BRAC is one of the largest development organizations in the world, with over 100,000 employees worldwide. It strives to alleviate poverty through empowerment and creating opportunities for the poor. BRAC works on many different fronts in order to combat issues of poverty: focusing on empowerment of women and farmers, grassroots organization, health, education, inclusive financial services, and self-sustainment. The organization began as the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee (BRAC) in 1972 to provide relief and rehabilitation following the end of Bangladesh’s War of Liberation. Over the last decade, the organization has extended its work beyond Bangladesh to 11 additional countries. The main values of the organization are innovation, integrity, inclusion and effectiveness.
Definition of Problem
With inclusion as one of its core values, BRAC has been a leader in the development world, including in gender policy, forming a gender equality diversity team (GEDT) in the mid-1990s. BRAC describes itself as an “equal opportunity” employer. However, BRAC has never systematically assessed to what extent they practice inclusiveness hiring and support for staff, in terms of people with disabilities, religion, generational, race/ethnicity and other forms of diversity.
As part of an ongoing Organizational Change initiative, BRAC is considering starting a diversity initiative, with an initial focus on staff with disabilities and how BRAC can better create an accessible/supportive infrastructure. To some extent, BRAC does address the topic of disabilities in terms of the communities that they work with, but not systematically at the level of the organization itself. There is scope for BRAC to create policies institutionalizing equal opportunity practices to better achieve internal inclusiveness.