SEATTLE, Washington — The Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, commonly known as BRAC, is one of the world’s largest non-governmental organizations. Fazle Hasan Abed founded BRAC, established initially as the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee, in 1972 to aid refugees going back to their homeland following the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Since then, the organization aims to develop a world where exploitation and discrimination are nonexistent, and all people can reach their fullest potential. Its mission is to inspire individuals and communities to face poverty, sickness, illiteracy, and social injustice. In light of the global pandemic, BRAC’s response to COVID-19 has also become a key aspect of its mission.
BRAC has collaborated with several organizations in the past, including the United Nations as part of the Toilet Board Coalition. This initiative was a type of business-led coalition that aimed to provide mentorship, leadership and investment to improve human waste management in developing countries. Moreover, BRAC assisted in developing proper ecosystems by aiding sanitation businesses around the world.
BRAC has also collaborated with Humanity & Inclusion to improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities. The main objectives of the organizations’ partnership were to enhance the ability of BRAC to organically create disability inclusion through economic empowerment, education and health programs. Additionally, BRAC sought to promote “disability-inclusive graduation” to economically empower individuals with disabilities in countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.
BRAC’s Response to COVID-19
BRAC’s response to COVID-19 involves raising awareness of preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus, distributing essential supplies and providing monetary aid. BRAC’s awareness activities reached approximately 103 million individuals. The organization has continued to aid Bangladesh in implementing education by helping the government ensure that primary and secondary-level students are continuing their studies. This includes spearheading remote learning programs by providing students enrolled in BRAC schools with phones, increasing coronavirus awareness and addressing students’ well-being.
Furthermore, the organization has distributed about 1.6 million hygiene products and 1.1 million protective gear to those in need. BRAC has assisted more than 350,000 families by providing cash aid, and more than 100,000 BRAC staff members have continued to assist those in need while fighting against this pandemic. To ensure the safety of staff members, BRAC has developed an app called Coronarodh, which focuses on implementing proper coronavirus screenings. The app also provides recommendations on how to address symptoms and when one should seek medical attention. Ultimately, BRAC’s response to COVID-19 has aided the global community through its varied efforts and has sustained a significant impact in several nations.
– Aprile Bertomo