Education and economic empowerment programmes are expected to begin in Sub-Saharan Africa after a new agreement was reached between Islamic Relief and Al-Asmakh Charity Foundation.

Al-Asmakh Charity Foundation, based in Qatar, has committed USD $200,000 (GBP £132,000) for a project to improve education in Ethiopia. We will build and equip classrooms at a secondary school in the Ewa district in the north of the country, providing educational tools and giving uniforms and school bags for its current 220 pupils. We will also construct and kit-out a library, laboratory and administration office building.

Al-Asmakh Charity Foundation has also committed another USD $200,000 for a women’s empowerment project in Blantyre, a city in southern Malawi. This project will focus on building the capacity of 180 fish farmers to achieve a sustainable livelihood. It includes training on pond construction, pond management, fish breeds, sampling and harvesting methods. Sixty per cent of the beneficiaries will be women. Training will also cover group dynamics and farm business management, water management, operations and maintenance of irrigation systems and farming methods such as crop management, vegetable production and sustainable farming methods.

This is the first time Islamic Relief has entered into an agreement with Al-Asmakh Charity Foundation and we hope to build on this relationship to further tackle poverty and suffering around the world.

Long-term development

Dr Mahmoud A.ELSaman, head of the executive committee and planning director at Al-Asmakh Charity Foundation, said: “The focus of this project is the economic empowerment through the teaching of life skills. We hope this will improve the living standards of the families concerned.”

Ibrahim Mohammed, programmes and projects manager at Al-Asmakh Charity Foundation, said: “We aim to implement small development projects to support the education sector. We anticipate that this project will help provide a constant source of income for families in the future. This will also contribute to the long-term development of Ethiopia.”

Lotfy El Sayed, head of Middle East fundraising at Islamic Relief, added: “Islamic Relief is the largest Muslim NGO in the world and this is our first partnership with Al-Asmakh Charity Foundation. We believe this will lead to more opportunities for both organisations to fight poverty and suffering in the Middle East region.”

Islamic Relief has worked in Ethiopia since 2000, and currently runs sustainable livelihoods, education, health and water projects in the east African country. We began working in Malawi, in southern Africa, in 2006, predominantly with humanitarian assistance, as well as strengthening community resilience to natural disasters and tackling food insecurity.