New “game-changing” financing mechanism to end cholera launched at UN General Assembly

September 26, 2019


The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today unveiled a major new initiative to combat cholera and other diarrheal diseases in 29 member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Announced at the UNGA Financing for Development Dialogues by H.E. The Honorable Minister of Economy, Malaysia, Mohamed Azmin, the One WASH Fund will attempt to cut cholera deaths by 90 per cent and improve the lives of 5 million people in 29 cholera affected OIC member countries.

The One WASH Fund is a scalable outcome fund model that uses an innovative financing mechanism designed to attract new philanthropic and private investor capital by combining Islamic social finance contributions with traditional humanitarian donor financing. This Fund structure will then be pre-funded through the issuance of an Islamic bond (Sukuk) enabling it to operate at multi-million-dollar scale.

With the establishment of the fund, IsDB and IFRC are collaborating with key private sector and government partners including philanthropic capital contributors. Implementation of the programme is expected to start in July 2020.

IsDB President, Dr Bandar Hajjar, said: “We believe this alternative development financing approach can demonstrate the transformative value of Islamic Social Finance blended with other sources of finance while unlocking private capital and ensuring markets support overall development in countries. We count on the leadership and partnership of the OIC Member Countries as water, sanitation and health are strategic areas in line with Islamic principles intended for sustained impact.”

IFRC Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy, said: “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will require new approaches to programming. It will also require us to look beyond traditional humanitarian and development financing approaches. Every 10 seconds someone is infected with cholera.

“This is a tragedy, not least because cholera is a disease that can be easily prevented. Lack of funding has always been a major issue, but this new initiative will help overcome that and ensure that we can finally end cholera. It is, in many ways, a complete game changer.”

One WASH will directly and measurably contribute to multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), SDG5 (Gender Equality), SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG13 (Climate Action) and SDG17 (Partnerships for the Goals).