Through UNHCR’s Refugee Zakat Fund, your Zakat, in full, is directly distributed to eligible refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) who need it the most. We always prefer to distribute your Zakat in the form of cash assistance that gives beneficiaries the freedom to act upon their priorities and decide how to best make use of this invaluable assistance. Most beneficiaries around the world constantly report back on cash enabling them to secure, in order of priority: shelter/ rent, food, education/ health, and debt repayment. The way cash is distributed varies from one country to another, for example in Jordan we use ATMs equipped with iris scanners, in Lebanon we use bank cards, in Iraq we use mobile wallets, and in Yemen we use the hawala system.
In occasions when the distribution of cash isn’t possible, such as in Bangladesh (to support Rohingya refugees), we resort to the distribution of goods that become the ownership of the beneficiary. Such goods can take various forms, depending on the local context, the season (ex: winter), and priority needs of eligible populations. In the past, Zakat as goods has been distributed in the form of shelter kits (to make shelters sturdy against the elements during winter and monsoon seasons), liquified petroleum gas for cooking, hygiene kits, food parcels, and livelihoods kits such as sewing machines, cattle, and finishing equipment.