In 2021 the world faced a raft of challenges, from new and ongoing conflicts and a sharp rise in hunger to the prolonged effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. In the face of these challenges, Islamic Relief assisted over 11 million people in 36 countries.
IRW also saw the quality of the work and the accountability to the communities it serves recognized by recertification against the prestigious Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) – the most robust independent audit offered in the humanitarian sector.
Despite the worldwide economic uncertainty, the supporters continued to give generously, raising £183 million for our life-saving and life-changing work around the world.
Thanks to their committed donors and partners, and the dedicated staff and volunteers, 2021 was another year of vital, impactful activity and growth from one of the world’s largest relief and development charities.
The Annual Report, published, shows how Islamic Relief continued to assist vulnerable people affected by crisis while helping individuals and communities take significant steps toward self-reliance.
“If 2020 was the year in which we were first confronted with the challenges of Covid-19, 2021 was when the profound and lasting human and economic impact of the pandemic became clear for all to see. Supporting those worst affected has been at the heart of Islamic Relief’s work, alongside responding to the climate emergency and the enduring effects of protracted crises and conflicts in places like Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, and beyond,” says Waseem Ahmad, IRW CEO.
Swift to respond to crises
Spending £84 million on almost 430 emergency projects in 2021, Islamic Relief responded swiftly and effectively to some of the world’s most devastating crises, including earthquakes in Indonesia and Pakistan, floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a cyclone in Somalia.
The global food crisis dramatically worsened in 2021, with conflict, climate change, and forced migration leaving millions more people hungry. In response, IRW delivered more than 200 food aid and food security interventions last year, helping to feed millions of people, including hundreds of thousands each month in Yemen alone.
The organization was steadfast in the support of the people of Afghanistan as their world was turned upside down by drought, conflict, and political change. The staff remained on the ground, distributing food packages and other vital aid across 6 provinces, including healthcare delivered through mobile health teams.
Continually adapting to changing local and national restrictions around the pandemic, the organization strived to ensure the life-saving aid could continue to reach those in need safely.
In 2021, IRW also continued building community resilience, helping people in areas prone to natural disasters to be better prepared to cope with future extreme weather events.
IRW supported long-term development
In line with the global strategy, IRW continued to spend more on longer-term projects to make a lasting change in people’s lives, investing £71 million into long-term interventions to help lift communities out of poverty.
These included providing cows in Chechnya and beehives in Jordan to give families a source of reliable income. The organization also carried out vocational training in Bangladesh to help those often excluded from the workforce, such as older people, earn a living.
“With my earnings, I can support myself with everything I need. I am now living a happy life,” says Fatima, 61, who received a cow and chicken from Islamic Relief and supports herself by selling their produce.
In 2021, Islamic Relief helped more than 103,000 children and adults access life-changing education and provided healthcare for more than 3 million people.
The generosity of the donors helped us provide access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities for over 775,000 people, and enabled to support a record number of vulnerable children – more than 80,000 through the orphan sponsorship program.
Islamic Relief campaigned for social justice
Islamic Relief continued to advocate for social issues around the world, spending £1.6 million on pushing for social justice.
Through campaigning and practical community projects, IRW faced the climate crisis head-on, supporting almost 320,000 people to adapt to climate change challenges. The organization also launched 3 research and policy papers packed with insights into climate-induced migration and adaptation.
In November, Islamic Relief ensured decision-makers heard the voices of communities on the frontline of the climate emergency, delivering 10 events in and around the climate summit, COP26.
In 2021 the organization also continued campaigning for the rights of women and girls, working to end harmful practices and inequality. More than 100 projects tackled gender-based violence and remained tireless in the efforts to shift community attitudes and practices away from female genital mutilation/cutting, and early and forced marriage.
Islamic Relief also offered a lifeline to those forced to flee their homes for safety, helping refugees around the world meet their basic needs, as well as supporting them to begin rebuilding their lives.
Islamic Relief looked inwards to improve
The quality of the work and the accountability of Islamic Relief as an organization were recognized by recertification against the CHS. It affirms that the organization continues to manage our resources effectively, designing programs that create a positive impact and listening to the communities it serves.
It is with an awareness that there is still so much that needs to be done. At Islamic Relief, they are more inspired than ever to continue assisting people in need, wherever and whenever they need us most.