All Blogs

November 20, 2018

A classroom in the sky: Building upwards in the Rohingya camps

Currently, over 37,000 children are learning in our 396 temporary learning centres in the camps. To reach our goal, we will need to build more learning centres, but there is limited space available in the densely populated settlements.

Building upwards

After a visit to the settlements in February, BRAC University architecture professors worked with our education team on the ground and came up with an idea: a two-storied centre made of bamboo.

We partnered with UNHCR and the final design was approved by the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner on a pilot basis. The first two-storied temporary learning centre completed …

November 20, 2018
BLOG WASH

Waste to welfare: A tale of Jamalpur and its people

The town, located in northern Bangladesh, experienced a four fold increase in population over eight years. As a result, the growing amount of improperly disposed waste continued to pollute Jamalpur’s natural essence. The local government and community were keen on finding practical solutions and were drawn to ideas that explored ways to keep the environmental sanctity of Jamalpur intact.

BRAC partnered with the local government to test a cost-effective and sustainable way to ensure that people had access to safe waste disposal options. Since then, the initiative garnered considerable positive response from the community. In a fascinating story of how …

November 14, 2018

An engine of our growth

In Bangladesh, full bellies mean rice. At the end of a long day, a hot meal is what most look forward to. A plate of rice alongside seasonal vegetables.

The fruit of one’s labour in the fields can quench hunger. Simultaneously, this very labour has been central in improving people’s livelihoods. This agrarian country owes much to its farmers. Which is why, as Bangladesh moves forward, our understanding of development and food security cannot neglect the sector vital for its growth: Agriculture.

Agriculture plays a powerful role in poverty reduction, according to a study done by BRAC’s research and evaluation …

November 8, 2018
BLOG Urban

Growth at the grassroots: Communities revamping urban slums

While slums offer refuge to people who are excluded from the formal housing system, it also presents a very sordid picture of humanity living in congested spaces with rampant disease and poverty.

Slums are defined as compact clusters of five or more households living in precarious conditions on public or private land, lacking land tenure security. Approximately 13,935 urban slums exist across Bangladesh.

Slums are home to economic migrants, unemployed job-seekers, and those straddling the poverty line. The majority of the houses (91%) are made of temporary structures, only half of the population have access to safe water, and a …

November 5, 2018
BLOG Health

The quiet power of listening

“I don’t know if I can achieve anything good in my life. Whenever I am hurt, I find myself in tears and I cannot stop crying. I don’t feel happy, and I do not know how to deal with this situation.”

“I have been contemplating suicide. My husband never supports my decisions. He is always suspicious of me and sometimes refuses to pay for my tuitions. I don’t know what I should do at this point.”

“I feel tense all the time. I don’t want to take part in conversations because I’m either nervous or irritable. Everytime I get angry,

November 1, 2018

Resilience in the time of disaster

More than 80% of the population in Bangladesh are potentially exposed to floods, earthquakes and droughts – and this is mostly because of a lack of vital information on early warnings and disaster preparedness.

Strengthening resilience of those most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters is a top priority for BRAC, and the impacts of our disaster mitigation initiatives have been clear.

Boosting economic resilience through low-cost technology

A potential fodder crisis was curbed through the introduction of hydroponic green wheat grass technology. Thanks to the method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water instead of soil, farmers …

October 31, 2018

How does microfinance support social transformation?

Shumon is a farmer living in a village in Bangladesh. He does not own any land. He is a seasonal worker and receives a few thousand taka every month. He wants, more than anything, to lease out a piece of land so he can generate a steady income. But he earns too little, and it would take him years to save.

Shumon wants to take a loan. He is certain that he would be able to pay the money back along with the interest with the additional income from growing crops on his own land.

But who would lend

October 24, 2018
BLOG Health

Why has the decline of maternal deaths stalled in Bangladesh?

It is a mystery still then, why this decline stalled.

The recent 2016 Bangladesh Maternal Mortality and Health Care Survey, showed no improvement since the 2010 survey. As a country wholly committed to improving the well-being and health of our population, I can say personally, that these results are extremely frustrating. This is especially in light of the country’s commitment to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

If we are to build upon our successes before 2010, we need to understand what worked in the first place? The Bangladesh Liberation War — that saw the birth of Bangladesh …

October 23, 2018

Bridging the digital gender divide in financial inclusion

In the summer of 2011, as BRAC Bank in Bangladesh prepared to launch its mobile money subsidiary bKash, those of us in charge of BRAC’s microfinance operations held a series of discussions about what the advent of mobile money would mean for microfinance generally and for our organization more specifically. In those heady days the excitement about bKash was palpable, but so were our concerns about its immediate impact on our work. We were particularly worried about the possibility that bKash would cannibalise some of our deposits. At the time, customer deposits accounted for over 40 percent of our …

October 17, 2018
BLOG Youth

Enabling young entrepreneurs to start off strong

According to Small Business Association, nearly one-third of all new businesses crash and burn within the first two years. The number one culprit is the lack of business acumen and market insight. The cycle continues when many become afraid to start their own ventures, after seeing so many fail around them.

Bangladesh has a young workforce. With about 60% of the total labour force being under the age of 30, one of the national priorities of the government is skills development.

However, a gap does exist. Efforts are focused on creating skilled workers, not entrepreneurs. What if someone already …

October 16, 2018
BLOG Health

Food for thought: Ways to end world hunger

Zero hunger could save the lives of 3.1 million children a year.

A dollar invested in hunger prevention could return between $15 and $139 in benefits.

A malnourished baby will grow up to be a child with impaired learning abilities, and an adult with poor physical and mental health.

We know the solution to world hunger is not merely the provision of food. Climate change, disaster, conflict, and catastrophic health expenditure can all push families into poverty traps, and food insecurity.

The solution lies in building resilient systems through multi-sectoral collaboration with agriculture, health, finance and social protection.

The world …

October 15, 2018
BLOG WASH, Youth

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.

HAND WASHING + SOAP = SAVED LIVES

Many of these