Financial inclusion

October 18, 2017

Ploughing the path in a male-dominated turf

Husnaara ran to her house smiling from ear to ear as if she could not get any happier. At that point nothing seemed impossible; she could become a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer, go to a good university. She could not wait to give her father the news about her Secondary School Certificate results and assure him that his daughter would one day be able to provide for them.
July 6, 2017

Meet the millennial who’s changing our farmlands

Peeking from behind the tin door is Ibrahim’s two-year-old daughter, Amena, in a blue polka dot dress, and a kitten in her arms. Another kitten appears and darts across the courtyard. Ducklings scatter about in panic.
June 22, 2017

The mother of ducks

As the western sky grows rosy pink, and the paddy fields on the east turn deep green, hundreds of brown little dots are suddenly seen scrambling in the horizon. Within minutes, a flock of quacking ducks approach the main road, and amongst them, walks a woman in a bright blue saree.
April 18, 2017

Making microinsurance work in Bangladesh: Three takeaways

The market for microinsurance in Bangladesh has been growing rapidly over the last 10 years, with over 25 million subscribers. Yet it is still met with skepticism among many poor microfinance clients.
December 14, 2016

Client-centricity at scale: The BRAC Smart Certification journey

As a non-profit dedicated to poverty reduction, client welfare has been central to BRAC’s mission since its inception in 1972. In Bangladesh in general, almost all microfinance institutions are non-profits, and so microfinance has always been seen as a tool for alleviating poverty in the country.
October 19, 2016

Her hands trembled when she borrowed her first $64; Now she’s giving advice to BRAC

The integration of mobile money into microfinance operations is one of the most exciting yet challenging prospects facing microfinance providers today. Mobile money presents a fast, cost-efficient and flexible alternative delivery channel through which money can be transferred, loans can be repaid and savings can be deposited.
October 17, 2016

What ever happened to microfinance?

You’d be forgiven for thinking microfinance has gone wildly out of fashion. The “development caravan”—defined as the wagon train of poverty interventions that excite donors—has pulled away from micro-lending, drawn to more powerful things like BRAC-style graduation programmes (which aim to “graduate” people from extreme poverty into a sustainable livelihood) and bKash-like mobile money, according to recent coverage in The Economist.
June 28, 2016

Connecting the dots: Creating an inclusive digital ecosystem in Bangladesh

In April, BRAC, Access to Information (a2i), fhi360, USAID and IFMR LEAD jointly organised an event named ‘Digital financial inclusion: Innovations from Bangladesh’ to invite local stakeholders to discuss their experiences and emerging solutions (see a recent write-up by IMFR LEAD summarising the event).
June 26, 2016

Cost-benefit analyses: Still a long way to go

BRAC examines the limitations of cost-benefit analyses and how to improve research methodologies for more informed policy and investment decisions.
May 30, 2016

Digital finance in Bangladesh: Empowering or excluding women?

This blog draws from discussions on the progress of digital financial services, during a seminar in Dhaka in April 2016. The seminar was organised by BRAC Social Innovation Lab, Access to Information (a2i) and USAID’s mSTAR project implemented by FHI 360. IFMR LEAD was the Knowledge Partner for the event. 
April 29, 2016

Salaried and unbanked: A new frontier for microfinance

What comes to your mind when you think of microfinance? To me it’s 'easy access'- a key factor that has enabled the sector to reach 34 million poor people in Bangladesh, essentially bringing financial services to their doorstep.
March 15, 2016

Finance for flood-hit families: Reducing risk and raising resilience

What are some of the most effective innovations taking place in South Asia, the region that is bearing the brunt of climate change? How does one go about building resilience and from then to scaling? This post is the third in a series of blogs that will share BRAC’s lessons on building and scaling resilience to climate change.