BRAC USA

Our mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. Our interventions aim to achieve large scale, positive changes through economic and social programs that enable men and women to realize their potential.
Nov 30, 2012

The Secret to our Success

Adolescent Development Program - 1
Adolescent Development Program - 1

The success BRAC's adolescent program has experienced in Bangladesh is far from being a result of chance--thanks to rigorous research and evaluation, the program has evolved through a combination of statistical analysis coupled with a native understanding of local social practices. The strategy starts by mobilizing the communities where BRAC aims to build adolescent programming by taking the following steps:

1. Identifying social groups and mapping existing formal structures or networks. In many rural areas, networks include adult males, religious leaders, teachers, and the parents and extended family of children. BRAC also recruits and trains female volunteers who become the nucleus of a social network of women.

2. Building trust with the community by providing something to meet their perceived needs. In most communities, BRAC starts a credit program that involves the poorest of the poor in economic activities to alleviate poverty.

3. Developing forums around social networks to engage in dialogue with the community. Key elements of developing effective community forums include 1) identifying appropriate actors; 2) recognizing and responding to communication patterns and behavioral cues that exist in the community; 3) building cultural beliefs about the authority and reliability of the information provided in the forum; and 4) using fora to strengthen existing positive relationships within the family and community.

4. Within community forums, exposing members to new ideas, involving them in problem solving, and encouraging "risky innovations." As forum members are taken through this process, they become advocates for the program approach by integrating program objectives into their own lives and value systems.

BRAC engages communities in an evolutionary process that introduces new ideas, and through open dialogue, community members are able to address more sensitive issues such early marriage, women's rights and adolescent reproductive health. It was through the process of community mobilization that BRAC has been able to establish 8,037 adolescent clubs to date across the country, and has become a widely accepted and celebrated part of the community.

Nov 7, 2012

Helping Girls around the Globe

BRAC started its work 40 years ago through the rehabilitation of households following the Bangladeshi Liberation War. Since then, BRAC has been pursuing an inclusive development strategy, along with the global community, on a path towards comprehensive progress and development. This year, BRAC celebrated its 40th anniversary with its first annual Global Learning Meeting, designed to bring together staff and leadership from all 10 countries where BRAC works to move forward to further growth in alleviating poverty and empowering women.

BRAC has initiated programs for the growing population of adolescents and youth, particularly for girls, not only because they make up nearly one-third of the world’s population, but also because they are our future leaders who need urgent support and policy attention. The Global Learning Meeting featured a new global strategy on how to better engage the girls from our adolescent development programs, and how to use their personal experiences to improve our program and scale-up our strategy to countries where we have yet to establish youth and girls' programming.

With this new engagement strategy, our inspiring girls from Tanzania will have a platform and network to share their stories and touch the lives of girls involved in all of our girls' programs, including our newly launched pilot ELA program in Haiti as well our estblished programs in Uganda, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan and possibly extend to South Sudan, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where BRAC aims to increase its youth engagement.

It is important that we share the knowledge underpinning the evolution and adaptation of our youth agenda, and discuss new opportunities, to design better and more effective programs to empower and unleash the potential of our bright young girls. With your support, we continue to witness the power of that potential.

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Sep 11, 2012

Reaching the 'Last Mile' in Bangladesh's Urban Slums

Manoshi Project
Manoshi Project

BRAC's Manoshi project uses innovative and sustainable methods to provide maternal healthcare services, linking urban slum residents with skilled birth attendants who bring the services to the local level, working in clean and private birthing huts that dot the landscape of sprawling urban slums. This is a unique and important feature of this initiative as slum dwellers usually live in small shacks with large numbers of family members. Even more importantly, the centers provide rapid diagnosis and referrals in case of birth-related emergencies, and patients are provided quick transportation to health care facilities better equipped for complicated deliveries. Each delivery center has two birth attendants who serve about 2,000 households (about 10,000 people). Community midwives are also readily available to provide skilled service during delivery. Currently, the project is providing the maternal and child health services to around 6.1 million inhabitants of seven city corporations in Bangladesh.

Manoshi also works to enhance the knowledge of BRAC's community health workers and birth attendants, working to ensure quality health services for pregnant and lactating women, infants and children in all age groups; timely referral to quality health facilities; and strengthening and sustaining a linkage with the community, national and local government and NGOs. Over the last five years, Manoshi has developed a wide range of health cadres - slum health volunteers, health workers who visit households, urban birth attendants, community midwives, and referral advocates (program organizers) located in hospitals. The initiative has rapidly increased the access to clean delivery at birthing centers and emergency obstetric care at hospitals/clinics (from 16% at baseline to 81% after few years of intervention) and significantly contributed to reducing maternal and neonatal deaths in urban slums in Dhaka.

BRAC's Manoshi project continues to be a driving force in the organization's mission to ensure access to quality health care all the way through the "last mile".

 
   

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