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The world's greatest innovation?


Just as we argue that the greatest space race ever was not to the moon but is grounded now round designing the smart education systems

needed for our children to enjoy sustainable livelihoods

...so we would go further by declaring the greatest inovaition of all will be  education systems that gives every girl, wherever she is born, a fair chance at living a brilliant life.

Back in 1984 we argued for the worldwide recognition by 2005 of:

2017-12-122005.jpg chapter 6


The fact is that the inddutrial revolution from early 1700s-  which spun round engines delivering hundreds then thousands times more power than horse or man - 

distributed opportunities to innovate very unevenly. The race to extract carbon became a competition (including 20th wars) over the big gets bigger .

We can reflect that as recently as the 1960s when one group of humans were racing to the moon, as many as half of humans had no access to electricity grids. 

Late in the twentieth century, three halves of the world had less than 10% of wealth or voice in how their  life evolved: the poorer half, the younger half, the female half. In our anticipation of on the investment in thousand times more communications technology (2016 versus 1946) of post-industrial revolution, we have always argued that the tech needs preferential application to poorest.


we make not just the moral case but the sustainability risk case for ending poverty by reaching those previously most disconnected from development with education. what else is tghe point of investing in thosand fold commnstech?

Put another way, none of the sustainability goals will be reached if we dont help to achieve them for those confronted by the most extreme challenges whether that is deepest poverty, least stable climate , lack of personal safety

Brac's 45 year proof of how to design education for poorest girls is a confirmation of the Franciscan Paulo Freire whose pedagogy of the oppressed commended going and living and learning with the poorest. Thats how brac started up in 1972. And by action learning with the poorest how to solve one greatest challenge to another BRAC has built livelihood systems of education, health, financing, communal disaster relief, personal safety through hundreds of microfranchises and with what has become a learning oragsnaition staff of over 100000 servant leaders. 

There are many parts of brac to study as it has developed bangaldesh around a people growing economy but as a starter look at the publication which  wise alumni see as introductiry resource 


WISE Book: Learning a Living

Jack ma has a hierarchy of education empowerement which sees iq as the most generic and loveq as the most valuable-  in her blog of what it was like to co-author a case study on brac , sarah gilinson describes the joyful buzz that makes brac quite probably the most uniquely human organisation yet generated

Welcome to our blog series for the 2012 World Innovation Summit for Education publication, which focuses on radical innovation at the education/work interface. As we travel the world checking out the most innovative examples of projects, programmes and people in this area we're blogging about our experiences.

June 10, 2012

I’ve been struggling for the past couple of days to start a blog about my experiences in Bangladesh – not because there is nothing to write, but because I couldn’t imagine how I would pick one story. So I’m throwing focus out the window because in fact, it is the breadth and ambition of BRAC’s work that is breathtaking and changing millions of lives. BRAC is the world’s largest NGO, founded in Bangladesh, and with 60,000 employees there alone (they are increasingly working internationally too). Their ambition is no less than to alleviate poverty in their country, and to empower all Bangladeshi citizens to build a better, more prosperous future together.

Needless to say, this mission cannot be served with one type of programme, or a single client group. BRAC’s major insight is that for all Bangladeshi citizens – especially the poorest – to pull themselves out of economic, social and political poverty, the support they are offered must address all elements of the personal context and collective history that are holding them back.

So I have met women in an urban slum who are being supported to build small businesses and improve their lives. They receive microfinance loans to kick start enterprises selling saris, cakes, fish and tea. But that is not enough to sustain a better life. BRAC also offers them training to manage their money and their accounts, to sign their own name and to get an identity card to protect their assets. They learn about basic health and hygiene so they can keep their businesses running, and their children safe.

Saira grew up in a rural village and moved to the city when she could no longer generate any income to support her family. On moving to the city, she struggled to find work and ended up brick-breaking like many others – hard, unreliable, physical work. She and her children had no more than one meal a day. Following support and a small loan from BRAC, she now runs a cake business that makes enough money to send her youngest daughters to school and to feed the whole family three times a day. Perhaps most importantly, BRAC has helped her to learn about her rights. This has had a major impact. Saira’s husband abandoned her eight years ago, with six daughters to support. When he heard about her flourishing business, he tried to come back to share in her success. And she would not take him back – unheard of in traditional communities.

I have also met young children at a BRAC primary school, desperate to show me the interactive games they use to learn Bengali, English and other subjects. They clamoured to tell me of their ambitions to be doctors, teachers, engineers and even a pilot – despite being too poor even to afford to go to a government school. They too learn a broader, rights-based curriculum that imbues them with far greater control over their own lives, and belief that they can achieve anything. The same is true of the teenagers in an ‘adolescents’ group’ just outside Dhaka, the women in a ‘social capital’ group in a rural village, and the volunteer teachers even further off the beaten track.

BRAC is not an education organization. It is not a micro finance organization and it is not a training organization even though it does all those things. It is a citizen-building organization. It is helping to build a new set of values, skills, aspirations and determination in millions of people by providing them with a platform to do more and better for themselves. I haven’t even mentioned one hundredth of what they do. But Saira’s final reflection on the impact of working with BRAC sums up what I heard over and over again. ‘Now, I am tension free’. 


we have been priviliged to visit brac 6 times (including taking a team of chiense grauates to sir fazle's 80th birtyhday) and sir fazle abed  in commemoration rf norman macare was kind enough to host 4 hour roundtable debate of the future bangladesh and worldwide girls education

needs in 2012 ;; if you haven't got to the stage of understanding why brac's girl education is unique to the world - please feel tp address us questions and we will try our best to answer them chris.macrae@yahoo.co.uk

we believe that as wise orbits the world sharing knowhow on 21st c education possibilities, brac spirit should be in our DNA - and when it comes these top 10 


20.1 Girls livelihood edu
20.2 Franciscan-Muslim-serve Confucius –joy of live-action-learn with poor
20.3 Rural-City
20.4 Headstart
20.5 Refugee belts
20.6 Language//culture- communities for all
20.7 Elearning (also khan ac)
20.8 Ai robot teacher assistants
20.9 Open squared Hujian and I-ask
20.10 Beyond classroom Parent nets take back – eg specialists05 thelearningweb84
                                                                                special olympics singforhope01

issues guterres is asking wise alumni to help co-stage at WISE@UNGA 2018 -

we see  girl empowerment flowing trough every before and after action debrifing thaks to sir fazle and all the communities that brac interconnects



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