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ASIAN VOICES

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ASIAN VOICES is an interview and debate program hosted by NHK senior commentator Aiko Doden. We discuss key international issues from an Asian perspective, together with experts.

ON AIR SCHEDULE (UTC)

Thu.23:30 - 0:00
Fri.5:30 - 6:00
11:30 - 12:00
17:30 - 18:00

Apr. 17, Thu.

Bangladesh: Standing Up Against Poverty

BRAC is a Bangladesh-based nongovernmental organization working to reduce poverty. With a total of 120,000 employees and an annual budget of around 550 million dollars, it ranks among the largest NGOs in the world. The group runs a variety of companies, including a bank that specializes in lending money to the poor, a business that promotes Internet use in farming villages, and a fashion house. Profits generated by these efforts are used to fund activities related to childhood education, vocational training for women in rural areas, improving infant mortality rates, supporting fishermen and disaster relief.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, who founded BRAC 42 years ago, leads the organization as its chairperson. Under the principle that "size is necessary to eradicate poverty", he believes fundamental solutions will not come about unless all causes of the problem are addressed, not just a single one.

For this to happen, economical sustainability is vital. While NGOs tend to rely on donations for their funding, Sir Fazle is a former businessman who uses his financial acumen to generate operating revenue. He has, among other enterprises, nurtured the fashion business into one of Bangladesh's leading high-end clothing brands. BRAC now earns more than 70% of its annual budget from its own businesses. Highly regarded as the model of a successful NGO, it operates in 11 countries throughout Asia and Africa.

Although the Bangladesh economy has grown in recent years, especially in the textile industry, wealth disparity remains a serious issue. More than 70% of the population subsists on 2 dollars or less a day. Sir Fazle believes that the key to reducing poverty lies in poor people standing up for themselves and making an effort to change, and he sees his mission as providing them with the necessary opportunities to do so. In this episode of ASIAN VOICES, we shed light on Sir Fazle's beliefs and his vision for the future.

Guest

  • Fazle Hasan Abed

    (Founder and Chairperson of NGO BRAC)