Alliance fights avoidable blindness

A partnership between the Islamic Development Bank and Light for the World aims to put an end to avoidable blindness in 10 African countries.
Opthalmologist checking a patient's eye

In 2008, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) launched the AFAB: Alliance to Fight Avoidable Blindness. The first generation of AFAB (2008-2015) focused on treating cataracts, a leading cause of blindness. Six million dollars were raised to benefit 8 African Countries. 

For the second generation of AFAB (2019-2023), the ambition has substantially broadened: supporting the strengthening of the eye health system in 13 African Countries. As part of the AFAB 2nd generation, a wide range of preventable and curable conditions which cause blindness will be addressed. Approximately one million children will be screened at schools and those who need glasses will be provided with a pair. Scholarships will allow new eye health personnel to be trained and local training institutions to be strengthened in countries where the number of ophthalmologists per every million people can often be counted on one hand. The creation of treatment centres for glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy will allow people to finally be treated for these specific conditions.

The main purpose of the AFAB 2nd generation is to support the development of comprehensive, accessible and sustainable eye care services. This is where the AFAB 2nd generation meets with the intervention strategy of Light for the World. The Islamic Development Bank has appointed Light for the World as the technical advisor to unfold its new approach for their multi-million programme. 


“Alliance to Fight Avoidable Blindness (AFAB): Fruitful coordination meeting organized in Vienna, Austria between the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Solidary Fund for Development (ISFD) and Light For the World (LFW), one of the most important technical supporters of the AFAB program. ” 

 -Abdelhakim Yessouf, Islamic Development Bank

In 2019, Ministries of Health of 10 beneficiary countries will be supported to develop a 5-year Action Plan. This is a huge opportunity to develop national capacities and strategies while raising the topic of eye health in the national Health priorities. These action plans are expected to also steer other interventions in eye health in the countries in a coordinated way.

Light for the World technically supported Burkina Faso and Mozambique in designing their AFAB 2nd generation Action Plan. Moreover, Light for the World has brought like-minded NGOs with knowledge of the respective contexts into a consortium including Helen Keller International (HKI), Organisation pour la Prévention de la Cécité (OPC), Sightsavers, and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) to support the action planning process in Niger, Mali, Guinee, Togo, Guinee Bissau, Djibouti, Chad, and Côte d’Ivoire.

Islamic Development Bank gathering

The 2nd generation of the Alliance to Fight Avoidable Blindness fosters a great deal of international collaboration to generate sustainable change and make a large impact to the benefit of the poorest, putting the Ministries of Health in the driver’s seat. We are privileged to be given the opportunity to contribute and play a central role in what could be a game-changing eye health programme.

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is an international financial institution chartered by 57 member-countries representing 1/5 of the World’s population. Its purpose is to encourage social and economic development among their member countries.