Winner of the World Food Prize: Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, A Man Who Has Worked to Alleviate Hunger

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The world owes a lot to thanks to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed of Bangladesh, and now, his significant work has been recognised. Sir Fazle is this year’s winner of the World Food Prize, the most prominent global award for individuals whose breakthrough achievements alleviate hunger and promote global food security. The award was announced at the U.S. State Department in Washington DC. Sir Fazle is the founding chairman of BRAC, a leading rural development and anti-poverty organisation, based in Bangladesh and established in 1972. Since then, BRAC has helped nearly 150 million people out of poverty.

Sir Fazle has created innovative approaches to feeding the world’s rapidly growing population and has made huge progress in improving people’s lives, easing hunger and creating opportunities out of poverty through creative initiatives. His organisation, BRAC, focuses on education for girls, empowerment of women and lifting whole generations out of poverty. It’s an organisation that recognises that by engaging women in STEAM fields—science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math – it benefits local and global communities.

BRAC was formally known as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee and now operates in ten countries. It has been hailed as the most effective anti-poverty organisation in the world. Its agricultural and development innovations have improved food security for millions and contributed to a significant decline in poverty levels through direct impacts to farmers and small communities across the globe. Today, BRAC runs 18 financially and socially profitable enterprises across health, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, education, green energy, printing and retail sectors. It has been responsible for extraordinary advancements in the poultry, seed and dairy industries in Bangladesh and other places in Africa where it operates.

Sir Fazle focused on the social and economic empowerment of women when he set up BRAC. At the time, that was considered a radical departure from conventional approaches. On receiving the World Food Prize, he poignantly said, “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…only by putting the poorest, and women in particular, in charge of their own destinies, will absolute poverty and deprivation be removed from the face of the earth.”

Sir Fazle will receive the World Food Prize at a ceremony that will be held in the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines, Iowa on 15 October, 2015. The event is part of a three-day international symposium entitled the Borlaug Dialogue, which regularly draws over 1,200 people from 65 countries to discuss cutting-edge issues in global food security. Also included in the World Food Prize week-long series of events is the Iowa Hunger Summit on October 13 and the three-day Global Youth Institute, which includes participants from the U.S. and abroad. It is designed to inspire the next generation of high school students to explore careers in agriculture and fighting hunger.

Photo Credit: BRAC