(MENAFN - Trend News Agency ) The Board of Governors of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development concluded its 11th meeting on Thursday 6 April 2018 in Tunis. During the meeting, the Board approved ISFD's annual report which highlighted the most important activities of the Fund in combating poverty in member countries.
Since its establishment, the ISFD has approved US$734 million to finance 117 soft loans and grants to 33 member countries. US$175 million of this amount was approved in 2017. Sectors included microfinance, renewable energy, agriculture and health.
Among the important programs in which the ISFD participated this year was its contribution of US$ 100 million to the Science, Technology and Innovation Fund, designed to provide scientists, innovators and small and medium-sized enterprises with funding to turn their ideas into projects. In 2017, the ISFD also supported other initiatives such as the Community Development Projects Initiative in Sierra Leone and Indonesia, the Pediatric fistula treatment initiative and the Yemen Humanitarian Support Project.
One of ISFD's landmark initiatives include the "Avoidable Blindness Prevention Program", which succeeded remarkably in mobilizing resources, more ten times the initial target, under Phase 2 of this five-year alliance from 2018 to 2022. The ISFD allocated US$5 million to this program, with a target of US$25 million. It managed to mobilize an additional US$245 million in financial and in-kind contributions, which could conduct up to 1.5 million operations to remove white water, 10 million cases of eye screening and medical glasses provision for school children. Yesterday we celebrated the launch of this alliance and signed agreements with 32 partners from different parts of the world.
In this context, the ISFD signed a memorandum of understanding with ETHIS CROWDFUNDING to launch a new crowd sourcing effort targeting US$1 million for the Blindness Program. This will test ISFD's ability to mobilize resources for poverty alleviation programs from the public and the philanthropic community that would constitute a paradigm shift in the ISFD's operations.
Among the most ambitious and important programs in which the Board of Directors approved the ISFD to contribute to this week was the enroll and retain out-of-school children program, which aims to help re-enroll 2.4 million children in schools in selected member countries, including Mali, Pakistan and Nigeria.
This program will be implemented in cooperation with the Qatari Foundation, Education Above All, the governments of beneficiary countries, international donors, international institutions and civil society organizations. The total cost of the program is US$375 million, of which the ISFD will contribute US$100 million.
The ISFD has also developed innovative products for mobilizing resources, such as "Cash Waqf Sukuk" and "Ihsan Fund" for Waqf investments, being used to establish a special $100 million waqf fund for Al-Quds in cooperation with Cooperation Foundation, Jordan Commercial Bank and other partners. Today the ISFD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with partners in Al-Quds Waqf to launch a Waqf, the proceeds of which will be dedicated to the people of Al-Quds to improve their standards of living.
The ISFD has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Islamic Corporation for Investment Insurance and Export Credit to establish a Takaful Fund to provide trade and sovereign guarantees to LDCs in order to attract investments and financing for economic empowerment projects for youth and disadvantaged groups and to support anti-poverty programs in these countries.
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