BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) based in Bangladesh, is currently (June 2009) the world's largest non-governmental development organization. Established by Fazle Hasan Abed in 1972 soon after the liberation of Bangladesh, BRAC is currently present in all 64 districts of Bangladesh, with over 7 million micro-finance group members, 37,500 non-formal primary schools and more than 70,000 health volunteers. BRAC is the largest NGO by number of staff employing over 120,000 people, the majority of whom are women. BRAC operates various programs such as those in microfinance and education in over nine countries across Asia and Africa, reaching more than 110 million people. The organization is 80% self-funded through a number of commercial enterprises that include a dairy and food project and a chain of retail handicraft stores called ‘Aarong.’ BRAC maintains offices in 14 countries throughout the world, including BRAC USA and BRAC UK. BRAC is a few years into their initiative to operate in ten African countries in the next ten years.

BRAC tackles poverty from a holistic viewpoint, transitioning individuals from being aid recipients to becoming empowered citizens in control of their own destinies. Over the years, BRAC has organized the isolated poor and learned to understand their needs by piloting, refining and scaling up practical ways to increase their access to resources, support their entrepreneurship and empower them to become active agents of change. Women and girls have been the central analytical lens of BRAC’s anti-poverty approach; BRAC recognizes both their vulnerabilities and thirst for change. BRAC always strives to find practical and scalable approaches to eradicate poverty wherever it is.

Known at the time as the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, BRAC was initiated in 1972 by Fazle Hasan Abed. Fazle Hasan Abed is a Bangladeshi social worker, and the founder and chairman of BRAC. For his outstanding contributions to social improvement, he has received the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the UNDP Mahbub Ul Haq Award at Sulla in the district of Sylhet.

Sylhet is a major city in north-eastern Bangladesh. It is the capital of Sylhet Division and Sylhet District. Sylhet is located on the banks of the Surma River and is surrounded by the Jaintia, Khasi and Tripura hills....
 as a small-scale relief and rehabilitation project to help returning war refugees after the Bangladesh Liberation War

The Bangladesh Liberation War Bangladesh Liberation War/nomenclature justification was an armed conflict pitting West Pakistan against East Pakistan and India, which resulted in the secession of East Pakistan to become the independent nation of Bangladesh of 1971. In nine months, 14 thousand homes were rebuilt as part of the relief effort. Several hundred boats were also built for the fishermen. Medical centres were opened and other essential services were ensured..At the end of 1972, when the first phase of relief work was over, BRAC turned towards long-term development needs and re-organised itself as a multifaceted development organisation focusing on the empowerment of the poor and landless, particularly women and children.

By 1974, BRAC had started providing microcredit and had started analyzing the usefulness of credit inputs in the lives of the poor. Till the mid 70s, BRAC concentrated on community development through multi-sectoral village development programmes that included agriculture, fisheries, cooperatives, rural crafts, adult literacy, health and family planning, vocational training for women and construction of community centres. A Research and Evaluation Division (RED) was set up by BRAC in 1975 to analyze and evaluate its activities and provide direction for the organisation to expand and evolve. In 1977, BRAC shifted from community development towards a more targeted approach by organizing village groups called Village Organizations (VO). This approach targeted the poorest of the poor – the landless, small farmers, artisans, and vulnerable women. Those who own less than half an acre of land and survive by selling manual labor were regarded as BRAC’s target group. That same year BRAC set up a commercial printing press to help finance its activities. The handicraft retail chain called Aarong.

In 1979, BRAC entered the health field in a major way. It established the nation-wide Oral Therapy Extension Programme (OTEP), a campaign to combat diarrhoea, the leading cause of the high child mortality rate in Bangladesh. Over a ten-year period 1,200 BRAC workers went door-to-door to teach 12 million mothers the preparation of home-made oral saline. Bangladesh today has one of the highest rates of usage of oral rehydration

Oral rehydration therapy is a simple, cheap, and effective treatment for dehydration associated with diarrhea, particularly gastroenteritis, such as that caused by cholera or rotavirus....
, and BRAC’s campaign cut down child and infant mortality from 285 per thousand to 75 per thousand. This initial success in scaling up propelled rapid expansion of other BRAC programmes such as Non Formal Primary Education
Education in Bangladesh

The educational system in Bangladesh is three-tiered and highly subsidized. The government of Bangladesh operates many schools in the primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels which BRAC started in 1985 – a model that has been replicated in about a dozen countries.

In 1986 BRAC started its Rural Development Programme that incorporated four major activities – institution building including functional education and training, credit operation, income and employment generation and support service programmes. In 1991 the Women’s Health Development programme commenced. The following year BRAC established a Centre for Development Management (CDM) in Rajendrapur. Its' Social Development, Human Rights and Legal Services Programme was launched in 1996 with the aim to empower women with legal rights and assist them in becoming involved with community and ward level organizations. In 1998, BRAC’s Dairy and Food project was commissioned. BRAC launched an Information Technology Institute the following year. In 2001, BRAC established a university called BRAC University

Our vision is of just, enlightened, healthy and democratic societies free from hunger, poverty, environmental degradation and all forms of exploitation based on age, sex, religion and ethnicity.

BRAC works with people whose lives are dominated by extreme poverty, illiteracy, disease and other handicaps. With multifaceted development interventions, BRAC strives to bring about positive changes in the quality of life of the poor people of Bangladesh.

BRAC firmly believes and is actively involved in promoting human rights, dignity and gender equity through poor people’s social, economic, political and human capacity building. Although the emphasis of BRAC’s work is at the individual level, sustaining the work of the organisation depends on an environment that permits the poor to break out of the cycle of poverty and hopelessness. To this end, BRAC endeavors to bring about change at the level of national and global policy on poverty reduction and social progress. BRAC is committed to making its programmes socially, financially and environmentally sustainable, using new methods and improved technologies. As a part of its support to the programme participants and its financial sustainability, BRAC is also involved in various income generating enterprises.

Poverty reduction programmes undertaken so far have bypassed many of the poorest. In this context one of BRAC’s main focuses is the ultra poor. Given that development is a complex process requiring a strong dedication to learning, sharing of knowledge and being responsive to the needs of the poor, BRAC places a strong emphasis on their organisational development, simultaneously engaging itself in the process of capacity building on a national scale to accelerate societal emancipation.

The fulfillment of BRAC’s mission requires the contribution of competent professionals committed to the goals and values of BRAC. BRAC, therefore, fosters the development of the human potential of the members of the organization and those they serve.

In order to achieve its goal, wherever necessary, BRAC welcomes partnerships with the community, like-minded organizations, governmental institutions, the private sector and development partners both at home and abroad.

1.    Concern for people, especially the poor
2.    Human dignity
3.    Belief in human capacity
4.    Gender equity
5.    Fairness
6.    Honesty and integrity
7.    Discipline
8.    Creativity and innovation
9.    Participation
10.    Accountability
11.    Cost consciousness
12.    Teamwork
13.    Openness
14.    Sharing information
15.    Transparency
16.    Professionalism
17.    Quality products and services
18.    Respect for the environment

Activity Description
With a history of micro financing in Bangladesh dating back to the 1970's, local NGO BRAC is well versed in the opportunities to break the cycle of poverty that such loans provide. From the beginning however, BRAC has placed an equal importance on micro-enterprise development as a means to maximize the return obtained by the poor.

BRAC uses an integrated approach to income generation and micro-enterprise creation that focuses on six sectors in which it feels large numbers of women can be productively engaged; poultry, fishery, livestock, sericulture, agriculture, and agro forestry.

For each sector BRAC offers training in improved techniques, provision of improved breeds and technologies, on-going supply of technical assistance and inputs, monitoring and problem solving as needed, and marketing of finished goods.

To support newly created enterprises, BRAC also established a number of Programme Support Enterprises (PSE) that link rural producers with growing urban markets in order to insure access to quality inputs essential to respective enterprises' operations. For example, a PSE providing quality, day old chicks to BRAC's Poultry and Livestock Programme.

Other BRAC micro-enterprise programs are tailored to specific population groups and include; the Rural Enterprise Project (REP), focusing on rural opportunities for income generation; and Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty Reduction for the Ultra Poor (CFPR-TUP), which uses a multi-pronged approach to help the absolute poorest graduate to mainstream micro financing.

What BRAC Do?
    Dabi - Poverty alleviation for poor landless women
    Unnoti - Microenterprise development for marginal farmers
    Progoti - Small enterprise development for businesses
Employment & Income
    Fisheries Extension Programme
    Agriculture Extension Programme
    Poultry and Livestock
    Social Forestry Programme
Programme Support Enterprise
    Dairy and Food Project
    Bull Station
    Tissue Culture Laboratory
    Vegetable Export
    Feed Mills
    Poultry Farms & Disease Diagnosis Lab
    Broiler Production & Marketing
    Seed Enterprise
    Fisheries Enterprise
    Pre-Primary School
    Primary School
    Children with Special Needs(CSN)
    Education for Indigenous Children
    Community and Formal School
    Partnership with Mainstream Primary Schools
    Secondary School
    Continuing Education Programme(CE)
    Adolescent Development Programme
Health Programme
    Essential Health Care
    Manoshi-MNCH Urban
    Tuberculosis Control
    Malaria Control
    BRAC Limb and Brace Centres
    Pilot Initiatives

Human Rights & Legal Services
    Human Rights and Legal Education
    Law Implementation Committees
    Capacity Building of Sheboks/shebikas
    Local Community Leaders Workshop
    Human Rights Implementation Committees
    Legal Assistance and Legal Aid Clinics
    Human Rights Violation Cases
    Capacity Building of Panel Lawyers
Social Development
    Polli Shomaj-ward level federations
    Union Shomaj- union level federation
    Capasity Development of Local Government
    Popular Theatre
    Human Rights Violation Issues
    Support Programmes and business
    Poultry and Livestock Programme
    Support Enterprise for Livestock and Poultry farming
    Support Enterprises for Agriculture
    Fisheries Programme
    Support Enterprise for Fisheries
    Social Forestrhy Programme
    Support Enterprises for Social Forestry
Human Resource Department

Knowledge & Capacity Building
    Research and Evaluation Division
    Training Division
    Communications & Publications
Governance & Financials
    Governing Body
    Audit Committee
    Delegation of Authority
Social Enterprises
Related Institutions

    BRAC University
    Institute of Education Development(IED)
    Institute for Governance Studies
    James P Grant School of Public Health
    BRAC Bank Limited
    BRAC Afghanistan Bank
    Documenta Ltd.
    Delta BRAC Housing Finance Corporation Ltd.