Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, one of the world's leading non-governmental organisations, has received the prestigious Laudato Si award during a ceremony in Vatican City on Tuesday (Dec 6), said a press release.
It was received by Scott MacMilan, Senior Adviser, BRAC USA, on the chairperson’s behalf. The award recognises BRAC for its innovative approach to creating opportunities for millions of people living in poverty, achieving significant impact in Bangladesh and 10 other countries.
BRAC was founded in Bangladesh in 1972 by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, and today is a global leader in developing cost-effective, evidence-based poverty innovations in extremely poor, conflict-prone and post-disaster settings. These include programmes in education, healthcare, microfinance, girls’ empowerment, agriculture, human and legal rights, social enterprises, a bank, a university, and the world’s largest mobile money platform.
The organisation is known for its business approach to helping people in poverty, with 16 socially-minded businesses that enable the most marginalised people to access financial services and livelihoods. In addition, BRAC’s celebrated graduation programme helps the poor ‘graduate’ out of destitution, resulting in an income boost of up to 37%. Research has shown that it has the potential to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 1 by uplifting people living in ultra poverty.
In 2015, Pope Francis wrote “Laudato Si’ meaning, “On care for our common home,” in which he calls for an international dialogue about how to approach and act upon an ecological crisis. In essence, he explains that caring for our common home, and bettering our communities, means also addressing how international business practices have contributed to climate change, which effects the most marginalised people.
The Laudato Si’ Challenge 2017 is developing and accelerating transformative, scalable, profitable businesses that have solutions to the most intractable problem of our time: climate change and human migration.
As part of the inaugural challenge, The Laudate Si awards recognise the innovators whose contributions are uniting humanity and transforming the way we approach impact and enterprise. The Laudato Si' Awards are a set of three prizes honoring those who are committed to answering Pope Francis's clarion call.
Other award winners include Huda Abuarquob in the individual category, and Sarara Camp in the enterprise category.
Sir Fazle expressed his gratitude for the award. "45 years ago, I set out to change the conditions of my native Bangladesh permanently, by giving people in living in poverty the power to control their own lives and destinies. I founded BRAC based on the belief that people living in poverty, if given the means to organise themselves, can change the course of history.
We have achieved much, but there is more to be done. For the first time in history, the eradication of extreme poverty from the face of the planet is within our sight. Like His Holiness Pope Francis, I believe that proper care for the planet means proper care for the people who live on it, including the most vulnerable among us. My vision is of a world where even the poorest have the opportunity to lead lives of purpose and dignity."