Philanthropy

What the West doesn’t understand about #UAE foreign #aid

In 2013, 2014, and 2016, the UAE was the world’s biggest international donor, disbursing billions of dollars each year. In 2015, it had the fourth highest aid per capita in the world. Most westerners have no idea that the UAE is so active in foreign aid. Around 90% of its foreign aid is developmental with the rest going on humanitarian and religious/cultural assistance. The recipients are primarily developing Arab and Islamic countries, including Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan. A key factor is a difference in Islamic and secular westerner attitudes to charity. When Islamic banks in the Gulf region are solicited for funds to support civil society projects, they often donate only on the condition that their donation be anonymous. Going forward, transparency efforts must continue. However, the UAE must also work hard to protect the dignity of its aid recipients via appropriate levels of discreetness.

Economics and Pro-Social Behaviour

Values and norms can be positively utilized in achieving development goals where commercial interests are not good stimulators. Redistribution of resources is vital to enhance income as well as the capacity to earn sustainable incomes. This requires income support programs, basic health and education as well as microfinance to build small enterprises. In economics education, results suggest that expenditure can be on self-consumption as well as on consumption of others including dependents, family, neighbours, etc. If an individual prioritizes certain ethical goals over self-aggrandizement, then theorizing should not assume it away. Philanthropy should not be envisioned in the framework of reciprocity alone. People may have a strong desire and willingness to help others even when not reciprocated. There is plenty of evidence that people help strangers, pay anonymously in charities, and sacrifice their wealth and even their lives in the pursuit of being a good person.

#Zurich: #Responsible #Finance & Investment Summit 3-4 May 2017

Summit will explore intersection of #fintech, #ESG and #Islamicfinance. #RFISummit17

January 24, 2017, Zurich, Switzerland –

Bringing together a diversity of perspectives is critical for continuing the growth occurring within responsible finance. On this premise, the Responsible Finance & Investment Summit 2017 will convene in Zurich, Switzerland from 3-4 May 2017 around the theme “Building Bridges, Expanding Impact”.

Recent estimates from industry stakeholders show continued growth in responsible finance assets in many geographies and sectors. Responsible investment in Europe grew by 42% during the past 2 years, while in the U.S., assets grew by 33%. In Islamic finance, which has a global presence with a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, growth in the last 2 years has been 21%. Identifying actionable areas for collaboration will support continued growth towards a more sustainable financial system.

Silatech signs new accords to support Arab youth

Silatech founder and chairperson HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser witnessed the signing of a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with its partners to support the Arab youth. HH Sheikha Moza also chaired the first meeting of the new Board of Trustees of Silatech at which Silatech’s annual performance 2016 and strategy and achievements report 2016 were presented. Silatech signed an agreement with QNB Africa to empower Youth in Sudan with Sama Al Shabab Portfolio. This way QNB Sudan will direct 12% of its portfolio towards financing youth enterprises. Another MoU to employ Tunisian youth was signed in order to create 50,000 jobs by 2020 and reduce migration of Tunisian competencies abroad. In another agreement, Silatech partnered with the World Congress for Muslim Philanthropists to develop the first innovative Micro-waqf platform to connect youth entrepreneurs with donors and investors.

The Future of Refugee Financial #Inclusion

The humanitarian sector has long struggled to determine how to provide assistance during a crisis. Recently, the sector has begun experimenting with digital financial payments. In Afghanistan the World Food Program (WFP) has issued e-vouchers and mobile money to cover food aid. In Lebanon aid organizations have created points of access and developed a fully functioning distribution network, allowing refugees to use their pre-paid cards in more transactions than ever before. Whereas in the past humanitarian organizations focused on financial networks in times of crisis, the new approach focuses on developing a more lasting system. More and more humanitarian organizations are considering how payment networks can evolve into a system that facilitates savings, credit and insurance.

United in the Fight Against Poverty

Grameen Foundation and Freedom from Hunger have joined forces to form a single unified organization. Its mission is to enable the poor, especially women, to create a world without hunger and poverty. Both organizations have roots in the earliest movements for microfinance, and today conduct programs that tackle poverty and hunger from multiple directions. Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh endorses the integration under the banner of Grameen Foundation. To better execute the integration, a newly reconstituted Board of Trustees will draw half of its membership from each organization. The new Executive Staff includes members of each organization. Over the coming months the two organizations will bring together their core programs and develop new approaches.

Charities must innovate for maximum social impact

The plenary session 'Philanthropy in the Muslim world: Harnessing the abundance of underutilised capital for social development' was held at the Global Islamic Economy Summit in Dubai. Tayeb Al Rais, secretary-general of the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, highlighted that Waqf was in decline and overlooked in modern Islamic societies. Clare Woodcraft, CEO of Emirates Foundation, said that foundations could benefit from narrowing their focus. Maysa Jalbout, CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, agreed that focus was key and added that charities and foundations need to be more innovative if they are to maximise impact. Woodcraft said that Western foundations have much to learn from Islamic finance with its focus on ethical investment.

Islamic finance set to unleash the power of social investment

The third Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES) to be held in Dubai on October 11 and 12 will set a special focus on the utilisation of Islamic funds for social and entrepreneurial development. One plenary session will deal with the issue of Islamic charity funds or trusts (waqf) created by philanthropic giving in Muslim communities which remain an underused social development instrument. These funds contain significant assets, estimated by some to exceed a value of $500bn annually. Waqf can not only be used in its traditional, real estate-related form, but also in movable form of cash, potentially creating wide-reaching opportunities for social investment. Abdul Aziz al-Ghurair, chairman of Dubai-based Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, said the concept was about harnessing the abundance of underutilised capital for social development.

#Qatar-backed fund seeks to improve lives in Muslim countries

The Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF) was officially launched on Thursday. It was first announced two years ago by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and is now supported by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The decision-making body approved projects worth $363mn for the first of the five years that the fund will be operational. These projects will be primarily in the Middle East and several Islamic and African countries. The funds will be used to protect communities from the risk of malaria and HIV/Aids, increase access to water and primary healthcare, and empower poor farmers to grow more food. Administered by the IsDB, the fund combines $2bn of IsDB financing with $500mn in grants from donors.

Emirates Islamic contributes AED 1 million to #Dubai #Charity Association

Emirates Islamic disbursed AED 1 million to Dubai Charity Association from its Zakat fund. The contribution will fund the association’s various charitable activities, such as helping the poor and needy and individuals in debt. The cheque was presented by Awatif Al Harmoodi, General Manager at Emirates Islamic and handed over to Abdul Rahim Gargash, Vice Chairman at Dubai Charity Association. In 2016, the bank has so far distributed more than AED 30 million to various charitable causes. Emirates Islamic has disbursed funds towards medical and rehabilitation equipment to government and privately run institutions including Ministry of Health, Ajman Club for disabled and Al Ihsan Medical Complex.

IsDB, Gates Foundation Support New Program for Women Scientists in Middle East, North Africa

The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) launched today a new major regional program to empower young Arab women scientists. Funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Young Arab Women Scientists Leadership (Tamkeen) Program is the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. IsDB Department Director Osman El-Feil said that empowering women with the right skills in agricultural research will contribute to alleviating poverty and making food available to the poor. The Program will also help to identify and empower groups of women champions and build a critical mass of pathfinders.

Return of the Socially Useful #Sukuk is a Wake Up Call to a Lost Islamic Finance Industry

After a string of sukuk issued for purposes of liquidity, Senegal’s recent sukuk bought a welcome return to an Islamic finance transaction for the purposes of social good. Senegal closed its sukuk in late July, marking its second sovereign sukuk issuance. The West African nation will use the proceeds of the CFA 150 billion transaction to finance a drinking water supply program and an implementation program of road network and street lighting. The International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) sells bonds on the capital markets to raise funds to save children’s lives. IFFIm has so far issued two sukuk with a December 2014 transaction for $500 million and a September 2015 transaction for $200 million. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) issued a five-year Sukuk in 2015 which was used to support IFC’s developmental financing activities in the Middle East and North Africa. Mahmoud Mohieldin of the World Bank Group said the group planned the issuance of an inaugural humanitarian sukuk program.

Islamic Advisory Group supports final push for polio eradication

The Islamic Advisory Group (IAG) for Polio Eradication has adopted a new work plan to end polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The announcement came at the third annual IAG meeting held at the Islamic Development Bank’s headquarters in Jeddah. In a statement issued by the meeting, the IAG affirms the religious obligation of parents to vaccinate their children to keep them healthy. According to IAG deputy Dr. Abbas Shouman, the misperceptions usually arise due to fatwas issued by non-specialists who leave children exposed to handicap or death. IDB president Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali urged the partner institutions of the IAG to coordinate with WHO to transfer their experience in polio to other emergency and epidemic situations, particularly in Africa.

#Sukuk SRI at a crossroads

Over the last two decades, Islamic finance and socially-responsible investments (SRI) have become essential part of the development discourse. These two have seen the most rapidly growing areas of finance, of which Islamic financial assets have grown by 15-20% a year and its volume in 2014 exceeded US$2 trillion (RM8 trillion), while the SRI assets globally in the same year soared from US$13 trillion to US$20 trillion in two years. The principles of Islamic finance share common threads with SRI. These commonalities provide opportunities for Islamic finance to broaden its portfolio by tapping into the large amount of SRI funds available in global market.
Malaysia already started in August 2014, when it launched its Sustainable Responsible Investment Sukuk Framework to facilitate the financing of SRI initiatives. SRI sukuk can act as a compass for investors in the creation of shared value within society.

Bank Muamalat Appointed as Official #Zakat Collector Agency

Bank Muamalat Indonesia was appointed as the National Zakat Collector Agency through its affiliation called Baitulmaal Muamalat (BMM). Bank Muamalat has distributed assistance fund to 4,500 orphans across Indonesia, which amounts to Rp1.35 billion (US$100,000) worth of zakat collected by BMM. The fund is distributed through a number of programs, namely community empowerment programs, like Orphan Kafala and educational programs, like the Islamic Solidarity School (ISS). The fund is also distributed through the B-Smart program that provides scholarships for accomplished students, and the Fi Sabilillah program that provides scholarships for orphans finishing their undergraduate studies.

#UNICEF Needs $860 Million to Save 18 Million Children in #Yemen and #Syria

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has revealed the urgent need to provide humanitarian aid to 8 million of Syria’s children, who are suffering from the ravaging civil war. The aid is estimated to be around $800 million and according to UNICEF there are more than 14 million children in war zones in the MENA region. Furthermore, there are around 10 million Yemeni children who are in need for urgent humanitarian aid. UNICEF spokesperson Juliette Touma pointed out that Saudi Arabia has donated $30 million to aid Yemeni children, but there is still a $60 million shortage of humanitarian funding.

Emirates Islamic Bank donates more than Dh2m to inmates

Emirates Islamic Bank has made two donations of Dh2 million and Dh50,000 to inmates of Dubai Police’s Punitive and Correctional Establishments. The Dh2 million was allocated from the Zakat accounts to help inmates who are incarcerated for financial issues. The other donation, that of Dh50,000, was allocated from the charity accounts to pay for plane tickets for needy inmates.

Taking Islamic social finance to the world

Sultan Nazrin Shah will lead a special session on Islamic Social Finance at the United Nation’s inaugural World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul. The summit is calling for a 'Grand Bargain' on finance and aid organisations will be told to stop competing for resources. The UN fell short of US$7.5bil (RM30.6bil) in funding needs last year, 30% of what it required. IDB’s research on zakat in 2015 shows an estimated US$600bil (RM2.4 trillion) available to meet humanitarian needs. If 1% of this is made available, it can meet the global funding deficit for 2015.

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#Education #Crowdfunding - A direct and effective way of #Giving with #Givology

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