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Bangladesh

  Building a new curriculum on climate change working with Madras schools - BCAS, Bangladesh (Fall 2018)

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Building a new curriculum on climate change working with Madras schools - BCAS, Bangladesh (Fall 2018)

Client Profile

Climate change is a global issue that does not recognize borders. There is perhaps no place where this is more apparent than Bangladesh, which is exposed to a myriad of hazards: flooding, cyclones, temperature and rainfall variations, drought, water logging, and salinity intrusion in water and soil. Bangladesh is often considered the country most vulnerable to climate change in the world.

Definition of Opportunity

The Keough School Integration Lab is partnering with the Bangladesh Centre of Advanced Studies (BCAS) to help advance its important policy work focused on climate-vulnerable populations. This i-Lab BCAS Project specifically assesses the climate vulnerability of different sub-populations, especially women and children, across the ecosystems of Bangladesh in order to evaluate current national policies and develop climate vulnerability maps that can further inform future policy making. Critically important is increasing public awareness about climate change, particularly among the poor and those who are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Initial Ideas

Given the need for greater awareness and education, the team has begun to think about the possibility of developing a curriculum for climate change and disaster risk reduction, especially looking at the role that Madras schools, that provide education to the majority of the poor population,  might play.

Definition of Success

Working with BCAS, the development of a accessible and informative curriculum that could be used by Madras schools in Bangladesh that addresses issues of climate change and disaster risk reduction in operational ways.

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Innovative Behavioral Change Strategies - BRAC (Fall 2015)

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Innovative Behavioral Change Strategies - BRAC (Fall 2015)

Client Profile

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 create 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.  Over the last decade, the organization has extended its work beyond Bangladesh to 11 additional countries. 

See all Development Advisory Team projects with BRAC

Definition of Problem

Behavioral change is a huge component of all of our activities. Started in 2013, the Material Development Unit (MDU) provides service and technical assistance for materials to the BRAC’s programs. In this regard, MDU follows a renowned strategic and communications `P’ process created by John Hopkins University. BRAC is well known for ceaselessly introducing new services and ideas to clients, and it is MDU’s responsibility to identify cost effective, sustainable, client-oriented tools.

While BRAC is well known for effective behavior change, it believes that there are some new ideas and directions that have been introduced to behavior change communications (BCC) that BRAC is missing now. BRAC is currently exploring human-centered design, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

What are the different models or opportunities that BRAC can achieve? BRAC tries to create precise customer-oriented tools. What is the ideal process BRAC should try to leverage flow of mobile money users?  Other projects include: helping female migrants reintegrate into their communities, motivating women experiencing domestic violence to seek services, etc.  Many people at BRAC are unaware or skeptical of these new methods. BRAC wants to gather some evidence that will persuade BRAC’s leadership to help us get started, and give us some ideas about how to start.  

BRAC would like the project team to help us understand:

  • What are the common approaches to designing behavioral change interventions used by commercial companies or NGOs, especially with rural, poor clients?
  • What are the existing case studies and persuasive examples of the application of these methods to development work (like BRAC)?  It would be helpful to have some sense of the costs, impact, etc.
  • What tools are out there to help us get started?  What should BRAC try and how? (This could be especially focused on our work with mobile money adoption.)

Initial Steps and Options

  • We have gathered a little knowledge from some notes and books, especially Nir Eyal’s Hooked. Suggest students take a look at this book or his other writings/videos.
  • Look at BRAC’s website to learn more about what we do.

Definition of Success

We would like a report that catalogues: innovative methods, case studies, samples, and open-source tools.  It would also be helpful to have a presentation geared towards senior management with recommendations.

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Presentation

Slide Show

Report

Development Advisory Team Biographies


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Microfinance and Housing Loans - BRAC (Spring 2014)

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Microfinance and Housing Loans - BRAC (Spring 2014)

Client Profile

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 Independence. 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.

See all Development Advisory Team Projects with BRAC

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Development Advisory Team Biographies


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Digital Financial Services - BRAC (Fall 2013)

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Digital Financial Services - BRAC (Fall 2013)

Client Profile

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.

See all Development Advisory Team projects with BRAC

Definition of Problem

In developing countries across the world, digital financial service platforms (i.e. provision of some mix of financial and payment services delivered and managed using mobile or web technologies) have emerged as an important enabler in providing financial access to low-income groups by offering convenient and secure transactions across geographies. BRAC’s development programs, serving approximately 110 million clients across Bangladesh, engage in a large amount of financial transactions between the organization and its clients.  Building these digital service platforms into delivery models could thus have many long-term, positive benefits for BRAC. For an organization operating at its scale, cashless transactions could also lead to significant management efficiency gains. However, digital financial services are far from the norm at BRAC, partly because mobile money is a relatively new concept in Bangladesh and partly due to the lack of clarity on the value digital financial services could add to BRAC.

However, growth of digital financial service providers and their extensive networks of agents over the past few years have created opportunities for BRAC to utilize these platforms. Several BRAC programs have initiated or are in the process of rolling out pilots that incorporate mobile money components using these services. Results have been mixed, with some common challenges including commercial viability of these models, and the difficulties of switching to a cashless system. There is, however, sufficient scope for BRAC to incorporate this technology and design more effective and efficient delivery models for its programs. Going forward, if more programs adopt this technology, there is likely to be system-wide change across the organization in terms of how we design projects. It will be useful if they could keep in mind some of the issues BRAC has faced in using digital financial service platforms, so the end product is something we can realistically take into account as we plan projects in the future. Ideally we would like to see a broader look at what works in the area of digital financial services, suggestions on what BRAC could do going forward (based on experiences of other organizations), what things we need to consider for projects such as this, and how we can evaluate our success.

Initial Steps and Options

  • Explore Gates Foundation’s strategy for digital financial services for the poor (available on their website)
  • Explore bKash (the first mobile money provider in Bangladesh, and a BRAC investment)

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Opportunities for People with Disabilities - BRAC (Spring 2013)

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Opportunities for People with Disabilities - BRAC (Spring 2013)

Client Profile

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.

See all Development Advisory Team projects with BRAC

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.

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