January 23, 2024

BRAC’s big vision for 2024: Three ways we’ll create opportunities for people in poverty

This year, advances in climate resilience, education, and youth empowerment will help power possibilities for people experiencing poverty.

A smiling girl dances while her peers watch, clap, and laugh in a girls' empowerment club in Tanzania.


As the New Year kicks off, we’re reflecting on some of the BRAC community’s biggest accomplishments of 2023 and looking ahead with hope. Discover three audacious goals we are excited to pursue in 2024.


1. Climate shocks are on the rise. BRAC is doubling down to improve climate resilience for the people we serve.

A woman living in a flood-prone area of Bangladesh paddles a small boat.

Extreme and erratic weather events are becoming the norm, threatening families living on the front lines of the climate crisis. These communities face a myriad of threats to their health, their food security, and their livelihoods. Combined, they face more barriers to escaping the poverty trap.

There is no time to waste, yet the least developed countries receive a scant three percent of the money they need to adapt to climate change.

“Climate impacts are attacking smallholder farmers on every front,” shared BRAC’s Executive Director, Asif Saleh, in a recent article. “To support them on every front, we can’t tinker around the edges; we need holistic solutions at scale.”

The global community must invest in climate solutions led by those facing the worst of its impacts. That’s why last year, BRAC sent a team of climate and poverty experts to COP28, the 28th United Nations Climate Conference, to advocate for investing in solutions led by the Global South.

Thanks to our committed donors and partners, BRAC worked alongside climate-vulnerable communities to help them adapt and build resilience amid climate shocks. In coastal Bangladesh, we partnered with flood-prone communities to meet their most pressing needs. This included building flood-resistant houses that double as cyclone shelters, creating rainwater harvesting systems to prevent salt contamination of fresh water sources, and developing salt-resistant crops that can tolerate flood conditions. In drought-prone Liberia, BRAC equipped smallholder farmers with climate-smart tools and techniques to boost income and food security. In our flagship early childhood program, Play Labs, a new climate-smart curriculum promotes sustainability and builds resilience among the youngest learners.

In 2024, BRAC’s efforts to promote holistic, scalable solutions continue. We’ll keep advocating for investment in solutions led by communities on the frontlines of climate change. And, we’ll continue to integrate climate-smart components throughout all of our programs to scale climate solutions for tens of millions people around the globe.

>>>Learn more: Go behind the scenes of the climate crisis in Bangladesh in this gripping video.


2. We knew it. Now, research proves it: Young children learn and grow through play.

An animated Play Leader reads to a group of children in a Play Lab in Uganda. Photo by Lee Cohen/Local Story.

Most people agree on the importance of a strong educational foundation. For most children, that foundation begins with a formal primary education around age five. But experts agree that the first five years of a child’s life are the most important: By age five, a child’s brain is already 90% developed, and the foundations for their future successes are already in place. BRAC’s Play Labs bridge this gap by delivering quality, playful early childhood development to little learners who otherwise would not have access at this critical time in their development.

In 2023, new research took a close look at BRAC’s Play Labs in Tanzania and Uganda. The findings were heartening: Children learning in Play Labs showed clear gains on key development outcomes according to a tool measuring children’s physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development. These findings build on previous research in Bangladesh, which found that Play Labs boosted developmental outcomes while equipping parents with the knowledge and resources to support their children’s development. That’s big: When children learn, play, and grow in Play Labs, their futures are brighter. 

In 2024, we’re doubling down on play. BRAC experts are leveraging research insights to expand Play Labs and reach more children in need. In Uganda and Bangladesh, refugee children are playing, healing, and learning amid displacement. 

>>>Learn more: Watch how Nasra is building a strong future through the power of Play.


3. African youth deserve every opportunity to realize their dreams. BRAC teams in Africa are set to dramatically expand our holistic youth empowerment approach.

A smiling girl dances while her peers watch, clap, and laugh in a girls' empowerment club in Tanzania.

Young people across the Global South hold tremendous potential, but they face disproportionate risks and barriers that can create challenging transitions into adulthood. In Africa, more than 60 percent of the population is under age 25, and by 2030, the continent’s youth will make up more than 40% of the world’s young people. These individuals—particularly girls and young women—are vulnerable to poverty and exploitation and face limited job prospects. But BRAC knows that with the right opportunities, they can overcome barriers and pursue futures full of possibility.

In 2023, BRAC was thrilled to kick off a new partnership with the Mastercard Foundation to equip more than one million adolescent girls and young women in Africa with life skills, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and job skills to start their own businesses. The partnership leverages BRAC’s slate of proven programs in microfinance, agriculture, skills development, and youth empowerment to reach young people in seven countries with the opportunities and skills they need to thrive.

This year, the program will scale up to reach more girls. We’re also opening doors to involve adolescent boys, young men, and other community members, so they can help invest in girls’ futures and create an enabling environment for girls and young women to thrive.

>>>Learn more: Discover how Noeline created new opportunities for herself and other young women in her community.


2023 was an exciting year for BRAC, but thanks to strong partnerships and the support of thousands of individual donors, we are confident that we will have even more progress to celebrate in 2024. Thank you for sharing our vision of a world where everyone can reach their potential. We look forward to continuing our journey together.


Sarah Allen is Communications Manager at BRAC USA.