It is no secret that Uganda’s infrastructure projects are extending beyond the capital city. However, it is a double-edged sword. There exists the ‘invisible’ effect, the dark side of these projects - especially for children and women.
BRAC's youth-focused programmes celebrated the Global Money Week in Bangladesh with three-day training on financial literacy for adolescents. The training was arranged by our 'Adolescent Development Programme' and 'Social and Financial Empowerment of Adolescent (SoFEA)' programme. With an objective to empower the adolescent girls financially, the training's key focus-areas include, financial planning, savings, money management, budgeting and introduction to formal banking.
"The global financial crisis has turned us into a world of savers," The Washington Post reported recently. "Including the poorest among us." Of course people all throughout history, in every culture, have found ways to store away money for a rainy day. The difference today is the growing access to more organized, safer ways to save money. Access is not the same as adoption, however. For the poor to adopt new savings tools, requires, as the story notes, "building the trust of the poor, penny by penny," which can be very slow. It shouldn't surprise you to learn that
If girls had the same access to resources as their male peers, went to school regularly, led lives free of domestic violence and avoided early marriage, agricultural output would increase 4 percent and the number of malnourished men, women and children would drop 17 percent.
A Bengali organization founded almost 40 years ago, BRAC is one of the largest NGO’s in the world. BRAC does tremendous work in and outside of Bangladesh, and has programs promoting economic development, health, education, gender justice – the list goes on. When I found out I would be working with BRAC this past April I was excited since it is such a pioneering organization, but I was also really looking forward to working with BRAC since I have a soft spot in my heart for Bangladesh. I had the chance to live in Bangladesh for four months last year as a social business intern at the Yunus Centre, and my time in the country was certainly life altering.
Today, Jasmine Lamb launched a campaign on her blog, allislistening.com, to raise over $5,000 for BRAC's adolescent girls program in Bangladesh by Thanksgiving. Jasmine heard about The Girl Effect and BRAC's programs from a friend and connected with the powerful message of investing in young girls. BRAC's Social and Financial Empowerment of Adolescents project (SOFEA) is an initiative aimed at providing girls with financial and social support to enable them to empower themselves. The program gives girls a safe space to socialize while providing them with life skills training, livelihood training, financial literacy training, and small loans to start income-generating activities.
Below is a post written by The MasterCard Foundation President & CEO Reeta Roy about the importance of youth entrepreneurship in Africa. The MasterCard Foundation has partnered with BRAC in Uganda to invest in adolescent girls, providing them access to safe spaces, social and livelihood skill-building resources, and microfinance so that they can be agents of change in Africa.
Below is a post from Crystal Chen of The MasterCard Foundation, one of BRAC's partners. She's currently visiting BRAC's programs in Uganda along with other members of the MasterCard team. She wrote this after visiting one of the girls clubs in our Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescents (ELA) Program.