BRAC Exceeds CGI Commitment to Educate Millions of Children and Youth

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BRAC made a commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative to mobilize $271 million to provide 7.5 million children and youth with educational opportunities. With a year to go, BRAC has already raised more than $288 million and has provided education to more than 5.5 million children and youth.

In 2007, BRAC, the largest development organization in the world, made a commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative to mobilize $271 million to empower the next generation with educational opportunities for 7.5 million children and youth in five countries of Asia and Africa by 2012. With a year to go, BRAC has already raised more than $288 million and has provided 5.5 million children and youth with educational opportunities in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

BRAC Founder and Chairperson Sir Fazle Abed said, “Through the Clinton Global Initiative, we have been able to form partnerships with the MasterCard Foundation, Nike Foundation, and NoVo Foundation as well as several bilateral organizations that have enabled us to realize this commitment ahead of schedule.”

BRAC’s innovative approach to “piloting, perfecting and scaling up” has enabled it to provide quality educational opportunities to millions of children and youth at an average cost of about $52 per student.

With more than 25,000 second-chance primary schools, BRAC provides an accelerated primary education to older students – 75% of whom are girls – who dropped out of school or never had the chance to attend. Students graduate and are mainstreamed into government schools, and studies have shown that BRAC school graduates often perform better in school than other students.

In Bangladesh, BRAC has created programs to support poor students all the way through college. Dipti’s story is an example of the transformative effect of providing a girl with an education:

At 11 years old, Dipti lost her father, and her future looked similar to those of her two older sisters: One was married off at age 13, and the other was married off at age 12 and subsequently murdered by her husband. Despite this hopeless outlook, Dipti became the first person in her community to go to college.

Dipti's father was a blacksmith and couldn't afford to send all of his children to school, so Dipti's two brothers were enrolled while she stayed home with her two sisters. A neighbor took Dipti to one of BRAC's "second chance" primary schools, where she received and accelerated primary education.

As Dipti was about to graduate from primary school, her father died. Her mother had to make the painful decision to marry off her two oldest daughters (aged 12 and 13) to prevent the family from starving to death. Dipti's brothers worked and went to school to support the family.
"My family was unbelievably poor. We struggled every day. If BRAC had not helped me then, I think my education would have ended, full stop," said Dipti.

BRAC provided Dipti with a scholarship to continue on to secondary school, and she earned extra money tutoring children in her community. When she passed her exams, she qualified for a full scholarship from BRAC to study at a university in India, making her the first in her community to go to college.

Dipti said, “And when I finish my studies, I want to help our village and our country."
In addition to its school programs, BRAC has provided educational opportunities to more than 260,000 girls, making it the largest implementer of The Girl Effect. BRAC’s adolescent programs provide safe spaces for girls to meet and teaches them life skills like prevention of sexually transmitted infections like HIV/AIDS, leadership, and their legal rights. Girls are also given financial education, livelihood training, and access to microfinance so they can start their own businesses and earn income.

About BRAC
BRAC is a global development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor to bring about change in their own lives. BRAC’s holistic approach aims to achieve large scale, positive changes through economic and social programs that enable women and men to realize their potential. BRAC was launched in Bangladesh in 1972 and today reaches more than 138 million people in Africa and Asia through its programs that address poverty by providing micro-loans, self-employment opportunities, health services, education and legal and human rights services.

In 2007, BRAC’s Founder and Chairperson, Sir Fazle Abed, was given the inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award. Learn more at http://www.bracusa.org.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 20-22 in New York City.

This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

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Michelle Chaplin
BRAC USA
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