All Blogs

November 20, 2017

Learn to play: 3 playful innovations in education

A learning crisis

The child with his nose in a book might not be the only one learning. This was one of the bold messages from the Frugal Innovation Forum 2017. The forum’s innovators and speakers called attention to children’s right to education and play.

But a child’s right to play has been forgotten. Disappearing playgrounds and prevailing pedagogies that push out extra-curricular programmes have become the norm.  This year’s Frugal Innovation Forum, themed on “Scaling Quality Education” became a hub for innovators- who see the coupling of play and education as the path for children of the future.

November 19, 2017

Making our roads safer: World day for road traffic victims

The UN World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/5, observed every third Sunday in November, is a major advocacy day for road traffic injury prevention. This year’s theme- “reduce road fatalities and serious injuries by 50%”- has been framed in line with the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–20 and has reaffirmed the importance of drawing urgent measures to reduce the prevalence of road crash.

Speeding, impaired driving (due to alcohol/drugs/fatigue), not wearing seat belts or helmets, and texting are some of the factors that lead to road crash.

Unsafe road

November 14, 2017

Is IT innovation in education oversold?

Focusing on scaling up quality education, BRAC hosted an international conference titled “Frugal Innovation Forum 2017” on 9-11 November 2017 at BRAC’s conference centre in Savar. Some 200 educationists and innovators from Bangladesh, Australia, India, Nepal and South Africa presented projects based on innovative solutions for improving quality in education.

Only 25 percent of the 5th grade children could read at minimum grade level in Bangladesh, which means three quarters could not quite read, write and do their sums after completing primary education. This was the finding of a rigorous sample survey under Primary Education Directorate auspices in 2013. The …

November 12, 2017
BLOG General

BRAC vice-chair wins US Medical Award of Excellence

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), a global nonprofit that creates, finds and supports programmes that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families around the world, honoured Dr Mushtaque Chowdhury for his leadership in community-based primary healthcare, poverty alleviation programmes, education for children and women’s empowerment.

“Dr Chowdhury is a pioneer in education and public health policy and his work has significantly impacted the health of children and their families,” said Sheila Musolino, president and chief executive officer, RMHC. “It is an honour to celebrate the extraordinary work done by Dr Chowdhury who has had a revolutionary …

November 9, 2017

How BRAC Microfinance recovered from the Ebola crisis

Originally posted on the Global Delivery Initiative blog.

How do we build resilience during and after a crisis? A new GDI case study from BRAC offers insight into lessons learned from the West Africa Ebola outbreak of 2014-2015, highlighting what can be done to strengthen organisations responding and with the people they serve.

When Ebola tore across Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea in 2014, BRAC faced a difficult decision with regard to the microfinance institutions (MFIs) that it operates in Sierra Leone and Liberia. It could try to adjust operations on the ground and press forward. Or, it could …

November 9, 2017

The secret of a smart child: Plenty of playtime

The children here are exploring the world around them through play. Every colour they are painting with, every shape they are playing with, every friend they are making, are all helping them develop their capacity to learn.

This is just another day at the Khelar Jogot (roughly translates to ‘a universe of play’) in the outskirts of Savar, near the capital city of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Children as young as one month to as old as five years are learning through play in the universe. They play with age-appropriate toys, sing songs, and indulge in nap time, all supervised by a …

November 8, 2017

BRAC in Uganda’s transition to a bank and what it means for customers

Originally posted on The Center for Financial Inclusion blog.

BRAC, the largest microfinance provider in Uganda, currently serves more than 200,000 predominantly rural, female clients, through more than 150 branches across nearly every district in the country. In the nine years since the microfinance company was established, BRAC has provided microloans to women (a basic loan ranges from USD 55 – 1,400), and small enterprise loans for male and female business owners (from USD 1,400 – 10,000). Its current portfolio is around USD 45 million. This year, BRAC submitted its application to transform into a bank. In Uganda, it …

November 7, 2017

Creating opportunities for a playful childhood

Creating opportunities for a playful childhood

When you think of play, an all too familiar sense of nostalgia usually follows. However, did you know the art that you painted with your fingers, the clay that you moulded or the block towers that you built with your imagination as a child, would determine your behaviour today?

According to child psychologists Gary Landreth and Linda Homeyer (1998)[i], “Everything a child is, does, and becomes may at one time or another be demonstrated through play.” Despite this insight, many of my professional and personal conversations around the concept and benefits of …

October 31, 2017

Of dignity and dream homes: Transforming a slum in 3 steps

Chinta Didi just got a new, two-storied house. It costs less than USD 1,500 – and her neighbours built it for her. She has been partially blind since birth, and relies on the little income that her husband earns from working at a welding shop. She was identified by her neighbours as one of the most vulnerable members in their community.

Her previous house was made of tin, like most temporary homes in slums across the country. It would flood in the monsoon, was sweltering hot in the summer and it would freeze during winter. Now she is just one …

October 23, 2017
BLOG

The women on the frontline of the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis

According to respondents, female-headed households with small children, pregnant women, elderly and women without men in the family are facing most difficulties accessing support. Often male humanitarian workers are unable to reach women and girls due to cultural and religious sensitivities. The women humanitarian workers, most of whom have joined BRAC’s crisis response efforts from the local areas, are bringing tremendous value to this crucial space. They are providing urgent support to the most vulnerable of the displaced population.

To ensure these dedicated women humanitarian workers are receiving proper support, BRAC met with 130 of them through a forum last …

October 17, 2017
BLOG Health

Bangladesh completes world’s second largest cholera vaccination campaign

Over 582,000 people from the Rakhine State of Myanmar have crossed into Bangladesh since August 25th. They are living in extremely cramped, extremely unhygienic conditions, and more people are arriving every day.

The last six weeks have been a race against time. Over 10,000 cases of diarrhoea were identified in the week before the campaign started.

The movement of people from Myanmar into Bangladesh has been the fastest population movement in recent times. The vaccination campaign, in parallel, was the largest of its kind after Haiti in 2016.

The Ministry of Health, supported by a coalition of partners including BRAC,

October 11, 2017
BLOG Health, WASH

Averting a mass health crisis at Bangladesh’s most popular holiday destination

Cox’s Bazar is the world’s longest sea beach, and littered with holidaymakers and colourful beach umbrellas throughout the year. Less than an hour’s drive from the string of shiny hotels, however now lies a mega city of black tarp tents.

There are many more people arriving than usual, but what they are seeking is far from a holiday, They are exhausted and injured. Over half a million people have fled into Bangladesh from Rakhine State of Myanmar since 25 August.

They are coming into a safe place, but one which has no water, no food, no toilets, no houses and