Seeding a Knowledge Waqf

IBF Net Group
4 min readJun 17, 2024

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It was a lecture with a difference. Prof Habib Ahmad the renowned Islamic economist from Durham University was presenting a session on “Theory and Practices of Zakat and Waqf Management in Muslim and Non-Muslim Countries All Over of the World: in Europe and US Countries,” organized by the World Zakat and Waqf Forum on June 13, 2024. In response to a question from Mohammed Imad, COO of Netversity on what may be some key education and training needs for creating a global cadre of waqf professionals, and what would be his advice to a human resource development organization in this field, Prof Habib made a strong case in favor of creating a knowledge waqf with the primary objective of making education and skill enhancement affordable and accessible to all.

This was the spark that the Netversity team needed. The next 48 hours witnessed some intense discussions on how such a waqf may be configured. And the Netversity Waqf Fund was born, seeded with an initial contribution of USD100,000 from its Founder as a seed donation.

The Fund has been structured as follows:

Project Objective:

The primary objective of the Netversity Waqf Fund is to establish a sustainable fund dedicated to providing scholarships to economically disadvantaged students who demonstrate a keen interest and commitment to their studies. This waqf aims to ensure that financial constraints do not hinder deserving students from accessing quality education and achieving their academic and professional goals.

Background:

Netversity is committed to promoting inclusive education and believes that financial barriers should not prevent talented and motivated students from accessing our courses. To uphold this commitment, we propose the creation of the Netversity Waqf Fund. As a waqf or Islamic philanthropic endowment it provides perpetual benefits through the income generated from its assets. By leveraging this concept, we aim to create a long-lasting source of financial support for our students.

Scope:

The Netversity Waqf Fund will have two components: (i) Scholarship Fund and (ii) Technology Fund in the ratio of 3:1. Investment returns on the Funds will be used:

  1. To award scholarships in the form of full or partial fee waivers to students enrolled in Netversity courses; these scholarships will be granted based on a combination of financial need and academic merit, ensuring that the most deserving candidates receive the support they need; and
  2. To upgrade the platforms in terms of technology to incorporate latest advancements in the field of edtech.

Key Components:

  1. Fundraising and Initial Capital: Raise initial capital through donations from individuals, corporations, and philanthropic organizations; Organize fundraising events and campaigns to gather contributions and; Seek matching funds from government bodies and educational foundations.
    The initial corpus of the Fund is pegged at USD One Million which will be mobilized through 10,000 waqf shares of USD100 each. Using our blockchain-based Benevolence platform, donors will be able to donate to the Waqf Fund in fiat currencies and an array of selected cryptos. Existing holders of IBFN/IBFX tokens, the native token of IBF Net will also be able to donate via these tokens, valued at USD 0.0071 and 0.071 respectively.
  2. Investment and Growth: Invest the initial capital in low-risk, Sharia-compliant financial instruments to generate a steady income; Reinvest a portion of the returns to grow the fund over time, ensuring its sustainability.
    Initial capital to be invested in Fixed-Term Mudharabah Schemes in USD of an Islamic bank generating an indicative return of around 4 percent.
  3. Scholarship Allocation: Develop a transparent and fair selection process for awarding scholarships; Form a scholarship committee consisting of Netversity staff, community leaders, and education experts; and Announce scholarship opportunities and application criteria through various communication channels.
  4. Monitoring and Evaluation of Scholarships: Implement a monitoring system to track the academic progress of scholarship recipients; Conduct annual evaluations to assess the impact of the waqf on students’ academic and professional outcomes; and Adjust the scholarship program based on feedback and evaluation results to ensure continuous improvement.
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation of Benefits of Technology Upgrades: Implement a system of user feedback and user adoption; Consult with technology experts on the expected and realized benefits in terms of efficiency, effectiveness of the platforms.

Beneficiaries:

Economically disadvantaged students enrolled in Netversity courses; Students who demonstrate academic excellence and a strong commitment to their studies; and
Individuals who are unable to afford the full course fee but have the potential to succeed academically.

Expected Outcomes:

Increased access to quality education for financially needy students; Enhanced academic performance and professional opportunities for scholarship recipients;
Improved user experience and security on the platforms; and
Promotion of social equity and inclusion within the educational community.

Sustainability: The Netversity Waqf Fund is designed to be a perpetual source of financial support. By investing the initial capital and reinvesting a portion of the returns, the waqf will continue to grow and provide scholarships to future generations of students. Additionally, ongoing fundraising efforts will ensure the fund remains robust and capable of meeting the needs of an expanding student body.

The Netversity Waqf Fund represents a strategic and compassionate initiative to break down financial barriers to education. By creating a sustainable source of scholarships, we can empower talented and motivated students to pursue their academic dreams and contribute positively to society. At the same time, continuous technology upgrades will ensure optimal user experience on the platforms while taking care of the security aspect. This project aligns with Netversity’s commitment to educational excellence and social responsibility, fostering a more inclusive and equitable learning environment for all.

The Netversity team welcomes constructive feedback on how to make this Fund achieve its objectives efficiently and effectively.

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IBF Net Group

Leveraging Research and Technology for a Halal Ecosystem