February 21, 2024

BRAC and USAID launch the Bangladesh America Maitree Project to enhance the capacity of local NGOs

BRAC is delighted to partner with USAID to help support and elevate the important work of other local, community-based organizations in Bangladesh

A group of women participating in a microfinance group in Bangladesh.

This project will expand new funding and training opportunities directly to local nongovernmental organizations to implement development programs in the communities they serve. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Reed Aeschliman and BRAC Executive Director Asif Saleh jointly announced the Maitree Project alongside representatives from local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) around the country. The project will establish a competitive grant-making facility in which local NGOs can apply for grants to conduct projects in health, education, agriculture, climate resilience, or address other development needs in their communities.

Local organizations will also receive training to improve proposal writing, project design and operational capacity – while strengthening their ability to collaborate, build networks, and develop local solutions to tackle development challenges.

“Locally-led development is the cornerstone of USAID’s philosophy and we are excited to partner with BRAC to help smaller NGOs improve their development programs and foster a more vibrant civil society,” said USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman.

Md. Saidur Rahman, Director General (DG) of the NGO Affairs Bureau at the Prime Minister’s Office, welcomed the Bangladesh America Maitree Project and emphasized the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors for the advancement of the country.

In his remark, BRAC Executive Director Asif Saleh said, “Localization is not an end in itself, but rather a means to an end. BRAC started as a relief organization but it grew bigger by continuously listening to the community. All its activities including microfinance, education, and health started as a response to community needs. Local level NGOs must devise their own solutions to address specific challenges instead of relying on donor-driven approaches. And that is why I am so excited about this Maitree Project, which aims to advance locally-led development.”

Local NGOs operating at the grassroots level have played a vital role in boosting Bangladesh’s socio-economic development. As the country is eyeing graduation, local NGOs and civil society organizations can more easily adopt innovative program design methods, form partnerships with the private sector, and enhance their organizational strengths – enabling Bangladesh to witness a stronger civil society, significantly contributing to its path to becoming a middle-income country.

The Maitree Project will provide local NGOs with more resources for innovation and growth, and will actively transform the local partner ecosystem by promoting collaboration, coalition-building, and advocacy at various levels. The ultimate goal is to create a more resilient and dynamic civil society, benefiting Bangladesh’s overall economic progress.

With support from USAID, the Bangladesh America Maitree Project is implemented by BRAC and aims to strengthen civil society in Bangladesh.


Notes to the editor

About BRAC

BRAC is a global leader in developing and implementing cost-effective, evidence-based programs to empower the most marginalized people in extremely poor, conflict-prone, and post-disaster settings. Founded in Bangladesh in 1972, BRAC now touches the lives of more than 100 million people across 11 countries in Asia and Africa. BRAC takes a holistic approach to alleviating poverty, running programs in education, health care, financial inclusion, youth empowerment, agriculture, and more. In 2022, it was ranked the top NGO in the world by NGO Advisor for the seventh consecutive time.


Based in New York, BRAC USA is the North American affiliate of BRAC. BRAC USA provides comprehensive support to BRAC around the world by raising awareness about its work to empower people living in poverty and mobilizing resources to support its programs. BRAC USA also works closely with its international counterparts to design and implement cost-effective and evidence-based poverty innovations worldwide. BRAC USA is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.


Media contact


Sarah Allen, Communications Manager
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