We based our Animal Husbandry project on studies showing (1) the vital economic importance of livestock and poultry to the world’s poor, (2) their increasing market demand, and (3) that at least 70 percent of their production (and so their income and benefit) remains in the hands of some of the world’s most marginalized people. Since its 2014 beginning with a few dozen mating pairs of cattle, it has grown to feed and support some 10,000 people across central Africa and the Subcontinent. In Yemen, our MORE program for Yemen’s sesame growers (Maximizing Opportunities for Rural Entrepreneurs), begun in 2017 with partners Mercy Corps and YemenMicrofinance, helps farmers increase their yields of this nutritionally and economically valuable crop, send it to market through mutually beneficial chain of businesses, and learn better ways to process it and make other saleable foods from it. The result has been a 30 percent jump in yields, a steadier water supply, nutritional availability, stable jobs, and greater farmer income.
Our rural Cassava processing cooperatives in Jugboi and Bole Ghana gifted mills to these women business owners They now mill 2,500 pounds of meal per day with the machines, up from 150 pounds they used to do by hand.
Our Kenya Girls Empowerment Project serves young female refugees in Nairobi, mostly children and unaccompanied minors fleeing Somali’s political violence. It provides holistic services to young women, including housing, education, trade skills, and community. In 2013, Zakat Foundation partnered with RefuSHE (formerly known as “Heshima Kenya”) as a major funder for its Girls’ Education Program. Accredited for Kenya’s secondary schools, it gives most of these girls their first formal education, adding courses for life skills, counseling on sexual and gender-based violence, and an empowering internship conference called “16 Days of Activism.” Its Scarf Design and Production project has given renown to the program, combining fashion and ethical consumerism with direct service intervention. Therapeutic, creative, and innovative, it provides young women with a monthly stipend and an essential sense of community.
In Turkey, we pioneered an innovative Vocational Training for Widowed Mothers program for Syrian refugees. Located in our Muhammad Ali Safe House in Gazientep, it teaches them functional Turkish for their new environment along with specialized occupational and business skills. It graduates mothers into self-supporting work and independent living situations.
Our Vocational Training Center in Jordan, and also those in Ghana and Bangladesh, give students’ training for livelihoods that support their families and the local economy. With our partner, Danish Society in Jordan, the Center offers marketable skills from computer programming, web design and keyboarding, to English. In Jordan, Ghana, and Bangladesh, vocational education also focuses on sewing and knitting, gifting certificate earners with sewing machines to begin their own start-up businesses.
We partnered with the Smile Foundation in the Dominican Republic to create the DomesticWorkers Program, which educates workers on their Rights in the Workplace and teaches them English.