All Blogs

October 15, 2018

Clean hands to save lives: Innovations from South Asia

In the 90s, UNICEF revolutionised how sanitation was perceived in the rural south with the very famous Meena cartoons, where an adorable parrot Mithu changed our lives with one line.  

While that campaign was successful in shifting people’s habits in sanitation, diarrhoea still accounts for 8% of 5.6 million deaths of children under 5 years of age, with pneumonia accounting for a further 16% – that’s 896,000 – more than the population of Qatar!

What is unfortunate is that these innocent lives could be saved with one simple solution.


Many of these

October 11, 2018
BLOG Youth

#WithHer: Five girls set to take over the world

Girls are outranked by boys in all aspects of life. However, when given the opportunity, girls too grow up to become engineers, lawyers and athletes. There are 600 million adolescent girls in the world today, and many miss out on these opportunities. With the right support, they can grow up to be part of a dynamic generation, knock down gender stereotypes that hold them back, and be the superheroes that the world needs.

Today, we are celebrating the stories of five girls from our adolescent club and skills programme who are on their way to doing exactly that.


October 4, 2018

The Ugandan teacher who leads learning through play

Nankinga Justine jokingly asks me how I do not know her. The 27-year-old once had her pictures published in the region’s newspapers every day for nearly a month when her family was searching for her. She admits it was a difficult time, but has moved past it now. She is now a passionate play leader for children in BRAC’s play lab in the Wakiso district of central Uganda. She exudes a very playful aura, a natural result of spending long hours with small, excited children.

“I want to give children the guidance I never had as a child. I always

October 2, 2018
BLOG Urban

For waste-wise, sustainable cities

During my visit to Dhaka Match, I witnessed a sight that was beyond my imagination. Residents had filled up the small canal near the slum with household waste, a practice that has been continuing for years. Drains had overflowed and alleyways were permanently inundated. Shoes, food wrappers, medicine packets, cigarettes packs, and food compost were some of the items seen floating in the purplish sludge that covered the entire slum.

For mobility, residents had two options: they either waded in the sludge or walked on flimsy boards placed between the houses and shops. Water pipes poked out of the canals

September 27, 2018
BLOG Health

What’s stressing our hearts?

Bangladesh, a country ranked 138th by the UN Development Index.

Dhaka, a city marked as the second most unliveable in the world.

Bangladesh, ranked the world’s 19th most stressed country.

Dhaka, Asia’s most stressed city.

A city and country scarred with daily stressors that beat down hearts, plunging the nation to 104th spot on the Coronary Heart Disease Index.

According to the WHO, cardiovascular disease is one of Bangladesh’s biggest threats. The figures are frightening: close to 200,000 deaths caused by strokes; over 100,000 by ischemic heart disease (caused by narrowed arteries); and 28,000 by hypertensive heart disease

September 27, 2018
BLOG Health

Sir Fazle’s remarks at the UN General Assembly

New York, 26 September 2018 – Two hundred years ago, tuberculosis was one of the leading killers in Western countries, due to the unsanitary and often crowded conditions of early industrial society. In New York City, from 1800-1815, 25% of all deaths was due to TB. As effective treatments were discovered, it gradually became a disease of poor countries and, as a result, financing for research and development dried up. The richer countries began to see the disease as somebody else’s problem.

This accounts for the situation we face today. TB is the deadliest infectious disease in the world, yet …

September 25, 2018

Can empathy end poverty?

Zakia meets Firoza four times a month, twice in a group with other female participants in her neighbourhood, and twice individually at her home. She supervises the growth of Feroza’s livestock, including the cow that she has received as part grant, part interest-free loan. She gives her tips on how to earn more from her assets, discusses about health and social issues and collects her savings and loan installments.

Zakia has been seeing Firoza for nine months now and she already sees a difference. Firoza’s family used to rely on day labouring and earned approximately USD 75 (BDT 6,500) a

September 20, 2018

Managing rumours in the Rohingya camps

These are only a few of the rumours that the Rohingyas living in the camps in Cox’s Bazar are faced with.

In December 2017, following a joint field assessment, the Government of Bangladesh and WHO launched the first phase of a diphtheria vaccination campaign in the Rohingya camps. As the biggest responder to the Rohingya crisis, BRAC, along with local and international NGOs, were tasked by the government to vaccinate children in the camps in Ukhia and Teknaf for diphtheria.

Initially, the Communicating with Communities (CwC) Working Group of the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) that coordinates field response, mobilised

September 12, 2018

BRAC’s tablet journey: Revolutionising microfinance operations in Bangladesh

BRAC’s credit officer Ismat Ara was about to start her day. She was surrounded by a group of women who came to pay their monthly instalments and deposit savings. This setting, known at BRAC as a village organisation (VO), has been central to microfinance since it began in Bangladesh in the early 1970s.

The group sat on a hand stitched bamboo mat under the shade of a mango tree in a client’s courtyard. As they exchanged polite greetings, Ismat Ara took out a smart tablet from her bag and began the collection process. A gap between technology and rural communities …

September 11, 2018

The digital specialists breaking the last taboo

Maya Apa is one of BRAC’s socially-responsible investments that assist in the organisation’s mission to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy and disease and social injustice.  In 2017, Maya Apa became the first Bangladeshi startup to be accepted into Google Launchpad Accelerator Programme in California.

Dr Shayla Ahmed, the medical team lead of Maya Apa, shares the importance of empathy and research in leading a team of medical experts, and answering to people on the other end of the line.

Dr Shayla Ahmed
Medical Team Lead
Dhaka, Bangladesh

“A father of a seven-year-old child messaged us once.

September 5, 2018

Give credit to a woman – and you uplift her family

Microfinance helps people excluded from the formal banking system to access a suite of financial services. It facilitates families like China’s to build assets, smooth consumption, and reduce vulnerability to shocks such as health emergencies or natural disasters. It also provides an alternative to high interest loans from informal lenders or harmful coping mechanisms such as selling productive assets. 

China Akhter, 32 years

“My family and I have always relied on microfinance to grow our businesses in my hometown in Joypara.

I was nervous when I took out my first loan. I was only 27, and had never

September 4, 2018
BLOG Urban

Can Dhaka be the next start-up hub of South Asia?

Starting from traffic congestion to lack of waste management systems – problems in Dhaka come in all varieties and magnitudes. An ordinary citizen may choose to point his finger at the government. However, an entrepreneur is more likely to spot business opportunities within the problems.

So, where are the start-ups in Dhaka?

Although the start-up ecosystem in Dhaka is still at its nascent stage, we see some promising start-ups coming up with innovative products and services which were beyond our imagination only five years ago.

Robust government support

Recently, the government has launched iDEA, a project that aims to support …