What is BRAC? All about BRAC NGO and its activity in Bangladesh.
What is BRAC? All about BRAC NGO and its activity in Bangladesh
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
6. Honesty and integrity
8. Creativity and innovation
11. Cost consciousness
14. Sharing information
17. Quality products and services
18. Respect for the environment
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
Tissue Culture Laboratory
Poultry Farms & Disease Diagnosis Lab
Broiler Production & Marketing
Children with Special Needs(CSN)
Education for Indigenous Children
Community and Formal School
Partnership with Mainstream Primary Schools
Continuing Education Programme(CE)
Adolescent Development Programme
Essential Health Care
BRAC Limb and Brace Centres
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
Polli Shomaj-ward level federations
Union Shomaj- union level federation
Capasity Development of Local Government
Human Rights Violation Issues
Support Programmes and business
Poultry and Livestock Programme
Support Enterprise for Livestock and Poultry farming
Support Enterprises for Agriculture
Support Enterprise for Fisheries
Social Forestrhy Programme
Support Enterprises for Social Forestry
Human Resource Department
Knowledge & Capacity Building
Research and Evaluation Division
Communications & Publications
Governance & Financials
Delegation of Authority
Institute of Education Development(IED)
Institute for Governance Studies
James P Grant School of Public Health
BRAC Bank Limited
BRAC Afghanistan Bank
Delta BRAC Housing Finance Corporation Ltd.
BRAC Economic Development Program
BRAC Economic Development Program provides the cornerstone for all of BRAC’s development work. It uses a participatory, peer supported and multisectoral strategy to offer poor rural women the skills and opportunity to achieve sustainable improvement in their livelihoods, and attain dignity and self-reliance. This programme covers microfinance, institution building, income generating activities and programme support enterprises.
BRAC believes that a common platform created and owned by the poor themselves is a crucial prerequisite whereby the poor can make themselves count in the development process. The Village Organisation (VO) is an association of poor, landless people who come together with the help of BRAC to improve their socio-economic position. The VO promotes a structured organisation of the rural poor with particular emphasis on women’s participation. The main goal of the VO is to strengthen the capacity of the poor for sustainable development and enable the poor to participate in the national development process. The VO is also the link between rural people and BRAC. To date, BRAC has organised a total of 294,214.
1. Dabi - Poverty alleviation for poor landless women: Dabi is the core component of our microfinance programme. We organize landless groups of women in rural, semi-urban and urban slums into self-selected groups commonly known as village organizations (VOs).These VOs serve as platforms for various financial and non-financial development activities including savings, credit, health, education, social development and livelihood support. Dabi members have access to microloans and savings schemes that help reduce their vulnerability and support their self-employment initiatives. The loans are used to support a wide range of activities that the poor engage in to sustain their livelihoods. These range from agricultural activities such as growing rice, maize or vegetables and livestock rearing to non-farm activities such as running a restaurant or grocery store. All Dabi members are women and the average loan size in 2007 was BDT 8,227 (USD 121). As of 2008, the total number of outstanding borrowers was 5.02 million and BDT 30,755 million was disbursed in 2008.
2. Unnoti - Microenterprise development for marginal farmers: The goal of Unnoti is to provide financial services to meet the specific needs of small and marginal farmers. Agriculture is the backbone of Bangladesh's economy and to a large extent drives the livelihoods of the poor, either directly or indirectly. Crop diversification, growth in the non-crop sector and maintaining high productivity are therefore of great importance for food security, pro-poor growth and livelihoods of the poor.There is plenty of scope for intervention in agriculture and the introduction of new ideas and enterprises. We provide support to marginal farmers who own more than one acre of land - a group that is not being targeted by the mainstream microfinance programmes.These marginal farmers do not need a huge amount of money to support their projects; loan size ranges from BDT 10,000 to BDT 50,000 (USD 147 to USD 735).As of 2008, there are 0.84 million borrowers and BDT 9,569 million was disbursed
3. Progoti - Small enterprise development for businesses: Progoti addresses the credit needs of small entrepreneurs in Bangladesh who require loan facilities to expand their commercial enterprises or to meet the needs for working capital to run their businesses.These small entrepreneurs are known as the 'missing middles' who have difficulty accessing credit facilities from institutional sources as they neither fall into the category of commercial banks nor into the landless group members of a typical microfinance programme. Since its inception, the Progoti programme has disbursed over BDT 68,223 million spread over 752,954 entrepreneurs and, as of 2008, the number of outstanding borrowers was 240,991.The progamme disbursed BDT 23,637 million in 2008 spread over We also introduced the Women Entrepreneur Development Programme (WEDP) in 2000 solely for women entrepreneurs. Since inception, the programme disbursed 35,844 individual loans worth BDT 2,276 million (USD 33 million) as of December 2007
BRAC Micro Enterprise Development Services
Employment and Income
While BRAC believes that microfinance is necessary to help break the cycle of poverty, it places equal importance on micro enterprise development services to maximize the return obtained by the poor. Unlike standard business development programmes, which offer some mix of generic training and marketing services, BRAC has developed an integrated sector specific approach to enterprise development for the poor. BRAC has identified six sectors in which large numbers of low-income women can be productively engaged, at or near their homes: poultry, livestock, fisheries, sericulture, agriculture and social forestry. For each of these sectors, BRAC has developed an integrated set of services including training in improved technologies, on-going supply of technical assistance and inputs, monitoring and problem solving as needed and marketing of finished goods.
Fisheries Extension Programme
The Fisheries Extension Programme has the following two components:
a) Pond Aquaculture: This activity now reaches 272,788 members (90% women). More than 178,020 ponds with approximately 23, 336 hectares of water area were brought under semi-intensive aquaculture practices. Training was disseminated in various aspects of pond agriculture. Aquaculture is considered a family-based activity and women usually spend about 10-15% of their total daily working time on this activity. Pond agriculture is supported with field based training, credit; essential inputs supply and regular follow-ups.
b) Inland Open Water Fisheries Management Programme: BRAC is involved with two open water fisheries management projects of the Department of Fisheries, Government of Bangladesh. The goals of these projects are to promote a more equitable distribution of fishery benefits through ecologically sustainable use of open water fisheries
Agriculture Extension Programme
BRAC’s Agriculture Extension Programme promotes the nutritional and income status of households by increasing the agricultural production of VO members through technology transfer. The VO members who have less than 0.5 acres of land receive training, technical support, inputs and access to BRAC’s microfinance to invest in farming. BRAC’s agricultural extension activities can be broadly catagorised into two components: a) Vegetable Cultivation and b) Crop Diversification (rice, maize, wheat, cotton and sunflower cultivation). BRAC has also established a modern soil-testing laboratory. By the end of December 2006, it had tested 8,750 soil samples supplied by farmers from different locations of the country
Poultry and Livestock
In Bangladesh, approximately 70% of landless rural women are directly or indirectly involved in poultry rearing activities. This sector accounts for about 3% of the country’s GDP. BRAC’s Poultry and Livestock Programme is composed of several components: poultry and livestock extension programme, poultry farms and hatcheries, feed mills and feed analysis laboratories, a bull station and diseases diagnosis laboratories. To date, 2.11 million people have been involved in this programme. The Poultry and Livestock Extension Programme includes a) poultry and livestock extension workers b) chick rearers c) key rearers d) cage rearers e) broiler rearers f) egg collectors g) model cow rearers and h) model goat rearers i) beef fatteners j) fodder cultivations and k) artificial inseminators. BRAC started its Livestock Programme in 1983 to protect livestock from disease by developing skilled-level para-veterinaries and improving local cattle breeds by providing credit and appropriate technical support. These measures are expected to increase the productivity of the livestock sector, and provide a steady source of income for the landless. The government has taken up BRAC’s livestock development model for widespread implementation. The objectives of the programme are to provide women an entry point to income and employment opportunities through training, input supply and technical support in poultry and livestock activities to improve their socio-economic situation
Social Forestry Programme
BRAC’s nursery programme organizes its VO members, who are given training, to establish village nurseries on 7-10 decimals of land to supply good quality seedlings to the local markets. They operate village nurseries and produce 5000-10000 seedlings annually. BRAC has also established 17 large nurseries spread all over the country for research, conservation of germplasm and production of quality seedlings to meet Bangladesh’s demands. BRAC has established 8,095 smaller nurseries at the village level, which produced and distributed 15.5 million seedlings in 2006 and a cumulative 416.7 million seedlings all over the country to date.
BRAC also works to increase the awareness of people to plant more trees. BRAC established a number of fruit orchards to increase the fruit production in the country. BRAC’s agroforestry activities aim to bring about ecological and socio-economic improvements in rural Bangladesh. The agroforestry activities are implemented on degraded private and government lands. The purpose of the activity is to produce wood, fuel, fodder, food, fruit and vegetable form the same plot so that income is maintained through the short, medium and long terms
Sericulture is a labour intensive agro-industry. It has the potential to link rural producers with urban markets, and provides an opportunity for the transfer of money from the urban rich to the rural poor. BRAC’s purpose in promoting sericulture is to provide income-generating activities for poor, landless women. The main components of BRAC’s Sericulture Programme are: a) mulberry cultivation b) silkworm seed production c) silkworm rearing and cocoon production d) silk reeling and spinning e) weaving and f) marketing. At present, BRAC operates 11 silk seed production centres, 6 sericulture resource centres and 3 reeling centres. In addition, BRAC is putting emphasis on the development of sericulture by increasing mulberry bush cultivation in the northan districts of Bangladesh and 2,209 acres of mulberry bush plantation was achieved in these areas by the end of 2006. This programme has also engaged 7,537 silkworm rearers, 1,872 chawki rearers and 7,513 charka spinners
Programme Support Enterprises by BRAC
Program Support Enterprises
A number of Program Support Enterprises (PSE) have been set up by BRAC that are strategically linked to its development programmes, providing timely supplies of quality inputs required by BRAC members and beneficiaries for their enterprises or acting as safety nets, protecting them from market failures. Profits made by these PSEs are diverted back to BRAC’s poverty alleviation programmes and hence, they also contribute towards making the organization self-sustaining
Aarong is an established fashion and home décor brand in Bangladesh. As a fair trade organization set up by BRAC in 1978, with a goal to alleviate poverty, Aarong plays the crucial role of the protector and promoter of Bangladeshi handicrafts and craft producers. By creating and sustaining a market for innovative and trendy products through its nationwide network of eight lifestyle stores and worldwide exports, Aarong supports and ensures the livelihoods of more than fifty thousand rural artisans, mainly women. In 2006, Aarong successfully achieved a sales growth of 38.42% resulting in Tk. 1.7 billion (USD 25 million) in annual sales
Dairy and Food Project
In order to provide a fair price for milk to BRAC’s VO members who had invested their micro loans on cows, BRAC set up a diary plant in 1998 for milk chilling centres all over Bangladesh where over 70,000 litres of milk is collected every day. The BRAC Dairy plant is situated in Gazipur and has a 10,000 litres per hour production capacity. A milk powder plant was also set up in 2005
BRAC has developed 940 artificial inseminators (AI) of bulls to provide door-to-door AI services in the rural areas. To supply good quality livestock semen to AI works, BRAC has established a bull station in Mymensingh. A total of 305,197 doses of semen were sold and inseminated in 2006
Tissue Culture Laboratory
BRAC established a tissue culture laboratory in 1998 with four green houses to produce diseases free plantlets. A large part of the demand of the country for high yield variety is met through imports. The lab was set up to overcome this problem and to empower the poor farmers by increasing their productivity and income. In 2006, the laboratory produced about 600,000 potato plantlets, 20,000 fruit plantlets, 200,000 ornamental plantlets and 50,000 medicinal plantlets.
The vegetable export programme was started in 1997-98 in collaboration with the HORTEX Foundation to link poor farmers with international markets. The programme focuses especially n vegetables that have a high demand in European markets. BRAC provides training and technical assistance to small farmers in the production of particular crops and arranges necessary packaging and transportation to the wholesalers in Europe. In 2006, 213.7 tonnes of vegetables and over 1,150 tonnes of potatoes were exported
BRAC’s 17 nurseries in Bangladesh work to produce quality seedlings of different species and have been producing and distributing fruit, timber, ornamental and medicinal plants. Parts of the nurseries are used for mother-tree preservation purposes and for variety trails. BRAC nurseries have also placed emphasis on production of year and off-season fruit bearing
The success of the poultry programme depends significantly on the availability of balanced feed. In response to increased demand for balanced feed, BRAC established three feed mills in Manikganj, Nilphamari and Gazipur. The total production capacity of these feed mills is 40,000 metric tonnes per year. In 1999, BRAC set up a Feed Analysis Laboratory in Gazipur to determine the quality of feed. BRAC feed is marketed under the name “Surma Poultry Feed.” In 2006, 39,240 metric tonnes of poultry feed were produced
Poultry Farms & Disease Diagnosis Lab
BRAC has established six poultry farms and hatcheries to produce good quality chicks. In 2006, these farms produced and distributed 12.47 million day old chicks. BRAC’s Poultry Disease Diagnostic Lab, set up in June 1999, provides support to the BRAC poultry programme participants and other poultry rearers with services to detect various poultry diseases and their treatment
Broiler Production & Marketing
BRAC set up a broiler processing plant in Gazipur in July 2001 to meet the extensive demand for dressed chicken. Currently, BRAC’s broiler processing plant is the largest and the only automated plant in Bangladesh. The plant purchases chickens from BRAC’s own rearing farms and some contract farms. About 838 metric tonnes of dressed meat were processed and distributed in 2006
a) Seed Production, Processing and Marketing: The shortage of high quality seeds is one of the major constraints in increasing the productivity of agricultural products in Bangladesh. Only 4.5% of the seeds available to the farmers are produced in controlled conditions to ensure high quality. Therefore, in 1996, BRAC started producing high quality seeds with the aim of providing these seeds to poor farmers. At present, BRAC has 2 seed processing centres and 18 seed production farms with an annual capacity of 4,701 mts. BRAC has set up 50 depots through which it distributes different types of seeds to the farmers.
b) Rice Seed Production: BRAC started organised rice seed production in 2000 and initially produced HYV (High Yielding Variety) rice seed. Later, in response to farmer demands, BRAC also started hybrid seed production and variety development research in 2001. Hybrid rice shows a minimum 20% more yield than HYV. In 2006, more than 400 metric tonnes of hybrid and 100 metric tonnes of inbreed (HYV) rice seed were produced through 1,000 contract growers.
c) Maize Seed Production: In Bangladesh, due to suitable environment and increasing demand, the area under maize cultivation is expanding with an increased demand for quality hybrid maize seed. To fulfill the national demand, BRAC signed an agreement with Pacific Seed Company, Australia in 1997 to produce hybrid maize seed locally with their parent-line and technical assistance. In 2006, around 672 metric tonnes of hybrid maize seeds were produced on 378 acres of land through 575 contract growers.
d) Vegetable Seed Production: BRAC has one vegetable research centre, in Gazipur, and three vegetable seed farms in Meherpur, Dinajpur, and Thakurgaon. The main activities of the research centre are variety development, parent-multiplication, pre-foundation seed production and variety screening. in 2006, BRAC produced 58.70 metric tonnes of vegetable seeds through the farms and 281 contract growers.
e) Potato Seed Production: Potato Seed Production was started by BRAC in 2001 to address the national demand for quality potato seeds in Bangladesh. In 2006, a total of 982 metric tonnes of foundation seed was produced on 105 acres of leased land and 2,701 metric tonnes of certified seed have been produced on 682 acres of land through 981 contract growers.
f) Seed Processing Centres : BRAC established 2 Seed Processing Centres in Bogura and Gazipur with an annual capacity of 5,200 metric tonnes. In each seed processing centre, a quality control team monitors the quality of the seeds. BRAC has set up 22 seed marketing outlets in different parts of Bangladesh, through which it distributes different types of seeds to 260 dealers
Fish and Prawn Hatchery: Recognising the importance of quality fry/fingering for successful aquaculture, in 1988 BRAC established its first fish hatchery. Over the years BRAC has extended the activities on different commercially important aquaculture species and established several types of hatcheries.
Fish Hatchery: BRAC has established four “Crap Fish” hatcheries with an annual production capacity of 5,700 kgs of fish spawn in Gazipur, Pabna, Bogra and Moulovibazar. In 2006, the four fish hatcheries produced 5,169 kgs of spawn, 10.10 million fingerlings and 130.54 metric tonnes of fish/prawn. Considering the faster growth rate of male Tilapia fish, BRAC has established a Tilapia Fish hatchery in Magura, with an annual capacity to produce 10 million all-male Tilapia fry, which has started commercial production in 2007.
Freshwater Prawn Hatchery: Giant freshwater prawn is an important aquaculture species in Bangladesh. BRAC has established 8 freshwater prawn hatcheries with a total annual production capacity of 32 million post larvae (PL). In 2006, the eight prawn hatcheries produced 19.40 million PL.
Marine Fish Breeding Centre: BRAC established a Marine Fish Breeding Centre in Cox’s Bazaar sea beach to develop appropriate breeding technology of marine fishes, especially sea bass. Up to 2006, arund 780 sea bass have been stocked to acclimatise them with the pond environment and to develop brood stock for breeding trails and appropriate brood management technology.
Brood Development: To produce and supply quality brood, BRAC started selective breeding of carp and Tilapia.
BRAC Education Program
In recent years, Bangladesh has made significant progress in the education sector, having achieved a primary enrolment rate of over 92 percent and gender parity at both primary and secondary levels. High dropout rates, particularly among girls, and lack of universal access remain a problem. Access to education is an issue particularly for children living in remote areas, from extremely poor households or ethnic minority groups, and those with special needs. There are also few services to prepare children of illiterate parents to enter and stay in school. The dropout rate among these groups is especially high.
Another major challenge for all education service providers in Bangladesh, including the government, continues to be in the provision of quality basic education. Education today faces the challenge of creating a level playing field for all children in an increasingly globalised world. Education should provide children with the attitude as well as the skills that are conducive to promoting creativity, problem solving, and coping with uncertainties. Bringing every child into the classroom is no longer enough - each child is entitled to a high quality of education that will best prepare them for the future.
The goal of the BRAC Education Program is to make a significant contribution to the achievement of education for all in Bangladesh.We aim to improve the quality and delivery of services in education appropriate to the needs of poor children, in particular girls, and to increase their access to those services. Our purpose is to help fill the remaining gaps in coverage, retention, and quality of compulsory primary basic education in Bangladesh.
We launched our education program in 1985 with 22 one room primary schools. Since then, our education programme has become a leader in providing non-formal education primary education to underprivileged children out of the formal education system. Our schools and teachers work to build the skills and confidence of the children and motivate them to continue their education through the formal system.
We now provide pre-primary and primary education in collaboration with our partner NGOs, targeted towards the needs of marginalised children in both rural and urban settings. We also work with rural secondary schools through our Post-Primary Basic Education Program, livelihood development for adolescents, and Continuing Education Program for rural youth and adults.
Pre-primary (PP) education is one of the important strategic interventions for promoting the quality of primary education. This intervention serves as a 'school readiness programme' for young children to ease their transition from home to formal schooling, and to help them to be familiar with the alphabet and numbers. BRAC began its pre-school intervention in 1997 as a pilot project with 40 schools to provide educational opportunities to young learners who were unable to begin their schooling before the age of six and to prepare these children for formal school. By December 2007,we were operating 20,140 pre-primary schools, where 562,652 children were enrolled; 60 percent were girls, and there were over 5,000 students with special needs. There were also 180 schools for children from ethnic minorities. Since the programme started, 2.29 million children have been through the BRAC pre-primary course with 99% completing the course and transferring to primary schools
Over the past twenty years the number of BRAC primary schools has grown rapidly.We started work at this level in 1985 with the opening of 22 one-room schools providing three years of schooling up to Grade III. The aim was to develop a school model for poor rural children, especially girls, to equip them in basic reading, writing and numeracy along with life skills. By 2003, the programme had expanded to more than 30,000 primary schools providing the full primary education in four years.The one teacher school is operated by the same teacher for the same cohort of children for the entire period of four years and delivers lessons in all subjects. The school timings are flexible and are fixed according to needs. Children do not have to pay any fees and there are no long holidays or homework. The teacher is prepared through induction and in-service refresher training. Special courses are organised at the beginning of each grade on core subjects such as Maths, English, Bangla, Science and Social Studies. Following the national curriculum, BRAC develops textbooks and other materials for up to Grade III and government textbooks are being used in Grades IV and V. As of December, 32,000 primary schools with 32,937 teachers were in operation to cater to the needs of 984,440 children where 65% were girls. Among these, 5,500 schools with 164,835 students (72% girls) were operated by other NGOs with our support. Additionally, 1,415 BRAC primary schools were operated in urban areas with 47,539 students and 2,250 ethnic schools with 57,645 learners were operated in remote areas. BRAC has also been operating 36 clusters schools principally in Dhaka on an experimental basis to accommodate children from the slums and those who are working. A high level graduation and transfer rate has been maintained in BRAC primary schools.To date 3.80 million children have graduated from our primary schools with a course completion rate of 93%.Of these, 3.54 million children (66% girls) made the transition to formal schools.
Children with Special Needs (CSN)
BRAC has always ensured that children with special needs area part of our schools. In 2003,we established a special unit to look at issues of disability and the concept of inclusive education and build awareness among communities.The first step was to create an environment that improved access for these children to the classroom.This resulted in a substantial number of enrolments of children with special needs in our schools. Our current focus is on expanding the range of disabilities that our teaching staff is capable of facilitating as well as improving the quality of education thatthese children receive in BRAC schools.We employ a holistic approach in our educationalprogramme for disabled children. Our staff have also been given technicalsupport by consultants who have extensive experience in inclusive education. By 2007, BRAC had provided access to school and services to 28,144 children with special needs.
Education for Indigenous Children (EIC)
In 2001,we established a unit to focus on the educational needs of children from Bangladesh's indigenous communities. EIC schools have adapted our teaching model to suit the needs of the indigenous communities and they use the native language of the students for teaching. Teaching and reading materials are produced locally and focus on the children's culture, heritage and their everyday experiences. Currently we operate 2,250 of these specialised primary schools for more than 57,000 students
Community and Formal Schools
In 1998, BRAC agreed to help improve some government community schools that were failing.New teachers were hired and trained in the BRAC methodology, the communities were mobilised through the creation of school committees, and supervisory structures were put into place.The purpose of these schools was to test new teaching methods and develop new teaching materials. At present,there are approximately 10,000 children in the community and formal schools.
Partnership with Mainstream Primary Schools
One of our key strategies is to support the Bangladesh Government in achieving quality education through partnership.We have organised teacher training in Mathematics and English, management training for head teachers, and orientation sessions for local committee members.We also organise sessions with district level education committees and education officers.Over the last two to three years, BRAC provided training to 934 Mathematics, 926 English and 993 head teachers, and designed a special course for teachers who had no formal training but have been engaged in teaching for at least 3-5 years. Experiences are positive, both teachers and the community find the activities contribute to improving the quality of education and strengthen management.There is a demand to expand the work into new areas.
BRAC has been working with rural secondary schools through its Post-primary Basic and Continuing Education (PACE) programme.There are now 18,500 secondary schools in Bangladesh that have 238,158 teachers but only 54% of them are properly trained. In collaboration with the Government, PACE initiated a secondary school teacher training programme in 2002 to bring a qualitative change in teaching and learning in secondary schools. By December 2007, 2,044 schools were participating in our programme.We arranged workshops for 9,025 head and assistant head teachers and school committee members, provided management training for 4,145 head and assistant head teachers, and core subject training for 17,714 teachers.The training provided by BRAC complements that of the Government and together they form a comprehensive training package. Mentoring: We have found that schools with mentoring offer a better learning environment which improves student attendance and participation. Under this initiative, 25 students from Grades VI to IX are selected from participating schools to attend a six-day training course on mentoring to develop self-esteem, leadership skills, and creativity.Upon returning to their schools, the mentors form small groups and provide social and academic support to their peers. By the end of 2007, mentoring training has been provided to 543 non-government secondary schools. A total of 14,882 students (49.54 percent girls) received training. Computer Aided Learning (CAL): PACE has been developing CAL materials in Maths, English and Science to be used as selflearning tools for teachers, in teacher training and in classrooms where computers are available. These interactive materials are aimed at improving teachers' classroom skills and to give students a better grasp of difficult concepts by providing useful visualisations and making lessons more interesting. A mathematics CD, containing lessons on maths concepts for Grades VI to X has already been published. Another CD on selective lessons from English for Today, Grades IX-X, is being developed.The work of Science is in progress.The contents of the CDs are based on the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) textbooks and syllabus. Medha Bikash (Promoting Talent) was initiated in 2005 to help poor and talented students - those who scored the top grade in the secondary school certificate (SSC) examination at 16 – gain access to higher secondary education. A large number of such students, including BRAC graduates, cannot continue to higher education because of a lack of money. Most of their parents are day labourers, rickshaw pullers or small traders and their monthly income is BDT 3,000 (USD 44) or less. Since higher secondary and further education is more expensive, these students often cannot continue even though they are exceptionally bright. The Medha Bikash programme provides these students with financial support to finish their higher secondary education and links them with different sponsors to continue further education. In addition to financial support, they also attend a one week computer course and a twelve-day English course to assist them in accessing higher and further education opportunities.The scheme is proving very successful with 94% of participants achieving A or A+ in their HSC exam in 2007. Chhatra Bandhu : BRAC's new Chhatra Bandhu programme introduces volunteering in education to assist poor children who cannot afford private tuition.Most rural students are very poor and cannot afford to go to a private tutor. Many are first generation learners and receive no help from family members. As a result, they remain weak particularly in English, mathematics and science and often perform poorly in examinations; potentially contributing to the dropout rate. PACE has been organising senior-level students and literate local people to teach these students voluntarily.The tuition support is initially targeted at Grades VI - VIII. It will help students to perform better in SSC examinations, and encourage recipients to continue to HSC.This programme is being piloted in one district initially.The programme will also start a social movement to promote voluntary work among the population.
Continuing Education Program (CE)
The Continuing Education Program (CE) was introduced in 1995 and through this component Gonokendros (union libraries) are set up in rural areas to help people maintain their literacy skills, and promote reading opportunities for children, students and adults.They organise skills training in a range of trades in collaboration with the Directorate of Youth Development. Gonokendros also provide computer training for children, students and youth at a low price. By December 2007, Gonokendros had organised computer training for 20,719 people (47% women) and skills development training for 51,683 people (54% women). Initially a Gonokendro is opened with financing from BRAC and the community.Within two years, most have become fully-fledged trusts and are self financing. Out of a total of 1,569 Gonokendros, 1,112 are now trusts managed by Gonokendro Committees. Another 718 will be transformed into trusts by June 2009. Mobile Libraries: These mobile libraries operate as extensions of Gonokendros, reaching women and elderly citizens who are unable to travel. A part-time assistant librarian manages the mobile library, carrying about 100 books to the doorsteps of members by rickshaw van once or twice a week. At the end of 2007, a total of 494 mobile libraries were in operation with 20,111 members (68% women)
Adolescent Development Program
The Adolescent Development Program (ADP) was established in order to encourage graduates of BRAC schools who do not pursue secondary education to retain their literacy and life skills.The programme set up centres called Kishori Clubs (Adolescent Centres) that are safe places where teenagers can read, socialise, play indoor games, take part in cultural activities and have discussions.The programme also works to change social patterns such as early marriage and the practice of dowry. We focus on providing members of the adolescent centres with continued education and resources to empower them economically and socially by helping them to make informed choices and developing their leadership potential. The Adolescent Peer organised Network (APON) programme, started in 1999, provides these adolescents with education by their peers on issues typically not discussed in Bangladesh society, including reproductive health, early marriage,women's rights, HIV/AIDS, sexual harassment, drug addition etc. A number of life-skills training courses have also been designed to enhance the status and self-esteem of adolescent girls by increasing their earning potential and financial management skills. An APON Boys course of similar content has also been developed for adolescent boys.
BRAC Health Program
Health remains an integral component of BRAC’s development intervention since its inception in 1972. By improving the health of the people, especially the poor, and promoting the capacity of a community to deal with health problems, the health programme contributes to achieving BRAC’s twin objectives of poverty alleviation and empowerment of the poor. Over the years, BRAC’s health programs have evolved in step with the national and global health priorities and changing knowledge base. Starting from small scale curative care to a large scale Oral Therapy Extension Program (OTEP) to fight massive diarrhoeal deaths in the 1980s, we have gone through successive programmes in the nineties including Women’s Health and Development Program (WHDP), Reproductive Health and Diseases Control (RHDC) Programme and National Nutrition Program (NNP). Over time BRAC has forged successful partnerships with the government in implementing different health programmes such as family planning, immunisation, tuberculosis control and malaria control. In addition to this, BRAC is now actively collaborating with the present ‘Health,Nutrition and Population Sector Program’ (HNPSP) of the Government of Bangladesh.
Since 2002, all BRAC’s health interventions have been incorporated under the BRAC Health Program (BHP).Today; we reach more than 92 mil people with 18,000 staff members and 68,095 all-female community health volunteers working in all 64 districts of Bangladesh. The health interventions are delivered through four components: BRAC’s own programs, partnership programs with the government, facility based services, and pilot initiatives. Our maternal, neonatal, and child health programmes currently target 8 million urban slum dwellers and 11 million rural people. The tuberculosis control programme has already reached 86 million people in 42 districts.
Essential Health Care (EHC) Program
The Essential Health Care (EHC) Programme is an integrated grassroots approach with the goal of ensuring nationwide access to essential health care services for the poor and disadvantaged, particularly women and children. Our model of an essential health care package currently includes nine components. These are: health and nutrition education, water and sanitation, family planning, pregnancy related care, promotion of safe delivery practices, basic curative care for ten common diseases, acute respiratory infection (ARI) control, immunisation, and tuberculosis control. Through this programme, we also collaborate with the Government’s national health programmes such as the expanded programme for immunisation (EPI), family planning, vitamin-A campaign and sanitation program.
Until 2006, the essence of EHC was to provide health support to the members of our village organisations (VO). In 2007, there was a strategic shift in our operations towards a more community-centered approach, meaning that everyone in the community will be offered our EHC services. As a result, the programme has significantly expanded both in terms of reach and coverage. In 2007, we reached more than 92 million people through our health volunteer home visits, which was three times higher than the previous year.
Since 2002, all BRAC’s health interventions have been incorporated under the BRAC Health Program (BHP). Today, we reach more than 92 million people with 18,000 staff members and 70,000 all-female community health volunteers working in all 64 districts of Bangladesh.
Essential Health Care for Ultra Poor Members
In 2002, BRAC initiated a special health program designed to address the challenges of improving health outcomes for members of BRAC’s Ultra Poor Programme The ultra-poor have very limited access to health services and health information provided through the mainstream health system.The provision of health care services for the ultra poor involves two distinct strategies in addition to general BRAC services. First,we provide health awareness and basic health care services to all ultra poor members, irrespective of their health status. Secondly, those who are diagnosed with mild and severe morbidity are provided with financial assistance for their clinical care. We currently provide health care for more than 180,000 ultra poor families from the poorest areas in Bangladesh. In 2007, the ultra poor programme performed better than the previous year in terms of service coverage. Antenatal care (ANC) coverage increased to 95% in 2007 from 72% in the previous year, postnatal care (PNC) service coverage reached 93% from 69% and TetanusToxoid immunisation coverage reached 99% from 84% in 2006.
During the reporting period, BRAC procured the services of 290 medical doctors to provide treatment to 179,251 sick patients and 5,162 severely ill patients free of cost including medicines. Partial financial assistance has been extended to 428 patients for tertiary care. To increase access to sanitation services and safe drinking water, ultra poor members were provided with 29,166 slab latrines and 4,612 tube-wells.
WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE (WASH)
Building on our long experience in promoting access to safe water and sanitation services, an integrated water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme was started in 2006. The WASH initiative, in partnership with the Government, aims to ensure access to sanitation services for 17.5 million people, hygiene education for 37.5 million people and safe water services for 8.5 million people living in 150 sub-districts of Bangladesh. These are communities who are not significantly served by other national or international NGOs water and sanitation programmes.
We are working to improve water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and promote safe hygiene practices to help achieve the Millennium Development Goal for water and sanitation by:
1. Providing sustainable and integrated WASH services in rural areas of 150 sub-districts (Upazilas)
2. Promoting safe hygienic behaviour in order to break the contamination cycle of unsanitary latrines, contaminated water, and water borne communicable diseases.
3. Ensuring the sustainability and scaling-up of WASH services
By the end of 2007, the WASH programme completed its third phase and had successfully expanded to cover all 150 targeted sub-districts. The areas covered under earlier phases have already completed the first stage of intervention (hygiene education) and progressed on to subsequent stages.
In 2007, the programme reached 12 million people in the community and 4 million school children with integrated water, sanitation and hygiene education.To reinforce these messages, an additional 2,485 theatre shows and 720 sub-district level advocacy workshops were organised.
792 Rural Sanitation Centres (RSC) have been set-up by providing interest free loans to rural microentrepreneurs. At the household level, 247,229 latrines have been installed and 11,358 latrines re-installed. At the school level, 32 separate latrines for boys and girls with waste disposal facilities have been constructed in schools.
The WASH program also responded immediately in the areas worst affected by Cyclone Sidr in November 2007. By December 2007, 203 Pond Sand Filters were repaired, 6 new pond sand filters were constructed and 1,990 ponds were cleaned in those areas.
In late 2005,we launched a pilot initiative with an intensive focus on maternal, neo-natal and child health (MNCH) in one of the poverty-stricken districts in northern Bangladesh.The programme promotes an integrated service approach and community based solutions to maternal, neonatal and child health problems.The major interventions were designed towards capacity development of community health human resources, empowerment of women and support groups, provision of maternal, neonatal and child health services and development of referral linkages with health facilities nearby.
In just over two years,we have seen the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) increase from 56% in 2005 to 62% in 2007, ante natal care service nearly double from 43% to 85%, delivery in the presence of trained personnel increase from 17% to 53% and postnatal care visits (first visit) increase from 28% to 75%. Child immunisation coverage has also increased from 51% to 92% with colostrum feeding increasing from 58% to 95%.These results are highly encouraging as they are higher than the national data. As a result, BRAC has received commitments from major donors to scale-up the programme in nine more districts in 2008.
Manoshi: urban MNCH
In 2006, BRAC started a pilot project for maternal and child health for sections of the urban slum population in Dhaka. In 2007, the pilot evolved into Manoshi - a five year urban maternal, neonatal and child health programme with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.The program is designed to significantly improve the maternal, neonatal and child health situation and will benefit approximately eight million urban poor living in slums in the six major cities of Bangladesh.
By the end of 2007, the Manoshi program had been rapidly expanded to all urban slums in Dhaka and now reaches around 1.5 million slum dwellers.During this short period,we were able to identify 86% of all pregnancies in the selected areas of which 81% were provided with ante natal care and 80% of pregnant women received post natal care at least three times. In an attempt to increase delivery attended by specially trained personnel, several delivery centres or birthing huts were established. By 2007, approximately 44% of the pregnant women under the programme used the BRAC Delivery Centres
Tuberculosis Control (TB)
Tuberculosis is a major public health problem and one of the leading causes of preventable adult mortality in Bangladesh. The WHO ranks Bangladesh 5th among the world's high-burden TB countries. It is estimated that over 300,000 new TB cases and 70,000 TB-related deaths occur annually in Bangladesh.
BRAC's TB Control Program was initiated as a pilot community based TB control project in 1984 in Manikgonj district.The aim was to diagnose and provide treatment to TB patients in the community through our trained community health workers. In 1994, BRAC entered into a partnership with the Government's National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP) to help expand the programme.
Today,we are implementing a TB control programme in collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh that covers approximately 86 million people in Bangladesh. In recognition of our work in tuberculosis control in Bangladesh,we have received two awards in 2007 including the 'NATAB Award 2007' from the National Anti-Tuberculosis Association of Bangladesh and the 'STOP TB Partnership-Kochon Prize 2007' from the Kochon Foundation.
In 2007, a total of 765,251 suspected patients were examined and 88,128 persons were diagnosed with TB.Of them, 69,229 were new sputum positive, 1,941 were sputum positive relapse cases, 10,211 were smear negative and 6,747 were extrapulmonary TB cases. BRAC's case detection rate was higher than the national average by 7.5% points and treatment success rate by 2.3% points.
Malaria Prevention and Control Program
Malaria is a major public health problem in certain areas of Bangladesh. Thirteen out of the 64 districts in the country are highly malaria endemic and the majority of malaria related morbidities and mortalities are recorded in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region.
In 1998, a special pilot initiative to raise awareness about malaria prevention and control was undertaken in this region. By 2002, this pilot initiative had grown into a comprehensive malaria control programme including early diagnosis and prompt treatment and distribution of insecticide treated mosquito nets. BRAC has developed a partnership with the Malaria and Parasitic Diseases Control (M&PDC) unit of the Government of Bangladesh,MRG (Malaria Research Group) and ICDDR, B.
In 2007, BRAC and the government successfully secured a grant from the Global Fund to Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) to strengthen national malaria control activities in thirteen districts of Bangladesh. As the principal recipient for the NGO component, BRAC is leading a consortium of 14 NGOs to strengthen and expand malaria control activities in the country and also to directly implement the programme in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. At the end of 2007, a total of 105,919 uncomplicated falciparum malaria cases and 25,187 vivax malaria cases had been successfully treated by BRAC.
In Bangladesh, prevalence of HIV/AIDS is still low compared to other countries. But presence of high risk behaviour and high prevalence in neighbouring countries has made it high-risk country for an HIV/AIDS among the injecting Drug Users (IDU). In this present situation, it is possible that the epidemic could spread exponentially to the general population as IDUs could be bridging group for the spread of HIV infection. The country also has large sex industry with a low rate of consistent condom use among the client of sex workers. At the same time, low levels of knowledge about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS and low risk perception among the general population are also very common.
The HIV/AIDS prevention Program was commenced in September 2002 with the purpose of bringing about changes in risky sexual behaviour. Recognising BRAC’s effort, the Swedish International Development Agency (SUDA) came forward in July 2004 with collaborative support for the Community Based HIV/AIDS Education Program. The Program was implemented in four districts, namely Faridpur, Madaripur, Jamalpur and Khulna, encompassing approximately 7.5 million people. In addition, along with three other NGOs, BRAC has been implementing a project focusing on the Internal migrants under the HIV/AIDS Prevention Programme (HAPP) package in Sylhet, Chittagong and Barisal city corporations. In collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh and UNICEF, this project covers about 41,149 internal migrants.
Community Awareness Raising on HIV/AIDSCommunity awareness raising is an important component of the HIV/AIDS Program. BHP Pos organize education sessions for both VO and non-VO members at community level. Various IEC materials including flip charts and pictorial cards are used for dissemination information on routes of transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS. In addition, Shebikas interact with the program beneficiaries, especially the couples, and educate them on HIV/AIDS. Gonontaks (popular theatre) and video shows on HIV/AIDS are also organized in program areas.
Adolescent Awareness Raising on HIV/AIDSAdolescents are considered particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. This programme targets boys and girls of classes VII to X in schools and madrasas. In addition, adolescent members of BRAC community libraries are also included. School and madrasa teachers. Librarians of community libraries and supervisors of BRAC’s adolescent centres are oriented to conduct HIV/AIDS education sessions. In addition, school and madrasa teachers also conduct HIV/AODS education sessions
Awareness Raising and Services for High-Risk Groups
Brothel bases Sex Workers: The Pos conduct monthly sessions with the sex workers in brothels to provide HIV/AIDS related information. Condoms are distributed at a low price to promote safer sex. Sanitary napkins are also sold at brothels to promote hygiene during menstruation. The sex workers are encouraged to save money by participating in a weekly savings scheme. In addition, consumption loans are also provided to ensure their financial security.
Transport and industrial workers: Different categories of transport and industrial workers in the programme areas are provided with information on STIs and HIV/AIDS by the POs. The POs also distribute condoms to this group at subsidized price.
Drug Users: The programme has also targeted drug abusers. Drug abusers are provided short-term detoxification therapy through drop-in-centres orgnised by NGOs The family members and local stake holders sensitized to drug abuse and HIV/AIDS issues.
People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA): BRAC HIV/AIDS project includes the HIV positive people as project beneficiaries to reduce the socioeconomic impact of HIV infection in the community. The district managers routinely conduct counselling sessions to sensitise th family members of PLWHA. A fixed monthly allowance of TK. 1,500 per person is also provided to ensure better nutrition.
Shushasthya (BRAC Health Centres)
BRAC health centres, or Shushasthya, were opened in 1995 to reinforce our community-based health interventions and offer curative services to underserved areas.The centres were ultimately aimed at developing a sustainable model of providing institution based services nearest to the community. In 2007, there are 30BRAC health centres in different parts of the country. They are appropriately staffed with trained health personnel and are equipped to provide out-patient and inpatient services, pathological services and essential drugs. Seven centres are currently being upgraded with emergency obstetric and neo-natal care services and minor surgical interventions. In 2007, our centres provided 103,624 medical contacts, 75% of which were female and included 4,344 deliveries, 4,562 menstrual regulation (MR) services and 1,252 caesarean sections
BRAC Limb and Brace Fitting Centre (BLBC)
BLBC was established in 2000 at Shymoli, Dhaka to provide support for people who are physically disabled.The centre offers prosthetic (artificial limb), orthotic (braces) and physiotherapy services at affordable costs. At the end of 2007, the centre had provided rehabilitation services to 1906 people with an annual increase in client flow of 16% and the highest ever cost recovery of 92%.
Scaling up of successful interventions is an important hallmark of BRAC Health Programme. Currently,we are implementing several pilot interventions in order to examine their potential for expansion.
Reading Glasses for Improved Livelihoods is providing access to affordable reading glasses for presbyopic cases.
Mainstreaming Nutrition is improving nutrition related activities for women and children. Components include promoting exclusive breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding, improving maternal nutrition and providing treatment for severe malnutrition.
The School Health pilot project is addressing the development and health needs of school children and undertaking health promotion activities at the schools.
The Health Micro Insurance scheme is developing a sustainable community-health financing model to increase the community's access to health treatments and safeguard household health security for the poor.
BRAC Human Rights and Legal Services (HRLS) program
Human Rights and Legal Services
BRAC introduced the Human Rights and Legal Services (HRLS) program in 1986 when a BRAC study on power relations revealed that social conflicts and tensions in rural areas are mostly linked to land and human rights violations and violence against women. Poor people involved in such conflicts are often denied justice in the village shalish (arbitration). They also suffer severe financial crisis due to resource drains if such conflicts lead to court cases. The HRLS programme is therefore aimed at making BRAC's VO members as well as others in the community aware of their basic rights and works to educate them on rudiments of laws that have direct bearing on their lives.
1. Human Rights and Legal Education (HRLE): We initiated the HRLE programme with the understanding that increasing legal awareness would help community members protect themselves from illegal, unfair or discriminatory practices. The programme places emphasis on empowering the rural poor though education on human rights and laws. During 2007, 14,123 HRLE classes were held for 324,962 participants
2. Law Implementation Committees: After completion of each HRLE course, the top three performers (based on their willingness to work for the good of the community, level of capacity building, communication and facilitation skills, etc.) are selected from among the participants of each batch to serve as members of the Law Implementation Committee. These groups work as community watchdogs, often acting as arbitrators in minor conflicts and referring major issues to the relevant authorities.
3. Capacity Building of Sheboks/Shebikas: BRAC has developed a number of Sheboks/Shebikas (male and female paralegal volunteers) to assist the poor in handling various cases of social injustice and human rights violations occurring outside our operational areas and where no support exists from the government or other NGOs. These volunteers provide support to victims by rescuing them from unsafe situations, referring them to the nearest BRAC office, and arranging immediate medical treatment, counselling and legal support.They also work to ensure the survivor's local protection and social reintegration/ rehabilitation and assist them in finding psychological, financial and livelihood options. They offer advice to the poor in land related matters and assist them in gaining access to government resources.
4. Local Community Leaders Workshops: We organise workshops at the union level to raise community awareness, generate sensitivity among community members, encourage the participation of local elites, inform the community about the needs of the poorest, and develop strategies for local resource mobilisation to benefit the disadvantaged groups. These workshops are a kind of advocacy forum in which the local elites and influential community leaders are encouraged to participate. A total of 1,249 workshops were organised during 2007 with 21,702 participants.
5. Human Rights Implementation Committees: Human Rights Implementation Committees are formed following the community leaders workshop with the participation of all attending workshop members. These committees monitor the implementation of laws in their localities. In 2007, 8,772 workshops were organised and attended by 115,783 participants.
6. Legal Assistance and Legal Aid Clinics: The Legal Aid Clinic service helps our members as well as poor non-members of the community resolve their conflicts through either Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or the formal legal system. The service provides them with legal advice and assistance in dealing with issues such as dowry, dower and maintenance, polygamy, divorce, hilla marriage (temporary interim marriage), physical torture, family issues, land issues, money related matters, rape, acid throwing, kidnapping, trafficking, and fraud etc. The clinics are held once a week at the local BRAC office where programme organisers record complaints on civil matters and process the complaints for ADR. We have recruited lawyers as regular staff whose responsibilities are to take action on complaints that require court procedures. When arbitration fails,we forward the complaints to selected panel lawyers and they in turn take necessary actions to file a regular case in the local court. Out of a total of 22,531 complaints made, 12,157 have been resolved so far by ADR in 2007. A total of 4,184 cases were filed at court and in 2007, 1,609 judgments were given in favour of our clients. Since the programme started in 1998, BRAC has, together with ASK, been successful in obtaining BDT 21.7 million (USD 3.2 million) monetary compensation for our members
7. Human Rights Violation Cases: BRAC's Legal Aid Programme also provides support to victims of rape, acid throwing or other chemical burns,women and child trafficking, attempted rape and murder, repression for dowry and other forms of violence. The services provided for the survivors include rescue operations, medical tests and report collection, filing of police reports, ensuring protection for the survivor, family members and witnesses through the provision of shelters, providing social, legal and psychological counselling, conducting fact-finding or investigations, and forwarding cases to the panel lawyers
8. Capacity Building of Panel Lawyers: BRAC has enrolled a number of lawyers to serve as legal representatives for the poor who provide legal support free of charge. These panel lawyers review cases brought to the HRLS programme, decide on course of action for each case and handle all legal proceedings. We provide technical training to the lawyers to build their capacity and involve them in all consultation meetings.
BRAC Agricultural Program
BRAC's Agricultural Program aims to improve the livelihoods and nutritional status of small and marginal farm households through technology transfer. Our agricultural extension activities cover horticulture and crop farming.We have also established a modern soil-testing laboratory. By the end of December 2007,we had tested 553 soil samples supplied by farmers from different locations of the country. BRAC targets mostly landless and marginal land owning households as clients for our program. We are also engaged in the marketing of vegetable seeds and tree saplings to help poor women increase their income through intensive use of their home gardens.We contribute to the development of the fisheries sector by establishing hatcheries for the supply of fish fingerlings and spawn. In the crop sector,we are involved in the production and distribution of improved varieties of rice, maize and vegetables. BRAC currently controls 60% of the seed market for hybrid maize and 20% for hybrid rice
Support program and businesses
BRAC has identified six sectors in which large numbers of lowincome women can be productively engaged.These sectors are poultry, livestock, fisheries, sericulture, crop farming and social forestry. For each of these sectors,we have developed an integrated set of services including training in improved techniques, provision of improved breeds and technologies, supply of technical assistance and inputs, organizing participatory farmer experiments with new technologies, and marketing of finished goods. A number of Programme Support Enterprises (PSEs) have been set up by BRAC that are strategically linked to our farm programmes.They provide timely supplies of quality inputs required by our members for their enterprises and act as safety nets, protecting them from market failures. Surpluses generated from these enterprises are diverted back to our poverty alleviation programmes and help contribute towards making the organisation financially sustainable.
Poultry and Livestock Program
In Bangladesh, approximately 70% of landless rural women are directly or indirectly involved in poultry rearing activities. The poultry and livestock sector accounts for approximately 3% of the country's GDP . BRAC's poultry and livestock programme is composed of several components: poultry and livestock extension programme, poultry farms and hatcheries, feed mills, bull station, feed analysis and poultry disease diagnosis laboratories.The programme was started in the early eighties to protect poultry and livestock from disease by developing skilled village-level poultry and livestock extension workers (para veterinarians).We produce and distribute good quality day old chicks as well as poultry, cattle and fish feed.To date, 2.1 million people have been involved in this programme.The government has taken up our livestock development model for widespread implementation.
Support enterprises for livestock and poultry farming
Bull Station: BRAC's artificial insemination programme for breeding dairy cattle aims to improve the quality of the livestock sector and increase the production of milk per head of cow.To date,we have trained 1,189 artificial inseminators to provide door-to-door artificial insemination services for dairy farmers.To supply good quality livestock semen,we have established one bull station and a network of storage facilities of bull semen across the country. A total of 441,480 doses of bull semen were sold and inseminated in 2007.
Dairy and Food Project: BRAC now has 70 milk chilling centres across Bangladesh where 72,000 litres of milk are collected every day to supply the BRAC Dairy plant in Gazipur which has a 10,000 litres per hour production capacity. A powder milk plant was also set up in 2005.
Poultry Farms & Disease Diagnosis Lab: BRAC has established six poultry farms and hatcheries to produce good quality chicks. In 2007, these farms produced and distributed 11.2 million day old chicks. BRAC's Poultry Disease Diagnostic Lab, set up in June 1999, provides disease management support to our poultry programme.
Broiler Production & Marketing: Currently, BRAC's broiler chicken processing plant is the largest and the only automated plant in Bangladesh.The plant purchases chickens from BRAC's rearing farms and contract farms. About 1,102 metric tonnes of dressed meat were processed and distributed in 2007.
Support enterprises for agriculture
Seed Production, Processing and Marketing: The use of high quality seeds is one of the requirements for increasing the productivity in crop farming. In 1996, BRAC started producing high quality seeds for distribution to farmers. We now produce seeds of high yielding varieties of rice, maize, vegetables, and potatoes through specially trained contract growers. Currently, we have 23 seed production and processing centres throughout the country, which are marketed through a network of 285 seed dealers. In 2007, BRAC produced 1,337 metric tonnes of hybrid and 61 metric tonnes of inbred rice seed; 868 metric tonnes of hybrid maize seeds; 71 metric tonnes of vegetable seeds and 3,815 metric tonnes of potato seeds.
Vegetable Export: BRAC provides training and technical assistance to small farmers in producing vegetables for export. We arrange the necessary packaging and transportation for marketing to the wholesalers in Europe, UAE, Singapore and Malaysia. In 2007, 135 tonnes of vegetables and about 837 tonnes of potatoes were exported.
Cold storage facility: Established in 1980, the facility stores potatoes for farmers as the mid-eastern region of the country yields a good harvest of potatoes but lacks adequate storage facilities. Currently the unit has a capacity of 4,000 metric tonnes suitable for potato and potato seed storage.
Tissue Culture Laboratory: BRAC established a tissue culture laboratory in 1998 with four green houses to produce disease free plantlets. In 2007, the laboratory produced 600,000 potato plantlets and 130,000 other plantlets
BRAC Fisheries Program began in 1976 and has developed into one of the most attractive and promising income generating activities for rural farmers. Our involvement started with the re-excavation of derelict ponds and gradually extended to pond aquaculture, the establishment of hatcheries for production and marketing of fingerlings, and the organisation of open-water fisheries for landless people.The aquaculture activities have been extended to cover 277,000 households and 180,000 ponds. BRAC also supports the Government in the management of two open water fisheries that aim to practice ecologically sustainable production systems and an equitable distribution of benefits to stakeholders.
Support enterprises for fisheries
Fish and prawn hatcheries: Recognising the importance of the use of quality fry and fingerlings for high-productive aquaculture, BRAC has established over time several hatcheries for a range of species including carp, giant freshwater prawn and tilapia. In 2007, the hatcheries produced 6,007 kgs of spawn, 8.72 million fingerlings and 211.69 metric tonnes of fish and prawn, 18.67 million prawn post larvae (PL) and 1 million tilapia fry.We have also set up a Marine Fish Breeding Centre on the coast of Bangladesh at Cox's Bazaar and 780 sea bass have been stocked to develop brood stock for breeding trials.
Social Forestry Program
BRAC has been working since 1988 to promote the production of high quality fruit and timber species by engaging lowincome households.The program has created enthusiasm among our village organisation members, and the demand for seedlings has been increasing substantially. Our nursery program provides training to interested members to set up village nurseries on 7-10 decimals of land to raise good quality seedlings for the local markets. Supported by BRAC, each of these village nurseries produces 5000-10000 seedlings annually. BRAC's agro forestry activities aim to bring about ecological and socio-economic developments and are implemented on degraded private and government lands. To date,we have helped establish more than 20,000 agro forestry farms covering 8820 acres of land, and BRAC has emerged as an important player in the national supply chain for social forestry improvements in Bangladesh.
Support enterprises for social forestry
Horticulture Nurseries:We have established 15 large nurseries spread across the country for research, conservation of germplasm and production of quality seedlings. We have also established 8,099 smaller nurseries at the village level, which produced and distributed 16 million seedlings in 2007.
BRAC's purpose in promoting sericulture is to provide incomegenerating activities for poor, landless women.The main components of our sericulture programme are: mulberry cultivation, silkworm seed production, silkworm rearing and cocoon production, silk reeling and spinning,weaving and marketing. At present,we operate ten silk seed production centres, six sericulture resource centres and one reeling centre. We are also engaged in the expansion of mulberry bush cultivation with high yielding variety (S1635,V1) in the northern districts of Bangladesh. By 2007, BRAC had extended mulberry bush plantation to 2,961 acres of land.More than 7,500 silkworm rearers and 5,800 spinners were engaged in producing a total of 212 metric tonnes of silk worm cocoons and 21 metric tonnes of raw silk.
BRAC has been promoting solar energy for rural households who live in the 50,000 villages outside of the national power grid. Through microenterprise loans, villagers choose from a selection of home packages that can provide up to four hours of power each night and are capable of running a television, a couple of light bulbs and mobile phone chargers. The system includes a solar panel, battery, charge controller, inverter, cable, switch and accessories. The programme is currently financed by the World Bank through the Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL). To date, we have successfully installed 36,830 solar panels bringing renewable energy to 180,000 rural people.
BRAC Human Resource Division and Knowledge & Capacity Building
Human Resource Division
BRAC's Human Resource Division works to enforce procedural justice, intensify transparency and equity, and promote innovation and quality. We ensure a working environment where BRAC staff are nurtured and treated with dignity and respect.The HRD is composed of eight sections - Policy, Progress and Communication, Performance Management, Human Resource Field Operations, Staff Separation and Compensation Management, Recruitment and Placement, Human Resource Information System, Gender Justice & Diversity, and Sexual Harassment Elimination (SHarE) and Staff Relations.Under the Human Resource Field Operations (HRFO), HR officers working at the head office coordinate and provide support to 15 decentralised HR field offices to accelerate HR services to BRAC field staff. In 2007, the division processed 132,525 applications and recruited 19,010 staff.
The Investigation Unit is a part of our internal redress mechanism. The department was also engaged in investigation on staff grievances under the Staff Redressal Committee. Later, in 2006 a separate Investigation Unit was formed to address the increased number of complaints under the Monitoring Department. The unit was created to uphold organizational ethics and values and to ensure greater transparency and accountability of overall management and internal observation procedures. Accordingly, all complaints regarding maladministration, abuse of discretion, negligence, oppression, nepotism, indecent behavior, arbitrariness, sexual harassment and discrimination fall under the coverage of department's investigation unit.
BRAC has a separate Procurement Department that manages the requisitioning of purchases for the programmes. In all aspects, it follows BRAC Procurement Guidelines and Implementation Procedures, which are transparent and were developed in line with international procurement standards
Knowledge & Capacity Building
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 organisational development while simultaneously engaging in the process of capacity building on a national scale to accelerate societal emancipation.
Research and Evaluation Division
The Research and Evaluation Division (RED) of BRAC was established in 1975 as an in-house but independent facility to support BRAC's existing development programmes with continuous and rigorous evaluation, and provide forward looking analysis of emerging issues as inputs to new innovations. Over the years, RED has also become a leading centre of primary research on issues of national development interest for which it actively partners with many national and international research institutions. In 2007, RED completed 56 research reports and had 20 research articles published in reputed peer reviewed journals in Bangladesh and abroad. RED also has its own publication series in the form of Working Papers and Research Monographs.
With BRAC going international, RED in 2007 has also begun extending research and evaluation support to its programmes outside Bangladesh.This is going to expand significantly over the coming years making RED into a global development research centre with exciting south to south knowledge partnership possibilities.
All publications of RED are available in bound volumes at the Ayesha Abed Library of BRAC University. Abstracts of completed studies are available in the RED Annual Report. RED also has its own website (www.brac.net/research) where all the publications are available.
From the beginning, BRAC has incorporated training as an integral part of all development programmes in an effort to inform and educate our employees and improve their knowledge, skills and behaviour. The training programme was formally established in 1978 with the creation of the first Training and Resource Centre at Savar and was later named BRAC Training Division (BTD).We now have 22 Training Resource Centres across the country providing intensive training to BRAC staff.
BTD is responsible for the capacity building and professional development of all BRAC staff and development professionals. Our activities include designing and providing training courses to BRAC's development practitioners and programme participants, capacity building of both local and international NGOs and government staff through professional management and needs-based training, and the extension of appropriate support facilities to other organisations for their own training, workshops, and conferences.
The division focuses on making training participatory, learnercentred, problem-focused and needs-oriented. It promotes individual involvement in the training process as well as group interaction. In 2007, BTD developed new training courses in subjects such as Management Skills,Development, Effective Meetings, and Individual and Group Behaviour in order to increase staff and management capacity.The division also carried out bespoke training courses and consultancy services for government officials and development organisations from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Southern Sudan, Tajikistan and Uganda.
In 2007, a total of 118,810 participants took part in development and management related training courses and 193,421 participated in occupational skills development training courses and workshops.
BRAC Local Representative Workshops: BRAC's Local Representative workshops ensure that field managers are kept up-to-date on current BRAC activities and policies. In 2007, 64 district and 462 sub district local representatives attended quarterly workshops organised at different training centres.
Development Professionals: DevPro is a new professional development course for mid level managers at BRAC. Fluency in the English, business skills, and development theory and practice are central themes of the course content. 173 students from different BRAC programmes graduated in 2007.
Internship Programme: The internship unit caters to the needs of national and international students and professionals and offers a range of internship options throughout the year. In 2007, the unit hosted 114 interns (50 from the Independent University Bangladesh) from 11 countries.
Public Affairs & Communications
The Public Affairs & Communications (PAC) department is responsible for the management of BRAC’s identity, internal and external communications and media relations. The department produces communications resources such as annual reports and films and maintains the website to disseminate information on BRAC activities and works to ensure complete and accurate representation and understanding of the organization for both internal and external audiences.
In 2004, PAC in partnership with the BRAC Training Division, began coordinating the Salma Sobhan Fellowship for Women in Journalism. Conceived and funded jointly by the Pratichi Trust and BRAC, the fellowship works to develop district- based women journalists in an effort to increase the representation of women in the national media.
BRAC Social Development Program
BRAC began its social development program in 1977. It is one of our core programmes alongside microfinance, health, education and human rights and legal services.We aim to empower the poorest people by increasing their human, social and political assets so they are aware of their rights, can claim their entitlements and resist exploitation.
Polli Shomaj - ward level federations: BRAC's Polli Shomaj are ward level federations formed by members from several of our village organisations.They work at the ward level - which is an area covering eight or nine villages. They serve as forums through which poor people can work to claim their rights and entitlements. Specific activities of these associations include:
• Dealing with social problems particularly affecting women;
• Mobilizing government resources such as khas land (unclaimed land) and ponds for the poor;
• Encouraging local councils to allocate resources to those in need;
• Establishing access to existing government services, etc.
By providing them with various types of leadership training and exposure in different forums (in their own groups, in wider BRAC forums and in community forums), these women emerge as leaders within their groups and in the community in general.
Union Shomaj - union level federations: BRAC's Union Shomaj (union associations) are umbrella organisations for a number of Polli Shomaj from the same area that help poor communities lobby their Union Parishad - the equivalent of their local council - and access government resources.The objective is to increase the institutional strength of the poor by assembling a larger organisation. Activities of the Union Shomaj include:
- increasing organisational strength of the poor by bringing together a larger group of people under a single organisational umbrella;
- mobilising public resources for the poor available at the local level;
- undertaking advocacy campaigns and networking with government and other NGOs;
- stimulating local leadership among rural poor women;
- Increasing involvement of the poor in crucial local bodies such as school committees, mosque committees, and market committees etc.
Currently, there are a total of 744 Union Shomaj working across the country
Capacity Development of Local Government
Capacity development of the Union Parishads was undertaken by BRAC to help strengthen local governance for the effective delivery of public services, to promote accountability and transparency, and to increase the abilities of elected local government representatives. Piloted in 2004, the project primarily builds the capacity of women leaders in local government to make the delivery of public services more equitable, efficient and transparent. By 2007, 44% (5,968) of the total female members of the Union Parishads in the country had been provided with training and gender sensitisation in 179 sub-districts.Training has also been provided for male elected representatives.
Popular theatre is an innovative communication medium focusing on various socio-political issues that affect poor women in rural communities. The purpose of the plays is to stimulate the audience about their surroundings, create awareness and generate dialogue on various social issues. Popular theatre troupes are formed with local folk artists who work to bring out issues from within the communities in which they operate. These plays are held at regular intervals at easily accessible locations within the communities and are open to everyone.There are 400 popular theatre groups across the country that performed 34,426 shows in 2007.
Human Rights Violation Issues
Victims of events related to human rights violation such as rape, acid throwing and murder in any part of Bangladesh are provided immediate help in the form of emergency care and legal aid as well as long term rehabilitative support. These incidents are immediately reported to the BRAC head office within 24 hours to ensure coordinated support and rehabilitation assistance for the victim.
Governance and Financials
BRAC Internal Control System is designed to get reasonable assurance about effectiveness and efficiency of operations, reliability of financial data and compliance of applicable rules, regulations and procedures. Management's integrity, attitude, actions, and ethical values help to raise consciousness control among the staff. BRAC management believes that controls are important to achieve the objectives and communicates its view to staff at all levels. Clear policies and procedures, documentation process, table of authority, segregation of staff duties, supervision and accountability have made the organization transparent. Considering the internal control a continuous process BRAC periodically reviews and modifies the system in the changing circumstances. At the top of its control mechanism, there exists the willingness of BRAC Governing Body to ensure internal control and transparency.
The BRAC Governing Body consists of sixteen members. They are highly distinguished professionals, activists and entrepreneurs who are elected to the Governing Body and bring their diverse skills and experience to the governance of BRAC. Four meetings of the Governing Body and an Annual General Meeting of the General Body was held in 2007.
THE AUDIT COMMITTEE ASSISTS THE BRAC GOVERNING Body in reviewing the financial condition of the organisation, the effectiveness of the internal control system of the organisation, performance and findings of the internal auditors and recommends appropriate remedial action. The Audit Committee reviews the findings of the Annual Audit Report as presented by the external auditors in the Memorandum on Internal Control and Other Matters of Annual Audit of BRAC. The Committee reviews the recommendations of the auditors, the management comments and the actions taken in response to the above recommendations. The Audit Committee held four meetings in 2008.
BRAC has established an Office of the Ombudsperson with a comprehensive mandate to investigate any incident of misadministration and misuse of power within BRAC. This includes grievances such as corruption, abuse of power or discretion, negligence, oppression, nepotism, rudeness, arbitrariness, unfairness and discrimination. In November 2007, Mr.Mohammad Abu Hena was appointed for 3 years as the second Ombudsperson of BRAC. He replaced Mr. Manzoor-Ul-Karim.
Delegation of Authority
BRAC has developed clear written policies regarding the authority for each level of management and staff. The staff are empowered to take decisions at all levels. Procedure manuals and policy documents are available to all staff.
Social Enterprises of BRAC
BRAC has a holistic approach to poverty reduction and empowerment of the poor. If we come across a problem in a poor person's life, then we look for solutions. Sometimes that solution is a new development programme, sometimes it is a new financial service within our microfinance programme, and sometimes it is a business solution - a social enterprise that directly benefits and meets a poor family's needs
BRAC University (www.bracuniversity.ac.bd) was established in 2001 with the aim of providing a broad based, high quality education to its students and developing them into the next generation of visionary leaders. To this end, BRAC University acts as an ideal meeting point of theory and practice by combining the in-depth field experience garnered by BRAC with the teachings of a world-class faculty. Over the years, the university has also partnered with reputable academic institutions from around the world to enhance the educational experience it provides.
BRAC University offers Bachelors degrees in Architecture, Business Administration, Computer Science, Computer Science and Engineering, Economics, Electronics and Communications Engineering, English, Law and Physics. Post graduate courses include: Master of Business Administration offered by BRAC Business School;Master of Public Health offered by the James P. Grant School of Public Health;Master of Arts in Governance and Development offered by the Institute of Governance Studies; as well as Master of Development Studies and Master in Disaster Management.
The main campus is in Mohakhali,Dhaka and consists of four different buildings all in close proximity to each other. The residential campus is located at the BRAC training and resource centre at Savar. One of the unique features of the University is the Residential Semester started in July 2003 which is mandatory for all undergraduates.The semester includes courses in Bangladesh Studies, Ethics, English Language, and Computer Science and Engineering.
The University strives to achieve the highest standard of academic excellence and to recruit a diverse student population. In 2007, an equivalent of BDT 33 million (USD 485,000) in scholarships and tuition waver fees were allocated to students from underprivileged backgrounds. Currently the University has 3157 undergraduate students and 735 graduate students. BRAC University held two convocations in 2007 - in February and December - at which more than 400 students graduated under various disciplines
Institute of Educational Development (IED):
BRAC University's Institute of Educational Development represents a key element of BRAC's overall effort to support the national education system.The institute's mission is to promote professional capacity building and provide technical support to education in the public system. Programme units have been developed for Early Childhood Development, Primary Education, Secondary Education,Teacher Development,Non- formal Education/Life-Long Learning and Educational Research. It has engaged in educational policy advocacy and has begun a post-graduate certificate course in Early Childhood Development. IED has also received approval from University Grants Commission to offer a post graduate degree in educational leadership and management (M.Ed).
Institute for Governance Studies
The Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) is a research, training and teaching institute of BRAC University. Currently, 25 midcareer civil servants are enrolled on the institute's postgraduate course in governance and development. In addition, IGS is providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to undertake a compliance review of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and is supporting the Cabinet Division in formulating a National Integrity Strategy for Bangladesh. The institute is also in discussion with the World Bank on the establishment of a South Asian Centre for Social Accountability to be based at the IGS.
James P Grant School of Public Health
The James P Grant School of Public Health (or BRAC School of Public Health) at BRAC University was established three years ago.Their flagship course is the Masters of Public Health which has been running since February 2005 and accepts 27 students each year.The school attracts students from different countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America.The World Health Organization has featured the School as one of the six schools in the world promoting and practicing innovative public health education.The School has earned a name for its emphasis on community-based experiential learning and is the secretariat for Bangladesh Health Watch.
BRAC Bank Limited
A full-service commercial bank since its inception in July 2001, BRAC Bank (www.bracbank.com) focuses on perusing unexpected market niches in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector, which remains largely untapped in Bangladesh. BRAC Bank believes that this sector can contribute the most to a rapid generation of employment in the country. Till December 2006, the bank had disbursed over Tk. 25 billion (USD 370 million) in loans to nearly 75,000 small and medium enterprises.
With local and international shareholding by BRAC, International Finance Corporation and Shorecap International, BRAC Bank is listed in both the Dhaka and Chittagong Stock Exchanges.
BRAC Bank’s network has grown to 26 branches, 376 SME unit offices, more than 1,000 remittance delivery points, 28 ATMs and 5 Cash Deposit Machines across the country. The bank’s customer base also expanded to 300,000 deposit accounts and 75,000 advance accounts in 2006.
BRAC Bank operates under a ‘double bottom-line’ agenda where profit and social responsibility go hand in hand as it strives towards a poverty-free, enlightened Bangladesh.
Bringing affordable internet and data connectivity to the masses is the mission of bracNet. The company was launched in 2005 by BRAC in partnership with gNet DDH LLC, with principal partners of the consortium including Marubeni Corporation of Japan, Calvert Fund and Defta Partners of the US and Brummer Partners of Sweden.
The partnership between gNet, DDH, LLC, and BRAC brings great advantages and synergies in terms of exchanging local and foreign expertise, technology and skills. BRAC’s countrywide network of over 3,000 offices also provides an excellent infrastructure base for bracNet.
bracNet is building a nationwide wireless data network deploying state-of-the-art technology to connect the entire country, serving large corporations, small businesses and educational institutions alike. Its network coverage will connect BRAC offices and in turn connect the rural population of Bangladesh.
bracNet’s services include nationwide internet connection and internet data connectivity. Recognising the importance of local content online, the company has also launched a web portal (www.bracnet.net). Other services include real time communications, dial-up services, online business directory, classifieds, and people-finder facilities as well as the e-hut initiative, a one-stop shop offering a range of digital services to urban and rural communities.
Though BRAC has some disadvantages they are working for the welfare of the power poor people, they are trying to reach at the grassroots level of the society. They are trying to create awareness of the poorest people.