint venture between BRAC and Sightsavers, is making a massive difference.



25 July 2012, Dhaka. Post-primary basic and continuing education (PACE), a unit of BRAC

Education Programme, took part in the competition “Innovative Secondary Education for Skills Enhancement (ISESE)” organised by R4D (Results for Development), with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. PACE supported approaches have been profiled as one of the top ten innovations in this competition. The title of BRAC’s submission is  ‘Joyful Learning in Non-Government Secondary Schools in Bangladesh: Public Private Partnership’.

The R4D education team launched the Ashoka Changemakers Competition to identify innovative models of skills delivery at the secondary school level. The competition was meant to draw out promising innovations, new ideas, and entrepreneurial models that enhance learning of secondary school students in both the public and the non-state sectors. The competition is part of R4D’s broader Innovative Secondary Education for Skills Enhancement project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

21 July 2012, Dhaka. BRAC Fisheries has been awarded for its outstanding achievement over the years in empowering the fisheries sectors by the Department of Fisheries (DoF) under Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Bangladesh at the National Fisheries Fair 2012. The Fisheries Fair was held at the Ramna Park, Dhaka, from 8:00 - 12:00 p.m. on July 13, 2012.

BRAC began its fisheries programme in 1976 for giving extension support to beneficiaries. Later as a response to country-wide demand from commercial fish farmers as wild stocks continued to decline, the programme evolved into BRAC Fisheries and was established as an enterprise in 1998. Today, the fisheries enterprise operates seven prawn hatcheries, three carp hatcheries, three tilapia hatcheries, two parent stock improvement centres and one fish farm. The reach of the enterprise includes around 250 upazilas in 55 districts of Bangladesh through Sales Officers and dealers who provide fish spawn, prawn post larvae, tilapia fry and fingerlings/juveniles to the fish farmers.


16 July 2012, Dhaka. BRAC has organized a national conference on “Peri-natal Mental Health: Breaking the Vicious Cycle” at BRAC Centre Auditorium on Monday, July 16, 2012. Ms. Akhtari Mamtaz, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was present as a Special Guest.   The conference was based on a research that rendered first of its kind findings in Bangladesh on strong associations between peri-natal mental health and underweight babies, infant mortality and stunting – conditions that may lead to other major health problems even in adulthood.   Ms. Mamtaz said: “The Government of Bangladesh is working on improving maternal and child health in Bangladesh through the Director General of Health Services and Directorate of Family Planning. Unfortunately, we have not been able to address the peri-natal mental health issue specifically. With the help of NGOs, International organizations and various other stakeholders, we should be able to improve the maternal depression situation of Bangladesh for the interest of a better nation” . 

Dr. Hashima-E-Nasreen, BRAC, Dr. Maigun Edhborg, Senior Lecturer and Dr. Zarina Nahar Kabir, Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and Dr. Jena Hamadani, Scientist, ICDDR,B  presented papers on maternal depression and its relation to intimate partner violence  and its impact on mother-infant bonding and child development.  In the keynote paper, Dr. Neerja Chowdhury, Consultant Psychiatrist, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK and Sangath , India highlighted the public health importance of maternal depression. She mentioned in her presentation -“The high prevalence of peri-natal depression has consequences – it can increase mortality in women through suicide, it can have a negative impact on child growth, and it can have even other health implications. So, in fact, if we are treating maternal depression, we are not just improving maternal mental health, we are improving child growth with having these other benefits too”. 

Dr. Sadia Afroze Chowdhury, Public Health Specialist, the World Bank, Washington DC, USA has chaired the conference.  In her concluding remark, Ms. Chowdhury stated “we have learned the reasons and the long lasting impact of maternal depression throughout the presentations, and now it’s time to take policy initiatives to improve the overall situation”. This conference has provided a platform for researchers, practitioners and policy makers to share knowledge and ideas on improving and mainstreaming peri-natal mental health in public health. 


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