Human rights

August 2, 2015

Financial inclusion of people with disabilities – Is access the biggest barrier?

Originally posted on the Center for Financial Inclusion Blog. “I am not sure if I can repay more loans, and I don’t want to be overburdened by debt.” That was how Noyon, a small grocery shop owner with a physical disability, replied when BRAC asked whether he would like to take a loan to expand his business. This is a common response we hear from clients with disabilities when they’re offered credit products. Many prefer to avoid taking loans unless absolutely necessary.
July 5, 2015

From paddy fields to tropical islands – Microfinance moves away from its traditional roots

Jannat is not your typical microfinance client. Like an increasing number of BRAC’s microfinance clients, she is not a member of a women-only savings and borrowing group, and did not take a loan to set up a micro-enterprise. Instead, her and her husband are part of new sphere of microfinance clients that is starting to catch on - migrant workers.
June 21, 2015

Beyond the red light: How BRAC works with socially-neglected groups

Taking on the challenge of reaching out to children of families who face social exclusion, BRAC’s education programme has reached out to the children of sex workers. My visit to a school in Douladia showed me what it means to work with a group that is socially neglected.
June 10, 2015

How photography is being used to increase security in rural communities

Even though Bangladesh has made considerable progress in development over the past four decades, there are still many issues left to grapple - one major concern being safety and security. In an attempt to address some of the problems, Saferworld initiated its community security project in partnership with BRAC in 2012.
May 28, 2015

Why we need to aim for more than universal education

As the World Education Forum meets in Incheon, South Korea, it is time to confront some unsettling facts about the state of education in the world today. More than 91 per cent of children of primary school age are now enrolled in school, but progress on educating the remaining 9 per cent has slowed to a near standstill. The numbers have barely moved since 2005, and girls are still disproportionately left behind.
April 16, 2015

Technology for gender justice

Since its inception in 1972, BRAC has been all about empowering women. Efforts to improve gender relations within the organisation itself resulted in the gender quality action learning programme and ‘mon khule kotha bola’, a forum where all staff members, especially women, could share their opinions with the management. BRAC Gender Justice and Diversity has always been quick to respond to programme participants with questions about issues of violence, sexual harassment and women’s health. The following is an example of one such case received from a BRAC school student.
January 20, 2015

“Where’s My School Roof?”

This post originally appeared on the blog of the World Justice Project. The World Justice Project is an institutional partner of the Namati Justice Prize along with BRAC and the UN Development Programme. The Namati Justice Prize was created to shine a light on the ways people find to secure justice. This post also appeared on the Namati blog.
December 28, 2014

Meet a woman who is redefining gender roles

When you meet Fatema, ‘transvestite’ is not the word that immediately comes to mind. But that is how she is referred to by colleagues and strangers alike. She prefers to wear shirts instead of covering herself with a dupatta (scarf) and wears her hair short.In Bangladesh her behaviour goes beyond most peoples’ social expectations regarding gender.
December 18, 2014

The faces of migration in Bangladesh

As of 2014 there are more than nine million Bangladeshi migrant workers abroad. These migrants are not only supporting their family at home but they are significantly boosting Bangladesh’s national GDP. Eight percent of the total GDP of 2014 was a direct contribution of migrant remittances.
December 10, 2014

Finding lost children: Improving the juvenile justice system

Although the amended Children Act 2013 has been in effect in Bangladesh for almost a year now, key actors in charge of juvenile justice (ie, police officers, sub-inspectors, lawyers and judges) still lack clear understanding of child rights laws. Moreover, juvenile development centres continue to operate at less than full capacity due to a lack of coordination. This means that children are still being sent to adult jails.
November 9, 2014

The land and its discontents: Can social enterprise and empathy help?

On 24 April crowds gathered along the dusty roads of a small village outside Rangpur as shouting cut through the air. In the centre of the fray a man and a woman stood screaming at each other. Some in the crowd held clear allegiances and joined in the shouting, but most stood silent and watched. The conflict was about land. A long-standing border dispute over an unused field between the two households had erupted into angry public displays, with both sides claiming ownership yet neither holding formal deeds to prove their claim.
October 26, 2014

Letting girls grow up to be who they want to be

According to UNICEF, Bangladesh ranks second in terms of under 18 marriages in the world. Child marriage has become a crisis due to its pervasiveness. The problem seems to be more acute in rural areas (71 per cent) compared to urban areas (51 per cent). Illiterate women are more vulnerable than those who completed a secondary or higher secondary education. Those employed are also less likely to fall victim than woman without a job. Thus child marriage can impact the achievement of almost every single millennium development goal. It even has a direct impact on GDP, as child marriage forces girls to drop out of school and lose any opportunity to contribute to the national economy.