SEATTLE — After being proposed two years ago by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the Lives & Livelihood Fund (LLF) was launched on 29 September 2016. The announcement was made by Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ahmad Mohamed Ali, Group Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), during the 40th Annual Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank Group in Maputo, Mozambique.
What is the Lives and Livelihood Fund?
The Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF) is an innovative facility aimed at fighting poverty in Islamic Development Bank’s member countries. The IDB currently consists of 56 countries. However, the Lives and Livelihoods Fund will only be providing financing for the 30 poorest countries within the IDB’s membership. This is done by providing a combination of grants and concessional loans with longer grace periods than the average market loans.
The Lives and Livelihood Funds exceeds the conventional approach of the development financial model of development by combining grants with affordable loans for countries that do not qualify for financial aid.
The foundation also targets projects known to reduce child mortality, like projects combatting stunting and malnutrition. One prime example is Senegal, it has had 28,648 dead infants under the age of five in the year 2013.
Who is Involved?
Primary Funding for the Lives and Livelihood Fund is provided by the Gates Foundation, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development, the Qatar Fund for Development, the King Salman Centre and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. Donors of the LLF are expected to provide a five-year support for poverty-focused programs.
Methodology For the Initiative
Projects funded by the Lives and Livelihoods Fund offers support to the most vulnerable by focusing on three areas that have a huge impact in saving lives and improving livelihoods.
- Improving health through disease control and eradication.
The Lives and Livelihood Initiatives funds programs that fray infectious diseases by ensuring regular immunization and bolstering primary health-care systems including improved maternal, neonatal and child health.
- Increase agricultural productivity and food security.
The lives and livelihood initiative also seeks to invest in agricultural projects by small-scale farmers in order to increase their predominant crops, production of livestock and yields.
- Build basic infrastructures in unconnected communities.
Limited accessibility to basic infrastructure deprives poor communities of access to resources. Hence, the foundation invests in a generation, transmission and distribution of power to rural communities. There are also actions made to provide water supply and sanitations as well as stable infrastructures capable of supporting digital payment systems that utilize mobile technology.
Promise of Low Corruption Risks
Funding is granted to projects that are of development relevance to the country, prepared for implementation and able to maximize positive results on the marginalized beneficiaries and communities. Applicants for financial aid from the Lives and Livelihood Fund must be eligible in order to receive funding. This process will eliminate corruption that has affected the reputation of other local anti-poverty initiatives.
Head of Middle East Relations at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in London, Hassan Al Damluji, assured the public that actions will be taken to eradicate corruption. “We have efficient processes in place to vet each project and ensure that each of the funds is invested in initiatives which make the most impact and which are economical, socially and environmentally feasible.”
Driven by the mantra “multiplying Dollars, multiplying Impact,” the Lives and Livelihood Funds serves as a poverty reduction tool for prosperity and self-reliance that will impact the most disenfranchised members of the Muslim community. The Foundation is set to continue from January 2016 through January 2021.
– Shanique Wright