At the beginning of 2012, the world population surpassed 7 billion, with 1.1 billion people living in Africa. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa have the youngest proportion of population in the world, with over 70% of the region’s population aged below 30. (Source: The World’s Youngest Populations, 2012) Today, only 6% of sub-Saharan youth are enrolled in higher educational institutions compared to the global average of 26%.

International Open University (IOU)

The International Open University was established by Dr. Bilal Philips, who envisioned a higher-learning institution that offers fully accredited online undergraduate and graduate programs. IOU aims to grant global access to quality Islamized education for students at an affordable cost. Its mission is to transform the Muslim nation’s situation through education.

IOU’s journey began in 2007 with the launch of a free online Islamic Studies diploma courses. In 2010, the Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies (BAIS) program was launched. The university now has seven colleges offering degree programs in education, Islamic economics, banking & finance, psychology, Islamic Studies, business administration, information technology, and Arabic language.

1 Million African Scholarship (1MAS) Project

IOU endeavors to strengthen the capabilities of African youth through the provision of quality higher education. Earning a university degree helps disadvantaged students create a beneficial livelihood for themselves and in turn others, as well as empowers them adequately to work towards the eradication of poverty in their communities. In 2017, IOU launched the African scholarship project with the aim of educating one million African students and its diaspora.

Our Team

The 1MAS team consists of a supervisor, 17 representatives, and 22 center managers who are working day and night to make this project a success.


Alhamdulillaah, in 5 years we have reached 20 countries and have offered scholarships to more than 4,000 students. As of 2023, we’ve granted scholarships across Eswatini (Swaziland), Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leonne, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


There are many challenges in Africa, where most students do not have computers, electricity is erratic, and the internet is expensive. The problem is being solved with the setup of IOU learning centers provided with computer labs and internet connectivity that is facilitated through collaboration with the governments, NGOs, and other charitable organizations. Alhamdulillah, we’ve successfully set up a total of 25 Learning Centers.


  1. The cost for sponsoring a semester (6-months) for a student is US$ 150
  2. The cost of sponsoring a full Degree program (4-years) for a student is US$ 1,400.

Other than the free tuition, the above cost includes the administrative costs incurred to facilitate the study at the learning centers.

Donate Now!

There is still a great need for your support.

We Can Do Better!

Please give the youth of Africa a chance to change their nation through education by investing in this worthy project. Invest in the running of these centers and your donation will bring you continuous rewards until the Day of Judgment. 

Allah instructed, “O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the Zaalimoon (wrongdoers).” (Surah al Baqarah 2:254)

Remember, for every bit of knowledge these students learn, implement, and teach, you receive a reward.

Thank you – Jazaakumullaahu Khairan Katheeran!

Annual Reports

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