Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) have renewed their landmark commitment to working together on humanitarian causes.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed on 9th November 2017, reaffirms a long-standing partnership of joint humanitarian programmes, policy, research and advocacy, focusing specifically on faith and protection issues.

IRW and LWF first signed a MoU in August 2014, marking the world’s first official cooperation between a global Muslim and Christian humanitarian organisation. Over the past three years, their work has included responding to the Nepal earthquake with urgent relief and long term recovery, supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan and meeting the needs of refugees with disabilities in Dadaab camp in Kenya.

RS96827_IMG_6808-scrSigning the agreement at the Islamic Relief Worldwide offices in Birmingham UK, CEO Naser Haghamed said, “I’m delighted to extend our successful partnership with LWF for a further five years. It has been great to work together on joint emergency response following the 2015 Nepal earthquake and in places like Iraq and Jordan, and on developing faith-sensitive guidelines for supporting people traumatised by conflict and natural disasters. Our partnership thrives on the passion we share for caring for all people, irrespective of faith or culture.”

With shared values of compassion and justice, and a common vision to ease human suffering, IRW and LWF are committed to bringing a unique faith understanding to humanitarian programmes. Their joint advocacy and research initiatives have helped secure the inclusion of faith actors in all aspects of aid work – a perspective that has been widely overlooked but is increasingly critical in our fragile and divided world.

Maria Immonen, Director of LWF’s World Service Department said, “It is very significant to be signing up for another five years working with Islamic Relief. This has implications for those we serve, and for the wider humanitarian effort. We see opportunities to build collaboration in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, CAR, and in helping provide tools for better humanitarian response worldwide. The work we have done together shows Christians and Muslims have a common commitment to welcoming the stranger in a world where unprecedented numbers are living as refugees.”

Over the next five years, IRW and LWF will be mainstreaming faith sensitivity in aid work and building the capacity of humanitarians to respond to the reality of faith as something fundamental to the people they serve. This will be done in collaboration with UN agencies and the wider humanitarian sector. IRW and LWF will coordinate on key strategic priorities including the role of faith in refugee protection, gender-based violence, climate change and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.