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Supporting NGOs in the Muslim world; what Tadamon can offer

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Why UNDP, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF) are launching a programme to strengthen NGOs in 57 countries

Many countries in the Muslim world face daunting development challenges. In the Arab region despite steady progress in reducing poverty and boosting health and education, political fragility, instability, and recurrent conflicts present immense stumbling blocks on the course to implementing the 2030 Agenda.

Despite this, many Muslim countries have extended generous support to their neighbours; they represent eight of the top 12 refugee-hosting countries. How do we capitalize on such solidarity and grassroots networks to solve some of the most difficult development issues countries in the Islamic world?

A year and a half ago, UNDP, IsDB, and ISF forged the 'ISFD NGOs Empowerment Programme' to promote citizen participation, increase the sustainability of development programmes, and accelerate progress toward the SDGs. Our belief is that we need NGOs, citizens, philanthropists, and the private sector to complement the work of development organisations and banks.

Traditional financing is also insufficient. We need to tap into innovative financing channels and technological developments. Our initial findings from the world of Islamic Finance, crowdfunding and crowd investing, and the emergence of blockchain technologies, give us a strong foundations on which to build.

IsDB member countries can also provide a springboard. They are set very widely apart, stretching from Morocco to Indonesia. The 57 countries span four continents. IsDB delivers development impact at scale, touching the lives of one out of every five people in the world.

Tadamon: bridging the gap

Together we created Tadamon, which means solidarity in Arabic, and aims to strengthen the role of civil society in development programming. Tadamon connects all actors, large and small, around common goals. It can help bridge the gap between donors and NGOs, bringing more transparency to the former and a more support to the latter.

The role of Tadamon is to serve as a "Trip Advisor" for citizens and the private sector, making it easier to finance the human­itarian and development work of civil society organisations. It will link NGO crowdfunding campaigns and help them use blockchain technologies to mobilize additional financing. These networks exist. We need to make them stronger and reach more people willing to help. Tadamon will link the work and experiences of different NGOs because diversity makes us stronger, better, smarter, and more resilient.

Tadamon will also help map, screen, and categorize national NGOs and CSOs in IsDB member countries, depending on the nature of their work, and matching them with specific needs on the ground. To help NGOs get visibility for their work the project will include communication, management, and accountability training.

We are rounding up both the usual and unusual suspects. So far, more than 20 new partners have joined forces with us, including large development banks, impact hubs, crowdfunding platforms, and blockchain start-ups.

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Support from the following organizations is provided by AfDB, AlQuds Fund and Endowment, CSR Network, BADEA, Humanitarian Leadership Academy, Save the children, SPARK, SESRIC, Fonbulucu, Impact HUB Istanbul, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropist, KUSIF, and IslamiChain.

Authors:

Robert PasickoExpert on Low Carbon Development and Alternative Finance, Innovation Team, Istanbul Regional Hub;

Marina Petrović, Alternative finance expert, Innovation Team, Istanbul Regional Hub;

Khemais El Gazzah, Senior Advisor to the Director General of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development;

Ahmed Berthe, Lead NGO and Civil Society Specialist, Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development

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Tuesday, 22 October 2019