“There are those who enter the world in such poverty that they are deprived of both the means and the motivation to improve their lot. Unless they can be touched with the spark of individual enterprise, they will only sink into apathy, degradation, and despair. It is for us, who are more fortunate, to provide that spark.”
His Highness the Aga Khan
January 24, 1967, Aiglemont, France
Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) was established by His Highness the Aga Khan on January 24, 1967.1 Initiatives of the AKF reach out to vulnerable populations around the world, irrespective of their race, religion, political persuasion or gender, to enable community members to undertake well-informed activities for sustainable and equitable economic and social development.
AKF is largely a field-based organisation with programme units located in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Kenya, the Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania and Uganda; resource mobilisation offices in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States; and headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
In Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, activities are most often concentrated in rural communities in mountainous, coastal and other remote, resource-poor areas. In Europe, urban peripheries are targeted to address challenges commonly faced by new and often poor immigrant communities.
As one of AKDN’s five leading agencies in education, AKF works in partnership with governments, the private sector, civil society, academic institutions, school leaders, teachers, parents, communities and students to develop and scale affordable, innovative solutions that raise the quality and accessibility of public school systems for the most marginalised children worldwide.
Early Childhood Development
The Foundation has given attention to the numerous factors which ensure the quality of life for children by working at multiple levels (community through to policy) and with a range of partners including local and national governments, civil society, private sector, academic institutions, as well as parents and communities.
The goal of the Foundation’s health programme is to achieve sustainable improvements in health status among vulnerable groups, especially the geographically remote, women of childbearing age and children under five. The Foundation promotes improvements in health policies, financing mechanisms and basic services while enabling communities to adopt effective health practices.
The AKF Rural Support Programmes are founded on the principle that communities can take ownership of their own development through the establishment and good governance of representative village organisations. The first Rural Support Programme was established in the Northern Areas of Pakistan in 1983. Since then, the model has been adapted and replicated in many other contexts. AKF rural development interventions now reach over 8 million people living in remote and often marginalised areas in Central and South Asia and East and West Africa.
Through its agencies and programmes, AKDN supports a range of citizen organisations including professional, cultural, and faith-based associations, NGOs, disaster response teams, housing associations, savings groups and community organisations managing local resources and local governance.
International Scholarship Programme
AKF provides a limited number of scholarships each year for postgraduate studies to outstanding students from select developing countries who have no other means of financing their studies, in order to develop effective scholars and leaders and to prepare them for employment, primarily within the AKDN. Scholarships are awarded on a 50% grant, 50% loan basis through a competitive application process.
For a list of some of the projects currently implemented by the Foundation and its partners, visit AKDN.
1Ontario Ismaili Newsletter, Silver Jubilee Issue
Overview of the Aga Khan Foundation
Compiled by Nimira Dewji
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