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Friday, December 20, 2019

fazle abed was about 200th annual superstar alumni of adam smith scholars- 60 years on searching his economics legacy as education's most joyful curriculum builder?

afore ye go to or from glasgow cop26 november may we ask you: to help celebrate the greatest asian alumn scottish universities have ever had the good fortune to grow -
our brother - 1 2 - sir fazle abed - champion of women empwerment across hemishpheres 
love quotient NEWS- North-East-West-South
...prince charles
queen maxima
Schwab Gates Soros Food Yidan Dubai SheiHka Moza 

Glasgow cheers amazing youth  consider 65 year action learning curve of teen Fazle Abed who travelled from far north east corner of the old british raj (then East Pakistan:17 years later to be reborn Bangladesh) to Glasgow engineering lab where Adam Smith and James Watt kickstarted age of humans and machines in 1760s; Abed graduating in 200th alumni class went to royal durch shell oil- the british netherlands oil giant headquartered off fleet street in london- he rose over 12 years to become regional ceo for his homeaLnd- there a cyclone killed a million people all around him in 1970- this changed his purpose in life- as did an independence war/refugee crisis killing another million people

 as did famine killing another million; fazle abed solutins networked by village women are one of the 2 most likely reasons that a billion asians designed their own markets to end extreme poverty; throughout 50 years as agent of women end poverty chinese village women shared most solutions with abed not as a political thing but out of the necessity of needing same development solutions - if you want to explore how a billion women cheered on sustainabilit goals youth - contact vincent chang vice chancellor of brac university who fazle abed appointed to share solutions with a first 50 university who wanted their students to linkin with each other - this raises the question 2 years after his death what would fazle abed be asking the younger half of the world to action next


here are a few guesses - please share yours followed by possibly the smartest epitaph to fazle abed written by an american- again please tell us other epitaphs that empower the world you(th) want to sustain

  hope everyone is staying safe... could one of you join a zoom to explore urgent collaboration challenges like these?... we are trying to discuss IF 2021 =youths last best chance year for becoming sustainability generation

ed21 i have been zooming in with youth and elders in dubai- for reasons i dont wholly understand most of the global edu-conscious leaders at  unicef, unesco, sdg-networks of #aiforgood out of geneva un.  gordon brown as edu special envoy and host of 4 education networks including 2 on refugees;  have changed their education summit partnership to dubai rewired from wise qatar where patrick awuah and women empowerment hero late sir fazle abed are laureates and sheikha moza and president of ghana are on top sgd advocates circle advising guterres in conjunction with uae expo- this summit happens 4 days after qatar's mid december- how can we get future of education africa included in dubai summit too? to add to confusion rewired seems largely separate from annual million dollar teacher prize varkey had staged out of dubai

ed21.0 i am still struggling with black lives matter inner city networks i know in baltimore, brooklyn, tuskegee; if you know where diaspora and lives matter interconnect it would help- it used to be kobe bryant with his investment in ai for minorities but i cant work out where sports is going now my japanese, fazle abed and jack ma friends have lost all the sdg stages they had hoped olympics could be

ed21.1 i have been linking in with friends in my families home capital glasgow- they come from the adam smith glasgow university side not the official government of gov prep for cop26- they would like younger half of world to make friends with younger half of scotland and continue zooming before and after; is there any coordinator for ghana who would want to join a network of such youth caring places sdgsu.com join students 6 nov 21 glasgow where engines started 1761? 

ed21.2 i have been trying to understand where open society uni-net- osun - comes together across continents and why after being launched at davos 2020 nobody at davos  actively knows of it in 2021 - one possibility is the united nations- do you have any view on whether unga76 is going to be real this year and if so will patrick and facebook host another co-event

ed21.3 these are just rough ideas on what youth as sdg generation could be collaboratively exploring - some of the african youth networks i know -eg from sudan or kenya or ethiopia-  would love to know if they can zoom in with your ashesi collaborative summer retreat even if they are an informal alumni movement not one physical university- did you ever find out if there is anything left of taddy blechers new university; i gather that africa's largest corporation is a south african one which accidentally owns quarter of tencent- it has been investing in edutech- does anyone have knowledge on what they aim to do

ed21.4 of course projects like http://www.astra.place  how can youth report if vaccine is freeing or chaining their peoples are issues that need a safe transparency youth space to debrief each other on - beyond my means to kickstart but which could be pure adam smith scholars concerns

thanks chris macrae wash dc +1 240 316 8157 norman macrae foundation linkedin

any errors are mine alone and would happily learn from you chris.macrae@yahoo.co.uk

my father norman macrae spent 40 years writing von neumanns biography -exploring todays 65 year legacy of blending human and artificial intel -  after a chance interview in 1955 whilst trying to sub-edit keynesian poverty-ending system designs at the economist - hence my amateur interest in can we and abed alumni humanise AI in time for youth to be the sdg generation? glasgow university union nov 6 debates this motion after 13 years of dialogues that restarted in 2008 with 250th anniversary of moral sentiments

dear ian and ian - hope you dont mind me bouncing ABED'S LAST idea off you; ian ryder and i have been alarmed by mispurposeful media/corporate branding for 25 years having spent most of our EARLIER lives trying to innovate corporate leadership 

when i first bumped into fazle abed in 2009 after previously bumping into yunus i decided abed was more interesting to me than any organisation leader i would ever meet

about this time ian smillie wrote "freedom from want" the bible on how abed designed brac up to 2009 and this final review of abed's masterclass Sir Fazle Hasan Abed: Master Builder - The McLeod Group

what if artificial intelligence - and convergence of all tech - has reached stage where services top down governments used to monopolise must become real time ai service/operations platforms -can that bottom-up design empower girls/boys as first sdg generation?

as covid teaches us on any sustainability critical government service its only as transparent -let alone moral or humanly intelligent- as its last mile capabilities- ie designing top-down gov services isnt what 21st c human race as a species can afford as we leap beyond covid

sir fazle lifes work was about designing 25 of the most critical  last mile village systems- as an engineer he sort of blueprinted them by hand staring with his 16000 family pilot lab( also about 50 subvillages each of 300 families which he designed local parahealth service around with weekly visits)  he had built in 1972- about0.25 of rural bangladesh- once he had designed a microfranchise that was a subvillage women empowered solution he worked out partners to replicate across all of nations villages -with oral rehydration and vaccines unicef james grant not only partnered abed but chatted up national leaders globally

so could it be that the blueprints of network solutions abed used are what ai needs to prioritise as operational platforms?

while it is possible to catalogue abed's 25 deepest solutions 5 by 5 - almost all of which have become multi-billion dollar vale chain maps of win-win kind- unlike consuming up thinks life-critical knowhow multiplies value in application
goal 1 end poverty 5 sub-financial systems
sdg2 end starvation 5 sub food security systems
3 increase life expectancy focusing on mothers and kids simplest local cures plus oral rehydration vaccination end tuberculosis 5 y systems villagers can be intel for
4  five levels of lifelong livelihood learning
5/6 five dynamics of resilient communities from maximising community disaster preparedness - to community cannot afford any non-productive underclass -culturally mainly women in rural asia - a solution china also needed when its one child policy forced half of all families to dependent on the productivity of their smartest daughter- when the development world celebrates a billion people out of extreme poverty- the gravity of this is actually this bangladesh-chinese village female dynamic whose deep data/learning 
5/6 also included pt latrine and home design round dept of sanitation and zero waste village subsystems - for some reason i never understood yunus won the aga khan architecture prize for this -maybe he did improve on building village homes as a community space celebrating womens family building, maybe not?

so the proposition is ai for human development to end extreme poverty needs to operationalise platforms round the data/maps fazle engineered - meanwhile a smart compact city like singapore has declared its government wants to be all ai platforms and indeed community solution design is the missing schools curriculum at http://www.aisingapore.org

ian and ian - does this connect with anything you are doing?
cheers chris wash dc + 1 240 316 8157


  1. Graduating from Ultra-Poverty: An Interview with Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG

    Sir Fazle Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, participated in the RESULTS International Conference in July of 2017, both in a plenary interview with Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS and in a one-on-one interview with Larry Reed, Senior Fellow for Financial Inclusion, RESULTS. The text below provides a briefly edited compilation of those interviews.

    What does the face of ultra-poverty look like in Bangladesh?
    Ultra-poverty looks like a woman-led household, with children. The woman does not have many skills, so she would get domestic work or very low-paying agricultural work. She doesn’t get paid properly. She probably gets food in exchange for her work. She shares her food with her children, so she’s half-fed and her children are half-fed. She’s in a trap and doesn’t know what to do. She can never build up a surplus of resources and she will not be able to send her children to school. At age seven or eight, her children get sent to other homes to become domestic workers, and she will find a way to survive. So, that is what the life of a woman trapped in ultra-poverty looks like.

    She also wouldn’t have many friendships in her village. Because she’s poor, most people think she’s going to ask for help, and they will avoid her. That’s one of the big problems: she has few friendships. She has no one else to rely on.

    My conception of ultra-poverty is that she’s trapped, people avoid her, she’s marginalized, her relationships are very fragile. This poverty passes from one generation to the next. Her children start working at seven or eight, they have no school, they would also be at the bottom of the pyramid. They are malnourished; they are stunted. They end up repeating the cycle, because with no education they cannot get good jobs, so they also become domestic workers or low-paid agricultural workers.

    Were the women living in these conditions participating in your microfinance program?
    I remember in 1995 we thought that we had covered everybody with microfinance (MF) and that microfinance was having a great impact on everybody. But a survey was done in Bangladesh and we found that 10 percent of the poorest Bangladeshis didn’t have access to microfinance. So we wanted to find out why was this, because our microfinance was focused on poor people. But then we found that the poorest are excluded. We found that the poorest people didn’t think they could profit from using financial services. Secondly, they wouldn’t be able to repay the money. Then thirdly, there was the group within the village who were poor, but they thought that this group was too poor to be able to repay their loans. Borrowers in our microfinance program said, “No, no don’t touch them because they won’t be able to repay their loans.” So these people were excluded from participating in microfinance.

    They’re trapped – trapped in a sense that they can’t get out of poverty with government programs or other programs by microfinance organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and so on. So we needed to design a program to get them out of poverty. continued...


  2. What were the key components of the program you designed?
    First, we had to identify the poorest people in the village. We involved the village itself. The villages worked with us to identify households and participated in a wealth ranking exercise, which identified the poorest 10 percent of people. We held this as an open session with the entire village where they decided who the poorest people are living among them. Then our workers went to these households to find out whether they were in fact the poorest. If they found they were so, we took them in.

    Next, we provided them not with a loan, but a grant, an investment. We called it a transfer of assets. It could be a cow, it could be half a dozen goats, and so forth; something that could give them a way to earn an income. Thirdly, we provided them a stipend so that they could sustain themselves in the time before they start earning income. Fourthly we provided them training, one-on-one coaching, and taught them to save money and build this habit. We also provided access to health care.

    We supported them in this way for two years. We also put their children in school. We didn’t want their children to continue the cycle of poverty. This is the combination of interventions that BRAC gave each family. It cost us approximately US$500 per family. After two years, they were on their own. It was a program that was designed for two years and after that, they were supposed to get out of poverty gradually over time. We called it graduation because they were supposed to graduate out of poverty. continued


  3. How did you come up with this combination of services for people living in ultra-poverty? How did you figure out the package and the sequencing of things that was needed?
    Basically, these were the things we knew we could do. Except for the health care; we didn’t start with a health care program for everybody. But then one or two of our early clients had problems with health and didn’t know how to deal with it and we said, “Alright, we’ll look after it.” After that we provided a doctor and the consultation fee was covered by BRAC. We also made it free for them to get whatever medications they needed.

    How did you decide that regular coaching would be a key part of the approach?
    One of the effects of ultra-poverty is low self-esteem. I told our staff, “You have to build up their self-esteem, their sense of self-worth.” We tried to implement what Paulo Freire says, that people should be the subject, not the object. Self-esteem is very important to being able to move out of ultra-poverty. That journey requires the psychological strength to say, “I can do this.”

    So, the coaching became very important because it helps build self-confidence. Many of them were not financially literate, but they learned that if they saved so many taka [Bangladeshi currency] each week it would enable them to do more. continued


  4. You’ve told us before that you found that savings to be an essential first step in development, otherwise people couldn’t think about the future.
    Saving is about the future, without that, they are just thinking about today. Saving is very important. Saving means that they are really thinking about the future and how their situation might improve.

    What have been the results of this program in Bangladesh?
    More than 90 percent of the women who have participated have been able to graduate into their own livelihoods. We also found that the program succeeds in bringing the participant back into the mainstream of the village with strong relationships. After she has her cows, and her business, everyone wants to know her. Most of these women will say, “They didn’t want to invite us for weddings and so on, and now they do.” Her status has changed. People used to avoid her before, now they talk to her. So that in itself is uplifting for her.

    We have now graduated 1.7 million families. A little while ago, the London School of Economics did a study that showed that even five years after a family had left the BRAC program, they continued to improve their condition compared to the control group. They have continued to improve themselves rather than leveling off economically. There seems to be some change that happens to people that propels them to continue working hard to improve themselves.

  5. Has anything surprised you about the results of the program?
    When I first started thinking about this program and started doing some pilots before 2002, I never thought they would graduate out of poverty and go on improving themselves. That’s something that surprised me. Not only are they doing well, but each year they were advancing, with a higher level of consumption and income. Even five years later.

    I also thought that after they finished and graduated they would become our microfinance clients. What I found is that almost half of them didn’t want to borrow. They were quite happy with their savings and assets. But then after a little while they would gain confidence and start borrowing to expand their livelihoods.

    A program that reaches 1.7 million people is huge. What lessons do you have for others about building for scale?
    To me, scaling up is very important. Otherwise you don’t really have an impact. Remaining small and beautiful is not my philosophy. I’m all for big and impactful. That’s what we need if we want to end poverty. We want everyone to come out of poverty, so it’s important to scale things up.

    The way I scale up, I first do a small program and make it effective. Then I try to make it efficient. The way I try to make it efficient is by cutting down the inessential tasks and focusing on the essential tasks, making it as efficient as possible. Then we can scale up things regionally or nationally. I have to convince donors; I have to find the money, so I have to show that the results are good on a small scale. As it grows we also have to go on innovating so that it continues to be more and more efficient.

    You also have to have the capacity within your organization to be able to scale up. The first thing to do is to have a good human resource department that can recruit people and a good training department that can train all the people that you will need. Then you need a good accounting and audit department so that you can keep track of all the money that you are going to spend. All these things have to be done with a view to scaling up.

    What has happened with programs in other countries that have adopted this approach?
    The CGAP program of the World Bank and the Ford Foundation saw the success of this program, and they replicated it across ten sites in eight countries. They also paid for a number of randomized controlled trials to test the effectiveness. The results of these studies, done by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Yale University, were published in Science in 2015. (1) The results showed positive benefits to clients and a positive return on investment.

    Nicholas Kristof came out with an article in The New York Times that said the studies demonstrated the power of hope. Poor women, heads of households, have always suffered from lack of resources, but now were suddenly getting a big push in terms of resources, health, training, getting their children to school. (2) With these resources, they saw that their life can be changed by their own work.

    Now other NGOs and national governments are starting to implement this approach. I think there are more than 50 replications around the world in more than 30 countries.

    What do you hope to see in the future as other countries adopt this approach?
    We know that this is not the only answer to the problem of poverty in the world. But we do know that this is a proven way to tackle ultra-poverty, particularly for families who have been trapped in poverty. We want to see this spread to every country that struggles with ultra-poverty, and we are willing to help share what we have learned with anyone that wants to employ this approach. So, that is what we are trying to do.

    Banerjee, Abhijit, Esther Duflo, Nathanael Goldberg, Dean Karlan, Robert Osei, William Parient√©, Jeremy Shapiro, Bram Thuysbaert, and Christopher Udry. 2015. “A Multi-faceted Program Causes Lasting Progress for the Very Poor: Evidence from Six Countries.” Science, May 15, 2015.
    Kristof, Nicholas. “The Power of Hope is Real”, The New York Times, May 21, 2015.