Brac wants govt to fund NGOs' dev projects
The Brac wants the government to fund NGOs to implement development programmes as foreign funding for the sector has been declining with the country moving into middle-income status.
“In the coming days the government can fund the NGOs for implementing programmes. The government can set the standards of the programmes and monitor them,” said Brac Executive Director Muhammad Musa.
Governments in many countries fund NGOs this way to implement NGOs' programmes, he added.
The other source of funding for the development sector could be the social enterprises, he said, adding that Brac was already doing it and would depend more on such enterprises in future.
“For example, profit from Aarong [a social enterprise of Brac] is invested in our education and health programmes. Thus we have already reduced dependency on donors,” Musa said at the launch of Brac's annual report of 2017 in the city's Brac Centre Inn yesterday.
He said the trend of declining foreign fund would continue as Bangladesh was heading towards being a middle-income nation. In March, the UN said Bangladesh has fulfilled the eligibility requirements to graduate from “Least Developed Country” to “Developing Country” status.
Foreign funding of NGOs through the NGO Affairs Bureau dropped 15 percent year-on-year in fiscal 2015-16. During that period, the NGO Affairs Bureau released $640.55 million in grants, down from $749.86 million a year earlier.
The issue bears significance as NGOs have been playing a vital role in the country's socio-economic development, especially in health, education, microfinance and women development.
Founded by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed in 1972, Brac has become the world's largest NGO in terms of number of employees. Though it began as a charity, it eventually set up a number of social enterprises, including Aarong, Brac Chicken, Brac Dairy, Brac Fisheries, Brac Nursery etc.
Apart from operating in Bangladesh's districts, it started working in 13 other countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Brac executives said the organisation was now working in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the areas of eradicating extreme poverty, skills training for the underprivileged people and help them find jobs and promoting health, urban and gender development and addressing the challenges of climate change.
Last year, Brac provided services to 11 crore people in Bangladesh at a cost of $362 crore. More than 75,000 households have permanently come out of extreme poverty with the help of Brac in last year alone, according to Brac annual report.
Brac Senior Director Asif Saleh said the organisation's future focus would be on young people, their education, skills and jobs.
“We see a jobless growth in Bangladesh now. We don't know what sort of jobs will be created in the next 10 years. So we want to help youths prepare themselves with analytical skills so that they have better adaptability.”
Every year, some 22 lakh youths become eligible for the job market, but a large number of them remain unemployed.
Asif said if education cannot be linked to employment, its consequences will be seriously bad.
He said Brac wants to train 4 lakh youths and facilitate jobs for 80 percent of them by 2020.