From the Field Blog

  • Muyassar's nine-month fellowship with Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. (AKF USA) has taught him a lot about international development, both its institutions and its individuals. Since his previous blog, in which he shared the impressive impact of savings groups in Tajikistan, he has learned a lot through his experience in the Washington, DC office and the perspective of a donor-liaison office. Read on to for his reflections on his time here in DC as his fellowship comes to a close and he prepares to return home.

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  • This spring Program Officer Linda Ulqini traveled to Kenya to gauge and experience progress in schools involved in the Education for Marginalized Children in Kenya (EMACK) project. EMACK has worked with 800 schools and thousands of communities across the Coastal, North Eastern, and Nairobi regions in Kenya. It has trained over 3,200 teachers and reached over 120,000 children. Outside Mombasa on the coast, Linda visited schools of all kinds – both formal public schools, and low-cost private schools started outside the public education system in the informal settlements that have sprung up around East Africa’s largest cities. After numerous trips to schools and communities involved with EMACK over the years, what strikes her is how different and important each individual school is. Read on to learn more.

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  • On July 23, Program Officer Luke Bostian went to an all-day symposium at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC titled “Pakistan’s Interminable Energy Crisis: Is There Any Way Out?” The symposium drew some pretty big guns, including Pakistan’s Secretary for Water and Power, Nargis Sethi, and the former Director of Operations for the World Bank, Ziad Alahdad. He was interested to hear what the symposium speakers would say about the causes for Pakistan’s difficulties with energy access and their suggested solutions and what opportunities there might be for the Aga Khan Development Network to take the great successes we’ve had with power projects elsewhere and apply them to Pakistan. Read on to learn more.

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  • The drought in California is a leading news story this summer. However, another story of water scarcity from drought-prone Kenya illustrates a possible path for finding solutions to water shortages. The story from Kenya offers a prime example of the practice known as community philanthropy, in which communities come together to solve problems. A report on National Public Radio describes the remote rural community of Makutano’s success managing a water crisis with local assets. The program is part of a series supported by the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. to highlight the Aga Khan Development Network's approach to foster innovation and build local self-reliance.

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  • When communities pull together to solve problems, it rarely makes headlines (especially in developing countries) but this month such an example did draw media attention, along with an international event spotlighting the practice known as community philanthropy. Earlier in July a story of a Kenyan community’s success managing a water crisis with local assets was featured on America Abroad. The program heard on National Public Radio (NPR) captures how local ownership created a long-term solution; that in turn bloomed into other improvements, with road access and education. That type of exponential spread is what the Global Alliance for Community Philanthropy, established last year, is working to achieve. Read on to learn more.

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