“Local ownership” has been a buzzword for a long time and is widely touted as a better way forward for international development. For the Aga Khan Development Network, local ownership is much more than a buzzword; it is a guiding force to reach long-term impact. It puts local voices at the center of participatory development and ensures that projects address community needs. Recently, Program Officer Natalie Ross had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion at the Society for International Development to examine what local ownership means in practice. Read more about it in our latest From the Field!
Read stories of hope and opportunity from women, children and men who have been touched by our work.
The Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. recently entered into an agreement with TechnoServe for a three-year project in Mozambique that will help an estimated 29,500 smallholder cashew farmers and processors increase their productivity and competitiveness, and reduce poverty in the country. The $3.2 million program, with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will train farmers in methods that improve growing practices and post-harvest techniques, and train processors and others in practices that will expand the cashew trade, including certification, quality standards, market linkages and improved access to financing.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and a five-year civil war, Tajikistan’s electrical infrastructure required major investment. Among the most affected areas was the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), where people and economic development suffered during the cold winter months. The lack of electricity for heating resulted in the closure of schools, health centers and businesses. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), in partnership with the International Finance Corporation, formed the Pamir Energy company in 2002 to address the situation. In 2012 with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. started the Cross-Border Energy project to expand Pamir Energy’s reach across the border to Afghanistan’s remote Shugnan District.
Community Philanthropy is the practice of communities mobilizing capital of various kinds – financial, civic, social, human, political, and intellectual – with the aim of improving residents’ lives over the long term. In the places where the Aga Khan Development Network works, we have a long history of supporting this practice, which grows from the natural disposition to help. Community philanthropy organizations customize their programs to fit community needs and find ways to strengthen civil society for the long term. AKDN works to build the local sustainability of civil society by strengthening organizational Assets, Capacity, and Trust, with a larger goal of improving the quality of life in the areas where we work.
The Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index (CSOSI) is a tool that has was created by the U.S. Agency for International Development in 1997 to assess the sustainability of the civil society sector in 29 countries in Europe and Eurasia. Since 2009, the Aga Khan Foundation has joined USAID in funding an expansion of the index to sub-Saharan Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Youth across Central Asia face limited employment opportunities. Yet there is an increasing demand for high quality and relevant post-secondary vocational and technical education opportunities. The Cross-Border Vocational Education program in Badakhshan seeks to increase employment opportunities in Afghan and Tajik Badakhshan and to improve cross-border cooperation between the two provinces.