Collaboration between the government and NGOs is crucial for reaping the benefits of development, and keeping this in mind, Brac is focusing on people-centric action strategies instead of prioritising Western ideas of development.
Speakers made the remark at a virtual discussion titled "Bangladesh and Brac: Companions of Development", held by the organisation to mark its 49th anniversary on Sunday. They also commemorated the contributions of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the late founder of Brac, at the event.
Sir Abed was a visionary person and an institution himself. He made NGOs a part of the development sector. His visionary move allowed Brac to become the number one development organisation in the world, and made Bangladesh's NGO sector sustainable, speakers said.
Focusing on Brac's strategy for poverty alleviation and ensuring a better living standard, its Chairperson Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman said the greatest achievement of Brac and Sir Abed is inspiring the people at grassroots level to become self-reliant through NGOs.
"Sir Abed's policy of integrating the opinion of marginalised people in formulating Brac's action strategies, and focusing on income generation initiatives instead of depending on donor assistance is praiseworthy," he added.
Eminent researcher and senior journalist Afsan Chowdhury said, "Brac initiated programmes beneficial to the extreme poor with the goal of making them self-reliant, instead burdening them with micro-credit loans.
"To this end, Sir Abed had also taken initiatives to develop markets for the poor."
Campaign for Popular Education's (CAMPE) Director Rasheda K Choudhury said, "Sir Abed actually came up with the idea of putting pressure on the government to focus on the education sector's development. This line of thinking was behind the formation of CAMPE.
"Brac is the heart of non-formal education, and it advised CAMPE on how to move forward. Through CAMPE's engagement, the government formed a policy for non-formal education and students of NGO-run schools began to get government textbooks for free since 2009."
Speaking at the event, human rights activist and lawmaker Aroma Dutta said, Bangladesh presently is the best example of women empowerment in the world. Certainly, there were government initiatives, but it is Brac that brought the most remarkable changes in the field level."
The government also expects Brac's cooperation in such initiatives, added the lawmaker. The program was moderated by Brac's Executive Director Asif Saleh.