Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, BRAC’s founder and chairperson, was announced as the winner of the 41st annual World Food Prize today. Sir Fazle has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to enhancing the world’s production and distribution of food to those most in need.
Ambassador Ken Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation, announced this year’s winner at a ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC on 1 July 2015. A $250,000 award, the World Food Prize is often called the Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.
“Being selected to receive the 2015 World Food Prize is a great honour,” said Sir Fazle in a statement. “I thank the Foundation for its recognition of the work of BRAC, which I have had the privilege to lead over the last 43 years. The real heroes in our story are the poor themselves and, in particular, women struggling with poverty. In situations of extreme poverty, it is usually the women in the family who have to make do with scarce resources. When we saw this at BRAC, we realised that women needed to be the agents of change in our development effort.”
BRAC’s contributions to poverty and hunger eradication and food security are widely credited as a major contributor to Bangladesh’s progress in halving the poverty rate since 1990, in line with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. By focusing on scalable solutions, BRAC’s food programmes have turned into sustainable social enterprises that provide inputs and access to stable markets for the rural poor. Under BRAC’s agriculture and food security programme, 133,000 farmers were trained with improved farming technologies in the year 2014.
BRAC’s agriculture and food security programmes are part of a larger set of poverty eradication interventions working in 11 countries, empowering the poor, women and girls especially, using tools like microfinance, education, healthcare, legal services, community empowerment, social enterprises, and a full-fledged university, BRAC University, in Dhaka.