COVID-19: How cash transfers can save lives and livelihoods

The Covid-19 pandemic will see more than a quarter of a billion people suffering acute hunger by the end of the year 2020, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). The pandemic is impacting households by reducing incomes and purchasing power, increasing unemployment, increasing expenses for health, increasing prices of critical commodities due to disruption…

The Issue of Anonymity in Digital Zakat

Identity brings in many benefits in the context of zakat distribution (as underlined in my earlier blog). Lack of identity or anonymity on the part of the beneficiaries is certainly not desirable. It should be obvious that a digital environment makes it possible for the zakat organization to collect many types of personal data. Zakat…

The Issue of Identity in Digital Distribution of Zakat

My last blog ended on a note that digitizing zakat payments to beneficiaries would be more efficient, as compared to payments involving hard cash or in-kind payments, by avoiding costs related to leakages, fraud and ensuring greater accountability. This comes with a few qualifiers, however. We assume that the technology and infrastructure is there. And…

Story of Maimouna from Central Africa

Maimouna is emotional in one of the refugee camps Garisingo in east Cameroon when she recalls the horrific journey she took from Central African Republic (CAR) to Cameroon in 2014 following an ethnic conflict between two communities. She struggles to describe exactly what she saw and experienced in those last few days and weeks in…

Islamic Social Finance at World Humanitarian Summit

It was an eagerly awaited event. A day before the event, the daily Star of Malaysia published an interview titled “Taking Islamic Social Finance to the World” with HE the Sultan of Perak who would lead a special session on Islamic Social Finance at the United Nation’s inaugural World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul. The…

Should Zakat Be Used for Humanitarian Finance?

On March 26 a very interesting document “An Act of Faith: Humanitarian Financing and Zakat” prepared by Chloe Stirk was launched at an event hosted by Development Initiatives and Muslim Charities Forum in London. The paper echoes the concerns expressed by UN Humanitarian Summit at the ever-increasing demand and supply gap for humanitarian funds. For instance, the paper points…