The Huffington Post published another article by BRAC USA President and CEO Susan Davis, who discussed the organization’s partnership with the MasterCard Foundation. The MasterCard Foundation is helping BRAC implement their anti-poverty solutions in Africa and has committed $45 million to help BRAC reach 4.2 million people by 2016. BRAC’s Uganda program is not only offering microfinance loans, but also professional training, medical treatment, new schools and a network of micro-franchised entrepreneurs. According to Davis, these additional services are crucial for increasing the effectiveness of microfinance based on BRAC’s experiences.

BRAC is also focusing these initiatives on girls and women, which has been shown to promote “healthier families, a more flexible workforce, lower HIV rates and a more stable society.” From Uganda, Davis wrote about the results they’ve seen so far:

“An estimated 1.2 million Ugandans are HIV positive, yet of the women and girls who have participated in BRAC’s programs in Uganda, 67 percent report always using a condom if and when they have sex, versus only 38 percent of a random control sample. There’s an apparent spillover effect, too: Even among those who don’t participate, 54 percent of those in villages where we’ve set up programs say they use condoms, suggesting the spread of good habits among peers. Rates of early motherhood have fallen, too, with 12.4 percent of girls in the control group having children since an initial survey in 2008, versus only 8.7 percent of our program participants.”

Judging from these statistics, this partnership is just like any another reward from MasterCard: priceless!

Letter From Uganda: Given the Tools to Fight Poverty, Africa’s Women Tend to Win” [Huffington Post, October 25, 2011]