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monicaisabel

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1 reviews

Review for BRAC, New York, NY, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

During the six months that I worked in BRAC USA, I had the opportunity to travel to Bangladesh to visit BRAC. Although I had been immersed in BRAC material for months, none of what I’d studied compared to what I saw on the ground. BRAC’s efficiency, effectiveness, and scale are more real than I ever imagined it could be. Their approach to development is unique in that they don’t just offer loans, but also provide access to health, education, and legal and social justice. On my return home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that the programs I had seen in one or two villages have been implemented throughout all of Bangladesh, and more recently in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Tanzania, Southern Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. How is BRAC so effective on such a large scale? I know there are many ways of answering this question because I’ve heard, read, and studied them. But what struck me the most on my visit was the seamless integration of each of the pieces that make up the BRAC development story. Because BRAC has built its programs within tight-knit communities, they’ve empowered women and transformed the fundamental nature of society. Clearly these women have not changed overnight – but the transformation is certainly real. I was shocked by the openness with which women shared their stories with me and each other. At the schools that I visited, energy radiated. The environment was nourishing, safe, and joyful. The children were extremely happy and proud to be learning, and the girls were vibrant and uninhibited, taking on leadership roles without restraint. BRAC has created an effective microfinance program that provides loans to individuals at every level of the credit ladder. Beyond this, I truly believe the village organization (VO), on which the microfinance program is based, is the fundamental driver of BRAC’s holistic approach. The structure of the VO and the concept of building within the community have allowed BRAC to achieve real results in its health, legal justice, and education programs, and has organized people in a way that makes its work scalable.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

its microfinance, education, health, legal and social justice programs in Bangladesh.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue to increase efforts to spread the word about BRAC and the incredible work it is doing to empower women and girls in Asia and Africa.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

it's unique approach to development, focused on empowering women and girls, working from the ground up and on South-South cooperation.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

of the highest quality. People truly passionate about BRAC's mission and equally competent.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the lives of millions of destitute people in Africa.

Ways to make it better...

I could have stayed on board longer.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Raising enough funds to make a significant impact in Africa.

One thing I'd also say is that...

BRAC is an organized, efficient, effective, but also a flexible organization that accommodates to the changing needs and circumstances of each situation.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Role:  Former staff & I was a member of the start-up team for BRAC USA, developed to help promote awareness about BRAC's work and raise funds for its expansion into Africa.