BRAC, one of the largest development organisations in the world on March 31st, celebrated its 50th anniversary under the theme, “50 Years of Igniting Hope from Bangladesh to the World” at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort on 30 March 2023.
The event was organised by BRAC Uganda and BRAC Uganda Bank Ltd.
While speaking at the event, Honourable Minister Janet Kataaha Museveni, First Lady of the Republic of Uganda and Minister of Education and Sports who was the guest of honour paid tribute to BRAC’s founder, the late Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, for sharing his dream of empowering people and communities, in Bangladesh and beyond.
“My hope and prayer are that their work in Uganda will rub off on our people so that they can learn to build, empower themselves, work with integrity, and change the face of Uganda. Uganda will not change until Ugandans rise and change it,” Kataaha said.
She also lauded the spirit of social responsibility and giving back to the community exhibited by BRAC, through BRAC Uganda Bank Ltd.
In her welcome address, Spera Atuhairwe, the Country Director of BRAC Uganda expressed her gratitude to the communities, stakeholders and partners that work with BRAC to create sustainable pathways out of poverty.
“In Uganda, we are committed to growing and deepening our presence to deliver impactful solutions for the people and communities we serve,”
Shameran Abed, the Executive Director of BRAC International, in his speech, thanked the First Lady for the invitation she extended to Sir Fazle to bring BRAC to Uganda.
“Building on nearly two decades of experience with communities all across Uganda, we will deepen our work in the critical areas of financial inclusion, extreme poverty and early childhood development,” Abed said.
“Hon Maama Janet, thank you for your invitation to my father to work in Uganda all those years ago, and for being such a strong supporter of BRAC. So much of what we are celebrating here today is owed to your vision of what this partnership could achieve,” he added.
The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda, Dr Michael Atingi-Ego praised BRAC Uganda Bank’s contributions to financial inclusion in Uganda. He quoted the significant growth in the adult population with access to formal financial services – from 20% in 2011 to 66% in 2021. He reiterated the need for all stakeholders to contribute to making financial services in Uganda more accessible and more inclusive.
Nkosilathi Moyo, Chief Executive Officer of BRAC Uganda Bank Ltd, recognised BUBL’s achievement of having the largest network of banking services in Uganda, with 32 Credit Institution locations and 130 satellite branches. He also reiterated BUBL’s commitment to reaching more underserved people, especially women, saying, “We have not come this far to just come this far. By 2027, we hope to reach 250,000 borrowers, of whom 65% will be populations living in poverty and 90% populations living in rural areas.”
BRAC has been working in Uganda since 2006, marking this year its 17th year in the country. Its microfinance, BRAC Uganda Bank Ltd (BUBL) is one of the largest providers of financial services in Uganda. BUBL’s mission is to provide a range of financial services to people living in poverty, especially women, to build sustainable livelihoods.
The NGO works with communities, providing holistic services including integrated, quality health care; early childhood development through play-based education; safe spaces for adolescent girls and young women to empower themselves; vocational education and training for skills and employability; emergency response and preparedness; and time-bound interventions to help families escape extreme poverty long-term.
The celebrations ended with a touching and inspiring performance from girls in the Empowerment and Livelihood of Adolescents (ELA) clubs under BRAC’s Youth Empowerment Programme.
The organisation’s 50th anniversary is a celebration of solutions that are born and proven in the Global South, and the strength, ingenuity and courage of people who partner with BRAC to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges.