All Blogs

March 4, 2018

IamBRAC: How to stop child marriage

Rukhsana Zaman Konika speaks in a calming, confident voice.

“The change has happened slowly but surely.”

Konika’s dream of a beautiful world began when she was a child. She grew up in a lively home with six brothers and sisters, under the supportive guidance of her mother and father. She saw her father’s face and heard his voice every time a person came to her for help. Konika did everything in her power to help people from the youngest age, even it meant giving her meals to others.

“My father taught me early on about the importance of gender equality.

February 25, 2018

How can playing lottery change the world?

For the first time ever, BRAC International, the arm of BRAC seated in The Netherlands which is taking the work started in Bangladesh into 10 countries in Asia and Africa, received a contribution from the Postcode Lottery of 1.5 million euros to fight extreme poverty in Liberia. BRAC will employ its proven approach to permanently lift women and families (those who live on less than 1.69 euros a day) out of extreme poverty.

The way the Dutch Postcode Lottery works is a classic win-win situation. Each month there is a chance to win a host of prizes, ranging from luxurious

February 20, 2018

Why learning has to begin in our own 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 my life – Chakma.

It soon became difficult for me to keep up with my lessons. I wondered if there was any school that taught in the language I spoke, and longed to be there instead.

I started to perform better

February 19, 2018

Cooking in the communal kitchens of Cox’s Bazar

What does a kitchen mean for a family? It is a place where domestic roles—regardless of gender—are pronounced. In a traditional South Asian family, the mother cooks for her family there. It is a place where she prepares nourishment for her children, husband, perhaps even her in-laws. In many ways, her kitchen celebrates the unity of her family—through food.

A family gathered lovingly around a hot meal after a long day is a natural and nostalgic image to most of us. Yet it becomes somewhat of a dream— a luxury – in a humanitarian crisis.

When lives of individual family

February 13, 2018

Clowns visit the Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar

It is 10 in the morning in Balukhali 1 camp, Cox’s Bazar. The planting season has begun and many of the paddy fields are already filled with water. In one of the still-dry fields, a crowd begins to gather. Children descend from the surrounding hills and houses of the camp, some in lines, some in crowds, and many more come skipping hand in hand.

The clowns are in town.

Photo: CWBUK/Edward Morgan

The crowd is already a thousand strong as they form a huge circle around three playful figures in the centre. Children sit at the front, adults stand at …

February 7, 2018
BLOG Health

The sweet, miracle food that is fighting malnutrition in Uganda

The lack of vitamin-A was having an adverse effect on child survival after birth and the growth and health of children. In fact, the general growth patterns among children under 5 are, in most cases, below the average recommended standards.

60% of under-5 children in south-west Uganda fall below the median WHO Child Growth Standards for height, while the national average of underweight children under the age of 5 is estimated at 13.8%.

A possible solution is the consumption of orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) which is rich in vitamin-A.

The ‘innovative, integrated approach to enhance smallholder family nutrition’ project was

February 7, 2018

Reclaiming tomorrow

As you drive down Tekhnaf highway towards Unchiprang, the road takes a slight turn near Leda Bazar. It was just 100 yards north of there that I first saw her. She was sitting in a mud puddle, staring at the horizon. I walked towards her and noticed her two children were curled up next to her with the same vacant look in their eyes.

She was sitting with a blank expression as if nothing mattered to her anymore. Her black veil, muddy and dripping wet, looked pale in the setting sun. She had witnessed the brutal murder of her husband, …

February 6, 2018

Switch off the TV, read a book – our future depends on it

Words have the power to shape our world, and everyone in the world deserves the opportunity to think and read those words. Reading is one of the most basic and most powerful foundations of democratic, literate and peaceful societies. We all want to equip our children with confidence and empathy, and leave a world that is better than the one we inhabit. What is the best way to do that? Building spaces where they can read – read about anything that they want to, read with absolute freedom. Libraries are the gateways where thoughts take flight, where we can look

January 30, 2018

Try first, fail fast and other lean lessons

So, what went wrong? The team behind Segway launched it without testing with users whether there was a market need for it. They didn’t accommodate the real transportation needs of users, which led to Segway’s eventual downfall.

There are numerous cases of colossal failures of innovations through the ages, simply because the company did not test with the user or iterate their offering.

We all crave brand new groundbreaking innovations, but tend to often mix innovation with invention.

Innovation isn’t invention.

Innovation is about making changes and adding values to users – in a disciplined way. Lean impact

January 25, 2018

Tune in to Bangladesh’s most awarded community radio

The Sylheti language, spoken by those in the district of Sylhet, was originally written in the script of Sylheti Nagari, and dates back to the 13th century. But like most dialects in the world, it is not spoken widely anymore – especially by young people.

The voice on the radio belongs to an eloquent young woman.

Ekhon hunairam Rabindra sangeet, Majhe Majhe (We will now play a Rabindranath Tagore song called Majhe Majhe)

Amra abar airam, ouno sms koroin 01780201313, Radio Pollikontho 99.2 (We’ll be right back, SMS here at 01780201313, Radio Pollikontho 99.2)

Radio Pollikontho is BRAC’s community radio, …

January 25, 2018

Five lessons from five months of responding to the Rohingya crisis

Here are five lessons from what we have learnt over the last five months:

Solutions must be taken not just to doorsteps, but into actual homes

According to the UNFPA, every woman and girl in the Rohingya settlements is in danger of sex trafficking. As a result, many women and girls do not leave the safety of their homes – a huge challenge when delivering awareness messages and creating a prevention and protection system.

We took the solutions into homes. A 12-session protection and prevention programme is conducted by protection workers inside the homes of Rohingya volunteers, where women and …

January 24, 2018

Milking cows save marriage in Pabna, northwestern Bangladesh

Bhangura was once renowned for growing the best jute in the country, but with time it gradually faded into obscurity. Fortunately, the people have always been actively involved in finding new ways to make a livelihood.

Thanks to favourable climate conditions, the region quickly gained popularity for its milk and milk-based products like butter, ghee, curd and sweets. But constant interference of the middlemen, or ghosh as they are locally called, severely disrupted the dairy farmer’s ability to make fair profits. Coupled with factors like lack of preservation infrastructure and falling milk production, the prospect of becoming a dairy farmer …