BRAC, an organisation founded in Bangladesh, are pioneers in recognising and tackling the many different realities of poverty. Using microfinance as a platform, BRAC provide integrated services in education, agriculture and food security, health and nutrition, social and economic empowerment, human rights and legal aid.
Oxfam works to help people affected by disasters, as well as helping to ensure people living in poverty have the means to make a living. They have also pushed for women’s rights and have supported ethnic minority groups.
The High Commissioner, in his welcome speech, provided an overview of the commendable improvement made by Bangladesh in socio-economic indicators, including being on track on many of the MDGs. He highlighted the seminal role of the effective partnering between the civil society organisations and the state in this regard. In particular he lauded Oxfam’s support during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation for which Oxfam has been awarded the Friends of the Liberation War Honour. Oxfam also played an important role in the post-war reconstruction in Bangladesh, he added. Quayes mentioned that although born in Bangladesh, BRAC is today an international NGO, and is engaged in changing the lives of people, not only in Bangladesh, but also around the world.
Speaking on the occasion BRAC UK’s Chief Executive Mary Garvey said: "Whilst huge challenges remain in areas such as child health and women’s empowerment Bangladesh has made amazing progress, supported by organisations such as Oxfam and BRAC. The lesson learnt in Bangladesh have the potential to make huge differences in other communities across the world."
Mark Goldring, Oxfam Chief Executive, said: "We are delighted to be recognising the hard work of staff of Oxfam and BRAC in Bangladesh, who are helping to make a real difference to people’s lives.
“But the work cannot stop now – there is still so much more that needs to be done. Bangladesh’s 580 km coastline is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world and with climate change increasing the threat of storms and flooding, we need to ensure that people are prepared for disasters in the most effective way possible.”
Prof Naila Kabir of The London School of Economics also spoke on the occasion.