The connection between Zakia and Firoza becomes instantly evident when you see them talk to each other. Firoza listens intently as Zakia speaks in a soft, empathetic tone. For Firoza, Zakia is not only a manager apa (sister) from BRAC - she is the only person who she trusts completely.
Access to finance – be that credit, or savings, is a universal need. People living in poverty are disproportionately excluded from the formal financial system. Access to finance is particularly difficult for women in Bangladesh with 64% of women left out of formal financial services.
Bangladesh has enjoyed considerable economic growth over the past few decades, however its employment driven opportunities have been sluggish. Such proliferation of 'jobless growth' is a result of inadequate opportunities for the large wave of young people who are prepared to enter the workforce but cannot seem to do so.
Bangladesh has largely succeeded in providing access to basic sanitation. Using latrines in rural communities is now no longer seen as a luxury reserved for upper-income households, but a necessity at all levels of society.
With governments and others, increasingly looking to integrate Graduation into national programmes, cost and complexity are major barriers. Yet, practitioners need to be wary of looking for simple solutions to complex problems. Cost-effectiveness is not about finding a lower cost model for graduation but rather, understanding what is optimal in each context to achieve long-term, sustained, positive outcomes.
There is finally a system that favours those who toil endlessly to fulfill the nutritional needs of the nation. It ensures that farmers feel confident about the price they are receiving instead of feeling manipulated.
When BRAC, one of the world’s largest NGOs, tried to digitize its paper-based record system to improve decision making and provide continuous improvement for its skills development programme in Bangladesh, it hit a wall.
Shahana Akhter spends her days on her little red scooter looking for small businesses. She works in BRAC’s microfinance programme, and has spent seven years distributing loans and collecting repayments to enable all types of entrepreneurship to expand.
The LEAD project has had significant positive results by using a modified M4P approach. Findings show more than a 400% increase in both maize yield per hectare and weekly egg production, and a 107% increase in number of birds per farmer’s flock by the end of the project. Maize farmers’ median income increased 400% from USD 54 to USD 269.
Bangladesh, the birthplace of microfinance and many other successful pro-poor strategies has been acknowledged as the model of development for many years. Once again, the country is recognised to have found the most effective solution to one of the most complex problems of the world - extreme poverty.