This Year’s World Food Prize Winner
BRAC founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed received the prestigious World Food Prize on July 1 for his unparalleled accomplishments in alleviating global hunger.
The Bangladesh-based development organization combats global poverty in six ways. BRAC develops gender relations, provides grassroots-level services, provides quality health and education, supports small-scale farmers, uses microloans to build an inclusive financial environment, and upholds its values in self-sustaining solutions by using its surplus profits to reinvest back into its poverty reduction programs.
BRAC’s impact is enormous.
The site reports that its 97,000 health providers deliver basic healthcare ranging from maternal and neonatal services to child health services. These services tend to 24.5 million in Bangladesh alone. More than 1 million children found education in BRAC’s 38,000 primary and pre-primary schools, and 9.51 million received degrees. BRAC also provides youth empowerment clubs that have so far trained more than 260,000 teens from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The impact profile continues to report BRAC’s economic support. A total of 5.54 million people benefitted from microloans, totaling to a loan disbursement of $9.73 billion. In addition, 25 million received better hygiene and sanitation thanks to BRAC’s clean toilets.
Women living in poverty found solace in BRAC’s open forums for discussion, protests and proposals for change. Polli shomaj and union shomaj are two of BRAC’s 14,400 community-based organizations (CBOs). So far, there are 13,712 polli shomaj in 55 districts, serving an estimated 55 members per group. Similarly, there are 1,220 union shomaj in 55 districts.
Polli shomaj and union shomaj provide four much-needed services. They help poor communities access government and non-government organizations’ services and resources, protect female representation in rural regions, partner with local government developments and social initiatives, and actively thwart civil violence and conflict, especially against minority populations like women.
The BRAC site further profiles its contributions to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Since 1990, BRAC helped slash poverty and hunger in Bangladesh by 50%.
BRAC’s agricultural program developed two species of hybrid rice, one hybrid maize, one inbred rice and one vegetable strain for commercial sale, and more than 200 farmers have been trained in biodiversity creation and conservation. A total of 77,838 farmers practiced agriculture and aquaculture technology demonstrations, and 133,000 farmers learned how tech can improve crop yields. Further, 2,830 people in northern Bangladesh tried green methods in rice harvesting. By 2014, the program positively affected 107,157 people.
In 2012, BRAC’s integrated development programme (IDP) began to address health, education and microfinance in hard-to-reach areas. Two years after its launch, 7,951 people living in ultra poverty received soft loans. Concentrated livelihood planning was a success, as were BRAC’s many other programs in microfinance, social enterprise and investment, disaster relief, environmental protection, climate change reduction, health, nutrition, population, water, sanitation, hygiene, education, migration, advocacy for social change, community empowerment, gender, justice, diversity, human rights and legal services.
Thanks to Sir Fazle’s vision for change, BRAC’s work gave way for sustainable and lasting change, affecting millions of people worldwide.
– Lin Sabones
Sources: BRAC 1, BRAC 2, BRAC 3, World Food Prize
Photo: US News