Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Top Tips from Bangladesh's BRAC

Be realistic about what you can accomplish. Monitor your progress. Learn from your mistakes. Always think about how you're going to scale a project up (preferably to at least the country level), even when you're in the pilot phase. Those are some of the things I took away from a talk at Harvard on Monday afternoon by Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chair of BRAC, the highly successful poverty alleviation group in Bangladesh.

Abed is not as well known as his fellow countryman Muhammad Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work with the Grameen Bank. And indeed, the men are often seen as rivals in the development world. But Abed has never shown any inclination to run for political office, while Yunus recently abandoned plans to create a new political party in Bangladesh. And perhaps that's the most important message I got from Abed's talk: "Stick to your knitting."

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