About the Research and Evaluation Division (RED)
The Research and Evaluation Division (RED) of BRAC was established in 1975, and over time it evolved as a multi-disciplinary independent research unit within the framework of BRAC. The division has been playing an integral role in designing BRAC’s development interventions, monitoring progress, documenting achievements, and undertaking impact assessment studies. It provides an analytical basis for BRAC’s programmatic decisions, fine-tuning it for better performance and making development efforts evidence-based, effective, and community-sensitive. RED conducts programme-driven research in agriculture, applied and reproductive health, communicable and non-communicable diseases, education, environment, extreme poverty, food security and nutrition, microfinance, and social development and human rights. The division also caters to issues of national and international importance independently and in collaboration with reputed academic institutions and international agencies. RED also extends research support to overseas programmes of BRAC in Asia and Africa.
RED’s research activities are coordinated under the following 8 research units: Development Economics, Agricultural Economics, Educational, Social Development, Impact Assessment, Health, Nutrition and Environment. These research units are supported by three specialized units: field operations, data management and knowledge management. Research is also carried out in a number of Asian countries, coordinated by BRAC international Research for Asia located at RED. The research findings are disseminated through a range of oral and print media. Since inception, it has produced nearly 1,405 research reports, 398 journal articles, 285 book and book chapters, 24 theses, 62 research monographs, 100 working papers, 555 RED newsletter, 25 volumes of Nirjash - a research compendium in lucid Bangla language, 231 popular articles in newspapers (as of December 2015).
Development Economics Research Unit
The Development Economic Research unit has contributed significantly to research for BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra Poor programme, Migration Welfare Loan programme, Safe Migration programme, Microfinance Programme and various adolescent development and skill development programmes. Research conducted by the unit mostly deals with the issues of poverty, women empowerment, youth skill development, etc., focussing on impact evaluations, process documentations, situation analysis, etc. and makes use of rigorous quantitative methodology. Various studies based solely on qualitative or on mixed methods have also been conducted by the unit. Members of this unit are mostly from Economics and other related disciplines with strong quantitative skills. Research works of this unit are aligned with collaboration with reputed universities and research institutions, including UC Berkeley, LSE, IFPRI, IDS Sussex. This unit has also successfully competed in securing several large scale research grants from external sources, including 3ie funding for evaluation of BorgaChashiUnnayanPrakalpa, IFPRI grant for assessing gender impacts of CFPR-TUP programme, CEGA-BRAC funding for migration study, ESRC-DFID research grant for assessing psychological wellbeing status of CFPR-TUP programme participants. This unit has so far produced about 23 working papers (under the CFPR-TUP working paper series), several research monographs and articles in internationally reputed refereed journals.
Educational Research Unit
RED started educational research in 1988. The unit not only contributed in shaping BRAC Education Programme through research but also conducted studies on national education systems. Equity with quality is the main focus of the studies. Research issues include the whole range of school education starting from preschool to secondary education. It is a multidisciplinary research unit with eight members having background in Education, Anthropology, Sociology, Statistics and Educational Research Methodology. They have skills in both quantitative and qualitative research techniques. Development of test instruments for assessing basic competencies (ABC), terminal competencies at the end of primary education, literacy status of population and conduct of national sample surveys using these instruments are some important work of the unit. The unit also provides major research support to Education Watch initiative since its inception in 1998. Collaborative partners include Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) Bangladesh, National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA) India and International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP/UNESCO) France. The unit contributed many research reports, Monographs, books, book chapter, journal articles at home and aboard.
Agricultural Economics Research Unit
Recently initiated Agricultural Economics Research Unit at RED conducts operational research and impact assessment (both ex-ante and ex-post) related with BRAC development programmes in agriculture and food security, agricultural micro-credit, women empowerment, rural education, etc. Recent research also aims at new programme development for BRAC in the field of adoption of agricultural technology innovations for marginal areas and WATSAN-agriculture nexus. Most studies follow advanced impact assessment methodology (mainly randomized control trial) under mixed method approach. In-house and outside brain storming, training and workshops help the team members to enrich their capacity to work more efficiently. Currently the unit maintains several international collaboration with globally renowned think tanks/research institutes/donor bodies, namely, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), Bonn University- Center for Development Research (ZEF) and Monash University- Faculty of Business and Economics. The unit publishes scientific papers, reports, policy briefs, etc. and organizes seminar and conferences in the related fields both locally and internationally. Expertise of the team members include agriculture and rural economics, experimental development economics, programme evaluation, anthropology, agri-business, etc.
Environmental Research Unit
BRAC initiated Environment Research Unit (ERU) in 1996 to improve the quality of life through regular evaluation and taking new initiatives towards environmental protection and conservation. Researchers from this unit critically analyses and evaluates programme’s intervention activities systematically towards formulation of policies for improving BRAC WASH and DECC programmes’ strategy as well as relevant national programmes delivery services. To achieve programme’s targets keeping cohesion with national targets, ERU conducts short-term evaluation studies, longitudinal and impact studies, baseline surveys, and action research. It also conducts research on issues of national and international importance independently and in collaboration with reputed academic institutions and international agencies.
Social Development Unit
RED has been conducting research on social issues since its inception. The unit contributes in shaping BRAC social development programmes and addresses major social issues relevant to Bangladesh. The unit endeavors in conducting such research which would contribute in understanding social phenomena with causal explanations thus making additions to the stock of knowledge in the area. The unit mainly conducts research on human rights and legal issues, community development, gender, assessment of training, violence, power structure and ethnic minorities. So it is a multidisciplinary research unit having nine researcher with diverse backgrounds like Anthropology, Sociology, Gender and Business Studies, Law, International relations and Environment Science. The unit is proficient in conducting both qualitative and quantitative researches. It has conducted two national surveys one on ethnic minorities and another on communal violence in Bangladesh. Besides mapping, these studies came up with in-depth analysis on the issues. The unit conducted number of studies for international organizations like UNFPA and contributed in preparing research reports, monographs, book chapters, books, and journal articles both at home and abroad.
Impact Assessment Unit
The Impact Assessment Unit (IAU) started work from 1st August 2011, and currently has 10 staff. The team includes economists, sociologist, geographer, engineers and doctor/public health specialist.Studies have been carried out on projects of the BRAC Gender Justice and Diversity, Human Rights and Legal Services, Adolescent Development, Agriculture and Food Security, Migration, Community Empowerment, and Integrated Development programmes. The unit collaborates with other units in RED and with a number of Universities and research institutes. It has also organised quite extensive training opportunities for BRAC RED and programme staff on impact evaluation methods and techniques.
BRAC International Research for Asia (BIRA)
BRAC International Research for Asia (BIRA) was formed in 2013 to conduct and manage research activities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Based in RED, the units operates in cooperation with the M&E team of BRAC International and respective country management and research units. It has been involved with internal and external bodies for the purpose of designing and implementing research and evaluation projects.
Knowledge Management Unit
Knowledge Management Unit contributes to open and efficient sharing and use of critical pieces of knowledge that enable RED to increase its effectiveness in fighting poverty and social injustice. The unit provides support to research innovation & analytical learning, improving practice, maintaining relevance, analytical basis for new approaches and initiate evidence based dialogue.The unit contributes significantly in improving the quality of research by providing editorial support to RED researchers. Apart from editing research reports, the unit compiles and edits the quarterly RED newsletter. The unit edits research abstracts and presentation slides. The unit maintains the RED web portal and uploads all edited research reports, newsletters and Bangla periodical including photos of RED events. Knowledge Management unit publishes research reports, scientific papers, monographs, working papers, research compendium in Bangla (Nirjash), proceedings, manuals, quarterly RED Update and other publications of RED thus disseminating research findings within and outside BRAC. The unit conducts a host of activities such as proofread, design, distribution and mailing of RED publication, summary translation for Nirjash, archiving research publications (Bound volume), formatting of research reports and web posting, provide support in organizing dissemination of events, prepare materials and updating RED Bulletin Boards at all BLCs, updating & posting of publications, resource centre management, enumerator ID preparation, questionnaire formatting and tracing for printers, scanning of documents for archiving and document scanning support. Computer trouble shooting is also regularly provided by the unit.
Health Research Unit
The health research unit focuses programme evaluation on health, environment and nutritional interventions of BRAC health programme. The unit conducts research intended to strengthen programme implementation, enhance service delivery, improveprogramme performance and innovation. It conducts different types of research such as operations research, implementation research, impact assessment and formative research employing both qualitative and quantitative approach. The unit conducts research on issues related to MNCH, communicable (TB, Malaria) and non-communicable disease, Adult disease (eye care, vision Bangladesh), sexual and reproductive health of adolescent girls’ and boys’, health and nutrition, essential health care, eye care TB and malaria as well as non-communicable diseases.
Food Security and Nutrition Unit
The Food Security and Nutrition unit of RED mainly conducts programme driven research for the improvement and effective implementation of BRAC interventions in the area of nutrition. Additionally it conducts research premising national and international importance in collaboration with reputed academic institutions and international agencies. Since its inception, it has been executing a number of studies including formative investigation, intervention trials, baseline surveys, exploratory and diagnostic studies, operations research, and impact assessments. As a partner of LANSA research program consortium for Bangladesh, the unit conducts a number of research and stakeholder consultation workshops in the area of agriculture and nutrition based on primary and secondary database.
Field Management Unit of RED
The field management unit of RED provides support to various research units of RED for collecting quality data. The unit plays a lead role in recruiting field enumerators, provide them with necessary training and manage their deployment. To collect quality data the unit prepares budget and other schedules.
Admin unit of RED
The unit provides administrative and logistic support to the researchers at RED to smoothly run the activities of RED. The unit also provides Human Resource related support and sends feedback to HR and also to staff members at RED, support in organizing conferences, workshops/seminar, provide support in purchasing goods for RED and maintains and keeps a list of store items at RED.