Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:39 am Post subject: AKDN / AKF INITIATIVES WORLDWIDE
Working towards holistic community development
Aga Khan Development Network project committed to enhancing quality of life
Addresses basic issues of health, education; provides for civic amenities and livelihood needs
Aims to revitalise culture; educational programmes promote pluralism and tolerance
NEW DELHI: The Aga Khan Development Network project is working with the locals living around the Hazrat Nizamuddin basti- Humayun Tomb-Sundar Nursery area to enhance their quality of life.
The Network is a group of private, non-denominational, international development agencies created by the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. The agencies address problems experienced by all citizens irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender or region.
Aimed at building a broad spectrum of human development -- social, economic and cultural -- into a comprehensive strategy, the Network is addressing the basic issues of health, education and livelihood needs, besides improving civic amenities and facilities such as water, toilets, roads and drains and environmental sanitation in the area.
Initiated in July 2007, the urban renewal initiative has been conducting extensive dialogue with divergent stakeholders from the Hazrat Nizamuddin basti, government, non-government and community-based organisations that have helped shape some of the proposed activities in the project.
Guided by the needs and aspirations voiced by the community of the Hazrat Nizamuddin basti, the project is being implemented in partnership with young groups and other community-based organisations with due consideration to issues raised by them. The project encompasses skill training and linkages to livelihood opportunities, encouraging the younger generation to participate in implementation of project activities and providing them with access to employment opportunities.
Establishing a resource centre to provide career advancement opportunities, life skills education, exposure to new technology and concepts, sports and cultural activities besides initiating dialogue and consultation with women to enhance opportunities for sustainable incomes are also key components of the project.
To create a safe and child-friendly learning environment in schools run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the Network is focusing on physical improvement, soft landscaping and optimising available space for learning use. It is also focusing on curriculum enhancement, material development and improved teaching in the school through capacity-building of school staff and placing additional community teachers.
Inclusion of information and communication technologies in school education and as a part of vocational training for out-of-school children and provision of education and learning opportunities through bridge classes, subject enrichment classes in English, Maths and Science are also part of the Network’s agenda.
As the cultural agency of the Network, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture is revitalising culture and improving the overall quality of life in societies where Muslims have a significant presence.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture works to preserve the cultural heritage of the Muslim world – not as a bulwark against the contemporary world but rather to ensure that the rich heritage of these culture endures.
“At the same time, the Trust’s educational programmes promote pluralism and tolerance as an antidote to what I call the clash of ignorance. …. Done well, these collaborations can have a catalytic effect on the revitalisation of communities – raising incomes, restoring pride, improvising the quality of life and restoring hope,” says the Aga Khan.
For years, development institutions focused on narrowly defined goals – without much coordination with organisations outside their discipline. Many thought that rising incomes would lead to development. In AKDN’s experience, however, income disparity is only one aspect of poverty. Other forms can be just as damaging: a lack of access to quality education, the inability to mitigate the effects of disasters, or an absence of effective civil society organisations. As a result, despite gains in income, the overall quality of life remains largely unchanged.
On a visit in the mid-1980s to the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in Pakistan, His Highness the Aga Khan saw that there was a need to bring a variety of inputs and disciplines to bear in a given area. He saw the rural support program expanding naturally into health and education, but he also saw a need for micro-insurance, environmental projects, seismic-resistant home construction, village planning and the restoration of cultural monuments.
The “multi-input” model that has emerged recognises that achieving long-term positive change is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. For AKDN, successful development occurs when a continuum of development activities offers people in a given area not only a rise in incomes, but a broad, sustained improvement in the overall quality of life.
In Pakistan’s Northern Areas, for example, the activities of the Aga Khan Rural Development Programme (AKRSP) are coordinated with those of other AKDN agencies. While AKRSP built thousands of small infrastructure projects, installed hundreds of micro-hydroelectric plants, planted tens of millions of trees, reclaimed hundreds of hectares of degraded land and mobilized 4,000 community organizations, Aga Khan Health Services complemented these activities by setting up health services. Aga Khan Education Services set up schools and literacy programs. Aga Khan University in Karachi provided education to many bright students who eventually returned to serve their communities as doctors, nurses and teachers. Aga Khan Planning and Building Services created seismic-resistant designs for housing and community centres, set up water and sanitation projects and created over 70 low-cost housing improvements. Focus Humanitarian Assistance, an AKDN affiliate, provided disaster response and mitigation training. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development set up three hotels in the region – economic engines that provide jobs, set service standards and stimulate economic activity through local sourcing. The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance administered thousands of new microfinance loans and pioneered micro-insurance for the poor. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture restored dozens of historic houses, monuments, landmark buildings and public spaces.
Please also see speeches by His Highness the Aga Khan:
Global Philanthropy Forum, 23 April 2009
Enabling Environment Conference, Kabul, 4 June 2007
Opening of the Kabul Serena Hotel, Kabul, 8 November 2005
Please also see excerpts in the media from the Global Philanthropy Forum speech:
Toronto Globe & Mail Commentary, "Looking Beyond the Cities"
Maputo — The giant textile factory Texlom, in the southern Mozambican city of Matola, paralysed for the past decade, will resume production in the near future, according to the Minister of Industry and Trade, Antonio Fernando.
Fernando told AIM "preparations for the factory's relaunch are very advanced. Very soon Texlom will be producing".
The investment required comes from the Aga Khan Foundation, and the textiles produced will be sold on the Mozambican and regional markets. The number of jobs created is about 100, and the workers are mostly women. Currently the staff are undergoing training prior to the take-off.
Fernando said the government has interested another business group in a second paralysed textile factory, Riopele, in Marracuene district, about 30 kilometres north of Maputo. "The investors are already in Mozambique to buy Riopele", he said - but the Minister did not name these investors or give any further details.
The government strategy for the textile and clothing sector, he said, was that anyone who invests in these factories "will benefit from tax exemption from ten years, and will enjoy facilities in importing equipment".
Fernando added that such benefits were common practice in countries with highly developed textile industries, such as China, India and Thailand, and were necessary in order to make Mozambican textiles competitive on the international market. He described these measures as part of the government's efforts to create a more favourable environment for business in Mozambique.
"I believe that with the progress we are making, the industries will be more aggressive and will be able to place their products in the United States, for instance, under the AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) regime, which allows Mozambique to sell its produce in the US free of duty", said Fernando.
Among the textile companies that are already functioning is Texmoque, in the northern city of Nampula, which, after a long period of paralysis, was sold to Tanzanian investors. "That factory is already employing a large number of workers", said the Minister.
Mozambique textile giant resumes operations under new name
www.chinaview.cn 2009-07-14 06:02:31 Print
MAPUTO, July 13 (Xinhua) -- One of Mozambique's largest textile factories Texlom in the southern city of Matola has resumed operations after being paralyzed for several years, according to local media AIM on Monday.
After an investment of about 2.5 million U.S. dollars by the new owners, the Aga Khan Foundation, the factory, now renamed Moztex, is currently operating on an experimental basis.
The factory now employs 260 workers, mostly young girls, but plans to employ about 700 people when it starts full operations. All the workers went through a training course before they were admitted.
Mozambican Minister of Industry and Trade Antonio Fernando visited the factory on Friday and was impressed with the type of technologies installed.
"We hope that these young girls who were and are being trained will assimilate the techniques being taught, because this kind of work demands a lot of efficiency", said Fernando during his visit.
The products of the factory, using machinery imported from Singapore and Japan, will be sold on the European, American, and South African markets. Fernando believed that the Mozambican goods will be competitive.
Representative of the Aga Khan Foundation Rahim Bangy said that two production lines have already been installed, and others will follow. "Our machinery is top quality, and thus we believe that our goods will be well accepted", he said.
The first undersea cable to bring high-speed internet access to East Africa has gone live.
The fibre-optic cable, operated by African-owned firm Seacom, connects South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique to Europe and Asia.
The firm says the cable will help to boost the prospects of the region's industry and commerce.
The cable - which is 17,000km long - took two years to lay and cost more than $650m.
Seacom said in a statement the launch of the cable marked the "dawn of a new era for communications" between Africa and the rest of the world.
The services were unveiled in ceremonies in the Kenyan port of Mombasa and the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam.
The cable was due to be launched in June but was delayed by pirate activity off the coast of Somalia.
“ It's not good. It's hanging and keeps wasting time and frustrating me ”
Kenyan internet user
The BBC's Ben Mwangunda in Dar es Salaam says five institutions are already benefiting from the faster speeds - national electricity company Tanesco, communications company, TTCL, Tanzania Railways and the Universities of Dar es Salaam and Dodoma.
The BBC's Will Ross in Nairobi says the internet revolution trumpeted by Seacom largely depends on how well the service is rolled out across the region.
To the disappointment of many consumers, our correspondent says some ISPs (internet service providers) are not planning to lower the cost of the internet, but instead will offer increased bandwidth.
But businesses, which have been paying around $3,000 a month for 1MB through a satellite link, will now pay considerably less - about $600 a month.
The Kenyan government has been laying a network of cables to all of the country's major towns and says the fibre-optic links will also enable schools nationwide to link into high quality educational resources.
But our correspondent says it is not clear whether the internet revolution will reach the villages, many of which still struggle to access reliable electricity.
Are you in Africa? How will the new broadband cable help you, or your business? Have slow internet speeds been holding you back? Have you noticed any difference in speed today? Send us your comments.
Germany and Norway are jointly funding the modernization of Faisabad Provincial Hospital. The hospital, which is responsible for providing medical care to more than 800,000 people, is in urgent need of repair and modernization. The KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW development bank) and the Aga Khan Foundation are partners in the project.
Under the terms of the financing agreement, the Federal Foreign Office is contributing 6.3 million euro to the project, which will make it possible to renovate existing buildings, build new, much-needed diagnostic and treatment units and enhance the hospital's training capacity. Norway's contribution (1.3 million euro) is targeted at extending the hospital's maternity facilities.
Faisabad hospital is responsible for the entire north-eastern Province of Badakhshan. Some 820,000 people, the large majority of whom are ethnic Tajiks, live in its catchment area. The hospital currently has 85 beds and employs 129 persons. Neither its buildings nor the quality of the medical care provided satisfy the requirements which are normally placed on a provincial hospital. Its maternity facilities, in particular, urgently need to be extended and improved. According to a UNICEF study, the region's neonatal and maternal mortality rates are depressingly high.
The executing agency is KfW Entwicklungsbank. The planned measures are due to be completed within five years.
Another crucial factor in the project's long-term success is the commitment given by the Aga Khan Foundation to take over the running of the hospital for 30 years. The Foundation is already present on the ground, and is involved in nurse training and local basic healthcare projects. KfW Entwicklungsbank has already been cooperating successfully for many years with the Aga Khan Health Services. The US Development Organization USAID has agreed to fund the running of the hospital.
Kenya's IPS says to list E.African agribusinesses
Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:15pm GMT
By Duncan Miriri
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan private equity group, Industrial Promotion Services (IPS), plans to combine its six agrobusinesses and list the new entity to raise $15 million to $20 million for expansion, the group's managing director said on Tuesday.
Lutaf Kassam said that IPS, owned by the Aga Khan, the spiritual head of the Ismailia community, said it was eyeing early next year to list the new group on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.
"Our timeline was to do it this year ... with the economic climate it is not the right time to go to the market," he said.
The firm said that the listing would allow locals to buy a piece of the business as well as raise funds for expansion.
"We see a huge opportunity for expansion," Kassam said.
IPS aims to combine vegetable-exporter Frigoken, meat processer Farmers Choice, a firm that exports finished leather and Premier Foods, makers of tomato sauce and juices as well as a passion fruit exporter and a company that farms Artemisia, which it sells to Novartis for use in anti-malarial drugs.
Kassam also said that another part of the IPS' portfolio that deals in infrastructure investments could be hived off and sold on the Nairobi bourse once the group of agro-based firms was listed.
Kassam also said that IPS would build a 50 to 75 megawatt wind power project in Kenya together with German utility EnBW.
"The wind power project will take close to a $100 million," he said, adding that the project would be commissioned in early 2011.
He said that there had been a marked change in the Kenyan government's attitude to private power producers since IPS started the first private project in the country, Tsavo Power, in the early part of the decade, and this has enabled IPS to start the wind power project
"The private sector is getting good vibes that they (the government) really mean business. The Kenyan government has finally understood the importance of energy and the need to diversify into greener energy," Kassam said.
IPS, which has a 25 to 75 equity-to-debt ratio gearing in its investments, is also the lead investor in Uganda's $860 million Bujagali hydropower project, Kassam said.
IPS has more than 10,000 employees in the region.
IPS also has a stake in the SEACOM undersea fibre-optic cable project and is a major player in power generation projects in the east African region.
Kassam said IPS wanted to invest in Rwanda's methane to electricity project on Lake Kivu and was looking in to how to proceed.
"On paper, conceptually, it (methane to electricity) is very sexy, but the trick now is to find implementation and to move ahead," he said.
Other Aga Khan groups operating in east Africa include Nation Media and hotelier TPS Eastern Africa.
Jubilee Insurance profit grows by Ksh 344m
Written By:Rose Kamau , Posted: Fri, Aug 21, 2009
Jubilee Holdings Ltd has announced an increase in revenue and profit for the first six months of 2009.
The Group's half year gross revenue increased by 15.6% to Ksh 4.9 billion while the profit rose by 8.7% to Ksh 344 million.
The Chairman of Jubilee Holdings Nizar Juma attributed Jubilee's continued good performance to the strengthening of the group's leadership position in the East African region.
"Jubilee has a strong presence in East Africa. We are the number one insurer in Kenya, Uganda and East Africa. We are convinced of the group's strategic growth focus and continue to explore avenues of growth in our line of business and regional expansion into other East African countries," Juma said.
Jubilee, in partnership with the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), now offers a cover against Political Violence, Terrorism and Sabotage Risks to its clients in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mauritius, Burundi and Rwanda.
Prior to this, South Africa was the only country in Africa where political risks were covered.
Jubilee has also extended its medical franchise into Tanzania and Uganda and Juma says it will soon launch a retail medical product in Kenya.
He said Jubilee is also developing its long term business through introduction of market driven savings products that target its clients' education and asset building needs.
"Our good revenues, profits and growth levels as a company may also be attributed to the improvement in our internal systems and procedures," he added.
He said Jubilee Kenya has been awarded an ISO 9001: 2008 certification in acknowledgment of its systems competence in service delivery.
The company announced an interim dividend of 20% (Kshs 1) per share for its clients.
Jubilee Insurance is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, the economic arm of the Aga Khan Development Network and is the only ISO certified insurance based financial institution listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, Uganda Securities Exchange and Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.
AIR UGANDA RESUMES IT’S MORNING FLIGHTS
September 7th, 2009 · No Comments
By Nakiboneka Halimah
Uganda Safaris and Travel Guide News Reporter
Air Uganda will on September 7 resume its morning flight from Entebbe to Nairobi and vise versa, which it had suspended a year ago. The reintroduction of the morning flights is expected to reinforce Air Uganda’s stature on one of the most lucrative routes in the region.
The announcement of the return of the morning flights came over the weekend as the airline introduced another aircraft to its growing fleet.
Jennifer Musime Bamuturaki, Air Uganda Head of sales and marketing said with the re-introduction of our morning flight, Air Uganda is now in a better position to serve their clients and provide them with great value for money fares and a more attractive convenient schedule that enables them to do a day’s business in Nairobi and make more flights to other airlines at Jomo Kenyatta Airport.
The morning flight had been suspended after a rise in oil prices and a dip in passenger numbers hurt the company’s revenue. That suspension, announced in July 2008, left Air Uganda with only the evening flight.
The new morning flight will leave Entebbe at 6:45 am and arrive in Nairobi at 7:45am. In Nairobi, Air Uganda will leave at 8:15 am and arrive at Entebbe one hour later.
Air Uganda also flies to Juba, Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar. The company has three aircraft at the moment, with two more expected by the end of the year.
Uganda makes blood pressure drugs
Wednesday, 16th September, 2009
By Ronald Kalyango
UGANDA has started manufacturing Amlodipine, the drug which reduces high blood pressure to normal. The drug is being manufactured under the brand name, Cardipac, by Kampala Pharmaceutical Industries (KPI), a drug manufacturing company which is part of the Aga Khan Development Network.
Launching the drug at Pearl Afrique Hotel in Gulu district on Saturday, KPI’s business development manager Antony Kuria said the drug helps patients with high blood pressure live long.
Kuria said hypertension is a silent killer because it does not get as much attention as other diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS.
Kuria said the drug was launched at a cost 50% lower than many imported brands. The chairman of the Uganda Diabetes Association (UDA), Prof. Marcel Otim, who is also the head of the endocrine unit at the department of medicine at Mulago, said high blood pressure is a serious problem to patients suffering from diabetes.
Studies carried out by Otim at the Kadiac Diabetes Centre, showed that up to 63% of patients with diabetes suffered from high blood pressure, a condition he referred to as the metabolic syndrome.
This is because diabetes tends to weaken the walls of the heart and arteries. Kuria gave 36,000 Cardipac and 5,000 formin tablets to Otim to be used for treating patients at Gulu University Teaching Hospital.
Alice Lamwaka, a practitioner at the hospital, said there were over 2,000 diabetic and 15,000 high blood pressure patients in the district. The Gulu district chairperson, Nobert Mao, asked the Government to give priority to non-communicable diseases as it does with malaria, tuberclosis and HIV/AIDS
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a major sponsor of the Governors’ Global Climate Summit, being held 30 September 30 – 2 October 2009 in Los Angeles.
The objectives of the conference are to “deepen and broaden cooperative efforts by sub-national governments to implement strategies that can immediately grow a green economy, increase the use of sustainable clean energy, reduce dependence on oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in advance of, and in support of, the next global agreement on climate change.”
AKDN works in areas of the developing world where poor people are already suffering the impact of environmental degradation. In AKDN's experience, the challenge of improving environmental conditions lies not in an inherent conflict between humans and the natural world, but in the penury of natural resources that often forces people to consume the few environmental assets available to them. These conditions often create a downward spiral that results in deeper poverty, depleted soils, deforested hills, polluted water and disease.
Within the AKDN, the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment is a centre for environmental activities.
The Fund’s activities include natural resource management and security against natural risks such as landslides, rural development in fragile natural environments and related programmers in the fields of health, housing and the built environment, education and the strengthening of civil society. The Fund’s activities highlight the linkages between poverty and the penury of natural resources. It promotes the management and development of sustainable natural resources through education, area development and related research that addresses existing issues in the developing world. The intention is to assist populations that are most threatened by their natural surroundings, while working to protect fragile ecosystems that are vulnerable to the effects of poorly planned human activity. Another goal of the Fund will be to enhance natural environments that can be made more productive.
The Fund strives to maintain the values, philosophy and expertise of the late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan and the Bellerive Foundation, the international environmental NGO he founded in 1977 and chaired along with his wife, Princess Catherine.
For more information about AKDN Environment activities, please see the Environment page.
For more information about the Governors’ Global Climate Summit, please see their website.
Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) - Mozambique a recepient of USAID grant to fight Malaria...
U.S. Announces Community Grant Awards to Fight Malaria
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2009
Press Office: 202-712-4320
Public Information: 202-712-4810
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced over $10.5 million in grants to seven organizations working in six countries in Africa to extend malaria prevention and control activities in communities most affected by the disease, particularly children under age 5 and pregnant women. The grants were provided through the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), an interagency initiative led by USAID with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as key partners.
The Malaria Communities Program (MCP), a $30 million initiative created under PMI, is providing these grants to support the efforts of communities and indigenous organizations to combat malaria in Africa. The program specifically aims to identify organizations that are new to partnering with the U.S. government and are uniquely positioned to work at the community level. The program also seeks to increase local and indigenous capacities to undertake community-based malaria prevention and treatment activities and to build local ownership of malaria control for the long term. MCP grant recipients will operate within respective PMI country strategies, which have been developed in collaboration with each country's Ministry of Health and National Malaria Control Program, with in-country partners, and with other donor organizations working in-country.
"I am committed to expanding the work of nongovernmental and faith-based organizations, and other community based entities to reach people with the tools and knowledge to control malaria," said R. Tim Ziemer, U.S. Malaria Coordinator. "The key to saving lives, especially children, is to expand proven approaches and interventions until they reach each and every child who needs them."
Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) - Mozambique
AKF, in partnership with Progresso and the country's Ministry of Health (MoH), will implement a three-year, $1.48 million malaria prevention and treatment project targeting nine districts in the Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique. The program will directly reach 400,000 people, including an estimated 110,000 pregnant women and children under 5 by delivering malaria prevention and education programs increasing access to ACTs, and promoting household ownership and proper use of ITNs. The program aims to promote sustainable malaria control in the target areas by strengthening community capacities for health promotion activities and treatment services, and by establishing strong linkages between communities and government health care services.
AKDN signs agreement with Italian Civil Aviation Authority
October 18, 2009
Posted by ismailimail in Aga Khan IV, Fund for Economic Development.
October 18, 2009 – President of ENAC (Italian Civil Aviation Authority) Vito Riggio and His Highness the Aga Khan (Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development) signed Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation for development projects in civil aviation in Central Asia (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan) and Western and Southern Africa (Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania).
Air Mali (3rd) (formerly Compagnie Aerienne du Mali) (Group Celestair) (Bamako) added ex-AVIANCA McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) TZ-RMK (msn 53463, ex N160BS). The new type is now painted in the Air Mali version of the Group Celestair color scheme. The flag carrier was formed by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) through its subsidiary IPS and the government of Mali in April 2005. The inaugural flight was June 7, 2005 from Bamako to Mopti and Gao with a DHC-8. The company rebranded as Air Mali on May 15, 2009.
CHITRAL: A rupees one billion, Norwegian funded, Chitral Integrated Area Development Programme was launched in the district on Tuesday.
Launching the project at a function, Norwegian ambassador Robert Clay said his country had old relation with this remote but beautiful region. “We have a long relationship with you. Expeditions from Norway visited Chitral way back in 1929, 1949, and 1969 in a bid to conquer Terichmir,” the envoy said.
Some of the members of the expedition teams also wrote books about the peculiar culture of this beautiful region, he said. “Chitral Integrated Area Development Programme is our fourth bid to interact with the peaceful people of this area,” he added.
The ambassador hoped that the people of Chitral would take full advantage of the project. “We want the people of Chitral developed economically and have no other ambition,” he added. Commandant of Chitral Scouts, district coordination officer and representatives of civil society organisations were present on the occasion.
It was astonishing that none of the elected representatives including MNA and MPAs were present during the launching ceremony of the vital project. The representatives of the implementing partners AKDN, IUCN and SRSP were also found questioning the modus operandi of the project
AKF sponsors and assists in the organization of an important conference
Making Africa’s Youngest Children a Top Priority / Pan-African conference in Dakar
DAKAR, Sénégal, November 6, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Making Africa’s Youngest Children a Top Priority
Pan-African conference in Dakar will gather Heads of State, First Ladies, Ministers of Finance, Education and Health and experts to promote expansion of programs for young children across Africa.
Recognizing the urgent needs facing millions of impoverished African children, senior government officials — including Heads of State, First Ladies and Ministers of Education, Finance and Health — from Africa and around the world are gathering next week in Dakar, Senegal, to highlight the importance of broadening health, education and protection programs for young children across the continent.
The “Fourth African International Conference on Early Childhood Development (ECD): A Call to Action,” which will take place November 10–13, 2009, at Dakar’s Hotel Méridien Président, will bring together policy-makers, experts and innovators to work toward rapidly expanding and improving services for young children, particularly vulnerable children; strengthening policies to support and protect young children; and increasing investments in quality programs and bringing them to scale.
Ministers of Education, Finance and Health from 36 African countries are expected. First Ladies will also be in Dakar and will conduct a colloquium on early childhood development. The conference will close with a celebration of young children at Stadium Marius Ndiaye.
Senegal’s President, His Excellency Abdoulaye Wade, will open the proceedings on Tuesday, November 10, at 4:00 pm.
Over half of Africa’s 130 million children ages 0–6 live in poverty and suffer multiple challenges that result in high rates of developmental delay, malnutrition, chronic illness and disability.
Meanwhile HIV/AIDS, malaria, endemic violent conflicts and severe poverty affect young children and mothers the most. The global economic crisis is exacerbating these challenges.
Still, despite the difficulties they face, governments across Africa have recognized the importance of early childhood development for the economic success and development of their countries.
This conference will allow them the opportunity to explore ways to increase investments in programs for the young children who are so important to their nations’ future.
The conference is jointly organized by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) Working Group on Early Childhood Development (WGECD) and the government of Senegal. It is sponsored by a wide range of organizations including the following:
UNICEF, the World Bank, the Open Society Institute, Plan International, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Aga Khan Foundation, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development (WGECCD), the Early Childhood Development Virtual University (ECDVU), and the Education for All Fast Track
At 21 years of age, recent journalism and anthropology grad Siena Anstis has done more than many people do in twice that time. She’s helped set up HIV/AIDS awareness programs in East Africa, freelanced in Kosovo, and worked with communities to integrate information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as cell phones or internet to create opportunities for communities to become more socially committed. What hasn’t she done? Slouch about waiting for the world to come to her.
For her extraordinary humanitarian and journalistic work, Anstis is among the nominees for the Forces Avenir Undergraduate Personality award, recognizing her commitment to community development as a socially conscious, and responsible citizen. Winners will be announced on Nov. 17.
Currently based in Nairobi, Kenya as a communications officer with the Aga Khan Foundation and a freelance journalist under the CIDA Journalism and Development Initiative Scholarship. Anstis filled in the Journal via email.
What’s the overall goal of your work?
I became particularly interested in how ICTs can be used in rural communities as a means of self-determination. Technology is pretty incredible; people in Kenya have taken the basic structures and turned programs into fabulous open-source-software that can be used for everything from election monitoring to helping farmers figure out why their crops are dying. I would like to further support this tech-revolution and see how it can bolster international development projects and make them more relevant to the communities they work with by having them determine their own needs and implement their own changes.
Second of all, I hope to work with the literary scene in East Africa. Especially in Kenya where there has long been a powerful, strong art scene.
Why is this technology so important in what you’re doing?
ICTs are important because they allow more independent, self-directed development. So, for example, the cell phone is primarily for communicating between individuals in Canada. However in Uganda, people use the cell phone to check market prices for their crops and stocks. Also, technology allows us to get work done faster. More free-time equals more time to specialize in the production of a certain product, which leads to an increase in profit, more time for political action, learning, family-time etc.
You’ve mentioned you’re learning more from your co-workers in Kenya, rather than vice versa. What’s the difference in dynamic between your current endeavours and traditional Western humanitarian aid?
The Aga Khan Foundation’s mission is not “aid,” but helping bring people out of poverty through community development projects with a participatory approach. The majority of the foundation is run by local individuals, therefore prompting a greater connect between community and development. I am learning from my co-workers who are introducing me to new types of development approaches and projects.
Well, it looks like a master’s next year, probably in London. Following that, I’m hoping to work as a journalist in East Africa or elsewhere. I guess we’ll see what works out and what doesn’t.
Srinagar, Nov 17 – Chief Minister Mr. Omar Abdullah today inaugurated Government Higher Secondary School and Government Middle School buildings, constructed by Aga Khan Foundation in Uri and handed over the buildings to the Education Department.
Mr. Omar appreciated Aga Khan Foundation for their efforts in carrying out the development works in quake hit Uri. He praised the Chairman of the Foundation, Dr. Abad Ahmad and his team for initiating several development works in the area since October 2005 earthquake and hoped that the Foundation shall continue its efforts to boost development in Uri and other areas.
The Chief Minister exhorted upon the teaching community to provide quality education to the students as per the present day needs, so that they can compete in IIM like institutions all over the country as well as abroad. He said Government has expanded education infrastructure and is striving to extend all basic facilities like library, computer lab, sports and Science laboratory to every educational institution.
Stressing judicious utilization of funds, Mr. Omar said right use of money helps in creating durable assets benefitting the society for long. He said time bound completion of infrastructure projects is necessary for planned development of the State.
Mr. Nicholas McKinlay - Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation (India)
What is the focus of Aga Khan Foundation in India ?
Is the focus same across the globe ?
In India, the Aga Khan Foundation is working on four thematic areas of education, community health, rural development and the enhancement of civil society. The foundation provides support on a long-term basis to new and innovative ideas. All AKF programmes have a strong community involvement and place a high emphasis on quality. An inclusive approach translates into the full involvement of community groups and supports them to take responsibility towards finding their own solutions. The development of civil society to enhance pluralism is an important element. The Foundation's programmes foster innovative, cost effective and culturally appropriate approaches.
Education has been an important and growing area of involvement for the Aga Khan Foundation, which is currently funding over 25 educational programmes across 13 countries, largely in South and Central Asia and in East Africa. The programmes are implemented in partnership with local and national governments, NGOs, and private service providers like Aga Khan Education Services (AKES).
Please tell us more about your education programme ?
The foundation's education portfolio is focused on improving the quality of basic education. The portfolio comprises of two sub-themes of strategic interest namely: 'School Improvement' and 'Young Children and the Family'. These two areas of intervention aim to Increase the quality of formal and non-formal education, and of early childhood care and development and secondly, increase access, completion and learning achievement rates for disadvantaged groups, especially girls, isolated rural children and the urban poor.
In India, the Programme for the Enrichment of School Level Education (PESLE), supported by financial assistance from the European Commission, addresses the key challenges of enrollment, retention and learning achievement. PESLE, in its sixth year has enabled 1200 schools to improve the level of education and is reaching out to around one million students.
What states are being covered under PESLE ?
Is there any particular reason for this focus ?
PESLE is working to improve the quality of school education in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. The Foundation has supported initiatives also in rural development in these semi-arid rain-fed farming regions. To ensure a geographical focus, most of the Foundation's programmes are concentrated in these regions.
In terms of the numbers involved in PESLE, 78% of direct student beneficiaries come from disadvantaged groups. In fact, 72% of students come from low-income families and one-fourth of them are first generation learners. Close to one half have an illiterate parent.
You mentioned about your working through NGO partners. Who are these ? How do you go about selecting them ?
In education, our programme partners are Aga Khan Education Services (India), Bodh Siksha Samiti, Dr. Reddy's Foundation and Society for All Round Development.
As I mentioned earlier, we work on four thematic areas. There are broad international strategies for each of these themes. Keeping this in mind we go about the process of identifying NGOs. We look for new and innovative ideas and at times provide 'seed funding' to test a new idea or approach. A full assessment of the organisation is carried out and attention is paid to the quality aspects. The entire process of assessment and final selection can take as long as one year to complete.
How can NGOs that are employing similar strategies approach you for support ?
As we are focused in terms of our programme strategy and geographical area of coverage, we are in touch with a broad spectrum of civil society organisations.
If we come across NGOs working on school improvement and early childhood development, we consider them for support. If we were approached by NGOs with programmes relevant to our focus areas, we would definitely take a look at them.
How do you monitor the programme of the NGOs you support ?
How do you monitor functioning of the foundation as an entity ?
We work very closely with our NGO partners. Foundation staff spends a lot of their time with the partners in the field. We work closely with our partners on their future vision and strategies. The programmes are continually assessed and evaluated by Foundation staff and external consultants. There is a system for regular quarterly and six monthly reporting. For example, in the education programme PESLE, there is an extensive monitoring and measurement system to derive data that generates reports and helps in evaluating the programme. These impact indicators would include the percentage of girls' enrolled, average attendance, students repeating, students dropping out and students promoted to the next grade. Also, we receive audited statements by qualified chartered accountants from our NGO partners on a regular basis.
The Foundation is governed in India by a National Committee. At our headquarters in Geneva there are technical staff who regular monitor programme activities. We have regular financial audits for each of our programmes by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
What kind of exit strategies do you have in place when withdrawing from a programme ?
Many of the NGO partners, when we started with them were small organisations. Over a period of time, we have been able to help them grow. This has resulted in their ability to attract outside funding.
We have also asked them to raise funds to contribute to the programme, to ensure that the Foundation is not the only donor. In some cases we have an upper limit of the amount that will be contributed by the Foundation. This prevents dependence on a single source. In education, some of our partners are developing strategies to institutional their approaches, for example creating Education Resource Centers, to help in the replication of tested approaches and more specifically to development in-service curriculum and provide training for teachers.
Can you site few examples of your partners who have acquired this level of independence ?
There are several organisations that continue to do good work long after our support. Chetna in Gujarat and Centre for Learning Resources in Pune are two such organisations. Also, the Sadguru Foundation in Gujarat, whom AKF supported for many years, is today a renowned resource organisation in the field of rural development. AKF was one of the first organisations to support Bodh Siksha Samiti. Today they are a leading NGO addressing the issue of the urban deprived child.
What is AKF's contribution to creating NGO networks and advocacy on policy issues ?
We are not directly part of any major networks in India. Our activities have been largely that of a grant maker and providing technical support. We have funded the start-up of certain networks. For example, we provide funding and technical expertise to the National Core Group on Deprived Urban Children. This is a network of NGOs, various government departments, UNICEF and UNDP. At the international level the Foundation is part of the World Bank's Consultative Group on Early Childhood Education.
We work with the government on policy issues through our partners. Our partners collaborate closely with government. One example of this, although outside of our work in education is Development Support Centre working with the Government of Gujarat on a consultative committee on promoting participatory irrigation management.
How do you and your team members build your capacities on the Indian social and development sector ?
As an international organisation and as part of the Aga Khan Development Network there is a lot of cross-learning from programmes in other countries.
At our headquarters there are technical specialists who provide mentoring, help build perspectives on various issues and provide links to new learning. The staff attend national and international seminars and participate in training courses. The Foundation subscribes to leading publications and we try to ensure a flow of information internally to build organisational strength and a wide perspective.
What are you views on NGO governance ?
I would not propose to provide a quick generic view on the subject and would prefer to talk about how AKF and its partners are attempting to deal with this issue.
In education, for example, an emphasis is placed on the governance at the school level. A decentralised, democratic and community-based approach is encouraged. Measures are taken to build trust amongst various stakeholders, promoting transparency and accountability. We help in the creation of forums where communication with the community becomes a regular feature. In all our programme areas we build and encourage strong relationships with the community.
How do you think NGO credibility can be enhanced ? Is an issue globally ?
NGO credibility can be enhanced in one way by focusing on quality. Demonstrating quality at the grassroot level can enhance the credibility of an NGO.
Another important aspect is to ensure the centrality of the community in a programme intervention. For example, in education, allowing the community to participate in decisions on location, curriculum and teaching methods of a school.
While Funding Agencies and NGOs partner; Corporates and NGOs partner. But why does the twain not meet ?
The is an emergence of corporate foundations and corporate social responsibility is an emerging issue. India has a great tradition of philanthropy. No other country in the world can boast of such a varied and extensive history of philanthropy, take the work of the Tatas for example. This tradition is being strengthened by a new wave of professional philanthropy and we are witnessing a growth in corporate foundations. Some of them are doing very good work. The future looks good in this respect.
We have a partnership with Dr. Reddy's Foundation. Such foundations already bring with them a funding base which helps to address the sustainability issue. We are also exploring collaboration and sharing with Wipro and the Azim Premji Foundation. The issue is quality work. If it is carried out by a corporate foundation or by an NGO, both make a contribution.
IndianNGOs.com is moving to become news and views channel on the sector.
What kind of information would you want us to provide ?
I did a quick survey for you amongst my staff. Nearly one-third of them knew about the site and had used it for one reason or other. According to them the portal should have an updated list and contact details of NGOs.
It should also have an e-library of resources and papers. The information on NGOs working on issues like rural livelihood, natural resources management and development communication could be highly useful to the visitors.
The Aga Khan Foundation's Education Programmes
By Harriet Gordon-Brown
Harriet Gordon-Brown is a Programme Officer at Aga Khan Foundation (UK), and made this presentation at the ISP alumni/student gathering in London in November 1999.
Many of you may already be familiar with some of the Aga Khan Foundation's education programmes and are probably aware of the two strategic arms that guide AKF's education work, namely early childhood education and school improvement. Rather than talking specifically about these areas of focus or giving a presentation on one project, I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the issues that are currently being grappled with in AKF's education work.
There are four issues that I will talk about:
2.Innovative Financing Mechanisms
4.Increasing emphasis on influencing sector-wide programmes, government systems and policy
1. Community Participation
A key principle of all of AKF's programmes is the need for community participation, in order to ensure local ownership, future sustainability of projects and to ensure that a project is addressing problems that communities have identified, in a way that they feel is appropriate. The following are some examples of where there is strong community participation.
There are two examples from our early childhood education work. Firstly:
The Madrasa Programmes in East Africa
This programme has established approximately 150 community run pre-schools in Kampala, Mombasa and Zanzibar. Members of the local community are trained as teachers, each pre-school is managed by the local community and much of the cost of running the schools is paid for by the community.
Bodh Shiksha Samiti
Another example is Bodh, one of the partners in PESLE, a programme you will hear more about later. It is a local NGO, also working in early childhood education, but in the slums of Jaipur, in India. Bodh has established a number of community-run pre-schools in the area and the local children, who previously were not attending school at all, are now attending regularly. The schools have been formed as integral parts of the communities. As well as providing quality early childhood education, the curricula and teaching methods have been adapted to the local surroundings.
A third example is some work being carried out by Aga Khan Education Service in Northern Pakistan. AKES has been asked by the British Government to become involved in a huge World Bank education programme in the Northern Areas which is establishing hundreds of new schools. The principle is that the schools being established are community-run and owned. However, neither the World Bank nor DFID had the necessary expertise or experience of actually working directly with communities - to building the capacity of the management committees and to try and ensure ownership of the schools by the local community. AKES has been asked to provide this role, as it does have the experience.
In all these cases the principles are similar. However, it is not always easy to get community participation, especially when moving into new areas. People often have reservations about external ideas or solutions, and if the new activity challenges any traditional practices or requires some changes in attitude, then time is required for communities to give their support.
For example, in the Madrasa programme in East Africa, the idea for the programme came from the need for early childhood education for Muslim children, as they were missing out on places in primary schools, as other children were going to pre-schools. There were existing traditional Koranic schools - the Madrasas - and it was decided to use these forum, but to bring in a wider curriculum and more child-friendly, teaching methods.
However, there was resistance at first, as it meant changing behaviour away from the past tradition of Koranic schools. Gradually through discussions with local communities, the first schools started to open. This lead to other communities becoming interested once they saw how the Madrasa's were operating. Now the communities are very actively involved and have ownership of the schools.
Similar issues and challenges have been faced by Bodh in India and are being faced by AKES in Northern Pakistan. Ongoing dialogue with the communities, patience and moving at a pace that brings the community along with the programme are all essential factors in ensuring that real community participation occurs.
2. Innovative Financing Mechanisms
The second issue that I am going to talk about is the need for innovative financing mechanisms.
At present in Europe there is ongoing discussion about how to reform the welfare state, in light of the fact that few countries can afford to maintain the systems that they have been running for the past 40 years. There is a lot of talk about private-public sector partnership in terms of finding solutions to problems and service delivery. This discussion is not limited to a developed country context. Similar issues are being grappled with in most developing countries. However, the starting point is different, as rarely do all communities receive basic health or education services. The provision of such services has traditionally been seen to fall to the state. However in many developing countries communities have become tired of waiting for government to reach them and in cases where services are provided, often the quality is very poor.
In recent years that has been a surge in the number of community run schools that have been established, whether in Northern Pakistan, Gujurat or East Africa. For example, in Kampala (Uganda), whilst there are approximately 80 government primary schools, over 300 private, or community-run, primary schools have been established. It is amazing to see how much very poor communities are willing to contribute towards quality education (as well as health care). In light of this development, there is an ongoing search for innovative mechanisms for financing such schools.
In AKF's education portfolio, examples of where these issues are being grappled with are: the Madrassah programme in East Africa, where small endowments are being tested out as a way of financing the community pre-schools. AKES in Northern Pakistan is also testing out possible mechanisms in its work with community schools in the region.
In both of these cases the initiatives are still in the experimental phase and there are many issues still to be resolved, such as:
Can poor communities cover the costs of such services;
Will the poorest be excluded if they have to finance such services, or will they only have access to poorer quality services;
Will small-scale endowments realistically be able to cover costs,
Are there are alternative solutions?
This issue links closely with the next point - quality.
There has been a lot of attention in the past few years on achieving universal primary education. However it is not enough to increase enrolment of children in school. The quality of education is critical. Sadly in many schools the quality of teaching and learning is very poor, resources are desperately limited, the curriculum is inappropriate curriculum and the schools are poorly management. This not only lets down the children who are being educated and their parents who are struggling desperately to pay for this eduction. It also leads to high drop-out levels, with some parents not even sending their children to school as they don't think it is worth it.
AKF's school improvement programmes in East Africa have looked at different aspects of improving the quality of teaching and learning. These include:
1.Teacher training (in school and with a focus on appropriate teaching methods - move away from Chalk and Talk to more child-centred/friendly lessons).
2.Developing appropriate curricula
3.Using local materials in an innovative manner (especially at primary levels)
4.Management - head teacher training
5.As well as work with communities and parent teacher associations, etc
Secondly, AKU's Institute for Educational Development in Karachi, Pakistan focuses on professional development of teachers. It runs a Masters course in Education - graduates of which are Professional Development teachers, as well as shorter courses for Visiting Teachers. In addition, management courses for headteachers are run and training for management personnel in Government system is provided. Overall the aim is to develop a critical mass of teachers firstly within certain schools and in the longer term within the wider education system.
In addition to these programmes, extensive research is undertaken into education issues - with the aim of developing knowledge about various issues that affect quality of education, but that are appropriate to the developing country context.
There is a close linkage between these three issues that I have discussed. How can quality education be ensured in community-run schools (as well as in the government system)? What role can communities play in financing education and how can they ensure quality in the schools that they are managing? These are massive issues and AKF isn't the only organisation grappling with them.
Which leads onto my forth and final topic. AKF is moving away from just supporting small-scale projects that test out lessons in a small number of schools. This is partially due to the maturity of its programmes - many of the initiatives that started at a small scale, have been successful and are now ready to scale-up and disseminate their learning.
It is also due to a shift in opinion that is taking place in development circles about the value of small-scale projects and the increasing emphasis being placed on sector-wide programmes and influencing policy government policy.
4. Increasing emphasis on influencing sector-wide programmes, government systems and policy
For example, the Government of India is working towards Universal Primary Education. However it is also trying to improve the quality of education and has been running the District Primary Education Programme at a National Level since 1994 to improve the quality of teaching and learning, increase retention rates and expand access to disadvantaged groups. Despite the progress made so far, there remain serious disparities in education across states, rural and urban areas and for disadvantaged groups. Learning levels achieved by children, who continue with the system are very low and dropout remains high.
Lessons can be learnt by analysing the vast range of innovative approaches generated by the NGO sector to improve the quality of school-level learning. In light of this there is a growing realisation of the need for government and the non-government sector to work together. However in practice, severe limitations are being faced in making this possible. While the larger governmental system finds it difficult to effectively meet the needs of all socio-economic groups, NGOs find it difficult to apply their innovations at scale. There is an urgent need to find effective ways of adapting successful small-scale models to a larger system, so that the impact of innovative approaches can be reflected in the wider system. The Programme for Enrichment of School Level Education in India (PESLE) aims to contribute to this challenge.
PESLE is a recently started programme in India, which builds on AKF's experience of school improvement in India over the past 15 years. The programme has four core partners, all of whom AKF has worked with for several years, they include AKES, Bodh Shiksha Samiti, Centre for Education Management and Development (CEMD) and Narsee Monjee Institute for Management Studies (NMIMS). All of them are attempting to establish strong partnerships between schools and communities, an aspect on which most of the mainstream schools rate poorly.
The programme will scale-up the work of these existing partners, as well as supporting up to a further eight partners. A key focus of the programme will be feeding lessons from the partner organisations into the wider system, whether that means working with nearby government schools and dialoguing with government at the local level, or trying to influence national policies. This is a significant challenge, but if successful could have impact on a far greater scale than its projects have had to date.
Several of AKF's other programmes are moving in this direction. For example, the School Improvement Programmes in Mombasa and Kampala, are working with and in the government system. And IED which provides training courses specifically designed for government officials and attempts to influence policy and thinking through its research.
IFC and Help Aga Khan Foundation Support the Growth of Small Businesses in Pakistan
Islamabad, Pakistan, January 19, 2010—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today signed an agreement with the Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan (AKF(P)) to support the growth of smaller businesses in Pakistan by providing training and skills development to businessmen and women in the country.
IFC and AKF(P), will partner to offer IFC’s Business Edge management training product to Pakistani entrepreneurs seeking to grow their businesses.
IFC will train 20 Business Edge trainers who will be selected by AKF(P). These trainers will then deliver Business Edge training for small and medium enterprises at workshops to be held between July and November 2010 in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. For more information about Business Edge see www.businessedge-me.com.
Al-Nashir Jamal, AKF(P)’s CEO, said, “Business training not only benefits businesses, but those employed by them by giving individuals the skills they need to find employment. This partnership with IFC will help fill a gap in business management training in Pakistan, helping entrepreneurs gain the skills they need to grow their businesses.”
Khawar Ansari, IFC’s Business Edge Country Coordinator, said, “Small and medium enterprises are catalysts for growth and employment generation. By expanding the reach of our Business Edge program in Pakistan, we will provide a greater number of smaller businesses with the training they need to grow and create jobs.”
This partnership builds on a long-standing relationship between IFC and AKF around the world and in the Middle East and North Africa. IFC and AKF previously partnered to create the First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan and the First Microfinance Bank of Pakistan. Both organizations work towards creating opportunities for people to escape poverty and improve their lives.
IFC’s Business Edge is delivered by selected local training partners and certified local trainers and sets a new standard for business training in developing countries. It was rolled out in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2004 and is available in Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, and Yemen, and in other IFC regions including Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About Aga Khan Foundation
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) focuses on health, education, culture, rural development, institution-building and the promotion of economic development. It is dedicated to improving living conditions and opportunities for the poor, without regard to their faith, origin or gender.
JOHANNESBURG -(Dow Jones)- The Seacom undersea fiberoptic telecommunications cable has secured a contract from Ethiopian Telecommunications Corp. to supply international broadband capacity via a link through Dijibouti, the privately- funded company said Thursday.
Ethiopia's government is rolling out a $1.5 billion national initiative to improve the east African country's telecommunications infrastructure. Amongst other projects, its national fiberoptic network is set to be expanded significantly.
"The availability of high-quality broadband at lower prices will accelerate economic development and educational initiatives that will enhance lives and will also establish Ethiopia as an important commercial center for Africa and as a regional transit point for other service providers," said Amare Amsalu, chief executive of Ethiopian Telecommunications.
Seacom is a 17,000 kilometer submarine cable launched in July that aims to connect eastern and southern African countries to the rest of the world via India and Europe.
The company is almost 77% owned by African investors, including an arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, Venfin Ltd., Convergence Partners and Shanduka Group. The remainder is owned by Herakles Telecom LLC.
-By Robb M. Stewart, Dow Jones Newswires; +27 11 783 7848; robb.stewart@ dowjones.com
KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 (Bernama) -- Dr John Tomaro, Programme Director, Health of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is no newcomer to Malaysia.
He was here in 2006 with some officers from the Ministry of Health of Tajikistan to learn about Malaysia's health care system.
Last April, Dr Tomaro led a joint technical mission from the Syrian Ministry of Health. The goal was to study the Malaysian Family Medicine Programme and to review the components of Malaysia's district health system and its models of health care delivery.
They collected information that could improve health service delivery programmes in other countries, particularly in the Middle East and Central Asia.
FULL OF PRAISE
In an interview with Bernama at the end of the four-day visit, Dr Tomaro was full of praise for Malaysia's health care system.
"We came to this country because, like Syria, Malaysia is a middle income country. Also, Malaysia has done an excellent job of providing access to health care for its population.
"This access, from our observations and the briefings given to us, extends to all levels, from the community up to university hospitals," Dr Tomaro said.
He earlier explained that the Syrian delegation has a keen interest in knowing more about the family medicine programme in Malaysia and the functioning of the district health system because it wants to strengthen these elements of the Syrian health system.
According to Dr Tomaro, most of the countries in which AKDN works are in the low to lower income bracket, including countries such as India, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
"From AKDN's perspective, showing the Syrians what is taking place in other countries in which we work would not be as valuable as exposing them to the health system and practices in Malaysia.
"Given Malaysia's good system and practices, AKDN is interested in seeing if we can facilitate some form of cooperation and collaboration between the Ministry of Health of Syria and the Ministry of Health of Malaysia.
"Malaysia's health care system, which is a remarkable example of well organised delivery of care, has several elements that are worthy of adoption by other countries," said Dr Tomaro.
Based in AKF's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr Tomaro and his AKDN colleagues are working closely with the Syrian Ministry of Health to develop the Syrian health care system, especially in the Salamieh District of the Hama Governorate.
According to Dr Tomaro, the visits to health clinics in Sabak Bernam and Hulu Langat were among the highlights of the visit. He described what he saw as 'very remarkable'.
"We started at the lowest health clinic level, which is in Sabak Bernam, and had an opportunity to see what the Ministry of Health and the Government of Malaysia are providing to Malaysian citizens.
"We made several observations in the written remarks we left at each clinic. The most important one is that health care in Malaysia is very comprehensive. The system is seamless in terms of enabling the population to access care at any point.
"The public system has everything from basic maternal and child health care to outpatient curative care to a wide range of services for special conditions. The system offers physical rehabilitation programmes, mental health services and programmes to treat infectious diseases," explained Dr Tomaro.
He also pointed out that the services provided at the health clinics were organised and delivered according to well-defined guidelines and protocols.
"In the Malaysian health system both staffs and patients follow the treatment guidelines. Patients are counselled and staff complete the data forms which go to a central location. The data are analysed and the results are fed back to the clinic location and used to improve the delivery of information and care," observed Dr Tomaro.
He also commented that clinic staffs appeared to be very dedicated and well informed on the ministry's policies and procedures.
"A community health nurse, a facility nurse or a Family Medicine specialist can describe how the services are organised and summarise the responsibilities of the health professional and the client. Everyone is well briefed.
"The only patient complaint that we heard when we looked at the quality assurance assessments was about waiting time. Clients were not happy about long waits for service in public health clinics. Still, no concerns were voiced about the quality of care or the skills of ministry staff. Communication between the staffs and the clients was assessed as very good.
"Clients reported that they felt as though they were respected and that staffs were well informed and communicated clearly. All of these are important indicators of a well functioning health system," he added.
One service that was highly lauded by Dr Tomaro was the antenatal, delivery and postpartum care offered to mothers and their infants.
He described it as a very good, well developed system and well ahead of those in some countries where AKDN is working.
"A woman who attends antenatal care in Malaysia receives a mother's card or booklet that allows the system to follow her during her pregnancy, delivery and in the postpartum period.
"The mother is followed closely throughout her pregnancy, given a choice of where she wants to deliver and attends a well defined series of postpartum visits.
"When a mother comes into the clinic with her baby, both are treated at the same time. The maternal and child services comprise a remarkable programme," said Dr Tomaro.
According to him, postpartum care for mothers is often overlooked in other health systems. In some systems, mothers are only seen when they return to the clinic to seek care for a sick infant. Postpartum care is not routinely delivered.
Dr. Tomaro was also surprised to see so many men in the maternal and child health clinics. He described the presence of fathers in these clinics as "encouraging," at least in his experience.
He was impressed also with what he called the maternity waiting house, a facility present in East Malaysia where communities are some distance from a health clinic that performs deliveries. The presence of these waiting homes ensures that women have access to appropriate care when they need to deliver.
His only disappointment was that there was no available data on how the presence of the maternity waiting homes had contributed to reductions in maternal mortality.
"I was told that the maternity waiting home has a major effect on reducing the maternal mortality ratio because it brought appropriate care closer to the community.
"The ministry has yet to study and document this important intervention. Documenting this experience is an important step in convincing other countries to apply a model that Malaysia has introduced."
Dr Tomaro noted that AKDN has introduced the maternity waiting home in Afghanistan and hopes to achieve the same good results that have been attained in Malaysia.
WOMEN AND CHILDREN
According to Dr Tomaro, the AKDN has a strong commitment to addressing the health and developmental needs of mothers, infants and young children.
"Women and children are the most vulnerable in every society. Programmes that address the critical needs of mothers and their young children result in improvements in the overall health situation of the general population," he stressed.
Dr Tomaro was impressed with the clinic facilities and services, and he was also surprised by the large number of clients frequenting the facilities. According to him, this widespread attendance contrasts with the low attendance in public health clinics in many countries.
"In many countries, the public health facilities do not charge for care, just as in Malaysia. However, it is often the case that staffs are not present, pharmaceuticals are not available, and services are almost non existent. In some countries, public health clinics are just an empty piece of infrastructure," he said.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE HEALTH SERVICES
By using a very simple mathematical formula, Dr Tomaro estimated that the Malaysian government spends about US$75 per person per year on health services.
"How did we arrive at this figure? We divided the total health budget, which I think is about RM27 billion, by the total population. Malaysia spends much more than other countries that could invest more."
"This level of financial commitment indicates that the Malaysian government is serious about the health of its population. That is in itself is a significant indicator," he remarked.
Dr Tomaro also commented that clients who use public health facilities can obtain all the care needed, including pharmaceuticals, for only RM1.
While commending the system,for providing such a wide variety of services for a fee of only RM1, Dr Tomaro personally felt that such practice cannot continue indefinitely in the face of dramatic increases in costs for services, medical technology and equipment.
He also noted that some of the public university hospitals in Malaysia have introduced private wards and services in which clients pay higher charges for care.
He noted that his Syrian colleagues were interested in this approach and wanted to determine whether this model could be introduced in Syria.
At a minimum, he suggested that the approach could ease the heavy burden being shouldered by government hospitals.
"At the moment," he observed, "it appears that for every patient in a private hospital in Malaysia, there may be 15 in public hospitals. This is an enormous financial burden on the public health system."
Dr Tomaro noted that one challenge facing Malaysia and many other countries is to find new ways to finance health care and to ensure that the private sector plays a more active role in protecting the health of the population.
AKDN operates a number of health programmes in large geographical areas in Central and South Asia, as well as East Africa, and operates 325 health facilities including nine hospitals.
These programmes have been developed and managed by the Aga Khan Health Services and the Aga Khan University, both institutional members of the AKDN.
These institutions are viewed as operating one of the most comprehensive private not-for-profit health care systems in the developing world.
The health institutions of the AKDN provide primary health care and curative medical care in countries including Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Pakistan and Tanzania.
In addition AKDN health institutions offer technical assistance to government health systems in Syria, Tajikistan and other countries.
By KEZIO-MUSOKE DAVID, NATION Correspondent KIGALI, RWANDA
Posted Tuesday, June 1 2010 at 15:39
RwandAir and Air Uganda have announced the signing of a code share deal on their flights between Entebbe and Kigali to fight for a larger market.
Air Uganda CEO Hugh Fraser said the pair will be marketed as one entity.
“It will also allow travel agents to sell tickets on each other’s flights and offer customers the same combinable fares on the same tickets. This, according to officials, will make it cheaper and simpler for their customers to use both airlines flights,” said Mr Fraser.
Air Uganda, is part of the Aga Khan’s Fund for Economic Development and has been expanding since November 2007.
With their synchronised schedules, RwandAir and Air Uganda will offer passengers daily morning and evening flights between Entebbe and Kigali.
Officials of the airlines said the code share will enable travel agents to sell combinable fares on both airlines using the same ticket.
“We both operate the same kind of fleet on this route and it only makes sense to the consumer if the two destinations are served with seamless schedules and fares,” said RwandAir chief executive Rene Janata.
“What the East African Community needs now more than ever is to see operators offer value that will facilitate regional movement and growth as opposed to restrictive modes of operation. This is a bold and positive step by both carriers,” said Mr John Mirenge chairman of RwandAir.
AKDN: Earth Works
July 27, 2010 by ismailimail Leave a Comment
Mud is being used as a practical building material to construct architect-designed learning centres in villages across northern Mozambique. German architect Eike Roswag, who specialises in mud buildings, explains some of the techniques being adopted and promoted by the Aga Khan Foundation.
Insurance company Jubilee Holdings has announced an increase in revenue and profit for the first six months of 2010.
The group's half year gross revenue increased by Ksh 775 million to Ksh 5.7 billion, a 16% increase on last year's. Profits rose by a whopping 69% to Ksh 580 million up from Ksh 344 million in the same period last year.
Chairman of Jubilee Holdings Nizar Juma attributed the company's strong performance to the continued growth in all areas and the strengthening of its leadership position in the East African region.
"Jubilee had a strong first half of the year. We experienced good growth in our business through the innovative expansion of our product lines, service delivery and are continuing to focus on growth strategies across the region.
"We are pleased with our performance and will continue to invest resources aggressively in our core areas of strategic focus," said Juma.
Revenue from Jubilee's long term business grew by 33% in the first half of the year which has been attributed to the introduction of market driven savings products that target clients' education and asset building needs.
The Jubilee Life product range has been highlighted in the company's latest billboard campaign captioned "The relaxed way to save".
The extension of the successful medical franchise into the East African region, and the launch of a retail medical product in the Kenyan market contributed to a Ksh 176 million (16%) revenue growth in Jubilee's Medical business.
Jubilee has dominated the Kenyan Medical market with a 30% market share. Other growth areas in general business include a cover against political violence, terrorism and sabotage risks, and JD 24/7, a personal protection policy that packages a host of personal insurance covers.
Jubilee's short term business grew by an impressive Ksh 360 million during the past 6 months compared to last year.
The Group's underwriting results rose by 40% overall, with medical business recording a four-fold growth in underwriting profits.
General Manager and Principal Officer of Jubilee Kenya, Patrick Tumbo, attributed this to ongoing improvements in operational efficiency.
"Through the implementation of state of the art systems and procedures in our internal operations, we have established consistency across our service departments and this has enhanced the quality of service we offer to customers," he said.
Jubilee's investment income also experienced a substantial increase of 104% in response to the easing of the financial crisis, increased investor confidence in the East African region and the lowering of the interest rates by the Central Bank of Kenya.
The Jubilee Group increased its issued share capital earlier this year by a bonus share issue in June 2010 to celebrate the group exceeding the billion mark profit. Earnings per share rose to Ksh 8.02 from Ksh 5.38 in the previous year.
The Jubilee Board of Directors also announced an interim dividend of 20% (Kshs 1) per share.
Jubilee Insurance prides itself in being the largest composite insurer in East Africa with over 250,000 clients.
An affiliate of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, the economic arm of the Aga Khan Development Network, Jubilee is the only ISO certified insurance based financial institution listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, Uganda Securities Exchange and Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.
It is the first insurance company in Kenya to be certified by the American National Accreditation Board. Jubilee has a global credit rating of AA- in Kenya and Uganda, and A+ in Tanzania.
The First UNAOC Summer School opened at the University of Aveiro, in Portugal. Organized in partnership with the Aga Khan Development Network, along with a number of other foundations, this Summer School will run from 15-21 August. It brings together over 100 participants from 44 countries to help build the skills of young people to participate in intercultural dialogue and reinforce the potential for cooperation and dialogue between diverse societies.
President Sampaio, High Representative of the UNAOC said: “This Summer School illustrates the global scope of the Alliance and its capacity to bring together people from virtually all regions, cultures, religions and walks of life.”
THE 1ST SUMMER SCHOOL OF
THE UNITED NATIONS ALLIANCE OF CIVILZIATIONS
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to Portugal - Aveiro - and to our 1st Summer School, a world premiere of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
I am very grateful to the University of Aveiro, a well-known hub of higher education, for hosting our Summer School. Its campus is a mini-city designed by our best architects and I hope you will feel at home.
At the time of writing these lines, you are about 110 participants coming from 44 countries registered for the Summer School. This is already an achievement as it illustrates the global scope of the Alliance and its capacity of bringing together peoples from virtually all regions, cultures, religions and walks of life. I know that you had hard times to be able to make it, but I am confident that you will not regret it.
I supported from its inception the idea of organizing this Summer School for three main reasons: youth are the driving force for change; to change mindsets, education – formal and informal – is the key word; people have more in common with each other than divisive differences and when given the opportunity they will explore their common interests, sparking collaborations and stimulating ideas that address the major issues of today life.
This is precisely what the Summer school aims to be: an opportunity for you to learn more on how to live together, engage in a dialogue that delivers and, indeed, make new friends.
Jorge Sampaio, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations
The first UNAOC Summer School, which took place on the campus of the University of Aveiro, Portugal, from August 15 to 21, concluded with the utmost success and impact on its 110 young participants from 44 countries around the world.
Under the theme “Bridging Hearts, Opening Minds and Doing Things Together”, the aim of this UNAOC Summer School was to bring together young people to enhance their knowledge and reinforce their ability to communicate across difference, interact with the “other”, and look at diversity as an asset for cross-fertilization. This course was a week-long programme using a variety of educational approaches such as methodological and political inputs, small group discussions, peer-led workshops, visits to religious sites, etc. Themes such as multiple identities, globalization, the role of media in breaking or reinforcing stereotypes, human rights and diplomacy, etc. were explored thanks to the contribution of several regional and international experts who came to Aveiro to share their thoughts and have dynamic discussions with young participants.
“This Summer School illustrates the global scope of the Alliance and its capacity to bring together people from virtually all regions, cultures, religions and walks of life” says President Sampaio, High Representative for the UNAOC, who joined the participants for the last few days of the Summer School. Moreover, President Sampaio underlined that change regarding mutual understanding and trust cannot happen without active participation from young people. “Their energy, their capacity to tackle challenges as well as their natural curiosity regarding “the other” are exactly what is needed to ensure positive relationships between people of different cultures and religions.”
The course also allowed strategic networking and search for partners as young participants are expected to implement joint projects and initiatives advancing the objectives of the UNAOC. One of the tools at the disposal of young participants to implement these projects is Dialogue Café, a global network of public spaces where people can come together via video conference, to share information and ideas, learn about new projects and collaborate on new ways of addressing social problems.
Lara Marcal Da Silva, a participant from Portugal enthusiastically shared that “The UNAOC Summer Course was one of the best experiences of my life! During this week I got to know people from every corner of the world and share experiences with them. This Summer School also helped me and all other participants prove that stereotypes are wrong and that we can be friends with people from different backgrounds.”
This idea was reinforced by Merieme Bachar, a participant from Morocco who “realized that although we have differences, there are more similarities. Living together doesn’t require us to be similar; on the contrary our differences make up our strengths.”
This UNAOC Summer School of young leaders was made possible thanks to a number of key partners such as the University of Aveiro, the Aga Khan Development Network, the EMUNI University, the Representation in Portugal of the European Commission, the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, ALECSO, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, IRCICA, the Foundation for the Electricity of Portugal (EDP Foundation), the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Fundação do Oriente, the University of Lisbon, the Instituto Português de Relações Internacionais as well as to private sponsors such as the Jordan Group and El Corte Ingles.
Nation Media of Kenya Will Begin Trading Its Shares in Rwanda Next Month
By David Malingha Doya - Oct 8, 2010 1:35 AM
Nation Media Group Ltd., East Africa’s biggest media company, will list its shares on Rwanda’s over-the-counter market on Nov. 2, helping boost trading volumes on the bourse, the capital market regulator said.
The Kenyan company, which has its primary listing on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, will be the second to begin trading on the Kigali-based exchange. Rwanda’s Capital Markets Advisory Council approved the cross-listing last month.
Nation Media, owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development SA, first announced plans in March to list in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. On average, about 8,400 shares trade on the Rwandan market every month, generating revenue of only about 1.44 million Rwandan francs ($2,440), according to CMAC data.
“Nation Media’s listing will not only help our market grow, but also give investors in Rwanda an opportunity to invest in a leading company in the region,” Robert Mathu, executive director of CMAC, said in an interview yesterday. “It is also in line with Rwanda’s aspirations of participating in East African regional integration.”
Rwandan lawmakers are drafting a law that will create the Rwanda Stock Exchange and a Capital Markets Authority.
“We were with the legislators three weeks ago, discussing legalities, and we hope that a law can be enacted soon,” Mathu said.
Kenya Commercial Bank Ltd., the country’s fifth-biggest lender by market value, listed its shares on the Rwandan bourse in 2009. In addition, six bonds trade on the market, including a two-year, 2.5 billion-franc security sold last month, according to the Rwandan central bank.
A combined 21.5 billion francs has been raised through bond sales on the Rwandan market since 2008, according to CMAC data.
Rwanda’s government plans to offer 25 percent of Brasseries et Limonaderies du Rwanda SA, the brewer known as Bralirwa, to public investors, the New Times, a Kigali-based newspaper, reported in April. An additional 5 percent will be sold to Heineken NV, which already owns 70 percent of the company, it said.
AKDN and the International Baccalaureate Team Up to Improve Access to Quality Education in Developing World
Photos: Signing Ceremony
Gouvieux, France, Thursday, 28th October 2010 – The Aga Khan Development Network Foundation (AKDN Foundation) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) agreed today to intensify joint efforts to broaden access to quality education for students across the developing world and provide richer and more global perspectives to those in the industrialised world.
The Memorandum of Understanding, signed at AKDN’s headquarters north of Paris, provides a framework for strengthened cooperation in the advancement of education and the improvement of delivery of education services through AKDN agencies such as the Aga Khan Academies, the Aga Khan Education Services, the Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia. It covers the entire spectrum of education from early childhood to secondary school, graduate studies and continuing professional learning for educators.
The Memorandum was signed by Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Head of AKDN’s Social Welfare Department, and by Jeff Beard, Director General of the IB. His Highness the Aga Khan, founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, and Carol Bellamy, Chair of the IB Board of Governors, were present at the signing.
Princess Zahra Aga Khan praised the agreement as a milestone in cooperation between AKDN and the IB.
“The agreement is an important step in an already strong relationship we have with the International Baccalaureate, not only because it will enable our educational institutions to benefit from the educational philosophy, curriculum expertise and academic excellence associated with the IB, but also because it will be instrumental in bridging cultural divides and traditions,” she said.
The IB’s Director General Jeff Beard hailed the agreement as an important move in expanding the organisation’s geographic reach.
“This is a significant development as it will allow IB to extend its reach in developing countries and draw upon the wealth of expertise AKDN has in providing education to students in some of the poorest and most challenging parts of the world,” he said. “It will help us to broaden our international curricula with specific attention paid to the developing world and Muslim societies. AKDN is recognised for its decades of experience in countries where we would like to strengthen our presence.”
The agreement results from a strong alignment of goals and values between the two organisations, including a commitment to pluralism, a desire to increase access to quality education, particularly in the developing world, and shared perspectives on issues such as the importance of ongoing teacher development, and inquiry-based approaches to teaching and learning.
Under the terms of the agreement, the two organisations also commit to exploring opportunities in areas such as curriculum development, graduate education, the professional recognition and development of teachers, and advocacy relating to academic freedom.
The AKDN is in the process of establishing an integrated network of residential schools offering an international standard of education from pre-primary to secondary levels with a rigorous academic and leadership-development experience. The schools, which will be established in Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East, will admit students based on merit, irrespective of the ability to pay. The Academies’ network, which intends to follow the IB’s curriculum, will complement the already existing network of some 300 schools and programmes operated by the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) in twelve countries, providing education to rural and urban students from pre-primary to higher secondary levels. Several of the AKES schools already offer the IB programmes.
The Network’s international universities, such as the Aga Khan University (AKU) with its nine campuses worldwide, and the University of Central Asia (UCA) not only provide students with an internationally recognised standard of higher education but also offer teacher training and development through Professional Development Centres, the AKU’s Institute for Educational Development and the UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education. For further information on the Aga Khan Development Network’s educational activities, please visit www.akdn.org/education.
The International Baccalaureate is a Swiss-based not-for profit foundation which offers three high quality and challenging educational programmes for a worldwide community of schools. For over 40 years, IB programmes have gained a reputation for their high academic standards, for preparing students for life in a globalised 21st century, and for helping to develop the citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. For more information about the IB and its programmes, visit www.ibo.org
GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan Hotel Association [G-BHA] has asked the Aga Khan Development Network [AKDN] to come to the ‘rescue’ of the hotel industry that is on the brink of collapsing in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) due to unprecedented load shedding.
From the middle of October onwards, the region has been hit by severe load shedding and hotels are one of many sectors suffering due to the power outages. “The long hours of load shedding have ruined the hotel Industry in G-B and we don’t expect any improvements in the near future,” Raja Nasir, the president of G-BHA said during a press conference. Major (R) Aman, General Secretary G-BHA, Dr Mamoon and others were present at the press conference.
At present, around 15 hours of load shedding is takes place each day in G-B, despite the construction of mega power projects in the region.
Recently, the power department disconnected connections of more than three dozen hotels in Gilgit after they failed to pay their outstanding dues to the Power department. It is still a mystery why such long hours of load shedding are being experienced even after that.
“The Aga Khan has carried out a number of projects in the health and education sectors across G-B for the improvement of these sectors and we appeal to them to invest in the power sector too,” said Maj Aman, general secretary of G-BHA.
Officials of the G-BHA have said that they are willing to pay charges to the AKDN if they were ready to supply power to the region, adding that this task could only be carried out by the Aga Khan, who is improved the infrastructure of the region.
Under the umbrella of AKDN, a number of community development initiatives since the early 80’s have been launched, enabling the people of the region to use their own resources effectively.
The officials also said that they believed that if the Aga Khan invested in the power sector, a ‘revolution in the sector will occur’ as the AKDN have established systems being run and supervised by professionals with commitment and sincerity.
Raja Nasir, a resident of the area, said that lack of facilities in G-B is one of the reasons why tourism in G-B as declined over the years.
“When tourists came to the region it would add to our income and we could make ends meet, but now with the increase in prices and the decrease in tourism, were struggling,” Shamim Ara, a local shopkeeper said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2010.
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