My reflections on this trip
Trip Start Jan 23, 2009
19Trip End Jan 30, 2009
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My dream of visiting Grameen Bank, BRAC & ASA realized with this trip. This was a remarkable and productive experience. I learnt many lessons and sharing them in this entry.
The vision, motivation and perspective of founders of these gigantic institutions is praiseworthy. Their vales & beliefs, consistency in their work and management skills are truly unique. The founders have spent significant time and resources in building their team which sequentially built world-class institution. I salute Yunus, Abed & Choudhury of Grameen Bank, BRAC & ASA respectively.
I truly amazed to see commitment, persistence and motivation of management team and other staff at all levels.
The extent of diversity and scale these organizations have achieved is amazing. They are too big and too strong!
I realize internal systems of the both the institutions. They have established a very strong monitoring system in all levels. BRAC has extraordinary monitoring system in all the programs and projects. They have an Ombudsperson too!
Cost effectiveness, simplicity and commitment towards achieving self sufficiency in ASA is an eye opener. I realize, through ASA, that a microfinance program can be successfully managed without spending too much money on overheads. ASA's simple mantra is to keep everything simple and have control on each and every petty expense.
I see that many best practices can be replicated with appropriate local modifications - such as decentralization, keeping lean HR structure, HR recruitment system, cost-cutting, standardization, and integration of credit plus initiatives. However, innovations in our own circumstances will make a difference.
BRAC's education program touched my heart most. Though I spent very less time with class-3 students, I was moved by the way BRAC is implementing this ground-breaking program. They have over 38,000 one-class / one-room / one-teacher primary schools and over 24,000 pre-primary schools with over 60,000 teachers and over 19 lakh students. Ms. Shruti, as she could gather details on education program, mentioned that they have a very strong monitoring system for performance teachers as well as students.
Finally, let me mention that relentless effort of ASA, BRAC & Grameen Bank in poverty reduction, despite of difference in their purpose, values, culture and commitment, is worth admirable.
I think, for that reason, Bangladesh has become a university for development professionals and Mecca of microfinance practitioners. I think, for that reason, I toured Bangladesh for the second time and I look forward to visit again.
My sincere thanks to our precious funders, Friends of Women's World Banking (FWWB) for organizing this exposure program. I also appreciate support of fellow participants.