My Take away from Yunus Center and BRAC, Dhaka
In this world, many people born in poor family and encountered various forms of injustices at their life, only the nature and intensity are different. However, they don’t think beyond box in a way that they hypnotized by their poverty and injustices or enjoying within this trap. I don’t know yet why do I was seeking the underlying causes of poverty and injustices. Why did I always felt ashamed, humiliation, voiceless in front of the elite peoples/groups? Fortunately or unfortunately, I also hadn’t had the opportunity to discuss in this regards due to poor and marginalized family. Neither my degrees nor my intellectual, senior friends provided the answer. But, I continuously experienced of exclusion and exploitation due to my poverty and injustices in every walks of my life. Often, I think, if my brain were use for other concern, what would look like? I also often thought that if my parents didn’t send me school, what would look like?
As I grew up, I knew many people at work, at universities though I didn’t find the passionate and committed people to work with me to fight against poverty and injustice in real sense. By using the words of poverty and injustices, people are pretending that they are fighting against it.
In Nepali context, giving up neither government permanent job nor well paid NGO work is not common. Though I gave up and founded the organization for verifying myself whether is possible to fight against poverty or injustices or not.
About a decade before, I had heard about two names simultaneously. They were Prof. M. Yunus, founder of Grameen bank. I have gone through his three books already including social business. Then that day, I have keen interest to know more about him, keen to meet him but it is not easy in many ways. It is getting harder when I stated full time volunteer job for my organization or fishing the answers behind poverty and injustices.
Though, the organization where I am working today is the fourth organization in my life where I was worked as founder. I tried to move on but failed due to following characteristics of mine; poor, non-political, non-capital. I experienced government for complete 10 years. Likewise, I also experienced bilateral and INGO about 10 years. I observed the activities which are delivered by all forms of development works including charity. In Nepali context, power and politics makes matters everywhere specially access to the resources. Though I never gave up working on it, even the things e.g. daily life gets more challenging. In my own way, I have always ask how can we make sustain the project without begging with donors. I also see back on projects which were implemented by my colleagues and others. Meantime, I experienced on how much donors are at fatigue due to lack of significant results even more than half century contribution and NGOs are not in right track as its intends to do. In this given circumstances, a common challenges and question is the sustainability of impacts. Indeed, all dimensions of the sustainability are important however the financial and social impacts are more important in Nepali context to move at first. Even, marginalized people started to organize and mobilize which lose essence after couple of months of project life span.
About a decade more, I heard about BRAC University and history. Though, many Nepali folks graduated from there. I have gone through the website, social media pages and met few friends who are working there. The founder of the BRAC, Mr Fazle Hasan Abed was AIM (Asian Institute of Management) graduate means we are alumni. My thirst, to know more about his approach is become dying dream. I am living in suffocation, compromises, and deprivations. So I was looking an opportunity to enter Bangladeshi since long but it didn’t work at all. I have very hard time to expand the project activities and areas as expected.
June 28 is the International Social Business day, day of Prof. Yunus’s birthday. As a stakeholder of CGNSB (Chaudhary Group Nepal Social Business), I decided to join the conference at Dhaka, though my trip is zero sponsored. I have been working with CGNSB more than a year as a Social Impact Advisor in voluntary basis.
|From left: Birshnath Yogi, Merina Ranjit, Radha Paudel, Inge Patsch, Prof. Yunus, Nirvana Chaudhary, Lok darsan Shrestha|
CGNSB is also working in Jumla where my organization Action Works Nepal (AWON) is providing strategic and local support to initiate projects. In Dhaka, two fellows; Lok Darsan Shrestha and Brish Nath Yaogi from Jumla were there and Mr. Yogi presented a progressive project “Karnali Miteri Udog’.
|Brish Nath Yogi was presenting about Karnali Miteri Udog from Kudari, Jumla|
We had special meeting with Prof Yunus and actively engaged in series of interaction.
|Nepal delegates had met with Prof. M. Yunus and explaining about Projects|
We observed that Social Business is like POTATO in Nepali context, can eat at any form. Social business is addressing an urgent social issues at their respective communities; health, education, environment, entertainment, universities, banks etc. A social business is a non-dividend business that seeks to solve a social problem through business methods. It is different from traditional personal profit making business and not for profit organization. It has seven principles as developed by Nobel Laureate Professor M. Yunus. It can be lead by anyone no need to have expertise to start, a person who have deep passion and commitment, they are moving and success as well.
I had also gone to the BRAC to see their office, field level mobilization in order to learn on mobilization and empowerment of ultra poor people through my friends who are working there. BRAC is the largest NGO in the world and working in seven different projects. It generates 80 % revenue for its entire operation from bank, diary, handicraft, poultry,micro credit,media, entertainment, various small enterprises, human rights, peace building and legal re frames.
|From Left Faruque, Parboti, Lopa and Tahmina at BRAC office|
Both BRAC and Yunus Center has about 40 years history of foundation and doing amazing work to fight against poverty and injustice at global level. Bangladesh’s economy is also improving because of these two giant institutions. They are working in holistic approach by sectors and levels and all perspectives.
My take away from this Dhaka visit is questioning to all NGO’s work again. Why do they are not sustained after abandon by donors? Why the unemployment is shooting up? Why do people live in such chronic depression and deprivation?
Now, I strongly believe that Nepal’s economy can be changed if they adopt the approach of Yunus or BRAC specially business model and holistic approach. The work which is doing by many UN, NGOs in Nepal is making dependence rather make economic liberty, freedom and dignified life in every walks of life of people. Action Works Nepal is also trying to replicate the principles of Social Business but long way to go.
To know more about Yunus Center: www.yunuscenter.org
To know more about BRAC: www.brac.net
To know more about CGNSB: https://www.facebook.com/CGNSB.org?ref_type=bookmark
To more about Action Works Nepal: www.actionworksnepal.org