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March 5, 2019
BLOG Youth

Highlights from Day 2 of Frugal Innovation Forum

Our future has never been so young: 85% of the world’s young population currently reside in the Global South. Young people in this region have been driving social transformations long before ‘changemaker’ became a buzzword. The biggest theme that echoed throughout the forum is that young people can no longer be thought of as passive recipients of development when the biggest social transformations in the region have been led by the youth. Here are top 3 insights on what it takes to enable young people to make a difference.

If you want to see real change, stop leaving out young

March 4, 2019
BLOG Youth

Scale frugal: Highlights from Day 1 of Frugal Innovation Forum 2019

On Saturday, 2 March 2019, the event kick-started with a field visit to the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, followed by a day-long conference on Sunday. Here are some of highlights from Day 1.

The annual conclave of social innovators from the Global South is not just based on ideas, but what is being done on the ground, and the possibilities beyond. It is a forum for sharing knowledge to create solutions and form exciting partnerships. With that remark, senior director of BRAC, Asif Saleh highlighted the challenges which surround the youth today. With 85% of the world’s youth population …

February 17, 2019
BLOG Youth

Power of AI: The key to equal employment

One way to address the challenge of equipping youth with disabilities with employable skills is through apprenticeship programmes.

The ROI of our apprenticeship programme
We pair adolescents who have dropped out of school with a master craftsperson as part of a six-month programme. A master craftsperson is an experienced worker or shop-owner within a particular trade. Two apprentices per shop learn a hands-on trade, which is chosen based on market demands.The programme is called skills training for advancing resources, or STAR, and was presented as 1 of 9 global solutions for young people by UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited initiative.…

February 13, 2019

From metro rail to national ports: A win for people with disabilities

“I missed an interview for a job in Dhaka. Travelling from Barisal means that I have to take a bus and then a launch to reach Dhaka, and there was no way I could have done it by myself. Our public transport is not accessible for people like me.” – Farhad, a fresh graduate with disability

Farhad is not alone. Over a million people in Bangladesh live with a disability. They live a life of limited mobility, facing difficulties in accessing public spaces. According to Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) data, 71.34 million travels took place in the various …

February 11, 2019
BLOG Youth

How 3 Dhaka companies became market leaders

We explored the journey of three Dhaka-based startups – Pathao, Chaldal and ShopUp – in our Innovation Forum- a platform for innovators to connect, to find out what led them to become the market leaders in their respective fields. Here are three takeaways from the panel discussion:

Know your customers to know what problems to solve

“Internet is the best thing that happened to small businesses,” opined Afeef Zaman, CEO of ShopUp.

Although Bangladesh’s e-commerce market is still nascent, online customers spend close to USD 50 million annually, and over 15,000 merchants and entrepreneurs have already flocked to …

February 7, 2019
BLOG Health

Breaking bad and doing good: The fight against TB in 2018

Contrary to what many think, tuberculosis is still a problem in Bangladesh. We are still among the world’s 30 high TB burden countries. Each year, around 362,000 new TB cases are identified and an estimated 73,000 people lose their lives to it.

BRAC has been working with the Government of Bangladesh and foreign partners since the 80s to build resilience and end the epidemic once and for all. While we have made significant progress so far, the disease is still considered the world’s most lethal infectious disease.

We have managed to break some new ground in 2018:

Standing by

February 6, 2019

Incubating the incubators: Promoting entrepreneurship in frontier markets

Starting a new business can often times feel like a rollercoaster ride. To minimise pitfalls along the journey and maximise the chance of success, startups can turn to incubators and accelerators for support – from seed funding to connecting with investors, and from developing business models to achieving product-market fit.

Take the example of Airbnb, one of the most celebrated startups of our time. In its early stage, the hospitality service provider attended the seed accelerator programme of Y Combinator based in Silicon Valley, which proved to be a valuable source of foundational support in driving successful expansion …

February 4, 2019

What does it mean to build a data-driven culture?

Technology is influencing every aspect of our lives, to the point where the line between science, fiction, and reality is blurred. Non-profit organisations around the world have swiftly embraced the idea of a data-driven culture.

It was found that 75% of nonprofits collecting data, but only 6% of them feel they are using it purposefully. Employees are finding it difficult to leverage data. The reason? An inherent lack in tech-savviness.

What can organisations do to cultivate a data-driven culture and gain employee confidence in new methodologies?

Promoting the idea of data

BRAC’s five-year transformational strategic plan is emphasising on …

February 3, 2019

Can play save a displaced generation?

In September 2017 we drove down the uneven roads of the small coastal town of Ukhiya through a sea of shelters. The car bumped and jolted on the road as we entered Kutupalong Registered Camp. There were women, infants and children everywhere. All the eyes we looked into were veiled with the same lost look.

On the side of one of the hills was a child friendly space, clinging onto the edge of a small piece of dirt, shaded by a lone tree. A rare splash of colour and sound in the eerily quiet, monotonously orange and white camps …

January 28, 2019
BLOG General

bracX 2018: Fostering impact through employee innovation

While many employers see it as a revolutionary way to drive organisational growth, others tend to be more skeptical about the ultimate outcome. Is it worth taking the time and effort? Does it make sense to burden employees to do things that are not necessarily part of their job description?

Google is one such organisation that has visibly benefitted from building a culture that encourages its employees to adopt a more risk-taking and visionary approach in the workplace. The ‘20% Time’ programme requires their staff to reserve the aforementioned amount of office time to work on projects that they are …

January 24, 2019

Achieving the good things: BRAC microfinance in 2018

Click on the photos below to see some of the stories.

Expanding our reach

Last year, we enrolled more than half a million new borrowers – making our total number of clients seven million! We also opened 200 new branches to support our clients, and reaching more of the unbanked population. We now work through a total of 2,300 branches across the country.

We surpassed our previous records in terms of loan disbursement. In 2018, we disbursed a record-breaking USD 4.2 billion in Bangladesh, a 21% rise from 2017.

Client service

Clients come first and foremost in our mission. We …

January 13, 2019
BLOG History

She was the heart and soul of BRAC

Dr Martha (Marty) Chen is a lecturer of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School, an affiliated professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design, and senior advisor of the global research-policy-action network, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). Before joining Harvard in 1987, she had two decades of resident field experience in South Asia: in Bangladesh in the 1970s – working with BRAC, and in India in the 1980s, where she served as a field representative for Oxfam America. In both capacities, she worked closely with working women living in poverty in villages and urban settlements to promote their