Policy and publications

From Violence to Dialogue: Youth-led dispute resolution in Pakistan

Islamic Relief supports community organisations and youth groups in fragile areas of Pakistan to manage community social cohesion, reconstruction of damaged water infrastructure and livelihoods. After receiving dispute resolution training from Islamic Relief, one youth group successfully negotiated a resolution to a decades-long, violent inter-tribal dispute about access to land and a coal mine. This case study explains how the negotiation process worked in practice, illustrating how transformative Islamic Relief’s support for locally-managed social cohesion can be.

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Combining traditional, formal and NGO peacebuilding to resolve violent rido in Maguindanao

Inter-clan conflict (rido) is the most worrying form of violence for local communities in Maguindanao (southern Philippines), surpassing conflict between armed separatist groups and the Philippines state and threatening peace and stability in the region. Traditional practices of conflict resolution are often used to address rido disputes, culminating in traditional peace ceremonies. Islamic Relief’s Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Programme in the Philippines has supported community-led peacebuilding by women and youth between 2018 and 2021, which interacts with traditional rido resolution processes. This case study examines a recent rido in Maguindanao, shedding light on a clan conflict over political-economic power and its eventual resolution involving youth peace groups supported by Islamic Relief.

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A review of the triple nexus approach in discourse and practice

The Triple Nexus has been presented as a way for the international aid and development sector to more effectively tackle the inter-connected risks and needs of vulnerable people. It builds on existing work to link humanitarian and development programming by bringing in the peace component, recognising that much of our work is delivered in places with underlying tensions or outright conflict. Islamic Relief has piloted a triple nexus approach to programming. This report reviews the learning from that programme and from continuing debate in the sector.

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Adapting to Instability

Aiming to add to the conflict-climate nexus discourse, this report focuses on examining how conflict and climate change influence land and water disputes between farmers and pastoralists in north and central Mali. Developed from data collected during the context and protection analysis as well as data from ACLED, the report unpacks the root causes of intercommunal violence between farmers and pastoralist. The report contains calls, among others, to the international community to promote conflict sensitive adaptation in fragile-conflict-prone contexts and to support locally led adaptation initiatives to promote ownership and regional partnerships.

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Stories from Afar

Islamic Relief, working alongside communities and government, has transformed the lives of thousands of people affected by the climate change crisis in Ethiopia’s Afar region. This paper illustrates how new approaches, transformational change and innovative technologies have together turned fear and loss into strength and hope

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Adapting for Climate Justice

This is about how Islamic Relief is working with the people most affected to respond to the climate crisis. We show how in empowering communities, families and individuals to emerge out of poverty and suffering, they are better able to adapt to the challenges they face now and in the future. In the climate emergency, locally-led community based adaptation brings justice to those who have the least. ‘Adapting for Climate Justice’ shows how Islamic Relief is making this a reality.

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Climate Induced Migration in Pakistan: Global discourse, local realities and governance

Pakistan is grappling with the worsening impact of climate change, causing increased migration and displacement across the country. This Islamic Relief research report examines one of the extreme consequences of climate change: climate induced migration. This study makes comparisons between popular global perspectives and local realities by studying incidences of movements in 3 distinct regions of Pakistan: Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It delves in to the root causes of climate induced migration across the 3 provinces and shares insights into the perceptions and governance gaps to address migration issues across these areas. It includes specific recommendations and calls for the government of Pakistan as well international community to take swift action to address the worsening effect of climate change on migration patterns in Pakistan.

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Stigma and discrimination faced by people with disabilities returning to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan

This report documents research by Islamic Relief to understand stigma and discrimination faced by people with disabilities (PWD) returning to live in the Khyber Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA). It sets out the context within which the research was conducted, a summary of the findings, the research project and results, and finally recommendations arising from the research.

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new director

Director of Network and Resource Development

Adnan joined Islamic Relief in 2004 as a regional fundraiser in the UK. He worked in multiple roles over 10 years at Islamic Relief UK, including setting up the first digital team and leading the growth of digital fundraising and engagement. Adnan also led numerous fundraising and marketing campaigns, which played a significant part in the growth of Islamic Relief UK.

Having moved to Islamic Relief Worldwide in 2014, Adnan has held different roles that have helped grow Islamic Relief’s global digital footprint into new geographic territories, supporting Islamic Relief members with their digital and marketing growth as well as developing new products and initiatives for the Islamic Relief family.

Adnan graduated in Industrial Design and Technology from Loughborough University. He has since completed an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration from Durham University and a Diploma in Digital Marketing from the Institute of Data and Marketing.

Nadeem Azhar

General Counsel

Nadeem joined Islamic Relief Worldwide in September 2022. He has worked in the charitable sector for over a decade.

He studied Modern History and Politics at Manchester University, and at the University of Law in London before qualifying as a solicitor in 2011.

Nadeem is an experienced corporate, commercial and governance lawyer, having worked with various faith-based and grant making charities as well those in health and education settings. He was a partner at a law firm in London before moving in-house where he focused on setting up and restructuring charities and social enterprises.

Most recently, Nadeem was Lead Counsel at Mind, a leading mental health charity, where he co-authored a new federation agreement, revamped legal processes, and played a major role in developing its strategic and fundraising partnerships.

Nadeem has been a charity trustee for the Seafarers Charity, as well as many grant-making bodies and theatre companies.

Adnan Hafiz

Director of Network and Resource Development

Adnan joined Islamic Relief in 2004 as a regional fundraiser in the UK. He worked in multiple roles over 10 years at Islamic Relief UK, including setting up the first digital team and leading the growth of digital fundraising and engagement. Adnan also led numerous fundraising and marketing campaigns, which played a significant part in the growth of Islamic Relief UK.

Having moved to Islamic Relief Worldwide in 2014, Adnan has held different roles that have helped grow Islamic Relief’s global digital footprint into new geographic territories, supporting Islamic Relief members with their digital and marketing growth as well as developing new products and initiatives for the Islamic Relief family.

Adnan graduated in Industrial Design and Technology from Loughborough University. He has since completed an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration from Durham University and a Diploma in Digital Marketing from the Institute of Data and Marketing.

Board of Directors
Javed Akhtar

Director of Finance

Javed Akhtar has more than a decade of experience at Islamic Relief, having worked in a similar role between 2003-2014. In that role he strove to implement wide-ranging financial and accounting processes which aided in the transparent nature in which Islamic Relief now operates.

Javed also has diverse experience across the private sector, having worked at American chemicals and pharmaceutical giant DuPont, shipping firm FedEX and technology consultancy company Accenture. In all his roles, he prioritises using the latest technologies to improve monitoring and reporting at every level. Javed’s commitment to embracing digital end-to-end technology, enhancing accountability to our stakeholders and promoting financial transparency is ensuring that we remain at the forefront of financial developments in the sector.

By training, Javed is a chartered accountant with a Master’s degree in NGO Management with Charity Accounting and Financial Management from Cass Business School.
Board of Directors
Affan Cheema  

Director of International Programmes

Affan Cheema is an experienced leader who has spent 25 years working in the international aid sector on poverty eradication in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He has worked in fast onset emergencies, protracted crisis and development environments whilst working for Islamic Relief Worldwide and Care International. He is also a trustee of South West International Development Network (SWIDN).

Through his career Affan has held numerous roles including institutional fundraising, programme and grant management, and programme quality assurance.  Affan’s leadership has helped Islamic Relief Worldwide secure the highly coveted Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS), seen as the sector’s premier benchmark for operational excellence.

Affan completed his BA in Economics and Geography from University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies) and his MSc in Development Administration and Planning from the University of Bristol. He is PRINCE2 qualified, is a keen sportsman and recently co-edited a book entitled -Islam and International Development: Insights for working with Muslim Communities-.
Board of Directors
Dr Hossam Said

Managing Director, Humanitarian Academy for Development (HAD)

For nearly three decades Dr Hossam has provided the strategic vision to manage, lead and develop a range of international humanitarian interventions around the world.

At the start of his career, Dr Hossam served on the Board of Directors of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, before moving to Islamic Relief Worldwide to manage the core global business activities as International Programmes Director.

During this time the organisation increased its global reach, gaining both domestic and international repute and credibility. Dr Hossam has also served on the Islamic Relief Worldwide Board of Management and Executive Committee for the past 15 years; sharing responsibility for strategic organisational development and the change management process, whilst forging strong relationships with many other charities.

Dr Hossam gained an MBA from Aston Business School in 2004 and graduated as a Medical Doctor from Cairo University in 1981.
Board of Directors
Martin Cottingham  

Director of External Relations and Advocacy

Martin Cottingham joined Islamic Relief in 2012 as IRUK Media Relations Manager, and was appointed Head of Communications in 2015 before taking up his current position as Director of External Relations and Advocacy for Islamic Relief Worldwide.

Martin has helped Islamic Relief to increase its mainstream media profile and expand its campaigning work, producing hard-hitting advocacy reports on floods in Pakistan (2011) famine in Somalia (2012) disaster risk reduction (2013) and aid to Afghanistan (2014). He has over 20 years’ experience working in media, communications and marketing roles for international development and environmental charities.

Martin graduated from the University of London with a degree in English and Drama (1982-85) then trained as a journalist with a postgraduate diploma at City University (1986-87). He has previously worked for Christian Aid as Editor of Christian Aid News and Media Relations Manager (1988-97) for Oxfam as Regional Campaigns Manager (1997-2000) and at the Soil Association as Marketing Director (2001-2006), as well as working for a wide range of organisations as a freelance writer, researcher and communications consultant.

Tufail Hussain

Director of Islamic Relief UK

Tufail Hussain has 17 years’ experience in the humanitarian and development sector, leading on marketing and fundraising campaigns for several organisations before joining Islamic Relief UK in 2016 as Deputy Director. Tufail was appointed Director of Islamic Relief UK in 2019 and in 2021 provided valuable leadership as interim CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide.

Tufail is driven by a passion for empowering disadvantaged youth and mentors a number of young people. He also works to strengthen engagement between British Muslims and wider society. Under his leadership, Islamic Relief UK has significantly increased its income and developed successful partnerships with communities across the country. He has travelled around the world to raise awareness of major emergencies such as the Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan crises and the floods in Pakistan and Sudan.

A father to 5 daughters and a son, Tufail is also a sports enthusiast and passionate Liverpool FC supporter. Tufail has run the London Marathon twice, raising over £35,000 for humanitarian causes.

Before joining Islamic Relief he was CEO of Orphans in Need, where he oversaw a new strategy that increased income from £2 million to £9 million in 3 years and opened up new UK and international offices. Tufail is also a trustee of the Muslim Charities Forum and a Director of TIC International (Islamic Relief Worldwide’s clothes recycling and trading arm).
Waseem Ahmad

Chief Executive Officer

Waseem Ahmad joined the Islamic Relief family over 24 years ago, serving as Programme Officer in the Balochistan province of south-western Pakistan before becoming Head of Programmes in Pakistan. Waseem then moved to Oxfam and Tearfund before returning to Islamic Relief to establish our mission in Malawi. Later serving as Head of Programme Funding and Partnerships, Waseem led the response to major crises across the globe, including the East Africa drought, Pakistan earthquake and the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

Waseem then served for nearly 6 years as our Director of International Programmes, during which time the charity secured and retained the coveted Core Humanitarian Standard certification in recognition of the quality of our programming. He was appointed CEO of Islamic Relief in May 2021.

With a special interest in community mobilisation and infrastructure, Waseem received an MSc in Project Planning and Management from the University of Bradford, as well as an MSc in Economics from Arid Agriculture University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Waseem has also worked for Lepra Health in Action and is a member of the International Civil Society Centre’s Board of Trustees. The father-of-3 enjoys walking and playing football, and is a keen birdwatcher.