Islamic Finance for SDGs: Innovation-Based, Technology- Enabled Capacity Building at UNDP

The plan of the project is to fully engage Islamic finance partners and leverage Zakah financing for development targeting the SDGs. The project will build capacity to raise awareness and capacity among UNDP staff and partners in OIC countries about Islamic finance principles and the requirements of Islamic finance donors and partners; develop UNDP’s policies that accommodate requirements pertaining to Islamic finance (e.g. rules for disbursing Zakah funds); and support systemic change by working with government bodies responsible for Zakah and Awqaf to enhance the collections and operations of these bodies. The project will help to support the development community to leverage Islamic finance partnerships, through the creation of an online training platform – in partnership with IsDB’s IRTI – that would build capacity at UNDP and across the development community working in the OIC member countries and beyond.

Aamir A. Rehman is a Senior Advisor at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He is building the organization’s strategy and approach to engaging with Islamic finance for the SDGs. In addition to his work at UNDP, Mr. Rehman is an asset manager and serves on corporate boards of directors. He is a Senior Fellow at Columbia Business School’s Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy. He has previously been an executive at Fajr Capital, HSBC Amanah, and BCG. Mr. Rehman holds bachelor’s, master’s, and MBA degrees from Harvard University. He resides in Princeton Junction, New Jersey.

Development of Family Medicine and Family Practice in the West Bank

Palestine’s population faces massive 21st century health challenges - spiraling rates of non-communicable diseases and mental health problems, together with increasing costs of specialist hospital-based services. Family practice offers real solutions to many of these problems, by delivering high quality, continuous, comprehensive patient and family-centred care services to defined populations. Thus the long- term goal of the project is to improve the quality of family practice in the West Bank. Its 2.6 million residents will benefit from better health outcomes through training the next generation of family medicine specialists and from the embedding of family practice within the primary health care system.

Johnny Rebours is a Development Officer at MAP managing relationships with institutional and major donors, keeping them updated on project developments and tracking the progress of their contributions to MAP’s work. Prior to joining MAP in 2017 he worked for the British Institute of Human Rights after completing his MA in Applied Human Rights. He has worked previously as a teacher in Lebanon, Vietnam, Japan and in the UK. He has also volunteered extensively in northern France working on the refugee crisis and in Ghana working on fair trade issues.

Strengthening the Capacity of the Forum for African Women Vice Chancellors to promote gender inclusive participation in Science, Technology and Innovation

The Forum for African Women Vice Chancellors (FAWoVC) is an umbrella group of female university leaders in Africa that was created in 2017 to spearhead gender responsive training in higher education institutions and to increase the enrolment of female students in STEM, as well as galvanize women to take up leadership positions. As of June 2018, there were 40 women Vice Chancellors managing universities in Africa out of over 500 universities. The goal of the proposed project is to strengthen the capacity of FAWoVC to enable it to champion programs that support gender inclusive participation in STI in Mozambique, Sudan and Uganda, three countries that are disproportionally underrepresented in terms of women in STI compared to other African countries. In doing so, it will engage Vice Chancellors in Universities across Africa.

Mary Jossy Nakhanda Okwakol is a Ugandan university professor, academic administrator, zoologist and community leader. She is the current Vice Chancellor of Busitema University, one of the nine public universities in Uganda. She has served in that position since October 2006.


Center for Energy, Environment and Economy (CEEE) developed a module to be used in the curriculum and a roadmap for energy audit and energy efficient public building renovation. CEEE aims to transfer this know-how to the economically least developed part of Turkey and to Mauritania, Niger and Tunisia. In the present proposal, NEXT-GEN, we aim at contributing to establishing a solid culture on energy efficiency education, starting from as many vocational and technical schools as possible. We will carry on our experience from Istanbul to Southeast Turkey, and later on, as a first step to the world, in three African countries Mauritania, Niger and Tunisia. These efforts will be administered by Center for Energy, Environment, and Economy (CEEE) at Özyeğin University in Istanbul. The know-how gained by CEEE from the EU projects carried out during the last 6 years will be the basis for a scaled- up effort towards a large number of buildings.

Yasemin Somuncu received her BArch degree in Architecture from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey (METU). She received her MA in Environment and Energy Studies from the Architectural Association Graduate School in London, UK (AA). She has several years of experience in the field and is collaborating with different NGOs. She has been a Senior Researcher in the Center for Energy Environment and Economy (CEEE) in Özyeğin University, İstanbul and has been coordinating New Energy Efficient Demonstration for Buildings (NEED4B), Total Renovation Strategies for Energy Reduction in Public Stock (BRICKER) and Capacity Development for Future Builders (YENİ NESİL).

Improving Wheat Research Capacity Through Intensive Scientific Training and Long-Term Mentoring of Young Agricultural Scientists

Wheat is a critical staple crop for food security in almost every target country of the IsDB, and it is of crucial importance for food security, nutrition, and economic development in the least developed countries. Wheat production in all of these countries will be improved and made more sustainable through having well educated and well-prepared scientists in place who understand farmers’ production challenges, lead their national breeding programs, collaborate with private sector partners and universities, and further science and innovation in their home country. This project seeks to enhance the wheat research and development capacity of Muslim countries, with particular emphasis on less-developed Muslim countries, by identifying promising young agricultural scientists, providing them in-service training at CIMMYT pairing them with a mentor scientist who will support their further professional development,and stimulating collaborative project development with other national and/or international research institutions.

Amor H.Yahyaoui, Tunisian-US citizen, earned BSc (Agronomy), MSc (breeding) at Oregon State University and PhD in plant pathology at Montana State University. Carried out teaching responsibilities as professor at the University of Tunis (1987-1998). Worked at ICARDA as cereal pathologist and leader of plant protection project (1998-2009) then coordinated ICARDA- CIMMYT Wheat program (2009-2012). Amor joined CIMMYT as full time wheat training officer (2010-2016), then initiated CRP-Wheat Septoria phenotyping platform in Tunisia (2014-to date); active member and initiator of Borlaug training foundation and currently board member of BTF. Amor has key interest in education and training young scientist in applied field research.


Thanks to funding from STIF, nongovernmental organization TajRupt will launch Central Asia’s first artificial intelligence research center in Tajikistan. The research center will focus on educating talented Tajikistani students in STEM through a structured AI curriculum, as well as providing a space for researchers to conduct applied research on AI. The project’s mission is to transform Tajikistan into the regional hub for AI and advanced computing, accelerating the country’s course of economic development while capitalizing on the talent base of its youth in STEM fields.

Azizjon Azimi is a Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford University pursuing a concurrent-degree MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and MPP from Harvard Kennedy School. He graduated cum laude from New York University in 2016 with high honors in economics and honors in international relations. Upon graduation, he worked at United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Simon-Kucher & Partners in New York. In April 2017, he returned to Tajikistan to launch TajRupt – a nongovernmental organization pioneering youth access to civic education. TajRupt operates an Extracurricular Resource Center (ERC) in the northern city of Khujand that has enabled hundreds of local students to develop critical thinking skills through an after-school activism curriculum. Azizjon was recently honored in the Forbes “30 Under 30” Asia list in social entrepreneurship category for his work on TajRupt.

Innovative Sanitation Solutions and Reuse in Arid Region (ISSRAR)

In line with the Jordan National Water Strategy 2016-2025, the Implementing Consortium will adopt a transparent and participatory planning and implementation approach. Through the pro-active participation of the stakeholders involved, the project will focus on the needs and demands of vulnerable populations. Throughout the project, the Implementing Consortium will adapt an implementation framework based on lessons learned and proven best practices. The project will begin with an 10-month Inception Phase to be followed by an initial 3-year Implementation Phase.

Zeina Annab has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Carleton University, Canada. Ms. Annab is the Country Director of the Bremen Overseas Research Development Association (BORDA) Jordan Office. In her current position, Ms. Annab oversees important environmental and infrastructure programs such as Sanitation Solutions for Underserved Communities in Jordan which is among the most innovative in the country with its use to green infrastructure. Previously, she worked with ECO Consult, a leading development firm where she was responsible for carrying out environmental and social impact assessments reports for multiple renewable energy projects including stakeholder consultations, risk assessments, action plans and stakeholder engagement plan.


There is a tremendous opportunity to establish a transformational platform that leverages the latest in blockchain technology with best-in- class accountability and transparency mechanisms to unleash the catalytic potential of Zakat and Sadaqah. AID:Tech enables the delivery of digital entitlements using blockchain technology and digital identity to connect donors with organizations and end-beneficiaries. Combining traceable service delivery with secure digital identity, not only can AID:Tech ensure that entitlements such as Sadaqah contribution reaches the end-user, down to their last-mile expenditure, but also provide unprecedented insight into global trends and patterns of the practice by using accumulative, transactional-level data. Data that will also be the key to addressing inefficiencies, wastage and fraud. The AID:Tech platform has piloted in partnership with the Irish Red Cross to make digital delivery of aid entitlement directly to Syrian refugees.

Prior to AID:Tech Grace Ma worked with early-stage startups in blockchain, cryptocurrency and crowdfunding. Highly disciplined, she has a strong interest in socially and environmentally impactful innovation. She manages a diverse range of applications and programmes. Grace holds an MA from King’s College London and a BA from the University of Warwick.