Posts filed under ‘Humanitarian’

What should the environment mean to us?

 

By Mohammad Shakir

As part of a Muslims life – one is meant to take care of their bodies and the world around it. In this lifetime, Muslims as trustees are responsible for maintaining the unity of God’s creation, the integrity of the Earth, its flora and fauna, its wildlife and natural environment.

If you travel to different parts of the world, you can see that we have numerous natural beauty spots such as the Grand Canyon, rainforests in the Amazon, Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand. All these places show the earth’s natural beauty. Even here in the UK we have the National Trust and English Heritage which conserves landmarks of natural beauty and places of interest.

There is logic in looking after the earth because in turn it looks after us. The oxygen we breathe comes primarily from plant life and in turn we expel our carbon dioxide which is absorbed by plant life.  The earth also protects us in other ways as well. The Ozone Layer, a protective layer of oxygen in the stratosphere, protects living creatures on earth from potentially harmful sun-rays which gets absorbed by this layer.

We cannot forget the role the earth plays in sustaining us through food as well. All fruit and vegetables are grown for nourishment and come from the earth through plants. It also sustains livestock similarly through plant life.

So it is a truly two way relationship – we protect the earth and the earth will protect us.

June 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm Leave a comment

The Power of the Desert

 

By Abubaker Adam

I came across a wonderful article on BBC News today looking at potential plans for the energy supply around Europe. The plan – to use desert power to supply up to 100% of local needs and up to 15% of European demand by 2050.

The article made me think of the benefit this will bring to the poor and destitute across Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa. The reality is that some of the poorest nations on earth across Africa and some parts of Asia enjoy an abundance of sunshine. In some Middle East countries the sun can shine up to 15 hours per day.

In my view the most underdeveloped countries do not require handout or regular donations; they have the skills, natural assets and willingness to change their lives forever. They require respect, recognition and the opportunity to show what they are capable of producing for humanity.

International relief organisations and NGOs need to invest in such technology and initiatives with key strategic partners and build infrastructures that are sustainable, manageable and cost effective; and in the regions in which they work.

If desert power helps relieve poverty and helps build nations, it can be a wise long term investment for large NGO’s and governments. It this is successful, I believe this will change the humanitarian landscape and can see the eradication of poverty by the end of the century. All NGOs and governments need to do is shift the focus from handouts to investment.  As the old Bedouin saying goes,” you will be surprised what you find in the desert?”

December 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm Leave a comment

The Platform

Every day throughout the daily train journey to work, I keep hearing the word “Platform”. According to the English dictionary the word platform means “a flat raised area or structure”. So what does this have to do with anything?

I discovered that my line of work involves building platforms in the UK – platforms for UK communities to interconnect together and support each other through sharing a common value system. I work in a building that is a platform for charities to develop and nurture their good work and  raise their own internal platforms in what they do best, which is to deliver goodness to their local community.

We also build platforms for individuals to further understand that working as volunteer means you are supporting a cause of which the rewards are out of this world.

The most important platform that I am currently building is my personal contribution to society, the electrifying feeling when I get out of a bed and go to work , the notion of supporting in one way or another a community, an individual, a mother, a child, grandmother within society.

Next time you board a train do remember that building a platform is a lifelong project that must be carried out every day of our life. Who knows someone somewhere might be building a platform for you?

By Abubaker Adam

November 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

Bringing charities in from the cold

By Mohammad Shakir

As the winter months set in and the rain and snow get ready to besiege the United Kingdom once more, we will be looking to wrap up warm, keep a hot drink with us and take that extra blanket out of storage to ensure we aren’t caught in the bitter cold.

Let’s use this scenario with charities; especially new and growing charities. Let’s say you have just received your registration from the Charity Commission – what do you do next?

Well regardless of your aims and objectives, there are certain things you will need such as a place to meet with partners and colleagues or a place where you can use an office or desk on an ad hoc basis. A place that is flexible and easy to get to. A place where everyone knows your name… (OK, that last one is not necessary, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing).

The concept of Zakat House is to support these charities by offering services that cater to their size and needs. In reality – does a charity which has one person coordinating its work really need anything more than one desk with phone and internet connection?

We have to encourage these new charities to work transparently and diligently to make sure that the money and aid that is donated to them reaches the beneficiaries for which it was raised.

Charities don’t work for profit or loss – they work to achieve something that is greater morally, spiritually and with a greater humanitarian and community spirit.

Come and join the Zakat House family.

November 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Security in my humanitarian space

The Humanitarian Space - Would you like to join?

By Dr. Hany El Banna

Security means safety, stability, sustainability and productivity. While my humanitarian space means my rights, dignity, privacy and ability to develop my country.

But why are we talking about my humanitarian space? Because it is a basic human right for each and every one of us. This is my main philosophy. This is the main philosophy behind the creation of Zakat House. Financial security for small and start up charities that want to carry out humanitarian works – a home for them in the heart of London’s West End.

We did not only want an empty space for these organisations – a desk, computer or individual- but we wanted to give them an interactive humanitarian space and experience, to bridge the gap between them and other start up organisations and allow the cross fertilisation of thoughts, dreams, visions and the dynamic cohesive productivity towards common solutions.

Early this week, I saw the beginning of the fruits of this interactive, humanitarian, connective space. Abdurahman, the MCF coordinator asked me to draw a three year strategy for their organisation. I thought that this was not my job. This is either the job of a highly paid consultant costing up to £500 a day, or it is his job – because I believe that strategic thinking is not something you can only you can learn at Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge, but something that has been intrinsically embedded inside every creation including birds, fish and reptiles.

Instead of talking to Abdurahman individually we called Fatima from the International HIV Fund, Abubaker from Zakat House and Rahma from the Somali Relief and Development Forum. We all sat together around one table to discuss how they can think strategically and effectively about their goals and objectives.

Once they started their own discussion, I pulled out and I watched from behind the glass door, and felt the heat of the motivated discussion amongst them. I smelled the scent of the beautiful fragrance of the flying, argumentative humanitarian thoughts between the four organisations.

Then I saw, the bonding result of the intellectual cross fertilisation process amongst them. After two sessions each lasting 90 minutes, they managed to structure the process of strategic thinking, which was more valuable than a consultant’s colourful presentation or handout. The outcome of this interactive bonding, productive humanitarian space was:

  1. Building confidence in the hearts of the coordinators.
  2. Enabling them to think loudly and collectively for a common goal
  3. To create the teamwork not amongst members of the same organisation but amongst DIFFERENT organisations.
  4. To incite their common vision, common objectives and leadership quality.
  5. To save time that was going to be utilised by a consultant.
  6. To save the £500-£1000 that a consultant could be charging us.
  7. To cement the infrastructure of the social fabric of society empire multi storey building.

While having my lunch with another organisation in the kitchen, Fatima from IHIVF, came to make her presentation to reflect the recipe of our new cuisine which has been cooked elegantly in the Anglo, Pakistani, Indo-African kitchen of our organisations. Please come and have a bite! I can tell you it tastes mmmmmm……

October 28, 2011 at 9:34 am Leave a comment


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