This was originally posted on Bridge International Academies blog.
BRAC’s annual event Frugal Innovation Forum in Dhaka, is now in its fifth year. The 2017 event explored education innovations and sought to connect innovators, social entrepreneurs and emerging leaders. Bridge was proud to play a part.
Standing on a distant piece of land in the middle of the haor (wetlands) of Sunamganj in northwestern Bangladesh, a sea surrounds the school. The water stretches as far as the eyes can see, with a few patches of croplands peeking through the horizon. It is the only school in an area of eight square kilometers.
The child with his nose in a book might not be the only one learning. This was one of the bold messages from the Frugal Innovation Forum 2017. The forum’s innovators and speakers called attention to children’s right to education and play.
Innovation and technology are seen as the solutions to the educational deprivation of millions of children in the developing world. How does the technology-based model of innovation relate to the real world of learners, teachers, schools, families and the communities that we live in?
When you think of play, an all too familiar sense of nostalgia usually follows. However, did you know the art that you painted with your fingers, the clay that you moulded or the block towers that you built with your imagination as a child, would determine your behaviour today?
A total of 47 Bangladeshi development organisations, edupreneurs, social innovators and accelerator programmes joined BRAC's social innovation lab for an intense 90-minute sprint, this September. We brainstormed on how our education system can work for our future, and how we can solve the existing roadblocks.
While the situation is the worst it has ever been, we are better equipped than we have ever been. This success can be credited to collaborative efforts by the government and civil society, which ensure shelter homes, pre-disaster preparedness, and early warning systems.
The Frugal Innovation Forum is a platform for leaders from the global south to connect and explore solutions to the world’s toughest challenges. Development practitioners, social entrepreneurs, activists, policy-makers and academics collaborate for three days to work towards impact at scale.
For several years now, we have seen Dhaka repeatedly ranked as one of the least livable cities in the world. One major factor is our transport system. A city of 20 million people, no metro system and an inadequate number of buses create a traffic nightmare. Those who depend on buses suffer the most: drivers pack people into buses, drive aggressively and stop haphazardly, sometimes in the middle of the street. It is almost impossible for women to get a ride during rush hours.