About Us

Since Mawlana Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee, Ismaili institutions around the world have prioritised Poverty Elimination as one of the long-term objectives of the global Jamat. Through identifying and addressing the root causes of poverty, dedicated volunteers are engaging in a holistic initiative that supports vulnerable families to achieve continued economic and social stability, and self-reliance.

Understanding Poverty

Our definition of poverty is drawn from Mawlana Hazar Imam's guidance that poverty is multi-dimensional and must be addressed within an individual family's circumstances. Whereas systemic or community-level interventions can have a substantial impact and are necessary, the unique situations of individual families must be examined and efforts made to ensure that the poor are engaged on a more personal and holistic basis.

Therefore, poverty is defined as a standard of living with pronounced deprivation in multiple quality of life domains that are considered unacceptable for the Jamat. For the successful design and implementation of programs to address poverty within the Jamat, we must acknowledge that it is this complex situation of overlapping needs that prevents families from accessing opportunities and preventing upward mobility. This has meant that such families are mired in their condition, often for generations.

“I am increasingly inclined to define poverty not only as a matter of income, but rather as a state of marginalization in all of those conditions which contribute to the quality of human life,” explained Mawlana Hazar Imam in a speech made in Berlin in 2007. “A state of poverty is a state of deprivation with respect to health and nutrition, education and security, housing and credit, and all the other conditions which are essential to human well-being.”

The Central Office for Poverty Elimination (COPE) was established during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee to focus on redressing poverty among the Jamat. Work is overseen by the Jamati Poverty Alleviation Coordinating Committee, which includes Jamati and AKDN Leadership as well as members of Hazar Imam’s family. The Central Office is based in Lisbon and is composed of a global team of staff, consultants, and TKN volunteers with relevant professional backgrounds and experience in global development.