Posted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:46 am Post subject: Aga Khan Agency for the Habitat – a new AKDN Agency
Aga Khan Agency for the Habitat – a new AKDN Agency has multiple job opportunities – apply by Dec 20
A new agency, the Aga Khan Agency for the Habitat (AKAH), has been created to expressly focus on built habitat and human settlements in high risk areas. The agency brings together the supra-national capabilities of the Ismaili Imamat’s Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) – a constellation of institutions working in complementary and synergistic ways to address the challenges of improving the living condition of marginalized peoples around the world, specifically in Africa and Asia.
Based in Geneva, the General Manager will be responsible for ensuring the successful set up of the new Agency, provide strategic and operational leadership to AKAH’s field units in different countries, review budgets, monitor and evaluate programmatic interventions and for develop contemporary approaches to the strategic outlook.
Head of Emergency Management, Head of Planning and Building Department, and Head of Operational Research, Monitoring and Communications positions are also being offered to capable and interested candidates in Switzerland and Tajikistan.
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (including FOCUS) and USAID sign agreement to create resilient communities in Shimshal Valley
Islamabad, Pakistan, 20 January 2017 - The Department of Emergency Management (formerly FOCUS) of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program initiated a project “Creating Resilient Communities in Shimshal Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan”. The project, which aims to build resilience against the threat of glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) events in Shimshal valley, will build the capacity of community members in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM).
The project also aims to conduct hazard and risk assessment of four glaciers in the valley and improve risk anticipation through the establishment of an Early Warning System (EWS). The proposed Early Warning System will be linked with the existing Early Warning Centre (EWC) in Gilgit to monitor potential risk in the GLOF areas, which will not only benefit the Shimshal valley but many other villages located along the Hunza river downstream.
“Our aim is to create safer habitat where communities can see a future for themselves,” said Nawab Ali Khan, Chief Executive Officer, AKAH. “The main goal of the integration of the programmes of FOCUS and Aga Khan Planning and Building Service Pakistan (AKPBSP) into AKAH is to create resilient and sustainable communities. Such partnerships will help in achieving this goal.”
AKAH has so far trained more than 36,000 volunteers for disaster response and management across Pakistan. It is the recipient of the Sitara-i-Eisaar award conferred by the government of Pakistan in recognition of its humanitarian assistance during the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake. The “Creating Resilient Communities in Shimshal Valley” project is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat to provide safe drinking water to over 54,000 people in Pakistan
Pakistan, 10 July 2017 - The Government of Gilgit Baltistan and the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat has agreed on a joint venture to provide clean drinking water to around 6000 households in district Gilgit.
The agreement was confirmed in a meeting held between the Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Pakistan (AKAH), Mr. Nawab Ali Khan, and the Chief Secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan, Dr. Kazim Niaz held in Gilgit on July 10, 2017.
It was agreed that AKAH will receive a grant of PKR 300 million (approximately USD 2.85 million) from the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan to provide safe drinking water to around 6,000 households – a population of over 54,000 people – in Danyore, Muhammadabad, Sultanabad and Gujardass and build capacity of relevant government agencies for adoption of WASEP approach.
During the meeting, which was attended by government high officials and AKAH’s management, the government of Gilgit-Baltistan expressed appreciation for AKAH’s long-term commitment to improve the quality of life of communities in Gilgit-Baltistan through its award-winning and internationally acclaimed Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP).
CHITRAL: An event to mark the National Disaster Day was organised in Chitral here on Thursday.
The district administration in collaboration with University of Chitral and Agha Khan Agency for Habitat had organised the event to promote awareness among the people about natural and man-made disasters and to minimise the damages in a calamity. Deputy Commissioner Irshad Sodhar was the chief guest on the occasion.
The participants put forward various suggestions to minimise the casualties
and other material loss in case of a disaster and stressed for participation of local people in the disaster risk management to benefit from their experiences to minimise damages in case of a disaster.
Impacts of Global Climate Change in Chipurson Valley
“Impacts of Global Climate Change in Chipurson Valley”
Photo Credit Haider Ali
Global warming has significantly changed the yearly weather timetable. The locals are astonished to experience the snow in May. Such drastic change in the weather may affect the agriculture and livestock. These two sectors are the only source of income for the habitats. Chipurson valley is located in an area which is prone to harsh weather conditions and other natural forces.
Structural Survey Engineer
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat invests in capacity development of its Search and Rescue Team
ISLAMABAD: (PR) The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, collaborated with the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) and the Punjab Emergency Service to organize a certification course for its Search and Rescue Teams (SARTs) in Lahore. The training, which was attended by 26 SART members, including men and women, aimed to develop skills for urban search and rescue, water rescue, and powered rescue boat.
AKAH has led the development and capacity building of regional SARTs for over two decades. Recognizing the gender sensitivities in disaster response, nearly 35% of the SARTs’ members are women. Trained in light to medium search and rescue techniques according to the International Search and Rescue Response Guidelines (INSARAG), SARTs have actively responded in several national level disasters including: the Astore Earthquake in 2002, the Kashmir Earthquake in 2005, the building collapse in Lyari, Karachi in 2009, and the Attabad Landslide in 2010.
Appraising the need to focus on capacity building of SARTs to continue to effectively respond in events of disasters, the CEO of AKAH, Mr. Nawab Ali Khan said, “The severe impacts of climate change and the increasing frequency of disasters in Pakistan call for improved capacities of the communities to cope against such disasters. Participation of SARTs in such courses is an essential way to equip their knowledge and skills for quality disaster response”
Volunteers come to aid following monsoon floods in Kerala
Floods had brought life in Kerala to a standstill. Hundreds of lives were lost. Thousands of homes were totally destroyed and many more were damaged. In an act of solidarity to help Kerala brace the odds, The Aga Khan Agency of Habitat, India took the lead in consolidating the support from the Jamats all around India to make our little contribution in the flood relief measures.
Kerala, India was hit with what has been termed by meteorologists as the worst floods in over a century, this past August.
Hundreds of people lost their lives and thousands were displaced with no place to call home. There was huge damage to crops, property, and livelihoods.
In its darkest hours and moments of despair and destruction, members of the Jamat from all over the country stepped forward to assist Kerala in recovering from the crisis.
Under the leadership of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) and other institutions, volunteers worked to procure relief material and items that could be distributed to those in need in the aftermath of the calamity.
Approximately 3.5 tonnes of relief material was collected from across the country. Water bottles, undergarments, lungis, gowns, diapers, sanitary napkins, mosquito repellents, items of first aid, hygiene kits, plates, towels, batteries, bed sheets, blankets, and sleeping mats were collected and sent to Kerala.
In Silvassa, the Ismaili Volunteer Corps., as well as a team of scouts and guides worked together going door to door to collect items required in the relief work.
Members of the Jamat in Bavla, Gujarat also helped in the post-relief operations by contributing basic food items such as rice, dal, sugar, dry snacks, as well as essential items of clothing.
Suleman Khoja, the convener of Crisis Committee for Kutch, said, “When I heard that AKAH India had initiated efforts to give relief material for people of Kerala and that we needed to collect it from the Jamat, my team and I decided to make the most of it. It was a good medium to reach out and help the people of Kerala. Kutch Jamat was a great helping hand. The volunteers also did a great job. Indeed, they are the foundation of our community.”
He reminisced about the terrible destruction caused by an earthquake in Kutch in 2001. “We could feel the pain of the people in Kerala as Kutch Jamat too were victims of devastation due to the earthquake,” he said.
During this difficult time, volunteers of the India Jamat provided a spark to ignite disaster relief efforts in Kerala, assisting the local community to get back to its feet and embark on the process of reconstruction.
Relief efforts of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat in Kerala, India
Kerala, a state on the southern coast of India, faced unprecedented flooding in the month of August 2018 due to unusually high rainfall during the monsoon season. Hundreds of people died; hundreds of thousands were displaced. According to the Kerala government, one-sixth of the total population of the state was directly affected by the floods and related incidents.
In the aftermath of the calamity, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat India (AKAH) deployed its Disaster Assessment and Response Team (DART) in the days immediately following the flooding. The team conducted its assessment in two badly-affected districts, Ernakulam and Alappuzha. They found that large numbers of people living in relief camps faced a significant shortage of non-food items necessary for personal and environmental health and hygiene. They also found that people returning to their villages came back to homes filled with slush and muck, toilets that were destroyed, and contaminated wells. The DART report made it clear that health and hygiene would be a major concern going forward.
AKAH mobilised 51 tonnes of non-food relief material through community appeals, amounting to 5,148 relief kits, each having a monetary value of Rs. 3065 (approximately USD 45). The kits were sorted and packed by volunteers led by AKAH personnel and transported to Kerala by rail free of cost by Indian Railways. The relief kits were then transported to flood-affected villages in Ernakulam, Idukki, Alappuzha, Wayanad and Trissur districts.
“The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat is among the non-governmental organisations that have provided the largest quantity of NFI (Non-Food Item) relief materials for flood affected people in Kerala,” said Mr. K Mohammed Y Safirulla, IAS, Collector and District Magistrate of Ernakulam. “We acknowledge and highly appreciate the support of AKAH.”
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat helps create innovative knowledge sharing platform for Tajikistan
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 21 February 2019 – In order to address the important need identified by the Government of Tajikistan for Government agencies and partners to have access to clear and reliable information on the hazards and risks impacting the country, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), the Committee for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense (CoESCD) and the Main Department of Geology have come together to support the implementation of a knowledge sharing platform known as the “Open Center”.
The Open Center, which now connects the two Government departments, will be extended to other departments in the near future. The platform is composed of two physical facilities, one in each department with dedicated trained staff using an integrated data analysis and mapping tool, which is able to support emergency response planning, risk prediction and risk mapping and which will act as the institutional memory for knowledge around risk management developed by government partners across the country.
The Open Center will act as a collaborative working tool, which will allow stakeholders to share hazard risk catalogues, and hazard assessments, which have been conducted by organisations working on hazard mapping across Tajikistan, as well as an information repository, storing this data for future generations. The centre will be accessible to the Government, international organisations, donor agencies, NGOs and other researchers or practitioners in this field.
Funding for this innovative initiative was generously provided by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Aga Khan Foundation.
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat’s Water and Sanitation Extension Programme: Closing the gap in the remotest areas of the world
By Onno Ruhl, General Manager, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat
In Northern Pakistan, Silgan Valley is one of the most remote valleys in Ghizer District of Gilgit-Baltistan, and Ghasoom Village is at the very end of it. Part of a cluster of villages on a flat piece of land, at the end of the valley, it is closed off on three sides by magnificent glaciers. On a sunny autumn day, like the one on 26 October of 2018, the place looks like a mountaineer’s dream and a great spot for a relaxing vacation away from it all. The reality, however, is different: Every glacier is a direct threat to the village, which is subject to flash floods, rock falls, debris flows and the possibility of glacial lake outbursts due to the growing instability of glaciers in this part of the world.
The community here is used to a hard life and mobilises easily to protect itself from hazard. The daily grind of taking care of oneself and the community overwhelms every other activity, especially for the women. The government programmes that would normally provide water, power, education and health care have limited reach this far.
This is why the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) embarked on its Priority Valley Programme for Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral in Northern Pakistan. The programme turns priorities upside down: It targets the most remote valleys first.
My visit on 26 October 2018 was to mark the occasion when the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat’s Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP) managed to put a working tap – providing World Health Organisation (WHO)-quality water – in every single household in the entire Siligan Valley, as well as in four other priority valleys. This has turned the world upside down: In the most remote place one can imagine, 100 percent coverage has been achieved. Our colleagues from the other AKDN agencies have also done fantastic things in their sectors. There are now good schools, access to health care and an extensive livelihoods programme to match.
But today is World Water Day, so today is our WASEP day! Over a 20-year period, WASEP has provided WHO-quality water to more than 100,000 households in Northern Pakistan – more than half a million people. The best part is that the 20-year old systems still work thanks to high technical standards and a community engagement approach that ensures proper maintenance of the water systems.
Thanks to this programme, the girls in the community now have time to go to school and pursue their dreams, which transforms the quality of life of their families. The rate of diarrhoeal diseases has dropped dramatically, contributing to better living as well as learning outcomes. The benefits are many.
We hope to cover two other priority valleys this year, and we have embarked on an ambitious programme for water supply of a major part of Gilgit Town and its suburbs, together with the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan. At the same time, we are mobilising WASEP approaches in Tajikistan with our colleagues from the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, and Afghanistan will be next. Water will be our priority every day, not just on World Water Day…
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat and UK partners train female rescuers in Tajikistan and Afghanistan
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 2 April 2019 – The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), in collaboration with Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST), Staffordshire Emergency Services Humanitarian Aid Association (SESHAA), Women in the Fire Service (WFS) of United Kingdom and British Embassy in Tajikistan organised a search and rescue training for 16 female participants in an effort to build capacity for disaster preparedness and response operations in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The partnership follows the signing of an agreement for the expansion of cross-border cooperation for disaster preparedness and response to emergency.
From the onset of its interventions in Tajikistan, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) has aligned closely with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, Goal 5 –Gender Equality) and Tajikistan’s National Strategy in the field of humanitarian assistance and Disaster Risk Reduction, ensuring that gender equality is an integral part of its activities.
AKAH places emphasis on engaging women and children to its disaster and awareness and preparedness trainings, given they are the most vulnerable groups when it comes to disasters. Today, female members are actively involved in the search and rescue operations, together with their male counterparts across the region.
FIRE AID, a UK-based umbrella organisation under which the key UK project partners EASST, SESHAA and WFS collaborate, generously donated vital equipment worth US$ 40,000 for the training. The shipment of this equipment was arranged through the long-standing partnership between EASST and the Aga Khan Development Network.
The training, delivered by UK fire fighters and rescue experts, enabled participants to learn in depth search and rescue strategies and techniques, and methods of search and rescue operations using special rescue and personal protective equipment.
Marhabo Saboieva, Tajikistan SART member, shared her experience noting: “The training enabled us to not only learn and practice main operations related to search and rescue, but also provided a space where all female rescuers from Tajikistan and Afghanistan shared their work experience. I have realised more the importance of female rescuers during emergencies as many families in Tajikistan, due to some cultural sensitivity in relation to gender issues, prefer female rescuers over male ones to help their female members”.
Suhaylo Nazari, Afghanistan SART member, stated: “The training was a great opportunity to strengthen the regional cooperation between Tajikistan and Afghanistan in disaster preparedness and response”. The techniques and methods learnt from professional instructors, according to Suhaylo, will be shared with other members of her team once she is back in Afghanistan.
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat and UN-Habitat in partnership on habitat planning, policy and design
Nairobi, Kenya, 30 May 2019 - The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) today signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UN agency focused on sustainable urbanisation, UN - Habitat. The MoU will further enhance AKAH’s work in implementing and driving urban and rural habitat planning, policy and design in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kenya to improve the quality of life of the communities it serves.
AKAH, with other agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), will partner with UN-Habitat’s Urban Planning and Design Branch in urban policy and capacity building and will support the development of the UN-Habitat’s newly formed Global Network of Labs through shared planning projects and the development of normative products and publications.
UN Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, welcomed the partnership, stating: ‘We are very honored to have the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat and the AKDN at our First Assembly. I first worked on a conservation action plan with the AKDN in Penang. I would like to renew my partnership from Penang to Nairobi with AKAH and the AKDN. I look forward to doing sustainable projects and to developing normative work to further sustainable development goals and urban planning frameworks for implementation with the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat’.
Onno Ruhl, General Manager of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, said ‘It is such an honor to be present at the First Assembly of the UN-Habitat under Madame Maimunah Sharif’s leadership. This MoU is an anchor to our partnership and we are very excited to work on urban and rural planning and resilience projects with the UN-Habitat and the UN-Habitat Lab. My commitment is to make sure this is an MoU of action. This is a big day for us’.
The signing of this historic agreement took place during UN-Habitat’s First Assembly with the theme “Innovation for Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities” at the Agency’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. (https://unhabitat.org/habitatassembly/).
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), was established in 2015 to address the increasing threat posed by natural disasters and climate change. As an agency of the global Aga Khan Development Network, it works to ensure that poor people live in settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters; that residents who live in high-risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response, and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunity and a better quality of life.
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat raises awareness on National School Safety Day in Pakistan
Islamabad, Pakistan, 16 May 2019 – To protect schoolchildren from natural disasters and other insecurities, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) convened government education departments, academia, district disaster management authorities and the media in Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab.
Mr. Hafiz Noorullah, Education Development Officer, Chitral, said on a radio talk show: “A lack of awareness and knowledge makes the disaster happen. So there is a need to have more and more information sharing through different media platforms and involvement of young people in interactive discussions to sensitise them on the topics of safety and security.”
Mr. Nawab Ali Khan, Chief Executive Officer, AKAH Pakistan said: “In the 2005 earthquake, Pakistan lost around 20,000 children due to vulnerable structures and lack of awareness and preparedness, which cannot be repeated. We need our schools to be resilient and better prepared for similar situations. We are thankful to our public and private-sector partners for joining hands with us to achieve this objective.”
For the last 20 years, AKAH has been designing and implementing programmes on Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation in some of Pakistan’s most vulnerable areas. More than 1,000 schools in disaster-prone areas have benefitted from the development of hazard and risk maps, school safety plans, provision of school safety kits, and awareness raising and capacity building of individuals.
School-level awareness raising sessions have been part of the work of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat since the Islamabad Conference on School Safety held in 2008. AKAH’s School Safety Programme will contribute towards the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s one million safe schools and hospitals global campaign, and contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and practical implementation of the Pakistan School Safety Framework.
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat partners to design affordable, climate-resilient single-family homes
Geneva, Switzerland, 13 May 2019 - The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) partnered with the “Resilient Homes Design Challenge” in a crowdsourced challenge – spearheaded by the World Bank - to design climate-resilient single-family homes costing less than US$ 10,000.
Over the last 10 years, natural disasters have caused 23 million people to become homeless – many of them poor. The challenge was in response to homelessness caused by natural disasters in low-income and disaster prone regions.
“The countries that fall in the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat’s remit have suffered 847 major disasters over the last 28 years, accounting for over 243,000 lives lost,” said Prince Hussain Aga Khan, Chairman of the Executive Committee for AKAH. “As all of us know, these disasters often cause families to lose their most valuable asset: their home. The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat was created specifically to find ways to deal with these increasing threats. Its mission is to find innovative ways to address the threat of natural disaster and work to make communities resilient, building on the decades of experience of various AKDN agencies.”
To address the increasing threat posed by natural disasters and climate change, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) works to ensure that poor people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters, that residents who do live in high-risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response, and that these settings enable communities to thrive and lead a higher quality of life.
The home is a critical cornerstone to improve the quality of life of the communities that AKAH serves. His Highness the Aga Khan, speaking in an interview with Henri Weill, of La Cohorte, said, “when we studied the economic development of poor societies, we realised that when poor families manage to put money aside for the first time, they invest in their homes. Often it is a tin roof, running water or a sewerage system. In other words, human beings first look at everything that happens around them and their family. By working on people’s homes, we are working on basic needs and this then has an impact on several generations in the family.”
The design challenge arose when AKAH, as a member of a panel of judges at the World Bank, helped select the challenge team winners in partnership with Build Academy, the GFDRR, Airbnb and UN-Habitat. Over 3,225 professionals from over 160 countries participated in the challenge.
AKAH and the World Bank co-hosted a side-event at the annual World Reconstruction Conference (WRC4) in Geneva (13-14 May 2019) featuring the designs of the nine winners and three honourable mentions.
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