What Does BRAC USA Do?
BRAC USA is part of the largest international development program in the world, BRAC, which aids the world’s extreme poor through sustainable solutions to poverty. Though the program focuses on an American audience, its effect is felt globally. By raising awareness in the United States and other developed nations, BRAC USA allows Americans and others to invest in their own future, as well as the futures of those in extreme poverty.

BRAC is an international development organization that focuses on alleviating poverty and issues related to poverty in 11 developing nations across the globe. Their organization model concentrates on empowerment of the poor through local, community-based programs, such as “barefoot lawyers,” a project that increases awareness legal rights and delivers services to the doorsteps of the poor. This program helps impoverished individuals recognize and defend their legal rights, including vital property rights.

Most important to its continued success, the international organization takes an approach mindful of establishing self-sustainable programs to better equip target communities, both women and farmers, to continue to address the causes and symptoms of extreme poverty and take matters into their own hands. The organization’s micro-financing program offers micro-loans to women to promote economic entrepreneurship in local communities and revitalize local economies, while also addressing issues related to gender inequality.

BRAC USA, a sub-group of BRAC, reaches out to Americans to encourage support for the global program in three ways: public education, strategic and program services, and grant-making. In the context of public education, the United States-based BRAC branch employs social and traditional media, as well as speaking engagements and word of mouth initiatives to increase American awareness of global poverty and the organization’s work. Some of the strategic and program services supported by BRAC USA include assistance with design and implementation of international development projects in developing nations, alongside enabling access to financing that makes these projects feasible. This assistance also takes the form of grants, made possible by the American program.

Programs like BRAC USA that encourage sustainable development in developing nations actually give back to developed nations, like the United States. By promoting development abroad, the program increases the likelihood that target nations will foster a market for developed-world goods. That is, by creating sustainable markets, we also create sustainable consumers that are historically proven to direct their newly-acquired purchasing power toward the nation providing initial development aid. To encourage investment in our own economy, we have all the more reason to encourage market development and a sustainable economy in developing nations abroad.

– Herman Watson

Sources: BRAC USA, The Borgen Project