A global glimpse of innovation at BRAC


Last month, the Social Innovation Lab had the opportunity and honor to arrange Innovation Day, where colleagues from all countries where BRAC has its interventions gathered to learn about innovation, mainly from each other. The day did complete justice to the namesake ‘Innovation day’ and turned out to be a perfect platform to discuss the innovative projects that BRAC recently encompassed.

The Social Innovation Lab learned the most from a group exercise, where we asked our colleagues to talk about the various innovations “in progress” in the field.  They had plenty to say, and the variety of activities was astonishing!  Some of our colleagues found room for innovations within the ‘Village organization,’ which we, here in Bangladesh, tend to take for granted!

We know that we saw only a brief snapshot of the breadth of experimentation that’s truly taken place.  Even within a given program, such as the ELA clubs in Uganda and other countries, several new initiatives are underway.  A few examples include:

  • Participatory video for monitoring and evaluation (PV4ME)- ELA club members are trained to be facilitators and PV4ME to understand the ELA programme’s impact
  • Pre-primary education through ELA clubs
  • Savings box for adolescents in Karamoja
  • Ureport , Uganda- a free SMS-based system that allows young Ugandans to speak out on what’s happening in communities across the country, and work together with other community leaders for positive change. Translating books into local languages

Based on our observations, it’s clear that context really does drive innovation.

Consequently, to be effective, program staff must have a deep understanding the context and have the liberty to make tweaks in the project models according to need. This is how we can give innovation opportunity to flourish at all levels.

We are sure a lot of innovation happening throughout BRAC globally, we had the privilege to know about few of them through Innovation Day, but lots of others left by. We welcome any of our employees from any part of the world to feel free to write to us about the existing innovative programs and the powerful new ideas they have in their mind. Anyone can write to us at innovation@brac.net and we can post it to our SILver lining blog.

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