In 2020 Islamic Relief was able to reach more people than ever before, thanks to the generous support of our donors and the hard work of our dedicated staff and volunteers. Even in the face of the Covid pandemic, we assisted an unprecedented 13.8 million people in 39 countries.
Despite the economic uncertainty so many faced our incredible supporters gave more generously than ever, bringing our annual income to £149 million. This was a striking increase of nearly 14% on 2019, and we spent 88p of every pound directly on helping people in need.
Our 2020 Annual Report marks 36 years of continued growth for one of the world’s largest relief and development charities, while facing the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“During a year of extraordinary challenges, we remained by the sides of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people,” says Waseem Ahmad, our CEO. “With faith and hope, Islamic Relief continues to do all it can to secure a safe and just world for all, no matter what challenges we face.”
We provided essential support during times of crisis
Spending nearly £59 million on delivering 370 emergency projects in 2020, we responded swiftly and effectively to some of the world’s most devastating crises.
Rapidly adapting our operations in light of the global pandemic, we continued to assist families suffering amid conflict and natural disasters and helped protect millions of people in 26 countries from the devastating consequences of coronavirus.
“Islamic Relief offered us the opportunity to be part of the emergency response and provide relief to families who were affected the most by Covid-19,” says Miriam Gaisar Seco, an Islamic Relief supporter living in Madrid, Spain.
“There are no words to describe how I feel knowing that by supporting Islamic Relief, I have been able to reach someone in need, somewhere around the world. It is a feeling that will always be in my heart.”
Islamic Relief also built community resilience, helping over 127,000 individuals to better protect themselves when disaster strikes.
In war-torn Yemen we reached 3.6 million people through malnutrition treatment, support for health centres and food distributions as the main implementing partner for the UN World Food Programme. In Syria we supported 1.25 million people with access to lifesaving healthcare, emergency food and winter survival items.
We spent more on development
In line with our strategy, we spent more on development programmes – the longer-term initiatives that aim to rebuild lives and lift communities out of poverty. We invested £55 million to deliver 364 life-changing projects, such as one in Iraq that helped Christian and Yazidi communities to rebuild livelihoods shattered by violence.
“It rekindled my spirit,” says Munisa, who we trained as a youth peace advocate in the Philippines. “It made me think that Allah may have a plan for me… that I have a role to play in the building of peace.” Our major peace programme – funded by the Swedish government’s aid department, Sida – put women and young people at the heart of local peacebuilding in multiple countries.
In addition we provided around 180,000 children and adults with access to education, and enabled over 735,000 people to earn a reliable income.
Giving 692,000 individuals access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, we also supported a record 72,000 vulnerable children worldwide through our orphan sponsorship programme.
We campaigned for social justice
Islamic Relief continued to advocate on social issues around the world, spending £1.5 million on pushing for social justice.
Our campaigns pushed the climate emergency to the fore, emphasising the need to cut harmful emissions and invest more in helping poor communities to adapt to global warming. Our own investment in this area was a spend of £27.5 million in projects responding to the climate emergency across 19 countries.
We also shone a spotlight on the plight of young people in poverty-stricken Gaza and Nepal through the publication of hard-hitting reports, and campaigned across 13 countries to highlight and tackle gender-based violence.
We offered a lifeline to those forced to flee their homes for safety. As well as providing practical, lifesaving support to people uprooted from their homes, in 2020 Islamic Relief made sure decision-makers heard the voices of refugees in order to positively influence change.
We also helped tackle child trafficking and exploitation, supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable children.
We improved our governance structure
2020 was also a pivotal year for our far-reaching governance reforms, which have been 6 years in the making.
We now have a larger Board of Trustees that is elected by a newly established International General Assembly whose members include representatives of our member offices across 5 continents.
We warmly thank donors for their continued support, and for donating more generously than ever despite the difficult economic circumstances many have faced.
Read more about how your support has made a real difference for millions of vulnerable people across the globe in Islamic Relief’s Annual Report 2020.