Orphans Sponsorship

“They ask you, [O Muhammad], what they should spend. Say, “Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveler. And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.”

Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 215 (2:215), Holy Qur’an (Translation: Sahih International)

Biggest Islamic Relief Impact Study so far

This year, HAD’s Research and Development Department, alongside Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW)’s MEAL team and the Orphans and Child Welfare Department, are conducting an impact study of Islamic Relief’s global Orphans Sponsorship Programme. The assessment aims to inform future IR programming in this area. This is the first study of its kind for Islamic Relief, being the biggest impact study conducted by the organisation so far. Funded by Islamic Relief Canada, UK and USA, the project consists of a training element, quantitative data collection (in 9 countries), and qualitative research (in 5 countries). The project officially commenced in February 2020 and is due to be completed in December 2020.

Vulnerability of orphans

In 2015, UNICEF estimated there to be nearly 140 million child orphans (without one or both parents) in the world. The variety of hardships they face in daily life are often exacerbated by their geographical location as well as intersecting identity characteristics such as age, gender, and disability. They can suffer from stigmatisation and marginalisation which is often linked with the parental cause of death. Due to the vulnerability of orphans, it is critical that any interventions aimed at helping them do not cause any additional harm whatsoever and that these interventions are proactive in reducing any protection risks which they may face.

Orphans in Islam

Care for orphans has a special role in Islam. In fact, the word ‘orphan’ is mentioned more than twenty times in the Holy Qur’an, emphasising the need for kindness to those without fathers or parents. The Orphan Sponsorship Programme (OSP) is one of Islamic Relief’s longest-running and biggest initiatives. Having started in 1986 and now supporting over 63,000 orphans worldwide, the programme aims to provide basic necessities to orphans, improve their health and support their education, amongst other things.

HAD lead on the implementation of this study

HAD’s Research and Development Department lead on the implementation of the study and provide academic quality assurance. The team will also be involved in the data collection on the ground. With its experience in conducting projects in the areas of evaluation/impact, research and capacity-building, the Department is particularly well-placed to conduct this project. HAD are one of the co-chairs of the Joint Learning Initative on Faith and Local Communities’ Learning Hub on Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning, which is aimed at promoting best practice in MEAL initiatives involving local faith actors. The Academy and its staff have extensive experience of working with local communities in hard-to-reach and conflict-afflicted areas, including those that the study focuses on.

We will be blogging regularly about the project, so do keep an eye for more updates on the HAD blog

Written by Madiha Zeb Sadiq

Research and Development Assistant