Islamic Relief has been given the prestigious Bond Innovation Award, recognising our inventive approach to eliminating extreme poverty in Bangladesh.

Bond’s International Development Awards, held in London on 18 March 2019, showcased the best of the UK humanitarian and development sector.

“In our ever-changing world, it is so inspiring to see aid agencies develop their practices to boost efficiency and address the needs of more people,” said Mike Wright, Director of Membership and Communications for Bond.

“We were delighted to give this year’s Innovation Award to Islamic Relief for its alternative livelihoods for orphans project in Bangladesh, moving beyond direct cash transfers for orphans to meet the holistic needs of recipients’ wider families. I congratulate Islamic Relief, whose inspiring and impactful work is fully deserving of this award.”

Tackling Extreme Poverty

Orphaned children and widows living in extreme poverty in Bangladesh are vulnerable to abuse, suffer from lack of food, struggle to meet school expenses, and find themselves socially excluded. The usual anti-poverty interventions often fail to help the ultra-poor.

Our innovative Alternative Livelihoods for Orphaned Families programme, devised by Islamic Relief Bangladesh, takes a novel integrated approach, combining cash transfers with knowledge and skills building. It offers education and protection for orphaned children, while also providing their guardians with the funds, skills and business acumen needed to make their families self-sufficient within four years.

The project, piloted in the Kawnia district where 43% of the population lives under the extreme poverty line, has been hugely successful. Participating families now bring home almost four times what they used to earn. Due to the remarkable success rate, the local government is now replicating Islamic Relief’s model across other parts of Bangladesh.

Building on success

“We are honoured and delighted to have received this recognition from Bond,” said Tufail Hussain, Interim UK Director of Islamic Relief UK.

Islamic Relief UK’s Khaleel Desai collected the Bond award on Monday.

“This award is for our teams in the field and local communities in Bangladesh who have worked tremendously hard to implement this innovative programme. It demonstrates our outstanding commitment to finding innovative and sustainable solutions to tackle extreme poverty and its crippling effects.

“I must also share this award with our donors, who put their trust in our work and supported the project in its initial stages. Our donors already enable us to provide one-to-one child sponsorship for over 50,000 orphans around the world. The programme helps us to address lessons learnt from the traditional child sponsorship model. We are already looking to build on this success and expand the project to other parts of the world.”