Chief Executive Officer, Islamic Relief Worldwide

Waseem Ahmad


Assalamu alaykum
Peace be
with you

2022 has been a year of once-in-a-generation and once-in-a-lifetime humanitarian crises. Afghanistan has suffered its worst drought for 30 years, and East Africa, its most severe this century. Pakistan is still reeling from the worst floods in living memory, while Europe has seen the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

It is testimony to the unfailing generosity of Islamic Relief’s donors, the hard work of our staff and volunteers, bilateral and multilateral donors and other strategic partners that we have been able to rise to these challenges.

In Afghanistan, Pakistan and East Africa alone, over 70 million people needed humanitarian aid in 2022 – more than the entire population of the United Kingdom. Behind these mind-boggling statistics are the heartbreaking stories of individual families, families we are standing beside as they rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

My journey with Islamic Relief began as a local aid worker in my native Pakistan over two decades ago. In 2022, I witnessed the devastating impact of the floods at first hand on a visit to some of the areas worst affected. Amid the devastation, I was proud to see the speed and effectiveness of Islamic Relief Pakistan’s response. By the end of the year, we had assisted over 1 million people, raising over £10 million in funds around the world to support our efforts on the ground.

The continuing strength of our institutional funding partnerships has underpinned the strength of our humanitarian response in Pakistan. Among those who directly or indirectly funded our relief efforts in Pakistan were the aid departments of the UK, Canadian and Swedish governments – the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Global Affairs Canada, and Sida. In partnership with UNICEF, we provided clean water to over half a million people. A further partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is set to help us rebuild shattered livelihoods in the coming months.

We also formed a new partnership with UNDP in Afghanistan, delivering a £19m million ($23 million) project that has so far created employment for 158,000 people, supported 1,200 women entrepreneurs and provided 200,000 impoverished and drought-afflicted farmers with much-needed new irrigation infrastructure. The expertise and experience of our Treasury team and our strong relationships with banks have been pivotal in helping us to deliver aid to those who need it most in hard-to-reach places like Afghanistan, while complying with the complexity of international sanctions. In Yemen, we continued to be one of the leading partners of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), delivering vital food aid and cash vouchers to nearly 2.4 million people.

What matters is not just the number of people we are assisting, but also the long term impact of our work and what the communities we serve think of what we are doing. In Syria, for example, we have provided constant support almost since the conflict began in 2011 to displaced people inside the country and refugees in neighbouring Jordan,Iraq, Türkiye and Lebanon. Since 1994 we have provided life- changing microfinance to over 100,000 people worldwide.

Since 2017 we have been certified annually against the coveted Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS), independently verifying the quality of our aid delivery in the eyes of the communities who receive it.

It is also important that Islamic Relief invests increasingly in advocacy, speaking out on the root causes of poverty and suffering and campaigning for positive change. In 2022 we published research to highlight the impact of climate change on poor communities in Indonesia and Pakistan and advocate for increased and better-targeted climate finance. We marked World Refugee Day by joining the Lutheran World Federation and HIAS in organising Welcoming the Stranger – a major international interfaith conference to promote the vital work faith communities and organisations do in supporting refugees and displaced people. Later in the year, we participated in events in 11 countries as part of the annual UN-led 16 Days of Activism Campaign for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence.

As this report testifies, the tremendous support we receive from so many people enables Islamic Relief to touch millions of lives worldwide. Jazak’Allah Khair, thank you for your continued support.