UNHCR To Expand Zakat Fund To Support IDPs In Nigeria


Friday, June 12, 2020 / 1:00 PM / Bukola Akinyele for WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR has committed itself to work closely with Islamic Philanthropic initiatives to expand the "Zakat Fund" to support Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria.


This was the part of the views expressed by Amina Rai, Partnerships Communication Officer,  Private Sector Partnerships Africa, UNHCR through a Video presentation on WebTV's 'Islamic Finance Weekly' programme.


According to Rai, there are 26.4million affected people in Africa, victims of violence, conflict, prosecution, and natural disaster in the country. In Nigeria, specifically, there are about  60, 239 refugees from Cameroon and a little over of 2. 62m  internally displaced persons in the North East area. She was of the view that UNHCR is also aware of the IDPs in the northwest and the middle belt of Nigeria. The spokesperson stated that the Refugee Agency believed that the Zakat fund could provide tangible support and relief to the people concerned.


The  Refugee Zakat Fund was established in 2019 as a trusted and compliant Zakat initiative to help transform the lives of refugees and displaced families, including in hard-to-reach areas.

The Refugee Zakat fund follows a 100% Zakat distribution policy, ensuring 100% of Zakat contributions are delivered directly to eligible families. Through the fund, vulnerable families, including women and children are supported with core relief items, cash assistance, shelter, healthcare and education.

Ria noted that the private sector including individuals, companies and foundations could play a strong and important role in supporting the efforts at protecting and assisting people forced to flee from conflict areas in the Sub-Saharan African region.

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"The opportunity for the private sector in Africa to support forcibly displaced communities is immense. For example, according to the CAF (Charity Aid Foundation) World Giving Index 2019, Nigeria ranks number seven in the world in likeliness and willingness to help a stranger. Seven of the ten countries where people are most likely to help a stranger are in Africa. This speaks to the overall compassionate and generous nature of Nigerians and Africa as a whole. Throughout the year we appeal to the individuals, companies and foundations to donate or partner with us is in providing critical emergency relief to people forced to flee" Rai said.

According to her, it was important to note that the UNHCR is 99% funded by voluntary contributions, including from individuals, businesses and foundations. She noted that with the world experiencing unprecedented forced displacement, coupled now with the COVID- Pandemic resulting in drastic budget cuts UNHCR is reaching out to the private sector in Nigeria; specifically individuals, philanthropists, businesses and foundations to support families forced to flee their homes.

Giving further insight into the organization's activities, Rai said the UNHCR  has developed Islamic Philanthropy tools for the Muslim community in Nigeria to utilize and support vulnerable displaced families. 

In response to the COVID-19 global health pandemic that spread across the world this year, the agency has increased preparedness and response measures to ensure the protection and assistance of those most affected with the evolving coronavirus crisis. UNHCR is scaling up its health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) preparedness and response interventions to provide support to vulnerable displaced families experiencing an economic shock.

The UNHCR is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. The Agency works to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find refugees, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home.

The Global Zakat fund is estimated to be between US$550bn and US$600bn per year.


UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We deliver life-saving assistance that includes shelter, food and water, as well as help safeguard fundamental human rights. We also develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future and work to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality.


Visit the United Nation Refugee Agency donate site - donate.unhcr.org or email africa@unhcr.org to explore more on partnerships opportunities.

Also, The Zakat Fund is active throughout the year and we invite individuals, companies and foundations to contribute to it by visiting  https://zakat.unhcr.org/africa/

Watch Video

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