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Freedom From Want: The Remarkable Success Story of BRAC, the Global Grassroots Organization That's Winning the Fight Against Poverty Paperback


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Freedom From Want: The Remarkable Success Story of BRAC, the Global Grassroots Organization That's Winning the Fight Against Poverty + Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (Random House Reader's Circle)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Kumarian Press (April 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565492943
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565492943
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #621,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ian Smillie insightfully chronicles the work of BRAC and its founder, Fazle Hasan Abed, whom I was proud to present with a Clinton Global Citizen Award. BRAC's enormous contributions to health, education, and economic development have improved the lives of over 100 million people across the globe. Dr. Abed's story proves just how much people with vision and commitment can change the world." --Bill Clinton

"The billion dollars in micro loans that BRAC extends each year to poor people is just the beginning of the story of this remarkable organization. Smillie writes about how determination, ingenuity and enterprise can end poverty." --George Soros

"This book is a must for anyone who thinks that foreign aid doesn't work, that ordinary people can't pull themselves out of poverty, or that sustainable development can't happen at a large scale." -- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia

"As I was describing how Ian Smillie's excellent book on BRAC helps us to understand the astonishing accomplishments of Fazle Hasan Abed, the spell-check of my computer proposed that I replace "Fazle" with "fable." That could actually work, since it is really fabulous how Abed has been able to help the emergence of a forward-looking and dynamic Bangladesh through his astonishing combination of vision, reason and commitment. The book is a gripping account of how the practical intellect of one person and the trail-blazing activities of an organization have been able to achieve something close to a miracle." -- Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics

Review

"This book is a must for anyone who thinks that foreign aid doesn't work, that ordinary people can't pull themselves out of poverty, or that sustainable development can't happen at a large scale."

"As I was describing how Ian Smillie's excellent book on BRAC helps us to understand the astonishing accomplishments of Fazle Hasan Abed, the spell-check of my computer proposed that I replace "Fazle" with "fable." That could actually work, since it is really fabulous how Abed has been able to help the emergence of a forward-looking and dynamic Bangladesh through his astonishing combination of vision, reason and commitment. The book is a gripping account of how the practical intellect of one person and the trail-blazing activities of an organization have been able to achieve something close to a miracle."

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Monica I. Restrepo on April 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
These are the words of Fazle Hasan Abed, an extraordinary and authentic leader who has transformed the lives of millions of people through meticulous `experiments' that have grown into highly scalable solutions to poverty. If you've never heard of Abed, that's precisely the reason for his success - he has built an organization without political interests on the world stage, with the sole motivation of tackling poverty at its root. It's an extraordinary journey.

Considering the complexity of the organization, Ian Smillie has presented the story in a both easy-to-read and thorough way (he has plenty of experience in development and has typically been critical of western NGOs). If you're interested in microfinance, you'll learn how BRAC has managed to reach the poorest of the poorest, people that no other NGO (including Yunus' Grameen) could reach. If you're interested in health, you'll be captivated by BRAC's efforts to eradicate Tuberculosis (the cure rate in Bangladesh is now 90%). If you're interested in education, you'll see how BRAC has managed to salvage the education of thousands of young children who've fallen out of the public school system. This is all managed by one man, one organization, and to scale.

Most encouraging is the fact that Abed is now taking BRAC beyond Bangladesh. In Afghanistan they were the first microfinance organization to thrive, and have paved the way for others to enter. They are now also engaged in Africa. The secret to their success in such destitute and often war-torn countries, as Smillie explains, is that "BRAC's modus operandi is very different from that of most Western NGOs. It isn't part of the standard expatriate community...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Chaplin on April 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Freedom From Want: The Remarkable Success Story of BRAC, the Global Grassroots Organization That's Winning the Fight Against Poverty

Freedom From Want is an amazing adventure story that starts with a fight for freedom and the fight to help a country survive a devastating cyclone. Then, BRAC founder Fazle Hasan Abed takes relief a step further, joining the fight against poverty by using a unique combination of ingenuity and social entrepreneurship to enable people to empower themselves to climb out of poverty.

The book is an insightful look into how a good idea and some perseverance can be cultivated into the largest anti-poverty organizations in the world. Listen to what the likes of Bill Clinton, Amartya Sen and Pierre Omidyar are saying - this is a great read about an amazing organization that many have probably never heard of!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Premal Shah on September 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
As President of Kiva.org, I read "Freedom From Want" to better understand the details behind BRAC. In 2007, I had a chance to visit BRAC's new program in Uganda and was incredibly impressed with their efficiency and integrated development approach. The visit was brief, but it left me curious about how this well-reputed organization ticks. Luckily, "Freedom From Want" delivers. It helped me understand not only the personal story of an incredible founder, but it chronicles the several phase development of the world's largest NGO in a way that's helpful to leaders of much younger social enterprises, like Kiva. BRAC is impressive not because it has scaled, but because it is constantly evaluating, tweaking and seeking to address root cause issues. Highly recommended for anyone interested in international development or social entrepreneurship. If you like books like Half The Sky (Kristof / WuDunn), Banker to the Poor (Yunus) and The End of Poverty (Sachs), then this is a must read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JAJ on June 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Freedom from Want is the most in-depth book about BRAC that has been written in many years. It gives a useful background of the historical context in which the organization was founded. It also gives a cogent explanation of 2 important aspects of the organization's success:(1) how BRAC is much more than microfinance, and (2) how its development/creation of every step along the production/marketing chain of a new profit-making enterprises.

I have heard many people speak of BRAC as a paradigm of successful development work, and anyone interested in such work would find something interesting/beneficial in this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
BRAC, the global grassroots organization actively and successfully fighting poverty, is recounted in Freedom from Want, a survey of its change from a small, little-known relief operation focused on Bangladesh to its spread in health, education and world rescue operations. BRAC's success story holds many insights for others and makes for a key acquisition for any library strong in global social issues and solutions.
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