The Global Muslim Philanthropy Fund for Children approves US$ 12 million in new grants to support children in Bangladesh, Jordan and Pakistan

The innovative financing was made available by the UAE’s Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund, and KSA’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief)

Jeddah-Riyadh/Dubai/New York, 1 February 2021 - The leaders of the Islamic Development Bank, UNICEF, King Salman Centre for Humanitarian Aid and Relief (KSrelief), and the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund met virtually today to formally approve the first batch of projects funded by the Global Muslim Philanthropy Fund for Children (GMPFC), which was launched at the UN General Assembly in September 2019.  The IsDB-administered GMPFC manages pooled Islamic philanthropy resources for life-saving humanitarian assistance and achieving child-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund and KSA’s KSrelief are the Fund’s first donors, having contributed US$10 million and US$ 9.2 million, respectively, to kick-start the Fund’s operations.

Three projects with a total value of US$12.1 million were approved today by the Fund’s Governing Council. These projects, to be implemented in partnership with UNICEF, target mainly refugee children in Bangladesh, Jordan and Pakistan:

  • In Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, where an estimated 1.2 million Rohingya refugees and members of the host population need humanitarian assistance, KSrelief will provide funding towards lifesaving healthcare for children and women, along with nutrition support for children under the age of five, and pregnant and nursing mothers.
  • In Jordan, funding from the Abdul Al Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will be directed to Jordan which hosts more than 650,000 registered Syrian refugees.  The approved funding will be used to support vulnerable children and young people between the ages of 12 and 24 to strengthen learning and wellbeing, and in particular, to support their positive transition to adulthood.
  • In Pakistan, funding contributed by KSrelief will support immunisation coverage and health services for children under the age of five in selected districts, contributing to the reduction in the current number of 250,000 children who die every year before their first birthday.

The Fund’s Governing Council, which is co-chaired by H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President of Islamic Development Bank Group, and Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, reviewed the Fund’s operating procedures and discussed its future growth strategy.

H.E. Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of the King Salman Centre commented: “I am very pleased to announce KSrelief’s participation in the Global Muslim Philanthropy Fund for Children. Particularly now, when the Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating an already challenging global humanitarian landscape, it is essential for our collective efforts to be directed towards helping the most vulnerable among us – our children. The Fund will enable Muslim philanthropists to support programmes that provide at-risk children and youth with access to protection, education, health care, proper nutrition and every opportunity to achieve success in the future”.

H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Founder of the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund added: “Education can only be effective if children and youth are healthy, safe, and have access to water and food. That is why a collaborative approach is needed now more than ever before given the unprecedented challenges resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. We believe that the programmes currently being rolled out in Jordan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will positively impact thousands of vulnerable children and will play an important role in mitigating the public health and socioeconomic impact of the pandemic to help elevate their livelihoods and safeguard their futures. With that, we are very proud to be involved in coordinating and channeling Muslim donor support to help institutionalize giving in a strategic and impactful way, and we look forward to generating sustainable impact off the back of this.”

Hosting the virtual meeting, H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar stated “Today we begin to deliver on our promise to children to bring brighter days, as the Global Muslim Philanthropy Fund for Children has now become fully operational, thanks to the support of our partners”. “We look forward to expanding our partnership with Muslim philanthropists to address the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children, and to tackle head-on poverty and disease in our member countries”, he added.

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, said: “With the challenges facing the world today, and as we look to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, collective, coordinated and sustained action is critical.  The Global Muslim Philanthropy Fund for Children represents a unique opportunity for leading global Muslim philanthropists to come together and create significant and lasting change for the most vulnerable children and their families.”

The partners confirmed their continued commitment to the Fund as a global strategic platform for Muslim philanthropy in a joint call for action:

“'The GMPFC is a unique vehicle which ensures that Muslim Philanthropy is at the forefront of fighting poverty and disease and achieving the SDGs.  We call on all Muslim Philanthropists around the world to join our growing coalition of global Muslim leaders, so that together we can strategically respond to humanitarian needs and save lives.”