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04 June 2012, Dhaka. BRAC’s Gender Justice & Diversity has taken part of a human chain and procession on 3rd June 2012, as part of the Samajik Prodirodh Committee, a national platform of 67 different development and civil society organisations, working to ensure human rights for all. The committee organised the human chain and brought procession in front of the National Press Club, protesting against police brutality. A member of the police force allegedly abused a girl inside the Police Club adjacent to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s (CMM) court in the old part of Dhaka City on 29 May afternoon.

Leaders of civil society organisations demanded justice by taking the necessary steps to put an end to all kinds of violence against women and girls. In a speech, a speaker said, “there should not be any compromises with the police and other law enforcing agencies in dealing with inhuman behaviour or misconduct of duties with the citizens of the country. Police are crossing in some cases their level of undue illegal action, on individuals and groups. It has to be stopped right now.”

Several speakers also noted that crimes committed by a handful members of the law enforcing agencies should not be taken lightly, rather severe and long term punishment should be replaced with immediate sacking from their jobs and taking away of all the service benefits. The Home Ministry, along with police HQs, should arrange special training and information session for the police officers from SI to additional IGs to participate in on the importance of respecting and protecting humanity and human rights while on duty.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012 18:00

BRAC launches operation in Philippines

31 May 2012, Dhaka. BRAC launched its operation in Philippines yesterday setting a lofty goal of bringing the light of education in the troubled region of Muslim Mindanao. This will be BRAC's 10th country where it has direct operation in place since the launch of its international programmes in 2002. At a ceremony held yesterday in Dhaka, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed launched the programme in the presence of senior representatives from Government of Bangladesh and Philippines, Development partner AusAid and BRAC.

Sir Fazle said, “What BRAC brings to the Philippines is not just an education delivery system but a vision of a just and fair society which is based on educating our children. It’s through this partnership of vision and action that can take the people forward. With the support of the Philippines Government and development partners, we are hopeful to make great progress with this challenging task at hand”.

Already operating in nine countries in South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, BRAC, the largest development organisation in the world, will operate at least 1,600 pre-primary and primary schools through its Education programme in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Philippines.

“BRAC is working in different parts of the world not only to alleviate poverty, but also as a peacemaker. It is a torchbearer in the dark of illiteracy, the dark of poverty”, said PS- I (Secretary) to the Honourable Prime Minister Government of Bangladesh, M. Nazrul Islam Khan in his speech at the launching event.

Public education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) faces a shortage of teachers. The drop-out rates for basic education are high, while the completion rate is low. These problems are particularly acute in the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao, where there are as many school-age children and youth who have dropped out of school as those who are still in school.

With the participation of officials from the Department of Education of the Philippines, a series of workshops was conducted by BRAC in the country to develop the curriculum and instructional materials which will be used in the BRAC schools in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The curriculum will primarily utilise the Philippine’s standard proficiencies for pre- primary and elementary education, enhanced in the local cultural context, and delivered through the BRAC.

BRAC will manage and be responsible for programme implementation and will be working in conjunction with the Department of Education - Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Local partner NGOs will also be involved in operating the schools. Evaluation has been integrated in the project to asses result and impact which will be conducted by SEARCA and BRAC.

“We face extraordinary challenges in the ARMM and the BRAC model would allow us to become more effective in responding to the unique and difficult conditions that we face there. We also hope that we can also bring the BRAC approach to other parts of the country, where extraordinary and challenging conditions prevail”, said Francisco M. Varela, Under Secretary of Department of Education, Philippines, at the launching event of BRAC's education programme in ARMM in the Philippines.

Under Secretary of Department of Education Philippines Francisco M. Varela, PS- I (Secretary) to the Honourable Prime Minister Government of Bangladesh M. Nazrul Islam Khan, Justin Lee, Australia’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh, AusAid Bangladesh Head of Mission Mark Bailey, H.E. Bahnarim Abu Guinomla Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Assistant Secretary of Programmes Department of Education in Philippine Maisara Dandamun- Latiph, AusAID Counsellor, Philippine Elaine Ward, Management Consultant of BRAC Philippine Ramon C. Bobier, Executive Director of BRAC Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Director of BRAC Education Progarmme Dr. Safiqul Islam, Director of BRAC Strategy and Communications Asif Saleh and high officials of government and BRAC were present at the launching event.

With its innovative and cost effective approach to education BRAC now runs the largest secular private school system in the world in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uganda and South Sudan.

30 May 2012, Dhaka. BRAC- the largest development organisation and D.light Design- a US based social enterprise coming up with solar solution to power crisis- have signed a MOU on 28 May, 2012 in Mohakhali BRAC Centre. Dr. Mahbub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC and Donn Tice, Chairman and CEO of D.light Design signed the MOU on behalf of their organisations. Asif Saleh, Director BRAC Communications, Mandeep Singh, Managing Director, D.light Design India, Sudhir Chandra Nath, Programme Head BRAC Agriculture and Food Security Programme were also present at the event.

D.light Chairman and CEO Donn Tice expressed, “ D.light is happy to be with BRAC in this mission of providing the rural poor of Bangladesh with better quality light".

BRAC Agriculture and Food Security Programme has taken the initiative to launch D.light Design’s solar products in Bangladesh, aiming to provide power sources for the marginalised people who do not have access to the national power grid. On 28 May 2012, the products were officially launched through an event where BRAC officials met the press and answered questions regarding the products.

Dr. Mahbub Hossain said, “Almost 40% of the rural poor do not have access to the power grid, therefore we believe this will improve the quality of their lives, specially the school going children, as they will now have better quality light!” The speakers said, “This initiative will help rural people with an alternative low-cost light source to kerosene lamps and reduce the health risks posed by the kerosene fume.” BRAC officials also shared that this will contribute in meeting the growing demand of electricity in Bangladesh. BRAC AFSP will distribute the products by using their extensive network and appointing local dealers.

D.light design is a social enterprise started out in Palo Alto, California in 2006 fathered by a socially motivated team of business people and engineers. Currently their products are marketed in 40 countries and reaching around seven million people. D.light is operating with a mission to enable households living without reliable electricity to attain the same quality of life as those with electricity. The company targets to reach 50 million people by the end of 2015. BRAC, being the largest development organization reaching over 120 million people worldwide, presents the most suitable opportunity for a successful partnership which can change millions of people’s lives and create a better future.


29 May 2012, Dhaka. During 28-30 April 2012, BRAC community component of IYCF attended the South Asian Regional Conference on Breastfeeding and Complementary Feeding at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC), Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The South Asian Regional Conference on Breastfeeding and Complementary Feeding awarded a crest to BRAC on April 28 2012 in recognition of its excellent services for the Infant and Young Child Feeding to the nation. Professor Dr Mudasser Ali, Advisor to the Honorable Prime Minister for Health and Family Welfare and Social Welfare Affairs presented the crest at the Ruposi Bangla Hotel. Dr Kaosar Afsana, Director Health, received the crest on behalf of BRAC.

Alive & Thrive (A&T) is a learning project to develop scaled up models for preventing child malnutrition through improving Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices. BRAC’s community component of Alive &Thrive intervention focuses on achieving behavior change through counseling, coaching and demonstration and is being duly supported by social mobilisation activities to ensure an enabling environment in the community.  A&T began its preparatory phase in the mid of 2009 in three sub-districts and one slum to test and refine the model. Accordingly, the project started its activities after the recruitment and deployment of the staff in 22 sub-districts by the end of June 2010, and 28 sub-districts by December 2010 respectively. The total number of working areas is now 50 rural sub-districts.IYCF Promoters/ Pushti Kormis (PK) are the new frontline workers who are devoted to the delivery of IYCF services through Alive & Thrive Initiative. The Pusti Kormis provide age-specific home visits, especially during the first year of life, and are on call to handle feeding problems that cannot be solved by the other frontline workers and to provide follow-up services.The project is conducting social mobilisation in all 50 upazilas as a process where the religious leaders, govt. health and family planning officers, village doctors, adolescents, parents and school teachers, local leaders and elderly people, all meet in equal terms to facilitate the IYCF. In other words, it can be viewed as a process which begins as a dialogue among the members of the community to determine who, what, and how the issues are decided, and also to provide an avenue for everyone to participate and support the decisions that affect the IYCF practices in the community.

22 May 2012, Dhaka. BRAC Learning Centre (BLC) has officially commenced its journey at Khalishpur in Khulna Metropolitan City this Tuesday. Mr Talukdar Abdul Khaleque, the city mayor, was invited as the chief guest of this grand event.

Md. Jamsher Ahammad Khandakar, Deputy Commissioner, was present as a special guest at the event chaired by Dr Mahbub Hossain, Executive Director, BRAC. The CFO of BRAC group Mr S N Kairy, Director of Communications Mr Asif Saleh, Assistant Director of the Construction and Maintenance Department Mr A I M Mansur, and the BLC in-charge Mr Mostafa Kamal were also present at the event.

During the inauguration speech, mayor Talukder said that, “This is not only going to play an important role in empowering our human resources, but also is going to result in the economic development of our society.”

Mr Mahbub Hossain said that, “We need everyone’s support and assistance in order to make this initiative a success.”

This happens to be BRAC’s 20th Learning Centre in the country, and the centre is fully equipped and specialised in training a total of 50 trainees altogether provided with their living arrangements.

23 May 2012, Dhaka. “I believe that female can do better than man in driving profession. Girls are more cautious while driving. They do not smoke, talk over cell phone or overtake while driving. We should encourage girls to join in driving profession. It can be a respectable job for them. -  Mr. Obaidul Kader MP, Minister, Ministry of Communication & Railways, said this in the launching event of BRAC Driving School at Uttara. He thanked BRAC for including 2 women in the training of trainer’s course that he visited.

The Minister also requested BRTA to sign an MOU to work jointly with BRAC and other stakeholders on driving training supports. Today BRAC has launched its driving school at Uttara, opposite Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and Hajj Camp.

Road traffic injuries cause a loss of about 2% of GDP in Bangladesh. It is also found in WHO’s survey in 2009 that 170,000 people become handicapped every year. A survey conducted on existing driving training schools by BRAC in the private sector revealed that the quality of the training, the instructors, and the training aids used, are below acceptable standard. Only 69 out of some 350 schools have approval from the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA).

Cars are involved in 2 to 3 percent of accidents in western country where as 70% cars are involved in accidents in Bangladesh. We know the reasons, but we need to take actions to reduce the rate.” Actor and Social Activist Ilias Kanchan said in his speech.

Mr. A. Najmul Hussin Director in Charge of BRAC Road Safety Programme said in his presentation that we have 16 lac registered vehicles and 10 lac licensed drivers at present.  This means we have shortage of 14 lac drivers calculated at 1.5 drivers required per motor vehicle. license. They need to be trained and licensed by authority.

Mr. S N Kairy, CFO BRAC in his speech gave out the future road safety plan of BRAC. He said the 1st year pilot of BRAC driving school will be extended to 5 years on the positive result. BRAC has plan to raise the status of Brac Driving School as college in future.

Considering the dismal state of drivers training in the country, National Road Safety Council  decided that that the Bangladesh Army, BRAC, and Accident Research Institute of BUET, in joint collaboration with BRTA, will train driving instructors and provide road safety training to in-service drivers. BRAC engaged Hubert Ebner (India) Pvt Ltd., Delhi-based Indo-Austrian organisation with 30 years experience in road safety, to prepare training materials and to conduct the training of driving trainers recruited by them. The driving training curriculum, materials and equipment are prepared jointly with Hubert Ebner, and are of international standard. BRAC Driving School will offer 18 days training for BRAC driving school trainers, 12 days training for instructors of driving training schools at the private sector, 24 days basic driving training for men and women from the youth section of population for employment abroad and 2 days road safety and defensive driving training for in-service professional drivers (fake and renewal applicants).

BRAC Driving School is an initiative of the BRAC Road Safety Programme which was started in 2001 to support government’s effort to improve road safety in the country. It has done lots of campaign for awareness building and animation films on road safety issues.

In the closing speech Executive Director of BRAC Dr. Mahbub Hossain sayd , “BRAC always start new initiative as a project, later on based on the outcome we scale up the project at national level. We can start this project as private-public partnership project and later on jointly expand the functions with government.”

Mr. Obaidul Kader MP, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Communication & Railways Government of Bangladesh was present there as Chief Guest. Chairman of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) Mr. Md. Ayubur Rahman Khan, Actor and Social Activist Ilias Kanchan, Executive Director of BRAC Dr. Mahbub Hossain, Country Head of Hubert Ebner (India) Pvt. Limited Druvo Trivedy and high officials of government and BRAC will be present there.

The BRAC Driving School is designed to make significant impact towards producing institution based trained and skilled driver community in the country. The instructors and drivers successfully trained by BDS will not only improve the current hazardous road safety situation, but their positive attitude, behaviour and driving skill will reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and thereby the cost of transportation in the country.

22 May 2012, London. One of the UK’s largest ethnic media channels, NTV Europe, celebrated its fourth year of broadcasting in the UK on Thursday night with a star packed gala at London’s O2.

BRAC was honoured to be chosen as the channel’s official charity for the evening.

The event was attended by 500 guests including UK politicians, business and community leaders, celebrities, actors and entertainers with links to Bangladesh. Live performances included two hits by Mumzy Stranger who is the first artist of Bangladeshi descent to have entered the mainstream music industry and a leading British-Asian R&B artist in Britain.

NTV UK and Bangladesh team

Subrina Hossain, Chief Executive, NTV UK Europe said:
“This year, BRAC celebrates its fortieth anniversary. An organisation that was born and bred in Bangladesh and has grown to become the world's largest charity. The new management team at NTV applaud this achievement and have made BRAC their official charity for tonight's event.”

Guests watched BRAC’s powerful 40th Anniversary animation video and donated up to £500 cash during a table collection at the end of the evening.

NTV is the largest and most popular Bangladeshi television channel in the world, and the market leader in the UK and Europe, broadcasting live on Sky 852, 24 hours a day from its state-of-the-art studios in Bow, London. NTV UK is a subsidiary of the International Television Channel Ltd (Bangladesh).

18 May 2012, Dhaka. The former United Kingdom Prime Minister and the Co-Chair of the High level panel on Global Education visited BRAC Community Girls School (CGS), funded by Comic Relief and Adolescent Girls Initiative (AGI), World Bank funded in his two days (11th and 12th May 2012) visit in South Sudan. The visit is a result of his interest to promote education in South Sudan after Kevin Watkins of the center for Universal education at the Brooking Institution wrote a report titled “Education in South Sudan, “investing in the better future” that was published aftermath of his review. BRAC South Sudan organised a sharing meeting with Education based INGOs & LNGOs with Hon, Gordon Brown and his team. BRAC South Sudan, Save the Children, Confident Child out of Conflict (A community Based organisation dealing with taking care of street children in Juba), Bari Community Association, BSF, Stromme Foundation, UNICEF, UNOPS,NRC and AET attended the meeting.

Hon. Gordon Brown Visited one Community Girls School (CGS) and witnessed adolescent club meeting at Hai Kugi, Gudele Juba County, in Central Equatoria state which located nearly about 7Kms away from Juba town. Positive impression were seen by the delegates after visiting one of the parents home and Hon. Gordon Brown donated some amount of money after finding the child sick for some days without any health attention.

Earlier this year the report published after the review of Hon Gordon Brown highlighted that,”Over one million children of primary school age are out of school. Enrolment rates in secondary education are below 10 per cent. In what is a desperate situation for all children, South Sudan’s girls face additional disadvantages. Just 6 per cent of 13 year old girls have completed primary school. So extreme are the gender inequalities that young girls in South Sudan are more than twice as likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth as they are to make it through primary school and into secondary education”.

The report presented to the High level panel on Global Education identified the fund requirement totaling to $90 Millions to be given to four education partners in South Sudan of which BRAC South Sudan would require $40Miliion to Provide Primary education to 100,000 students within 4 years.  During the meeting with the Minister of General education Joseph Ukel Abango and the senior Officials in the ministry, Hon Gordon Brown said that his country would help South Sudanese millions children had opportunity to education.  

BRAC south Sudan has been operating education programme way back in 2008 up to current 6,750 students have been admitted to 225 Non formal primary schools (CGS).

13 May 2012, Dhaka. The James P Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University formally opened its new premises in icddr,b’s main campus in Mohakhali on May 8, 2012. The inauguration ceremony was held in two parts. During the first part held at Sasakawa Auditorium, BRAC’s Founder and Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG who attended the function as chief guest said, “I am sure this collaboration will be fruitful as well as mutually beneficial for both icddr,b and SPH. From inception in 2004, SPH has come a long way. ”

The 8th batch of candidates for the flagship Masters in Public Health (MPH) programme at the James P Grant School gave a brief presentation. Since the inception of the MPH programme in 2005, the school has had 258 students from 22 countries participating in the programme.

The James P Grant Schoop of Public Health at BRAC University was established in 2004 where each of the three partner institutions, BRAC, Brac University and icddr,b, supports the school’s objectives to foster education, research and leadership.

The school’s name honours the late James P Grant, former Executive Director of UNICEF, whose relentless pursuit of a global revolution in child survival in the 1980s is a legacy we aim to promote for global health for the 21st century. In 2008, journalist Nicholas D. Kristof described Grant as, "a little-known American aid worker," who "probably saved more lives than were destroyed by Hitler, Mao, and Stalin combined" through his promotion of vaccinations and diarrhoea treatments.

The James P Grant School's impact on public health was recognised by The Bulletin of the World Health Organisation in 2007 when it was selected as one of six of the world’s most effective institutions for promoting innovative higher public health education. This achievement is undoubtedly also testimony to the high level of support provided by its institutional partners.

Special guests included BRAC University’s Honourable Vice Chancellor Professor Ainun Nishat and icddr,b’s Executive Director Dr Alejandro Cravioto.
Dr. Cravioto highlighted many additional benefits that the joint venture between icddr,b and BRAC University will deliver, such as the emergence of new research links in the field of public health. The school also utilises the vast expertise of icddr,b’s 15 faculty members, each of whom are accredited professors, associate professors and guest lecturers. Furthermore, Dr. Cravioto noted that scores of Masters of Public Health (MPH) graduates went on to join icddr,b after successfully completing the school's intensive 12-month programme.

Vice Chancellor Professor Ainun Nishat congratulated the James P Grant School of Public Health on the occasion. He went on to mention that BRAC University is having its own campuses build and looks forward to further the relationship.

Field visits arranged by icddr,b to its various field sites, in addition to research linkages between BRAC and icddr,b have enriched scientific learning on the current state of public health research and practice.

Dr. Cravioto said, “This joint venture has created a good opportunity for our researchers to share and disseminate their extensive knowledge in research and experiences in public health through their teaching at the James P Grant School of Public Health. This knowledge can be transmitted worldwide.”

During his address, Dean of the School of Public Health Dr. Timothy G. Evans said, “We’re inaugurating the new premises of the James P Grant School of Public Health. It is allowing the school to align with the vision and insights of its founders. He further elaborated that when plans were being drawn up for the school in 2003 – together with icddr,b, BRAC and BRAC University-jointly planned for the school to be based on the campus of icddr,b as part of expansion of icddr,b campout in 2004. We started with one classroom with a maximum capacity of 30 students. From today we have new premises and the capacity to accommodate over 300 students at any time.’

Dr. Sabina Faiz Rashid, MPH Coordinator gave the vote of thanks. She acknowledged the critical role of core institutional pillars (BRAC University, BRAC and icddr,b) and collaborating partners, development, faculty and students who have contributed to maintaining its excellence.

The chief guest formally inaugurated the school during a ceremony held at the school’s premises on level six of icddr,b building.  The inauguration was followed by a tour of the school’s new premises. The Master of Ceremony for the programme was Anuradha Hashemi, Researcher.

11 May 2012, Dhaka. 1 June 2012 is the last day for non-governmental organizations to apply for Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) consultative status in order to have an opportunity to take part in UN deliberations.

ECOSOC consultative status is governed by ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, which outlines the eligibility requirements for consultative status, rights and obligations of NGOs in consultative status, procedures for the withdrawal or suspension of consultative status, the role and functions of the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs, and the responsibilities of the UN Secretariat in supporting the consultative relationship.

Consultative status is granted by ECOSOC upon recommendation of the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs, which is comprised of 19 Member States.

ECOSOC Needs You
While ECOSOC has the opportunity to avail itself of valuable and expert advice from NGOs, the NGOs in turn also have the opportunity of expressing their views and influencing the work of the Council. NGOs have specialized competence, hands-on experience and flexibility that is of great value to the UN. For instance, by having consultative status, an NGO could:
- Provide expert analysis on issues directly from its experience in the field;
- Serve as an early warning agent;
- Help monitor and implement international agreements;
- Help raise public awareness of relevant issues;
- Play a major role in advancing United Nations goals and objectives;
- Contribute with essential information at organization events.

On the other hand, ECOSOC provides NGOs the opportunity to be heard by a truly global audience and contribute to its agenda. An NGO with consultative status can:
- Attend international conferences and events;
- Make written and oral statements at these events;
- Organize side events;
- Enter United Nations premises;
- Have opportunities to network and lobby.

Eligibility Requirements
International, regional, sub regional and national non-governmental, non-profit public or voluntary organizations may be granted the consultative status. NGOs affiliated to an international organization already in status may be admitted provided that they can demonstrate that their program of work is of direct relevance to the aims and purposes of the United Nations. In the case of national organizations consultation with the Member State concerned is required.

NGOs that can be granted the consultative status must:
- have been in existence (officially registered with the appropriate government authorities as an NGO/non-profit) for at least two years.;
- have an established headquarters.;
- have a democratically adopted constitution, authority to speak for its members, a representative structure, appropriate mechanisms of accountability and democratic and transparent decision-making processes;
- must have their basic resources derived in the main part from contributions of the national affiliates or other components or from individual members;
- not be established by governments or intergovernmental agreements.

The deadline is June 1, 2012.   Do not miss the opportunity to apply for ECOSOC Consultative Status with the United Nations.

Please visit the following link to start the process:

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