The following was originally posted by BRAC USA President & CEO Susan Davis on The Huffington Post. This morning, I received a touching letter from Munshi Sulaiman about his recent trip to Pakistan to see BRAC's Ultra Poor program there. Munshi has been working with BRAC for the last 8 years and currently coordinates BRAC's research activities outside Bangladesh.
The following article was originally posted by Alex Pattee on the MicroCapiltal.org blog. By Syed M Hashemi and Aude de Montesquiou; published by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), March 2011, 16 pages; available at: http://www.microfinancegateway.org/gm/document-1.9.50806/Reaching_the_Poorest.pdf
Recently, the Carnegie Council's Carnegie Ethics studio editor, Julia Taylor Kennedy, interviewed BRAC USA President & CEO, Susan Davis, as part of a series on global business ethics. Davis and Kennedy discussed how BRAC got its start, how BRAC addresses the ultra-poor through microfinance, and the evolving relationship between corporations and nonprofit organizations. In the interview, Davis mentions how BRAC measures success in alleviating poverty in terms of empowering individuals. She notes, "Although there is no magic bullet, social entrepreneurship unlocks everybody's ability to be a change maker and to participate in the solutions to their own problems."The full transcript of this revealing and informative conversation is available on the Carnegie Council website here. Audio of the interview is also available here.
A couple of weeks ago, BRAC USA President & CEO Susan Davis moderated a panel of researchers and practitioners providing resources to the "ultra poor" - women who are too poor to be able to take advantage of microfinance loans - at the Microfinance Impact and Innovation Conference.
The following article was written by Sofia Tillo for MediaGlobal. You can read the original article here. Microfinance is nothing new, having brought access to financial services for the world’s poorest people for the past two decades. Particularly common are initiatives giving small private loans to people in least developed countries.
The following article was written by Shaheen Mahmud & Leda Isis Tyrrel of AusAID Bangladesh and published in the Feb-May 2010 issue of Focus.We leave the city in the early morning. The air is already thick and hot. As the city recedes the roads become smaller. Vibrant green rice paddies line either side. Rickshaws and carts stacked high with goods are pushed to market. After a couple of hours we stop and refuel with sweet tea and biscuits.
“ … perhaps the most fully realized “integrated” provider, offering financial services along with schools, legal training, productive inputs, and help with marketing and business planning. If you are in Dhaka these days, for example, you can buy Aarong brand chocolate milk, which is produced by a BRAC dairy marketing affiliate. A different BRAC subsidiary produces Aarong brand textiles made by poor weavers, and still another subsidiary runs craft shops that sell the goods of microfinance clients.”
BRAC University Development Institute (BDI) and CGAP arranged a meeting of staff from the three ultra poor pilot programs that have been the most advanced in "graduating" members. The meeting provided a platform for the pilots so that they could share their experiences, draw lessons from each other and determine next steps.
For those who are too poor even to benefit from microfinance loans, BRAC has a special program providing the ultra poor with a pathway out of poverty. Instead of giving these women loans, BRAC gives them assets: a cow, chickens, seeds, fabric for sewing, etc. depending on the livelihood they want to pursue. We provide them with training and extra support, like feed and vaccinations, and visit them every week to check on the progress of their new business and make sure they're able to meet their basic needs.