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Our Members

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD)

: 2013
Head of organisation
: Imran Matin, PhD
Contact Persons
: Maheen Sultan
Contact Persons Email

About the organisation

BIGD is a social science research and academic institute, grounded in developing country context and practices, with a mission to improve governance and development outcomes.

We conduct rigorous, multi-method social science research, grounded in developing country operations, on a range of social and economic issues to promote practical, time-sensitive innovations for tackling governance and development challenges. Our research spans innovations taking place in government, non-profit, and private sectors for improving lives.

We lead the research on the socioeconomic empowerment programs of BRAC—the global leader among NGOs focusing on poor and marginal people—including their ultra-poor graduation, integrated development, skills development, migration, microfinance, gender justice and diversity, community empowerment, climate change, humanitarian, and urban development programs.

Our Priority Areas

Gender and social transformation

Explores discrimination and inequalities faced by women and other vulnerable groups and associated norms, values, access to information, and sociopolitical factors. It also focuses on the changes in gender relations and institutions.

Economic development and growth

Focuses on poverty, skills and jobs, education, international migration, access to finance, and small and medium enterprises, with an aim to promote equitable, sustainable economic development.

Governance and politics

Hones in on issues of accountability, institutional reform, deliberative democracy, governance efficiency, and public service.

Cross-cutting and emerging themes

BIGD is expanding research on critical emerging questions—how to use digital technology for inclusive development and how to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of the population vulnerable to climatic shocks.

The BRAC partnership gives us a unique opportunity to find innovative, effective, and scalable approaches to complex development challenges through formative and large-scale field research on BRAC interventions in Bangladesh. Our affiliation with the Independent Evaluation and Research Cell (IERC) of BRAC International helps us reach countries in South Asia and Africa.

SRHR publications/research

Policy Brief: Adolescent Girls’ Vulnerabilities and Transitions in the Context of COVID-19

The research was undertaken to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the capabilities related to the life trajectories of adolescents, particularly girls, through which the pathways to women’s access to justice can be better understood by policymakers and programmers concerned. The study finds some of the choices made by parents and female adolescents, led to greater vulnerability including the choice of early marriage. It led to increased risks for reproductive health complications and domestic violence. The decision to migrate to work taken by underage boys led to them going through informal and unsafe channels, and the kind of work they were going into was not safe either. COVID-19 also resulted in increased phone and internet access for adolescents, especially boys, although parents and adolescents, again mainly boys, had very little knowledge of cyberbullying, harassment or cybercrimes.

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Adolescent Health, Nutrition and Sexual and Reproductive Health in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh has made substantial progress toward the Millennium Development Goals related to health and nutrition, including increased rates of immunization and reduced rates of infant under-nutrition, under-five and maternal mortality, and communicable diseases. Although improving, and relatively more accessible in urban areas compared to rural areas, inequities and unequal distribution in the provision of health services limits access.

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How the Adolescents Applied their Learning in their Lives: An Evaluation of the Adolescent Development Program of BRAC

This paper aims to measure the changes in the type and depth of knowledge and understanding on sexual and reproductive health and gender issues, and how they obtained that knowledge. Secondly, changes in the ways in which adolescents were practically applying this understanding, or intended to apply it in their own lives (or not) were determined; if not, then reasons for not doing so were determined.

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Digital Financial Services, Women’s Economic Empowerment, and Maternal Mental Wellbeing: An Ethnographic Study in Rural Kenya

While more than one-third of the Kenyan population earns just 1.9 USD per day, women disproportionately experience poverty due to unequal access to labor and lack of economic control in their households. Previous studies suggest an increase in access to digital financial services (DFS) can lead to economic growth, poverty reduction, wellbeing of households, and an increase in women’s economic empowerment (WEE).

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Impact of Humanitarian Play Lab on Child Development and Mothers’ Psychological Wellbeing

To help the traumatized Rohingya children heal and learn, BRAC developed a play-based early childhood development (ECD) solution called the Humanitarian Play Lab (HPL)—an adaptation of BRAC’s play lab model used in non-humanitarian settings. In collaboration with researchers from Monash University, BIGD is evaluating the impact of HPL on the Rohingya children aged 0-6 years as well as on their parents/caregivers. If proven effective, HPL can be scaled up to help millions of forcibly-displaced children leave behind their painful past and to put them on a better trajectory.

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Gender and Adolescence Research Panorama: Summary, Quarter 1, 2020 Edition

The GAGE Research Panorama provides an overview of current research on adolescents over the most recent GAGE quarter, as well as external grey and published literature, specifically looking at articles that relate, from a gender perspective to GAGE’s key capability domains: education and learning; bodily integrity and freedom from violence; health, nutrition, and sexual and reproductive health; psychosocial well-being; voice and agency; and economic empowerment. It also aims to look at the ways specific vulnerabilities such as age, disability and refugee status further disadvantage adolescents in achieving these capabilities.

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Adolescent Psychosocial Well-Being and Voice and Agency in Dhaka, Bangladesh

The 2017-2030 Bangladesh National Strategy for Adolescent Health recognizes mental health as one of the four priority areas along with sexual and reproductive health, nutrition and violence. However, mental health services in Bangladesh are currently limited. A systematic review of the mental health situation of Bangladesh revealed that the overall prevalence of mental ill-health varied from 6.5 to 31% among adults and from 13.4 to 22.9% among children.

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Gender Price of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

This study involves a comparative case study of agro-processing firm workers and informal domestic workers in Uganda and Bangladesh, enabling us to analyze differences between the formal and informal economy and resulting implications for young women’s voice and agency. This study aims to contribute to an understanding of the processes of empowerment of young females, which may enable them to challenge workplace sexual harassment.

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