BRAC Hope Festival begins with the theme 'A Tribute to Bangladesh'
BRAC Hope Festival started Thursday at the Bangladesh Army Stadium in the capital. The three-day festival is the epilogue to yearlong observances, marking 50 years of BRAC. The first day of the Hope Festival embodied the theme "A Tribute to Bangladesh." The festival opened at 11 am, welcoming thousands of participants showcasing BRAC's ecosystem of development, social enterprises, investments, university, and other initiatives in Bangladesh and abroad. The festival grounds were adorned with exhibitions, pavilions, stalls, and workshops with diverse cultural motifs depicting BRAC's ecosystem. All the spaces and setups were open to the audience, with a special kids' play zone for children. Cultural festivities on the stage began with puthi path performance by renowned actor Fazlur Rahman Babu and his group. Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay performed the Raga classical music. Throughout the festival, different presentations and performances celebrated the tenacity and courage of women to overcome adversity and emerge triumphant in life. Theatre group Prachyanat staged a creative rendition titled "Protidiner Joddha," based on the life of Dr Afsana Akter, who overcame all her family and social hurdles to become a successful gynaecologist. Afsana was also present on the stage, sharing her story with the audience. Events of the day concluded with performances by Arnob and Friends and Lalon Band. The "Power of Potential" will be the theme of the second day of the festival. Special performances will be staged to highlight "Shomotontro," a movement for gender equality. Dance drama by the Jatrik group and a fashion show by Aarong will also be part of the stage programmes. Musical performances by renowned bands Renaissance, Feedback, Emon Chowdhury and Friends, Miftah Zaman and Girl Power Band will be part of the stage programmes. Read more: Lantern Festival celebrated at CMG Bangla Dhaka office
BRAC Hope Festival starts Thursday to celebrate 'tenacity, bravery of the people of Bangladesh'
The three-day BRAC Hope Festival will start Thursday at the Bangladesh Army Stadium in Dhaka. The open-for-all event will cover three thematic areas – "A Tribute to Bangladesh," "Power of Potential," and "Building a World We Want," each day to highlight one theme. The festival will open every day at 11am and end at 9.30pm. Everyone can join the festival through pre-registration. Presenting a curated treasure of culture, the festival will feature a full array of daylong events and performances – puthi paath, story-telling, bioscope, puppet show, the world of play for children, exhibitions, and many others. Every day the festivities will be topped off with cultural performances in the evening by some of the biggest names from the cultural sphere of Bangladesh. Fun workshops with artisans, cartoonists, artists, architects, robotics experts and urban greenscapers are part of the festival. Two awards will also be presented at the Hope Festival to inspire the youths of Bangladesh. Amra Notun Young Changemakers Award will be conferred on five grass-root level young changemakers in recognition of taking ownership of solving social challenges. TAAGA Outstanding Young Professionals Award will be given out to women for their contributions to the workplace. Tomorrow cultural festivities of the day will begin with renowned actor Fazlur Rahman Babu and his group's puthi path. Bengal Parampara Sangeetalaya will take the stage, presenting the Raga classical music. Later on, a documentary will pay tribute to the role of women in the War of Liberation in 1971. Theatre group Prachyanat will stage "Protidiner Joddha," based on the life of Afsana Akter, who overcame all her family and social hurdles to become a successful gynaecologist. Events of the day will conclude with performances by Arnob and Friends and Lalon Band. Read more: 4th Bangla-India film festival to showcase rich shared cultural heritage
Climate hotspots: 1m people to get safe water, sanitation services through Brac project
One million marginalised people will get safe water and sanitation services at 45 upazilas of 14 districts from four climate hotspots through a new project implemented by Brac. The project "Equitable and Sustainable WASH Services in Bangladesh Delta Plan Hotspots 2022-2026" started its journey with an inception workshop Wednesday in the capital. The Dutch Embassy will provide financial support to the project. IRC Netherlands will join Brac as the implementing partner, according to a media statement. Md Khairul Islam, the Local Government Division's additional secretary for the water supply wing, said only 33 percent of households had hygienic latrines and 25 percent had unhygienic latrines in 2003. "Open defecation was very common." "Now in 2023, almost every family has access to latrines. The present status and sanitation of Bangladesh in coping with the challenges of climate change and global warming and in protecting the environment have been highly acclaimed by the development partners," he added. Dutch Ambassador to Bangladesh Anne van Leeuwen said her country and Bangladesh began a partnership with WASH in 2005. "Our partnership with Brac began just next year in 2006. Some aspects of the Bangladesh Delta Plan are huge and expensive. But there are WASH solutions also that are not expensive, and they are innovative too, in terms of ensuring equitability and sustainability," he added. Read more: Experts for increased allocation in water, sanitation, hygiene Asif Saleh, executive director of Brac, said, "We have progressed a lot but there are still 20 million ultra-poor in this country. The conversation has started everywhere that water is going to be the next scarcity. There is going to be a severe water crisis if we don't act now, and if we don't have serious planning in place." The Brac WASH programme implemented several projects with "innovative approaches and strategies" to achieve the goals of safe water and sanitation from MDGs to SDGs. In line with that, this new project is striving to improve the gap between access to and quality of services, especially for the marginalised communities in hard-to-reach areas.
Brac to host 'Hope Festival' celebrating tenacity, bravery of people
Brac will organise a three-day festival of culture, stories, crafts, music and art next month to mark 50 years of its founding. The "Hope Festival" will be held at the Bangladesh Army Stadium in the capital on February 9, 10 and 11. It will be open to all and one just needs to visit https://brachopefestival.net/ to register for the event. Hope Festival aims to inspire conversations around five key focus areas, namely education, financial empowerment, gender equality, climate change and mental health. To build a community of changemakers and find innovative ways of addressing these social issues, it will provide a platform for everyone to submit their ideas to tackle these social challenges. People can submit their ideas online while registering for the festival and shortlisted ideators will get to share their ideas, connect and partner with other changemakers. Asif Saleh, executive director of Brac Bangladesh and Tamara Hasan Abed, managing director of Brac Enterprises, made the announcement Thursday in Dhaka. "We believe that social change can't be brought without partnerships. We have to come forward with new and innovative solutions to deal with these challenges. Building on the potential of the youth, we need to work together to meet the challenges of the future," Asif said. "Through this festival, we aim to get everyone on board today to solve the social challenges of tomorrow." Tamara said: "Fifty years of working with people, believing in their potential and organising the people to help them turn their lives around, this distinct approach to development, which Brac stands for, is now being lauded the world over for its efficacy. We want to share insights we get from the ground with everyone." The three-day festival will cover three thematic areas with the first day (February 9) dedicated to a tribute to Bangladesh. Read more: BRAC trains 48,000 employees on safeguarding On the second day (February 10), Hope Festival's celebrations will be centred around showcasing the potential of people to transform their lives. Festivities of the final day will lay out a vision for an equitable and prosperous future for all by sparking a discussion on the pathways to building the world we want. At Hope Festival, there will be open workshops with artisans, cartoonists, and urban greenscapers at the festival. People will get to stroll through a world of inspiration, experiencing bioscopes, puppet shows, human libraries, children's play areas, and exhibits showcasing the power of hope. To inspire the youth to take ownership of solving social challenges, a group of young changemakers will be felicitated at the festival for their contributions through the Amra Notun Network Young Changemakers Award. Read more: BRAC at 50 : What about the next 10? Also, TAAGA Outstanding Young Professionals Award will be given out at the festival to women for their contributions to the workplace. Every day the festivities will be topped off with cultural performances in the evening by some of the biggest names from the cultural sphere of Bangladesh. Fazlur Rahman Babu, Nagar Baul (James), Arnob, Artcell, Lalon band and Nemesis will enthral the audience with their live performances. Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay will stage a special session.
UK announces additional support for flood-affected communities in Bangladesh
The United Kingdom has announced an additional £500,000 (Tk 60.6 million) in humanitarian support in response to last year’s flood in the Sylhet region of Bangladesh, in which 7.2 million people were affected. Delivered by BRAC, this funding will provide water, shelter, livelihood opportunities, and improved nutrition for people affected in Sunamganj, Sylhet. UK Development Director in Bangladesh, Matt Cannell, said last year’s devastating floods in the Sylhet region underline that Bangladesh remains vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Also read: Flood situation worsens in parts of Sylhet “This new funding provides vital water, nutrition, shelter and livelihood opportunities to some of the worst affected communities in Sunamganj, Sylhet. The UK is proud to partner with BRAC to deliver this support,” he said. This new UK support will ensure safe water and shelter for nearly 1,000 affected households and restore livelihoods and food security for more than 5,000 affected households. BRAC Executive Director, Asif Saleh, said the floods in northeastern Bangladesh, which affected over 7.2 million people in June 2022, were the worst to hit Bangladesh in the last two decades. Read More: UK to strengthen trade, investment, digital economy ties with Bangladesh: Indo-Pacific Minister “They left a trail of destruction in nine districts, with Sunamganj being the worst affected. Significant efforts were undertaken to provide emergency response to meet immediate needs, but sustained humanitarian support is direly needed to help people recover and rebuild their lives. This partnership between the British High Commission and BRAC will be crucial in standing beside the people in Sunamganj and being a partner in their journey to build back better,” he said.
BRAC trains 48,000 employees on safeguarding
BRAC, as part of its safeguarding policy, is committed to protecting the rights of its employees and programme partners against abuse, sexual harassment, intimidation and violence, bullying, humiliation and discrimination, neglect and exploitation. This was discussed at a meeting ‘Safeguarding related awareness campaign’ at a hotel in Cox’s Bazar district town on Tuesday, said a press release. The organisation has so far imparted training to more than 48,000 employees on safeguarding with the aim of raising awareness and share information and knowledge among the field level management staff of different BRAC programmes. Read more: Brac to empower women at the grassroots The Humanitarian Crisis Management Programme (HCMP) of BRAC organized the discussion along with staging popular theatre to create awareness on safeguarding (protection of women). Khondoker Ariful Islam, Director of HCMP of BRAC, gave welcome address while Tahmina Yesmin, Safeguarding Lead of BRAC Head Office, highlighted the event’s objectives. Shahana Hayat, Operations and Admin Head of HCMP, Tilon Andrews, Manager of Safeguarding Unit of BRAC Head Office, Ayesha Akter Monni, Manager of Safeguarding Unit under Human Resources Division of HCMP, among others, spoke on the occasion. SM Zahidul Islam, Assistant General Manager of Human Resources Division of BRAC HCMP, conducted the discussion. Khondoker Ariful Islam, in his speech said, "safeguarding is not a matter of BRAC, rather it is a global issue now. Hence we should give maximum importance to it." He called on all employees of BRAC to practice it in workplace. Regarding the objective of the programme, Tahmina Yesmin said, "the divisional level awareness raising event is aimed at creating an allout culture of safeguarding." Read more: Meta partners with BRAC to empower Bangladeshi women, youth online Over 100 employees including regional managers, area managers, branch managers, and divisional managers of different BRAC programmes from Teknaf and Ukhiya upazilas attended the programme. BRAC held eight similar programmes at eight divisions of the country in the last one year till date.
Brac Migration Media Award goes to 16 journalists
Sixteen journalists have received the Brac Migration Media Award for their reporting. Imran Ahmad, minister of expatriates' welfare and overseas employment, handed over the prizes to the winners in Dhaka Thursday. Brac introduced the award in 2015 to recognise journalism in the migration sector. This year the award was given for the seventh time. Daily Samakal's Rajib Ahmed won first place in the newspaper national category. Prothom Alo's Mansoora Hossain came second, and The Financial Express's Arafat Ara and Ajker Patrika's correspondent Md Shahriar Hasan (now working for Dainik Bangla) earned joint third place. Farooq Munir of Chittagong Khabar won first place in the newspaper regional category, Shariful Islam of Ekushey newspaper was second, and Md Emdad Uliah of weekly Chauddagram newspaper was third. Read: Daraz hosts Bangladesh Media Innovation Awards 2022 Sabina Yasmin of DBC News, (now working at Independent Television) earned first place in the television news category, Marzia Mumu of Shomoy TV came second, and Masuda Khatun of News24 third. Channel 24's Morshed Hassib Hasan won the award in the television programme category. Md Mostafizur Rahman of Bangladesh Betar won it in the radio category. The first prize in the online newspaper category was won by Md Jahangir Alam of Jagonews 24. Dainik Prothom Alo's Md Mohiuddin came second, and Dainik Bangla's Jasmine Akhtar and freelancer Rakib Hasan jointly won the third prize. Each winner receives a crest, certificate of recognition and a cheque for the prize money. The members of the jury board were Professor Robaet Ferdous of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism of Dhaka University, ABM Abdul Halim, deputy secretary of the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry, Shaikh Muhammad Refat Ali of International Labour Organization and News24 Television Chief News Editor Shahnaz Munni.
International Youth Day: More youth involvement needed in policymaking, says BRAC
Speakers at a discussion marking International Youth Day on Friday stressed the need for more involvement of youth in policy-making. Brac Youth Platform organised the discussion on "Unleashing the power of young people towards a new Bangladesh: Ageism as a barrier’ today in the city. Youth employment, health, access to justice and good governance, and political participation dominated the open discussion, according to a press release. BRAC's Migration Programme and Youth Initiatives head Shariful Hasan said empowering the youth, their views prevail at BRAC. But unfortunately in Bangladesh, the youth do not dominate the policy-making space. “The involvement of youth in policy making and decision making is very necessary,” he added. The speakers also discussed the limited opportunities of the youth and its possible causes at various stages of decision-making, programme management, planning and implementation at the state, social and institutional levels. Read: Int’l Youth Day: TIB for suitable environment to utilise youths for development The issues of proper recognition, initiatives and contributions of youths were also emphasised in the discussion. BRAC’s Youth Platform, a recently initiated programme, is working with several initiatives to assist youths in developing their innovative and creative capacities, ensuring mental and physical health and wellbeing, and promoting their participation in solving social issues. It has also established the Amra Notun Network to develop and integrate individual and social empowerment and values, innovative skills and leadership qualities of the youths. Through this network, BRAC’s Youth Platform provides regular training to young people, particularly aged from 18 to 25 years, and supports them to implement community projects.
WUDC 2022: Bangladeshi duo wins 'world cup of debating'
Sajid Asbat Khandaker and Sourodip Paul of BRAC A have won the open final of the Belgrade World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) 2022, the "world cup of debating." BRAC A was the first team from Bangladesh to make it to the finals and become champions of the world's biggest debating tournament, held annually in English with teams representing universities from across the globe. The WUDC is governed by the World Universities Debating Council, which sets the parameters of the tournament with the rules of debate, eligibility to participate, and the selection of the annual host. Serbian capital Belgrade hosted the tournament this year. The event was held online due to Covid-19. Sajid and Sourodip ranked fifth in the open category during the preliminary rounds of the tournament, breaking previous records of any Bangladeshi team. In the final, streamed live on the Belgrade WUDC Live Streams Facebook page, the Brac University students faced Princeton University, the National University of Singapore, and Ateneo de Manila University. The WUDC uses the British Parliamentary debate format where 15 minutes prior to each round, a "motion" is announced. Motions are drawn from a wide range of topic areas, including domestic and foreign policy, philosophy, political theory, and so on. Debaters have no idea what the motion will be until it is announced. Four teams compete in each round, two on each side. Each team in the round has to rebut any arguments made by the two teams on the other side of the motion and do a better job of defending the motion than the other team on its own side. Each of the four teams comprises two members, each of whom gives one speech with an upper time limit of seven minutes. After all eight speakers have made their case, the adjudicators collectively rank the teams from 1 (best) to 4 (worst). Also read: Bangladesh wins Unilever Future Leaders' League 2022
Meta partners with BRAC to empower Bangladeshi women, youth online
Meta, formerly known as the Facebook Company, has partnered with BRAC to empower Bangladeshi women and youth on digital platforms. A skills development program has been launched in its first phase to train 1,000 frontline staff of BRAC who will then upskill 300,000 BRAC program beneficiaries. Also read: Meta shares ways to connect and take action on Earth Day The initiative will also equip 60 Youth Ambassadors from BRAC’s Amra Notun Network to engage 1,200 young people to become more aware digital citizens, said a media release on Wednesday. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused people around the world to depend on the internet more than ever. There has been a steep rise in internet use among women and young people in Bangladesh. The country is also experiencing a parallel increase in cybercrime and online bullying. Meta will work with BRAC to upskill women and youth with the information, tools and resources they need to have a positive experience online. This includes a social media campaign to increase awareness among Bangladeshis about the digital landscape. Sabhanaz Rashid Diya, who leads Public Policy for Bangladesh at Meta, said they know that the digital landscape is changing and transforming rapidly. “In order for women and youth to have positive experiences online, they require the tools and knowledge to be able to do so. BRAC’s expertise and outreach capacity will help us bolster our efforts to equip Bangladeshi women and young people with the digital skills they need. Through this partnership, we will deepen our work on addressing the needs of women and youth on our platforms.” Recently, Meta partnered with 50 non-governmental organizations around the world including BRAC to support the launch of StopNCII.org, a platform supporting efforts to stop non-consensual sharing of intimate images on the internet, which is one of the most notorious means of cyberbullying and harassment. Asif Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC Bangladesh said, “Meta is a very important partner for us as the country tackles a growing number of cyber threats which is challenging social cohesion.” Also read: Lightshore’s webinar aims to accelerate women's participation in IT Sector He said they believe the training will give their communities the much needed tool to become more resilient and prepared in a world where the impact of digital life is increasingly crossing over to the real lives of the citizens across the society. In 2021, Meta announced the launch of the Women's Safety Hub to centralize all the safety resources that women need when navigating its platforms. It has been developed in consultation with safety partners around the world, including Bangladesh. It includes information for women leaders, journalists and survivors of abuse.