Scott MacMillan

January 12, 2014

Haiti’s on its feet again, literally

Today marked the four-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. Our friends at AmeriCares write about Herve, a patient at the BRAC Limb and Brace Center, who like so many others lost his legs in the quake: After having both legs amputated when they were crushed in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, 19-year-old Herve struggled. He was given prosthetics that did not work well and couldn't go to school or join his friends.
December 26, 2013

Here’s what happens when microfinance grows up

Modern microcredit, born in Bangladesh, was hailed as an innovative poverty fix when it appeared on the global radar. The United Nations dubbed 2005 “the year of microcredit,” and the following year, Mohammed Yunus and his Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize. Soon, however, the pendulum of hype swung the opposite direction, as scholars began to question the efficacy of microfinance.
August 6, 2013

Let’s voice our support for legal empowerment, including property rights

There’s rising momentum in the world today for legal empowerment of the poor. There’s growing recognition that the law need to work for everyone, rich and poor, and that without full legal rights, including access to legal services, a legal identity and property rights, billions will be denied the opportunities they need to lift themselves out of poverty and end systems of discrimination and exploitation.
July 1, 2013

Tilling the Tanzanian soil for development

How can we quickly boost farmer incomes so they have a chance to lift theLike 80 percent of Tanzanians, she earns a living from agriculture. The smile on Khabitu’s face suggests she’s doing well. She works as a model farmer, demonstrating good techniques to her neighbors at her small vegetable farm, which she tends with her husband Said, in Iringu, central Tanzania.mselves out of poverty?
January 31, 2013

Where are the poor? Look for them via the social network

A group of men and women attend a participatory wealth ranking in Kaposhatia in Pakchanda union in Hossanipur upazila, Bangladesh.(Credit: BRAC/Shehzad Noorani). "Where are the poor?" asks my colleague Oscar Abello at NextBillion.net, in an article that explains why better targeting of aid and impact investing programs has never been more essential. This is particularly true when it comes to "ultra-poor programs" that have been so successful in addressing the direst forms of extreme poverty.
January 30, 2013

Video girls for change

I wrote recently about the impressive return on investment calculated by one World Bank economist based on the per-girl cost of BRAC’s girls’ empowerment clubs, Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents. Numbers are one thing, but what really hits home are the results in terms of people’s lives – people like Olivia Kyomuhendo, age 22.
January 28, 2013

A dividend from investing in girls? World Bank blogger (and previous skeptic) weighs in

Last year, independent researchers from London School of Economics, University College London, and the World Bank completed a two-year impact assessment of a girls’ empowerment program in Uganda, Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA), one of the components of a partnership between BRAC and The MasterCard Foundation. 
January 18, 2013

Talk to the youth

If you want to help spur the economy and improve people’s lives over the long term in a place like Uganda – the youngest country on earth, with a median age of 14 – then you have to talk and listen to young people like Brenda Masika. That’s one of the key lessons of BRAC’s partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, which has enabled a speedy scale-up in a country facing a massive youth bulge.
January 14, 2013

The motorcycle girl

Khadija’s story, posted in the features section of the BRAC site, shows how vocational training can break down barriers in traditional societies and ultimately lead to families lifting themselves out of poverty.
September 12, 2012

Three lessons from Sir Fazle Hasan Abed

Innovate frugally, scale up, and remain a learning organization: Those are the three lessons BRAC founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed delivered to an audience at the World Affairs Council of Northern California last night, as part of a speaking tour sponsored by the Asia Foundation.
November 15, 2011

BRAC and Gates Foundation, tackling toilet trouble together

Great news from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today. The foundation has announced a grant for BRAC to develop sustainable sanitation delivery models, improving living conditions for over a million of Bangladesh's poorest while raising school attendance levels for girls especially.