The Communities Outreach Programme (COP) has contributed to inclusive development in many IsDB non-member countries. The following Case Studies are examples of how the COP can serve as vital mechanisms for improving the socio-economic status of the Muslim communities in IsDB non-member countries, in particular the improvement in education, health and the welfare of the communities. The COP strives to ensure that the gap in access to quality education and health services for the Muslim minority communities in IsDB non-member countries has been reduced and eventually been eliminated so that Muslim minority communities in IsDB non-member countries can be productive citizens in their countries.
This section of the website outlines a few sample cases where the IsDB has used its Communities Outreach Programme’s fund in ways that enhance the development of the Muslim minority communities in IsDB non-member countries. The cases show how the projects can make a positive difference and contribute to inclusive development in several IsDB non-member countries.
The subsequent Case Studies reflect sample of the COP’s contribution and explain ways and means in which IsDB projects can contribute access to education, health & skills development, promoting the participation of Muslim minority communities in growth and inclusive development. The Case Studies are related to Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, Canada and Zimbabwe, and synthesize the contribution of selected projects that were supported under the Communities Outreach Programme (COP).
Financing the Education Leadership Program for Islamic Schools in Fiji: Linking and Learning between Islamic Schools in Fiji and Singapore
Many Islamic schools of Muslim minority communities in non-member countries, are left behind from new innovations in teaching and learning. This affects the future of the young Muslim generation. Islamic Schools in Fiji are a case in point; requiring support to innovate in education.
Islamic Schools in Fiji provides a significant contribution to the inclusive development of communities in Fiji. The IsDB has partnered with Fiji Muslim League to improve the physical learning environment of Islamic schools and providing the much-needed educational equipment. The Islamic schools have not, however, been introduced to the best practices in organizational effectiveness and educational quality. This offers several challenges;
- Inadequate training and skill development for teachers;
- Inadequate application of technology in school management and learning.
- Lack of access to accreditation of leadership courses offered in Fiji by international educational providers
- Weak administrative and technical capacity in relation to modern curriculum development and supervisory competencies.
In view of the above, the IsDB approved a project in the year 2014 with the financing contribution of US$ 200,000 in partnership with the Fiji Muslim League, scaling up the capacity of the Islamic schools in Fiji by linking them to the leading Islamic schools around the world, and their best experiences and practices.
In a bid to achieve the above objective, IsDB has facilitated a linkage between Fiji Muslim League (FML) and Al Irsyad school in Singapore, one of the best performing Islamic schools. The objective of the linkage building was in particular in the areas of;
- Improving the quality of teaching and learning through the training of school principals, heads of department and school leaders in Islamic schools in Fiji.
- Enhancing access to modern educational resources, skills, knowledge and understanding the role of ICT in education, and enabling students to cope independently with the ever-changing world.
The project had the following project components:
- Capacity Building of Leaders in Education
- Organizational best practices in education
- School governance and management
- Learning Journey for Islamic school teachers to Singapore to get exposure to Singapore education system, in particular Islamic schools.
A total of nine schools under the umbrella of the Fiji Muslim League participated in this education leadership project, impacting some 100 teachers and its 5,000 students.
In the past, the nine schools were working on their own. Today, there is a network formed among teachers of these schools to exchange knowledge and best practices with each other, Madrasah Irsyad in Singapore assisting in the transfer of 21st century educational reform to these nine schools. As such, the schools have set themselves on a path of continuous improvement.
Due to the transferred skills, the lessons are now a lot more interactive and fun resulting in better engagement among the students and improving the teaching and learning process. There is improvement in student discipline as teachers are a lot more equipped to handle “disturbances” and cultivate a more positive environment within the classroom.
Furthermore, the schools have the proper processes, systems and standards that Al Irsyad School has developed in all aspects of running an excellent school. This exists in the form of formal and structured training programs, manuals and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), standards and KPIs, and even Audit kits for assessment on the implementation of the whole school system.
The project contributed to the inclusiveness of the Muslim community in the mainstream development of Fiji through improving education quality. It also enhanced the connectivity between Muslim communities in non-member countries through sharing the best practices and learning. The project contributed to the IsDB strategic pillar of Inclusive Social Development. The project has also changed the mindset of Islamic teachers in Fiji and enabled them to adopt a student-centered education system which is more in line with the 21st century teaching approaches.
Financing a New Building for Safa & Marwa in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada in partnership with Salaheddin Islamic Centre
The IsDB has contributed to the improved learning environment of Safa & Marwa Islamic School in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada in partnership with Salaheddin Islamic Centre.
The Islamic Development Bank’s Communities Outreach Programme has partnered with the Salaheddin Islamic Centre, achieving the objective of accommodating the increasing demand from the Muslim community, and securing enrolment for their children at Safa & Marwa Islamic School in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Due to the limited space of the Safa & Marwa Islamic School, to accommodate the increasing demand from the Muslim community, The Communities Outreach Programme of IsDB proposed their participation in financing the expansion of the school to mitigate the pressure. The resulting project succeeded in increasing the school capacity by about 25%, improving the education level by enabling full facilities for the school (Library, Labs, Gyms, etc). It has also helped in reducing the gap in the demand for the high schools in the Mississauga area where Safa & Marwa Islamic School is one of only three high schools serving around 500,000 Muslims.
In a bid to achieve the objective of accommodating the increasing demand, the partner, Salaheddin Islamic Centre, purchased a building previously used as an office and warehouse for a private company. The project cost was US$ 6.6 million to which IsDB has contributed US$ 200,000. The purchased building was converted into high school classes and offices. School facilities such as science Labs, Gym and Library were established. The school was also equipped with the necessary furniture, equipment, and Innovation labs to run innovation programs and competitions. This has accommodated the enrollment of 120 students at the school, making the total number of students 850.
Safa & Marwa Islamic School in Mississauga is ranked one of the top schools in all of Ontario. The school strives to provide an engaging environment for its students attending Grades 9 to 12. It is a private high school accredited with the Ontario Ministry of Education, which prepares students for admission to colleges and universities in Canada, while striving to abide by Qur’anic mandate and the prophetic traditions. Its vision is to be the leader in fostering an educational experience that empowers Muslim communities to become contributing citizens that are proud and confident in their Islamic faith.
The project was approved on 1st July 2018 and completed January 2020. The IsDB support has been highly welcomed by the Muslim community leaders and the government. The Community Outreach Program has rekindled hope and provided the much-needed support.
Construction of Al Shifa Primary Health Care Centre in Hartcliffe Extension, Harare, Zimbabwe
The IsDB has participated with Islamic Medical Association of Zimbabwe (IMAZ) to finance the Construction of Al Shifa Primary Health Care Centre in Hartcliffe Extension, Harare, Zimbabwe. The aim is to contribute to the improvement of health conditions of the vulnerable people in Hatcliffe Extension. The project was approved on 15 December 2018, with phase two completed in 2020. The building was constructed to provide the community in Hatcliffe Extension access to health services, which were previously unable to properly cater for people, many having to travel long distances for medical attention.
Hatcliffe Extension is a high density, low-income urban settlement on the outskirts of Harare, which was established in 2005. The area is populated by an exceptionally marginalized and disadvantaged community of 60,000 (and growing), which is not adequately supported by social services such as water, electricity, roads, and schools. There was also no healthcare facility to support such a large and vulnerable populace, or a permanent healthcare facility to support the health and wellness needs of the community.
IMAZ saw the need for an affordable, sustainable permanent healthcare facility in the identified area and set to raise funds for the construction and setting up of such a facility. Land measuring 2300m2 was purchased. IMAZ next set out to achieve their objective to construct a permanent Al Shifa Primary Health Care Centre in Hatcliffe Extension.
With a grant from the Islamic Development Bank and collaboration with the Islamic Women’s Initiative Network and other donors, the construction of the first phase of the Al Shifa Primary Health Care Centre commenced in September 2017.
With the support of the IsDB, Al Shifa Primary Health Care Centre was started in March 2019 to provide basic services.
Another Free Medical Outreach was conducted in October 2019 in the unfinished building of Al Shifa Primary Health Care Centre, where more than 800 patients were attended to and provided with free medication.
The construction of the Al Shifa Primary Health Care Centre was fully completed in August 2020. IMAZ provides medical doctors on a voluntary basis to help the community with free medical treatment, performs eye cataract operations for the less privileged and raise awareness on health issues. Its outreach includes dentists, surgeons, physicians and cardiologists for children. The voluntary doctors can treat patients free of charge at the recently built health center.
Financing the Expansion of Austin Peace Academy, TX, USA.
The IsDB has participated in the improvement of the learning environment of Austin Peace Academy in Austin, TX, USA, the aim being to provide a better learning space through the expansion of a new school building. The school’s main building was not designed for middle and upper School and had limited free space for staff and students to use. Due to the pressing need of the school, the IsDB project was approved on 15 December 2018 and was successfully completed in 2019.
Austin Peace Academy (APA) is an Islamic school in Austin, Texas, serving Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12. As of 2016, its students originate from 19 nationalities. The Muslim community in Austin founded Austin Peace Academy to meet the crucial challenge of stimulating the minds of the students who enroll in the school while at the same time enabling them to preserve their Islamic identity, heritage and practices.
In partnership with IsDB, the Austin Peace Academy has successfully constructed 14 additional classrooms for middle and upper School, dedicated space for Hifz and the ISAQ Department, dedicated space for a science lab, computer lab and art room, and a larger office to house all administrative staff with a conference room. The old building was also renovated so that the students could move from the portables, which were worn out and required constant upkeep. These portables housed the lower elementary students (Pre-K to 5th Grade). They are over 20 years old and present constant issues.
The floors creaked, the ceilings leaked, and the temperatures in the classrooms would vary day to day which could adversely affect the learning. The classrooms weren’t well lit, with limited natural light, and weren’t large enough to accommodate a big group of students.
The renovation of the old building has helped the lower elementary students (Pre-K to 5th Grade) to move from the poor conditions of portables.
With IsDB's participation in financing the expansion project together with Austin Peace Academy and the community with the total amount of $3.5 million, the school was able to allocate those funds to the construction of the new middle and upper school building. Additionally, new learning spaces were created for the lower elementary students in the existing building. Creating these spaces transformed the learning experience for all of the 266 students, who started off their school year in bright and spacious classrooms.
Financing Science Lab building for Darul Uloom Boys School, Trinidad and Tobago in Caribbean Island
The IsDB has participated in building modern science facilities for Darul Uloom Boys School to enhance the level of education quality in sciences, enabling the school to both meet the Ministry of Education standards and augment the ability of the students in that field. In partnership with the IsDB, this project was successfully completed in August 2020.
The Science Lab Building consists of three levels/floors with a dimension of 150’ x 30’ (46x9.14 meters). The ground floor has an auditorium / assembly hall, examination hall, lecture hall, convention hall and hosts audio/visual events. It is fitted with AC, washroom facilities and movable partitions enable its separation into smaller functional areas. The first floor accommodates five large classrooms and washroom facilities. The second floor is used primarily for computer and science labs, providing two computer labs with a capacity of 60 students. Additionally, it accommodates a large science lab, catering for a further 60 students, equipped with apparatuses for biology, chemistry and physics along with adequate storage and prep rooms. The labs can also be separated with the use of movable partitions, and the entire building is compliant with the necessary safety requirements inclusive of signage, fire hose, fire alarms, fire extinguishers and emergency lighting, meeting all the legal requirements.
The Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago (DUTT) is a non-profit charitable organization, established in 1984 with a focused vision; firstly, to provide quality Islamic and Academic educational and social services to the Muslim community, secondly, to provide integration between Islamic education and academic studies, especially for Muslims, locally and regionally. The organisation has a Boys College, a Girls College, and is registered with both the Ministry of Education for its secondary programs and with the Accreditation Council of T&T (ACTT) for its tertiary level programs. The Institution has maintained an excellent success rate in its secondary program: 96-100 % in all ‘O’ Level subjects for both boys and girls. It is also the first of its kind to provide accredited post-secondary and tertiary level programs at the Graduate / Post-graduate level in the Caribbean region.
The DUTT embraced the challenge of providing sufficient facilities for academic programs requiring labs, such as IT and the major sciences. The previous science lab could not cater for the other associated sciences – Chemistry and Physics, and students had to take turns to participate. Lab capacity was initially only around 15 students for computer/IT and around 10 students for Biology.
With the welfare of staff, students, stakeholders, and general community development the motivation, IsDB’s assistance has resulted in a purpose-built facility for Computer/IT and Sciences, provisions for printing and publishing, a media centre, Halaal testing facilities and a general hall. The lab capacity was improved upon exponentially.
Impact / Results of the Project (Direct and Indirect)
- Fulfilling the Ministry of Education (MOE) requirements for Labs: The new science labs have been designed to meet all the stipulations for Biology, Chemistry and Physics as guided and recommended by the MOE, staying compliant with the secondary curriculum of studies. Students are now afforded the opportunity to choose the subjects of their interest, either business or science subjects in meeting their career goals. They are now able to choose additional academic subjects such as Chemistry and Physics which were not offered prior to the Lab project.
- Safety: The lab provides greater safety for stakeholders because of updated equipment and more space.
- Hall facilities: The ground floor is also used as a multipurpose hall, for general assemblies, auditorium functions, lectures, multimedia presentation, workshops & training, as well as a main use as an exam hall.
- Printing and publishing: The building has accommodation for printing and publishing. The reach of such is more than 60,000 annually.
- The building adds to the modern and contemporary design and look of the Institution and adds value to the entire community.
- Capacity to cater for more students. The space allotment for the various functions of the Institution caters for growth.
- Media centre: This facility caters for the function of servers, webpage, data base, on-line systems, etc. The impact of having an efficient system goes beyond the shores of Trinidad and thousands of people, locally, regionally and internationally will benefit from contents and information.
- Public lectures and conferences: The hall caters for public classes and lectures and can accommodate about 300 people.
- Investing in the children’s’ future: The Boys’ College did not offer Chemistry and Physics in the past to students because of the lack of infrastructure and space. With the new labs, these subjects can be offered providing an avenue for further studies requiring such subjects.
- With the functionality of the Lab, there is an increase in employment for others such as janitors and technicians.
- The IsDB Assisted Lab Project is an achievement, not only for the school, but for the Muslim community in general who contributed to the overall educational development and benefits of students. Its impact is far-reaching.
Financing the Makoi Women’s Vocational Training Centre (MWVTC) project in Fiji
The IsDB has participated in the development of Muslim minority community in Fiji in partnership with Fiji Muslim League (FML) by providing grants for building of schools, medical and vocational training center, ICT upgrades, leadership training and emergency relief supplies for victims affected by cyclone and floods.
One of the projects that has positively transformed the lives of Fijian women is the Makoi Women’s Vocational Training Centre supported by the IsDB Communities Outreach Programme.
Many underprivileged and destitute women in Fiji such as widows, deserted mothers, school dropouts, and women from broken families did not have access to the skills, training and resources that would help them become independent and financially self-sufficient to support themselves and their dependents. Due to little or no education, they are powerless and locked in a vicious cycle where dependency is the norm.
The IsDB Communities Outreach Programme and Fiji Muslim League agreed that the best option was to help these women by training them in a lifelong skill in order to generate income and not be dependent on the handout mentality. To this end, the team from the IsDB Communities Outreach Programme and Fiji Muslim discussed the development of the scope and the objective of the Makoi Women’s Vocational Training Centre (MWVTC) project. The project was approved in 2010 by the IsDB with the grant of US$ 470,000 for the construction, equipping and the capacity building, with the contribution from the Fiji Muslim League which provided the land and assured the provision of the overhead cost of the center.
This Project aims to economically empower and at the same time educate women, providing them with the entrepreneurial skills they need to become economically self-sufficient. These free skill-based developmental opportunities are provided to the underprivileged women regardless of their race and ethnicity. The centre recognizes and leverages women's crucial role as the "Trainer" and a "Catalyst" of a family by offering a plethora of skill-based vocational training geared at enlightening, educating and equipping women to be self-sufficient.
The Centre is a Double storey building with equipment (industrial and portable sewing machines) on the first floor to cater for sewing classes for 35 women. The first floor provides open space for leadership training and seminars/courses, conducting training modules, and for general class use. There is an office for the Manager, and a boardroom. The hall is also used as a showroom for the display of garments made during special open days to attract community support. It has a furnished Library and Computer room which is also used for caregiving practicals.
The ground floor has a state-of-the-art culinary kitchen and equipment setup. It also has a 20 bed Dormitory facility for Muslim women that come from outer Islands to get trained at the Centre and return to their homelands with the skills and knowledge gained at MWVTC.
Today, in offering free courses, the Center enables marginalized and destitute women to have access to training in areas such as cooking, pastry, tailoring, embroidery and hydroponics for the duration of 8 weeks. These skills they learn can be utilized to start up income generating activities after graduation. The center has the capacity to enroll 100 women in each batch running simultaneously.
At the culmination of the said courses, the women also undergo training in Financial Management skills to enable them to draw up a budgeting and savings plan. This includes Planning, Budgeting, How to Build a Budget, Saving, Borrowing and How to Protect It. This service is provided by the Westpac Banking Corporation under their corporate social responsibility.
In August 2020, the center partnered with the US Embassy and Women Entrepreneurs Business Council to facilitate the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs Program to 115 women. 33 of these women were graduates from MWVTC. It is a 7 month online entrepreneurial program that helps women entrepreneurs achieve success.
The courses that are included in the program covers relevant topics such as Marketing, Finance and Accounting. In addition to the interactive courses, women have access to helpful tools and templates. Throughout the program, a Business Plan Generator guides the participants in the creation of a business plan for their new or existing businesses.
Currently, the centre is running short courses with 8 weeks’ duration that encompasses the basic fundamentals of Tailoring, Culinary and other easy-learning trades in order to equip students with rudimentary "bread-earning" skills. These short duration participatory courses are more hands on and demonstration-based rather than made up of theory.
At the completion of the 8-week training the center organizes open days to sell the garments and products crafted by the participants. The open day is advertised through the social media platform and word by mouth. Women participants in all the courses are given the opportunity to showcase their products.
The cooking students have a bake sale while the sewing students showcase all their products they have sewn throughout the course. The Hydroponics class showcases all their new methods of planting by using local nutrients and local re-usable products such as plastic bottles, oil gallons, egg trays etc. The income from the sales is retained by the center.
After 8 weeks of training the students graduate with certificates issued by the invited Chief Guests. The MWVTC has attracted a lot of attention in the media by the participants, Fijian Government and diplomatic missions based out of Fiji. To date the center has been blessed by the visits of Ministers, Diplomatic Heads of Mission and prominent citizens who have presented themselves as the Chief Guest at the graduation.
The Centre’s immediate goal is to allow the students an opportunity to make an honest living so that these women and their families are able to move out of poverty, begging and illicit activities on the streets.
Since the inception of the Vocational Center over 1000 women of all races have been trained in Cooking & Pastry, Sewing & Embroidery and Hydroponics. The participants have come from peri urban, rural and distance communities and villages from the two big Islands of Fiji, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu and Taveuni.
The highest number of graduates from Makoi has been deserted mothers followed by widows and divorcees. Some of the graduated women have had no formal education at all or have had only primary school education. Our trainer’s converse with these ladies in vernacular language either (Urdu, Hindi or Itaukei) to impart the skill-based education.
To further its services to the community, Makoi Women’s Vocational Training Center introduced a caregiving course in February 2020. This is a 6 months course whereby all the theory and practical of providing professional care to the elderly and persons with medical conditions needing constant physical care have been covered.
The caregiving course is also available to women who have been caring for their elderly at home. All students are also provided training in personal grooming, self-confidence and general education such as Financial Literacy with a view to getting them started in a successful practical life. The procedure of training not only explores the hidden skills of the individuals, but also enhances and refines them professionally, preparing them to join a productive workforce and even become entrepreneurs.
Impact / Results of The Project
The following was the benefits of the project accruing to the participants:
- Over 85% success rate of participants using the skill set to become self-sufficient.
- 30% of graduates have successfully started their own business. One graduate who started her own sewing business is now looking at opening a small garment factory.
- 70% have been employed by hotels, retailers and other businesses including managerial positions.
- Some students have been employed by the centre itself and the Fiji Muslim League.
- A number of the students have formed groups/clubs and participate in craft shows, women’s expos.
- In a number of instances, the graduating students entered into entrepreneurship and were extremely successful. They have expanded their businesses to such extents where they have now become employers. Their success is exemplary for the students of the centre since they managed to not only improve their own family’s livelihood; they created employment opportunities through which additional families benefited.
Due to the popularity of the MWVTC, the support that has been provided by the government and other stakeholders, as well as the quality of the products produced by the centre, management approached the accreditation authorities to have the centre successfully certified.
Makoi Women’s Vocational Training Center has achieved Approval of Recognition by the Fiji Higher Education Commission (FHEC) to operate and issue recognized certificates to the graduating student. The centre is currently in process of registration with FHEC as a ‘Higher Education Institute’. Having the centre courses accredited with the FHEC is a short-medium term goal and the centre is working closely with stakeholders to achieve this sustainable development goal.
The centre is also accredited with the “Fijian Sewn” certification by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. The quality of training that it provides, as well as the quality of the finished work, has been recognized with this accreditation.
The center has sustained itself until now. Post COVD 19 there has been an even greater demand for training for those women who have lost employment in the formal sector for training in new employment skills. The benefits accruing to the participants through this center has been phenomenal, this evidenced by its positive impact on their socio-economic lives.