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September 8, 2019

What must
literacy mean today?

Somewhere in the world, a language disappears every two weeks, reports the The Language Centre of Columbia University.

More than 7,000 languages prevail across the world, and 2,000 of them are used by less than 1,000 people. Half of the prevailing languages see its written form using 46 kinds of letters. The rest are used orally.

International Literacy Day 2019 is being observed across the globe focusing on the theme ‘literacy and multilingualism’. This aims to extend an opportunity to the society, government and all stakeholders to discuss the prevailing  situation of ‘ literacy’ and decide on possible initiatives …

September 8, 2019
BLOG Health

Eyes wide shut: Why inclusive digital spaces matter

I had always considered myself to be inclusive. Growing up, my parents ran a very gender-balanced ship at home, ensuring everything was equal between my sister and I. My mom was possibly the only female driver I knew of, dropping us off for school or birthday parties. At university, my roommates were Jewish, Roman Catholic and Presbytarian. At work, I had friends who were in same sex relationships. Yet, after that particular dinner conversation, I realised that I was not completely inclusive.

Vashkar da, had lost his vision after birth and had spent his entire life making strides in advocating …

September 1, 2019

Four ways BRAC is prioritising disability inclusion in the workplace

As with gender equality, mainstreaming people with disabilities mean confronting huge barriers in attitude and perception. It must be remembered that people with disabilities are not a homogenous group. For organisations to initiate disability-smart practices require enabling structural changes to accommodate the various kinds of disability. Employers often make wrong assumptions about a person’s disability – sometimes minimising the effects and sometimes overestimating the severity. Either way, this leads to ineffective accommodation in workplaces,  negative attitudes, and eventually, exclusion of people with disabilities from rights to employment.

There’s a stigma and  public misconception that people with disabilities will be …

August 30, 2019

HYDRO Industries and BRAC: A partnership to bring clean water to all

It’s a cruel, painful paradox that a small but densely populated country, can be flooded relentlessly yet remain persistently short of safe water. 80% of Bangladesh is floodplain and it has a vast coastal region. Every year, about a fifth of the country is sunk, displacing thousands and destroying their homes, wellbeing and dreams. 

Among the many threats the region faces, increasingly common climate events including cyclones, tidal surges, and more have begun to infiltrate the local freshwater supply with numerous poisonous contaminants. As a consequence, communities dependent on clean groundwater for their health and livelihoods are struggling to

August 30, 2019

Going digital: Taking financial inclusion to new horizons

On 24 June 2019, I attended my first field visit from BRAC’s microfinance programme. I shadowed the programme organiser in Badda, and went to client households to collect Dabi loan instalments. Dabi is one of the many products of the microfinance  programme designed particularly for women, and it directly translates to ‘demand’ or ‘right’ in Bengali. The name symbolises BRAC’s belief that access to financial services should be a basic human right irrespective of social standing.

Before joining as an intern, I was always interested in the concept of financial inclusion, how the digital divide in developing countries such …

August 28, 2019

Young professionals come together for climate action

In Bangladesh, this number is around 48 million, and it will continue to increase. Developing nations that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change like Bangladesh, will face strong adversities due to their geographic location and struggling economy.

The younger generations from developing countries are more likely to bear the burden of climate change to two-fold due to the prevailing and impending climatic shocks. Bangladesh lacks adequate measures in empowering its young generations with the right skills to address the upcoming environmental challenges.

Recognising the concern, BRAC’s climate change programme conducted a two-day interactive training session for the …

August 25, 2019

Liberia’s crops against the rebellious weather

As the scorching month of July 2019 finally ended, it left behind its debut as the hottest month in world history. July also introduced itself in Liberia as the rainiest month on record.

Although slightly different, the worldwide weather patterns observed during the same month are intense enough to demonstrate the various trends of flipped and flickering switches across the Earth. We can’t deny the extremities of climate change anymore, and the developing countries are more prone than ever to the negative impacts of the climate’s burning rage.

In the context of developing countries like Liberia, 90% of agricultural output …

August 24, 2019

Rohingya men lead the fight against gender violence

Maulana Ayub, 33, has just finished leading the prayers at a mosque in one of the camps for Rohingya communities in Cox’s Bazar. Before his congregation leaves, he takes the time to talk about important issues. This week he covers sexual and gender-based violence.

Ayub is one of 107 Rohingya males engaged in educating other men on sexual and gender-based violence, talking about practices such as dowry, positive masculinity, child marriage and polygamy.

BRAC, together with UNHCR, initiated the ‘Engaging Men and Boys in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response programme’. The programme is led by Jahidur Rahman, …

August 8, 2019

World’s Indigenous Peoples Day: Celebrating diversity through stories

The land of black and white parrots

Paibung was a little girl whose parents were jhum (slash and burn agriculture) farmers. One day, before going to work, Paibung’s parents asked her to look after the sesame seeds which were drying under the sun in their yard.

Suddenly, a flock of black and white parrots came and asked Paibung for some sesame seeds. Paibung told them that she could not give them any and that her parents would be really upset if she did.

“If your parents scold you,” said the parrots, “You can come to us to the land of

August 8, 2019

Why learning should begin in your own language

Research shows that a child’s first language is the optimal language for learning throughout primary school years, and that children are more likely to drop out or fall behind in school if the language of instruction is not their first language.

I grew up surrounded by rolling blue-green hills in Rangamati Sadar of south-eastern Bangladesh. I still remember my first days of school – a very reputed school in the area. I remember starting and ending my classes feeling lost. I had little idea of what the teachers said. It sounded nothing like the language I was familiar with all …

July 30, 2019

Combatting the world’s fastest growing crime

Shahinur* was left destitute when her husband was injured in a car accident. A recruiting agency offered her a stable job in Libya and she accepted. Shahinur found herself in Syria, instead of Libya, in a brothel, instead of an office. She was raped, beaten and tortured, for months. Like the majority of women migrant workers from Bangladesh seeking a better life, Shahinur was trafficked into sex work. 

Bangladesh is the fifth highest labour sending country in the world, but it is also among the top 10 countries from where people migrate across the Mediterranean Sea on boats. The country

July 28, 2019

How Liberia’s bushlands got a lush, green makeover

We can all learn something from the past. The interventions the U.S. carried out during the Great Depression taught us that targeting the agriculture-oriented areas can be a beacon for financial stability in hard times. Cash for work is an underrated treatment that has been practiced in various nuances during the times of financial crises and nutrition insecurity.

The name says it all – cash is provided to those who are at risk of falling into the poverty trap during times of low employment. Even if temporary, there is hope in the employment opportunities received in public projects. BRAC in