Isn’t it remarkable how one individual can transform an entire country? Kravis Prize winner Sir Fazle Hasan Abed can most definitely be credited for Bangladesh’s tremendous progress over the last 40 years as the founder of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), the largest nongovernmental development organization in the world.

The Asia Foundation’s Alma Freeman — blogger for In Asia, a weekly insight and analysis from the foundation — had the privilege of sitting down with the 2007 Kravis Prize winner to discuss the changes he has witnessed in Bangladesh and his goals for the future.

“The most dramatic change has been women’s role in society. Women’s literacy rate used to be almost 30 percent less than men, now it’s almost equal. It has been wonderful to see so many children being educated…I can see that BRAC has changed people’s lives dramatically, particularly for those children who have had the advantage of education.”

Based on the prediction that Bangladesh will become a middle-income country by 2021, Abed remarks:

“If a country attains middle-income status, and 10 percent of the population is still under extreme poverty, if they can’t feed themselves and their children, then it doesn’t mean much to me… Bangladesh has done well, but that doesn’t mean that we have attained all of the things that we still want to do with our country.”

To learn more about the inspiring work of Sir Fazle Abed and BRAC, go to our page.

“In Conversation with BRAC’s Sir Fazle Hassan Abed”[The Asia Foundation, September 19, 2012]