JEDDAH, Kingdom Saudi Arabia, 11 May 2023 - The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) hosted the ISFD Poverty Alleviation Forum during the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group’s Annual Meetings underway in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Established in 2007, ISFD was created as a specialized fund within the IsDB Group to assist with reducing poverty within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries.
IsDB President and Group Chairman, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, opened the forum with a keynote address discussing the importance of empowering civil society organizations (CSOs) to help improve socio-economic conditions in hard-to-reach communities.
Dr. Al Jasser emphasized IsDB Group’s commitment to human capital development, highlighting the IsDB Economic Empowerment (EE)’s approach which has enabled disadvantaged populations to play an active role in the economic cycle in their countries. He also commented on the shared initiative of ISFD and IsDB to empower local citizens in IsDB Member Countries (MCs) with the resources needed to help the underprivileged transition from financial inclusion to empowerment.
In 2019, the Board of Directors of ISFD approved the creation of “The NGOs Empowerment for Poverty Reduction Program (TADAMON).” Since its establishment, 33 OIC member countries have endorsed the TADAMON program and nearly 3,000 CSOs have registered for the platform.
With project implementation currently active in 21 countries, ISFD invited the seven best CSOs participating in the TADAMON Accelerator program, founded in 2020, to attend the forum and the 2023 IsDB Group Annual Meetings.
The ISFD Poverty Alleviation Forum’s agenda also included the screening of a video displaying TADAMON’s recent updates and its primary objective to support humanitarian causes. Following the video display, a panel discussion was held addressing the nexus between microfinance and poverty reduction and the role of CSOs to reduce poverty cases within Saudi Arabia.
Moderated by Tariq Qureishy, Founder and CEO of MAD Talks, the panelists for the session included Fahad Al-Sulaiti, CEO of Education Above All, Mohammad Al-Khamis, CEO of Al-Rajhi Development Foundation, and Abdulmohsen Al Turki, VP of Growth and Strategy of the National Center for Non-Profit Sector (NCNPS).
The session also featured three panelists who represented award-winning CSOs participating in the TADAMON Accelerator. These panelists included Nasser Diallo, Founder of Clinic+O (Guinea), Maysoon Badi of the Urban Development Think Tank (Sudan), and Aya Hrout of the Youth Innovation Forum (Jordan).
The session encouraged participants to highlight the essential role that CSOs play in contributing to the welfare of local communities in the humanitarian sphere, pinpointing the need for government support to create an enabling environment for CSOs. The participants in the forum’s panel also shared their personal experiences regarding projects underway that have helped change lives and support the alleviation of poverty.
Underdeveloped communities within the 57 OIC MCs currently face a range of pressing socio-economic challenges including poverty, fragility, violent conflicts, food insecurity, and natural disasters. Utilizing IsDB’s catalyst role and leveraging financing from other partners, ISFD currently leads a number of poverty reduction programs covering agriculture, integrated rural development, education, and women empowerment amongst others.
The fund has supported programs which include the Alliance to Fight Avoidable Blindness (AFAB), the COVID-19 Emergency Response Initiative (ICERI), the Regional Soil Fertility Program, and the Out of School Children Program (OOSC).