Rural Development

Giving people greater voice and choices in deciding their futures

In agrarian places such as Northern Pakistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Mozambique, poverty is widespread with average income at only $150 per year. The Foundation works in these places and more to support local communities and their rural development projects. Our success has encouraged other development organizations to adopt our approach to rural development.
Our rural development programs help families save and gain access to credit. These programs also provide assistance to enterprise development, natural resource management and building infrastructure. Through grassroots decision making bodies, programs not only build up rural areas but also give people greater voice and choices in deciding their own futures.
Over a quarter century ago, the Foundation began an ambitious experiment in Northern Pakistan. For centuries the economy was mainly dependent on the barter system. Only one person in ten could read. And the country had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. To reverse these deplorable trends, the Foundation has worked to organize small, subsistence farmers and communities into democratic villages that work to raise living standards. These community organizations collectively identify common farming problems and find affordable, effective solutions. Today, the Foundation has rural development programs in Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Syria and Tajikistan. The model of participatory rural development combines a set of common development principles with the flexibility to respond to the specific contexts and needs of each local community.
Programs typically link elements such as community-based savings groups, natural resource management, productive infrastructure development, increased agricultural productivity, and human skills development with a central concern for community-level participation and decision-making. The ultimate goal is to enable community members to make informed choices and foster sustainable development. 2.5 million people worldwide have benefited directly from the Foundation’s rural development programs, while nearly 12 million people in over 8,400 village organizations have indirectly benefited. Learn more about the Aga Khan Development Network's rural development approach and programming here.


Project Spotlight: Read more about our work in rural development

MozaCaju, Mozambique
Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture in Mali
Governance and Livelihoods, Afghanistan
Pamir Energy, Central Asia
Facilitating Farmers' Access to Markets, Mali
Teaching Sustainable Agriculture, Mozambique
Microfinance & Home Improvement, Afghanistan