All Blogs

May 16, 2019
BLOG General

40 ways BRAC supports mothers in Bangladesh: Snapshot from 2018

Mothers are everything to us. We couldn’t imagine a world without them. So, just like mothers look after their children in every aspect of our lives, BRAC looks after mothers in every aspect of their life. We are building a world that works for all of us, starting with the people who brought us to this world.

One woman dies every minute as a result of pregnancy complications and childbirth. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries, and many of them could be prevented with access to basic health care services. 1.5 million pregnant women received maternity care …

May 12, 2019

Breaking conventions by liberating structures

Does this situation sound familiar? You are confronted with a challenge or you want to improve your group’s productivity for a meeting or a project. You know performance would skyrocket – if you could engage everyone to contribute creatively and build on each other’s ideas. You tend to do a better job if you feel inspired, included and engaged, and you know your teammates feel the same way.

The truth is that teams in which people work well together produce much better results. However, the conventional structures that we use in our day to day proceedings can challenge inclusion and …

April 25, 2019
BLOG Health

Closing the door on one of the world’s oldest diseases

In 2017, an estimated 219 million malaria cases and 435,000 malaria deaths was reported worldwide. South-east Asia alone accounted for 1.24 million cases and 299 deaths.

The age old disease is still endemic across 13 border districts of Bangladesh, which share boundaries with the eastern states of India and Myanmar. The disease has posed threat to about 18 million people, with the Chittagong Hill Tracts standing as the highest risk zone.

The area accounts for about 90% of malaria cases in the country. In 2018, 7% of the reported 10,523 malaria cases were of children under five and 0.41% …

April 24, 2019

Building garment sector capacity at home in Bangladesh

Six years ago today, Samira Akhter* was working in the finishing department on the fifth floor of Rana Plaza, a garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh, when the eight-story building collapsed. She was stranded in the rubble for three days before she was rescued.

With BRAC’s support, Samira recovered from the physical and mental distress she experienced, and later, after participating in skills training and receiving seed capital, Samira revived her family’s bamboo fence business to secure a sustainable income.

Many others were not so lucky. 1,134 garment workers lost their lives in the collapse of Rana Plaza, and more …

April 21, 2019

A green step out of poverty

Bangladesh sits in a low-lying region at the intersections of the Meghna, Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers, making it one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. We set out for Kurigram, Rangpur, a northern region of Bangladesh, where climate change has shuffled seasonal patterns in one of the country’s poorest districts. It is also where BRAC’s ultra-poor graduation programme has been present since 2002.

The programme aims to enable ultra-poor households to achieve key milestones towards sustainable livelihoods and socio-economic resilience. One key element of the programme is enterprise development training. Each participant receives a …

April 17, 2019
BLOG Urban

Into the fire, and out: Paying tribute to our firefighters

Fire. The common enemy of firefighters across the globe. Dedication and commitment aren’t the only things they put into their jobs – when firefighters get to work, they’re putting their lives on the line.

This very danger garners respect for those who go out of their ways to keep us safe. But if recent incidents are anything to go by, firefighters in Bangladesh often face backlash from the masses in case of high numbers of casualties. Even though the manpower we have in the fire service department should be enough to subdue even the larger fire-related disasters we’ve seen

April 4, 2019
BLOG Health

Community health workers: The unsung superheroes

17 March 2017:
“Don’t worry, I am here for you. You and the baby will be fine.” assured Momotaj Begum (35) holding pregnant Fatema Khatun’s (24) hands as they went on their way to the hospital.

A deadly fire broke out in Dhaka’s Korail slum at 2:45am leaving more than 3,000 people homeless. Momotaj Begum’s family was among the several affected in the fire. Upon ensuring safe shelter for her own family the first thing Momotaj did at dawn was check on Fatema who was in the final week of her third trimester. Fatema’s family lost their home in the

April 2, 2019

Is it too late to win
the climate fight?

According to climate experts, the average temperature is predicted to rise by 1.0° to 2.5° Celsius, if no steps are taken.

The global temperature rose a total of 4° to 7° Celsius over the last 5,000 years, while in the past century alone, the temperature has risen 0.7 degree Celsius – roughly 10 times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming. Changing rain patterns suggest rain will be distributed differently, with less during the dry seasons and more during the monsoons. Paradoxically, this will lead to more floods and droughts, and heavier monsoons.

The temperature rise might seem …

March 28, 2019

Finding hope in bright colours in a Rohingya refugee camp

The Rohingya settlements in Bangladesh and the humanitarian crisis that created it made numerous appearances on our television and news headlines back home in the US. Yet, like many modern crises, it became only a fleeting headline and nothing more. We briefly wondered what came of it, who was on the frontlines of aid, then moved on.

When I saw that the familiar Cox’s Bazar was the location of a UN-governed refugee settlement though, I decided that personally going on this journey could answer a lot of my own questions. Who are the Rohingya? What world do they live …

March 27, 2019

Human trafficking and our failures: Is there a way out?

Mukta Begum, a woman of 23 from Satkhira, was promised with a job in India by her neighbour. Mukta saw the opportunity as a way to escape a life of poverty. She took up the offer and travelled to India with her neighbour. The job however, was not one she was expecting. She found herself in a large brothel and realised she has been trafficked.

Every year, thousands of men and women in Bangladesh become victims of trafficking. Between 2013 and 2018, 5,716 cases of trafficking were filed, of which only 247 were resolved.

In the Trafficking in Persons …

March 22, 2019

What happens when schools get access to safe drinking water?

Children stay in school and focus on their passions

Ananya Biswas almost always stands out from her classmates. Laden in jeans and a t-shirt, the 13-year-old from  Bagerhat sees herself growing up to become a fashion designer.

Despite being in a family where the women were married off at an early age, Ananya was adamant about continuing her studies. Her teachers at Attaka K Ali Pilot Secondary School consider her to be a natural leader, taking on class monitoring duties with diligence. It comes as little surprise that she was selected to lead the recently formed student WASH brigade to …

March 12, 2019

Violence against women: Is physical abuse the only form?

A BRAC study conducted in February 2019 has found that more than 50% people in Bangladesh do not consider verbal abuse as a form of violence against women. Only 4% said marital rape was a form of violence, and even less, just 1.1%, thought giving threat of divorce could be a violent behaviour towards women.

Violence against women is one of the most pervasive and fundamental violations of human rights. It is also one of the most under-recognised problems in Bangladesh.

BRAC’s advocacy for social change programme conducted a survey in February 2019 in all 64 districts of Bangladesh with …