Karachi—Microsoft Pakistan and the Aga Khan Foundation (Pakistan) have reached an understanding to explore the potential and challenges of using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for development with prominent Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the country.
An announcement here on Wednesday said that under the agreement, the AKF(P), through financial assistance from Microsoft Pakistan, will organize a dialogue in Islamabad next month with prominent CSOs/NGOs who have been using ICTs to address challenges of income and other poverty, health, education, environment, cultural heritage and participation in the country. It said that Kamal Ahmed, General Manager, Microsoft Pakistan, commented that the initiative will help highlight and develop ICTs awareness amongst individuals and institutions from all across the country.
The CSOs/NGOs will become a more formidable player in the spread of knowledge and education which are the crucial tools of progress in today’s age. The one-day event will highlight areas where ICTs can benefit resource-constrained local CSOs/NGOs and identify opportunities to use these technologies as community-facing solutions that yield tangible outcomes for their beneficiaries.
Dr Karim Ali bhai, Chief Executive Officer, AKF (P) said that “the event will facilitate CSOs/NGOs to forge strong linkages and promote usage of technology for finding creative solutions to local challenges.” —APP
Art competition in Pakistan raises awareness of environmental issues
Posted by admin on February 22, 2010 · Leave a Comment
In Islam, protection of the physical environment is one of humankind’s responsibilities as stewards of the Earth. As part of its “Ethic of Sustainable Environment,” the Aga Khan Development Network’s Ethical Framework notes that “care of the environment, in its comprehensive meaning, is a duty of trusteeship which humankind owes by virtue of its vicegerency over creation.”
As issues of climate change, pollution and energy consumption dominate world headlines, members of the Jamat, together with other citizens of the world, are increasingly aware of their own impact and responsibility over the environment. While younger generations in particular may witness the full force of these issues, they are also able to contribute towards solutions.
In December 2007, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan launched an art competition with the objective of encouraging youth to participate in a fun activity, while simultaneously raising awareness about the importance of the natural environment and methods of preserving it. The Friends of the Environment competition brought together young participants from cities and villages across the country to explore these issues through drawing and painting.
Supported by the Ismaili Council for Pakistan, the contest was organised in three age groups comprising 9 to 20-year olds and drew some 40 000 participants at more than 1 000 screening locations. Artwork themes covered a variety of topics including contaminated water, noise pollution and the impact of earthquakes in Pakistan.
Based on the quality of their work, around 4 000 participants were selected to take part in local competitions where they were given an art kit and had 90 minutes to produce a new piece. A jury evaluated their work on criteria that included originality, skill, ability to inspire, and thematic relevance.
Three-hundred twelve local winners advanced to regional competitions held at ten locations across Pakistan, where they were asked to create works of art representing one of eight themes. A jury of artists of national repute then selected 30 winners. These larger events were also marked by presentations and small exhibitions on the environment, as well as the distribution of certificates.
The Friends of the Environment competition culminated at Lahore in June 2008 with an impressive final ceremony that celebrated all the contributions and recognised the top 30. Winning pieces were placed on display for the public and artists from the oldest age category inspired attendees by performing live paintings.
Addressing an audience of 700, Chairman Hafiz Sherali of the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan said “the paintings that are on display not only reflect the artistic abilities of our youth but also light a candle of hope, that we may live in a healthy environment.” The audience was also treated to a stunning musical performance by Shehzad Roy, President of Zindagi Trust, while major national media networks provided coverage of the festivities.
Friends of the Environment shed light on a number of talented artists and engaged many youth in issues affecting the environment. Some may seek to contribute to environmental initiatives, including projects already underway in Pakistan, such as the rehabilitation of the Altit and Baltit forts in the Northern Areas or the promotion of indoor air purification technologies for populations in rural areas.
With a generation of artists and youth better informed about the challenges of the environment, Pakistan may look to the future with greater hope.
By Zofeen Ebrahim
THATTA, Pakistan, Feb 25 (IPS) Forty-something and unlettered, Sona
Siddiqi never imagined she would become the most sought-after woman in her village of Ramzan Katiar.
Here in the Union Council Gharo of Thatta district in Sindh province, some
125 kilometres from the southern port city of Karachi, Siddiqi is happily
making a living by building earthenware stoves for the villagers.
No ordinary stoves, these are godsend for rural women. The low-cost
elongated stoves with two cells help save precious fuel wood in an area
already stripped of trees. They are also a boon to women such as Rozan
Nazar, who no longer have to walk five km, at times more, every day to
Octogenarian Fatema Hasan recalled that there once was a jungle around her village. "We didn’t have to walk that far. But today these
women have to walk such distances because we cut down trees and did not plant any to replace them," said Hasan.
On the average, a woman would be spending 15 hours a week collecting wood. "It used to take me between two and three hours just to collect wood which is good for a day, sometimes two," said Nazar. "You
can’t imagine how much of a relief this is. My life has eased so
The other women nod in agreement. They spend the extra time they get doing embroidery, chatting with each other. "I love that! We never had time to do that earlier!" Nazar exclaimed.
Siddiqi is enjoying being in the limelight for her stoves: "I didn’t know I could be good at anything."
She first learnt about the energy-efficient, smokeless stoves through a
team from the non-government Indus Development Forum (IDF) that came to their village to do a demonstration. "I volunteered to construct one after they demolished their sample," narrated Siddiqi.
This was nine months ago. She has so far constructed 16 stoves, and for
every stove she receives 50 Pakistani rupees (58 U.S. cents) from the
It takes her half a day to build a stove, including digging up the soil,
mixing it with other materials and then installing the stove. "It
takes three days for it to be completely dry," she said.
Each stove uses about 15 kilogrammes of soil mixed with rice husk, wheat
straw and donkey excreta. "It has to be donkey dung, not buffalo,
because the latter burns and is not strong enough to sustain heat,"
said Javed Shah, the man who invented the smokeless stove.
"It’s not rocket science, really," said Shah, a technical
adviser with the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services (AKPBS), a
non-government organisation that works for the improved living conditions
Apart from soil, making the smokeless stoves also involves using the
wooden template that is provided by the IDF, two empty tin canisters, a
small plastic tub, an empty plastic litre-size soda bottle and a clay pipe
that acts as a chimney.
"Training people, especially women, was part of the project,"
said Hameed Sabzoi, IDF director.
The project was sponsored by the small grants programme of the Global
Environment Facility of the United Nations Development . Under the
one-year project from December 2008 to 2009, IDF had pledged to install
1,000 stoves in 15 villages in Gharo. The union council has a population
of about 18,000 to 20,000 and comprises 35 villages with 50 or more
The organisation at first wanted to charge 50 rupees for the installation
of each stove, but soon realised that the poor villagers could not pay
even the small amount. "We then decided to provide the stoves for
free," said IDF’s Sabzoi.
Shah first came up with the idea of energy-efficient metal stoves for the
northern areas of Pakistan in 1985. "Conditions like asthma and eye
infections among women and children were phenomenal in that area," he
said. "We realised it was due to smoke and soot."
Biomass fuel - wood, crop residues and animal dung - is used in
four-fifths of households in Pakistan and is a major source of indoor air
pollution when burnt for cooking, for providing heat and lighting up
homes, according to Sabzoi.
In 1987, while working in the villages of Sindh’s coastal area, Shah
realised that women were facing similar health problems there. "But
the weather did not permit the use of metal stoves. It would get very hot
in these villages in summer," he said.
So, Shah came up with stoves that used local soil.
"We succeeded in installing some 890 stoves (in the 15 villages in
Gharo)," said Sabzoi.
Noor Khatoon, a 40 year-old mother of four, said she preferred the new
stove: "It takes less time for the food to get cooked than in the
Her cousin Dhaniani will get a smoke-free stove after the family finishes
reconstructing their home, which was flooded during heavy rains last year.
When she tried cooking on Khatoon’s stove, she found that it took
almost half the usual time and used very little wood.
The food was tastier too, specially the roti, Khatoon added.
"That’s because the heat is evenly distributed all around the
pan, unlike in the traditional one," she explained.
Some residents have added further innovations in their stoves. A copper
coil connected to the side of the combustion chamber and connected to a
barrel of water warms the water so it can be used for bathing especially
during winter, said Sabzoi.
Roma Juma, 37, was using the energy-efficient stove long before the IDF
team came to her village in Mohammad Hashim Katchi Mundro. She has warm water available all the time. The seamstress now takes orders and builds stoves for her neighbours.
"I did it for free in the beginning, but when more and more women
started coming with similar requests, I decided to charge them," said
Juma. She charges 100 rupees (1.17 dollars) for her labour and has so far
built about 150 stoves.
Her relatives in Karachi have asked her to build them some too. "They
say their gas and electricity bills have skyrocketed, and they want me to
go there and install the stoves for them," she chuckled.
An evaluation by the Aga Khan services in 2005, called the smoke-free
stoves a "runaway bestseller" that has helped reduce wood use by
40 to 45 percent.
Masood Mahesar, a development worker and former provincial manager at
AKPBS-Pakistan, said more than 10,000 stoves have been installed in
Sindh’s Thatta, Badin, Hyderabad and Matiari districts. "A few
thousand have also been replicated by the communities themselves," he
But this is a drop in the ocean in a region of 50,000 villages. Thousands
remain unaware of the stove and either cut trees or pay 250 rupees (nearly
3 dollars) for 40 kilos of expensive fuel wood.
Aga Khan Rural Support program promoting Local Govt System
by G. H. Farooqui February 26, 2010
One day workshop on local Government Assessment Tools for representatives of Local Govt. LSO and CSOs held at Chitral.
CHITRAL: A day long workshop on local government assessment tools for representatives of local government, local support organizations (LSO) and Community support organizations (CSOs) held here in Chitral organized by Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) Chitral. Hussain Ahmad of AKRSP was facilitator on the occasion. During the workshop the participants were briefed regarding good governance and its implementation. He said that after devolution of power local government system introduced for solving problems of public and their development on gross root level. He said that the system is very good but it still needs more improvement and enhancement capacity building of local government representatives. He said that good governance is ladder of a welfare state. He said main objectives of these series of workshop by AKRSP to aware general public and enhances capacity building of related persons for boosting and succession this news system for relief of common people. He said after completing of these trainings a pressure group would be mentally prepare who will support for good governance and democracy in the country. because only a democratic state can develop and promote its public.
He said for good governance it is necessary to be dealt with equity and equality, transparency, and to launch coordinated efforts for boosting this system for benefit of poor segments of the society. He said that good governance must should have characteristics of participatory, transparency, accountability, equality and justice, efficient and effective self-accountability for eradicating corruptions and short falling from the society. Shah Abul Mansoor Area Manager AKRSP Booni briefed role of civil society in good governance and implementation of decisions regarding benefiting of public passed by policy makers. He said that we never achieve our hundred percent goals until we aware the masses about basic information and rule regulations as well as to their capacity building about its basic.
Fazli Malik manager institutional development of AKRSP in his concluding remarks said that our goal is an integrated approach and coordinated efforts to achieve our goal for implementing of good governance and to support democracy, which is the main foundation stone of development. He highly appreciated services of Sartaj Ahmad Khan former Tehsil Nazim for promoting public private partnership at first time in Chitral and promoting mutual harmony among different segments of the societies. Who also supported and facilitated different LSOs and promoted this concept for gross root development and solving of people problems by working extra ordinary (day and nibht). He said that although local government system having some deficiency and short falling but even than it was good system than in past but it need more improvement for an ideal and excellence system. It will be more success if existing gapes were eradicating but it will be possible when our society especially civil society are well aware and trained about its basic tools. A large number of male and female participants from government and non-government organizations and civil societies participated in the workshop.
Training leads to considerable drop in stillbirths
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
By our correspondent
One in 10 newborns in Pakistan is either stillborn or dies within seven days of birth. However, newborn stillbirths in Pakistan and five other developing countries dropped by almost a third when the rural health workers received newborn care training, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine with research contributed by Aga Khan University’s Department of Community Health Sciences (CHS).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates there are more than three million stillbirths worldwide each year, with almost 70 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, including Pakistan, where the majority of births are handled by unskilled attendants.
“Through the training we tried to bring important skills for newborn care to communities,” said Dr Imtiaz Jehan, Associate Professor CHS, who headed the research in Pakistan. “These may be simple interventions, but they can help build capacity and make a huge impact.”
The study was conducted in Thatta District and involved over 650 birth attendants in 16 union councils covering doctors, lady health visitors, nurses, midwives and traditional birth attendants from over 85 private and government health facilities, working in health care facilities as well as at homes.
Each attendant was provided the essential newborn care training as well as scales to accurately measure birth weight, hand-held pumps and masks to fill babies’ lungs with air, and clean-delivery kits to prevent infection.
The greatest decrease in stillbirth rates was among deliveries attended by nurses, midwives, and traditional attendants, all of whom, the researchers believe, would likely not have received such training. Dr Jehan said, “It is clear that there are low-cost, effective solutions available, which are essential for countries like ours, where physicians are not always readily available.”
NGO Connection Day celebrated
Submitted 1 day 18 hrs ago
KARACHI (PR) - The Microsoft Pakistan and the Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan co-hosted the country’s first NGO Connection Day (NCD) at a ceremony in Islamabad.
The event encompassed an interactive dialogue on the ‘Role of ICTs for Development: Opportunities and Challenges’ where experts from academic institutions, private companies and non-profit organizations shared their perspectives on how Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) can benefit individuals and organizations to effectively address local issues and challenges.
Dr Karim Alibhai, CEO of the Agha Khan Foundation, Pakistan (AKF- P) said “The Foundation has been working to close the ‘Digital Divide’ by creating opportunities for computer and ICTs literacy among underserved communities in Pakistan.”
The 21st Century has come with a lot of promises for growth and development. Scientists and Intellectuals come up with solutions every day to solve the complex mysteries of the galaxy. It remains surprising that poverty still remains a crucial concern and developing countries bear the brunt of it.
Abandoned children are an everyday sight for pedestrians and drivers; these children spend their days washing windshields, begging and sleeping on the dangerous sidewalks of Pakistan’s metropolis.
While for most of these millions of abandoned children; shelter, guidance and safety remains a fantasy, some have been lucky enough to be adopted by the Gehwara. Gehwara is a shelter that houses 30 children under the age of 6 years and is being run by the department of social works Government of Punjab
Realizing the importance of such institutions, Microsoft Pakistan organized an ‘Employee Volunteer Day’ in which Microsoft’s employees gave their time and talent to bring a smile on children’s faces. “Microsoft’s Employee Volunteer day is designed to inculcate the idea that giving back to society should not just be limited to monetary benefits and that the most valuable gifts are the talent and time one gives. It is our small but positive contributions that make a world worth living for.” Said Kamal Ahmed, Country Manager Microsoft Pakistan.
Microsoft Pakistan, as part of its global volunteer initiative, gives employees a day off with pay to adopt a socially responsible cause and contribute to the development of society. The novel idea was executed for the first time when a group of employees from Microsoft Pakistan decided to spend their time, and talent with the children of Gehwara. The employees spent a whole day with children who were jubilant from the toys, clothing and shoes gifted to them from Microsoft employees from all over the Pakistan.
The School Administration, Mr. Aslam Metla appreciated the initiative by Microsoft “I must appreciate the step taken by the Microsoft employees and Microsoft itself. Programs like these underscore the importance of volunteer action to make a difference in the lives of the disadvantaged. We hope this will also encourage other organizations to come forward and work with the communities where they operate.”
The day long event included a meet and greet amongst the children, Microsoft’s staff and the school administration. The scene was exciting when one witness what can happen when the passion of people meets the power of technology. The children were jubilant when they received toys, clothing and shoes sent to them from Microsoft employees from all over the Pakistan. Microsoft Pakistan employees also scrubbed, painted and decorated the children’s rooms; in addition water filters and other kitchen essentials were also donated by Microsoft Pakistan team.
KARACHI: The Sindh government has allotted a plot of land to Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) to establish Pakistan's first-ever Green University with the cost of $1 billion.
The Vice Chairman, Sindh Board of Investment (SBOI) and Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh, Zubair Motiwala said that this is going to be the largest ever single FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) by any investor in Sindh and if the project gets commissioned in 2014, it would be the remarkable success to the SBOI in its endeavour to bring investment to the country.
The green university would be spread on a land of over 800 acres at Link Road, Gadap Town near Karachi where the provincial government has planned to set up Education City.
The constructed area of the proposed university would be approximately 200,000 metres, the biggest constructed area in any university in Pakistan, he said adding that the land allotted to the project has already been developed and the investors have already spent $40 million on lease of land, feasibility, construction of some laboratories, green-rooms and other amenities.
The advisor further said that entire area of the proposed university would be smoke and pollution free and no vehicles would be allowed to enter inside and instead of that battery operated cars and trolleys would be used for the transport and logistics.
He said that if everything goes well, the fits batch from the university would pass out in 2020.
He said that global environment and several restrictions by the USA, EU, and other Western countries' education institutions and their governments have made extremely difficult for the Pakistani students to study abroad and considering the situation foreign universities are willing to establish their campuses in the proposed Education City in Sindh, he said adding that foreign students would also be able to study in such universities including green university by AKF bringing the precious foreign exchange to the country.
Germany provides Rs 4.2 million humanitarian aid to aggrieved persons of Hunza landslide disaster
Islamabad: An agreement has been signed between the German Embassy Islamabad, represented by Ambassador Dr. Michael Koch, and the Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan (AKF - P), represented by CEO Dr. Karim Alibhai, regarding humanitarian aid to the aggrieved households of the landslide and lake disaster around Attaabad, in the Hunza Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Federal Republic of Germany is providing 4.2 million Pakistani rupees for tents, blankets and hygiene kits as a relief to the internally displaced persons in the affected area, especially to women and children. The measures will be implemented by FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance, an affiliate of the AKDN.
A massive landslide disaster in Attaabad, Hunza, on 4 January 2010 left 19 people dead, besides internally displacing over 170 households from four villages. The other major impact of this landslide was the complete blockage of the Hunza River, which has lead to the formation of a huge lake . As a consequence, a growing number of houses have been flooded and thousands of people had to be evacuated from downstream areas as a precautionary measure. The lake has submerged and damaged substantial parts of the Karakoram Highway (KKH), thus cutting off road access and communication links with the upper Hunza Valley and China.
AKPBS Programmes Cited in UN Good Practices Publication
The Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP) and Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP) -- both programmes of the Aga Khan Planning & Building Service in Pakistan -- have been cited as Good Practice Cases in the 2010 United Nations Development Group's (UNDG) Millenium Development Goals (MDG) Good Practices publication.
This publication, produced by the UNDG, includes nearly 200 good practice cases covering 75 countries and nearly 40 regional and global programmes. The cases are organised by thematic areas:
Chapter 1 is on poverty, employment and hunger (MDG 1),
Chapter 2 on education and gender equality (MDG 2 and 3),
Chapter 3 on child mortality, maternal health and combating disease (MDG 4, 5 & 6), and
Chapter 4 on environmental sustainability (MDG 7)
Both BACIP and WASEP are featured in Chapter 4, on pages 33 and 75 respectively, of the UNDG MDG Good Practices (2010) publication. For more information on this publication, please see the UNDG MDG Good Practices Page.
For more information about the Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP) and Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP), please see the AKPBS Pakistan page.
ISLAMABAD: Germany will provide the Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan (AKFP) with a grant of € 3.12 million to improve the drinking water supply and sanitation conditions of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan areas. This money will be provided for the implementation of the second phase of the Water and Sanitation Extension Program (WASEP), a program that is run by the AKFP planning and building service.
Dr Anna-Christine Janke, director of the development bank KfW in Islamabad and Dr Karim Alibhai, Chief Executive Officer AKFP signed the agreement for the second phase of the project in Islamabad. Dr Karim Alibahi said that with the completion of the first stage of the second phase, estimated within the next six months, around 45, 000 people from 50 villages in GB will have access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation facilities. According to details, this project will benefit approximately 245, 000 people in 307 villages of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan. The construction of a potable water supply, on-site sanitation infrastructure, grey-water drainage infrastructure, community mobilisation, health and hygiene education will be provided though the completion of this project.
The first phase of the project has been successfully implemented in Chitral and GB a decade ago. The Aga Khan Foundation hopes to use these funds to help in the rehabilitation of the water supply and sanitation facilities in the flood affected areas. “I hope that more contributions will be made to Pakistan to help in the recovery and rehabilitation of the affected families,” Janke said.
“Germany and AKFP are longstanding partners and we will continue to cooperate with each other in order to find creative solutions to the numerous development challenges faced by Pakistan,” Dr. Karim Alibahi said. Press release
Agakhan Foundation a channel for EU aid distribution
EU to more than double Pakistan flood aid
Oct 1, 2010, 11:47 GMT
In total, EU aid to Pakistan should top 400 million euros this year, she said.
The aid, to be distributed by non-governmental organizations such as the Aga Khan foundation and the Red Crescent, is intended to provide the millions of Pakistanis driven from their homes by flooding with shelter, clean water, and medical supplies, especially in the south.
Islamabad: In most households in Pakistan, girls are considered a liability — unable to contribute financially to their families — and regarded as a "burden" on male family members.
This is in part because employment for women is still not the norm.
In the country, only a small number of women are employed and today constitute only around six per cent of Pakistan's labour force, according to official figures.
An unusual programme started by the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan, a part of the international Aga Khan Development Network, has endeavoured to turn this reality around.
The organisation has trained around 70 women, some from remote rural areas, to work in non-traditional areas which include drafting, surveying, carpentry, landscape design and documentation. As a result, women now earn an income and have also gained confidence and self-esteem.
According to groups working for the rights of women, such as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the empowerment of women is vital to ending violence suffered by a large number in the country.
"We first thought of using the skills of local women when we were engaged in conservation work in Gilgit [located in the extreme north of Pakistan]," said Safiullah Baig, a Senior Manager at AKCSP and the head of the Norwegian-funded Women Social Enterprise project.
"It was expensive to bring in experts, so we thought about using local girls and young women who had completed their schooling or intermediate-level education and desperately needed money, for surveying, documentation and other work," he told Gulf News.
The initiative, in an area where there were few opportunities for women was a big success. Young women have been trained as carpenters, masons, plumbers, documentation, surveying and other skills required for conservation work in their areas.
The initiative has been expanded to other areas, including Multan in the southern Punjab. The women bring in, on average, a monthly income of some Rs7,000 (Dh300).
Some of their income is invested for them and Baig believes the confidence they gain, and their ability to bring in money, will also play a part in keeping their families smaller in the future as "they will have more say in matters".
Tahereh Sheerazie, a Los Angeles-based landscape designer, who worked with five girls to develop a garden at the Abruzzi School in Shigar in the Gilgit-Baltistan territory, said "calling upon their creative faculties, prodding them to come out of their shells was the successful outcome of my two-month exercise teaching garden design."
"I really liked the fact that my wife is working on this project," said Mohammad Iqbal, the husband of Nusrat Bibi, one of the girls engaged with the garden design project.
Tar village: a beacon of light with 80pc literacy
From the Newspaper
By Iqbal Khwaja
Tar village: a beacon of light with 80pc literacy
The village has produced two Ph.D scholars, 10 engineers, 15 doctors, 60 male and female teachers and over two dozen nurses and lady health visitors. - File Photo (APP)
THATTA: Amid poor nationwide rate of literacy and declining standard of education in the province, Tar Khuwaja, a small village of 500 souls, 63 kilometres from here, has sprung up like an oasis with more than 80 per cent literacy rate.
The village has produced two Ph.D scholars, 10 engineers, 15 doctors, 60 male and female teachers and over two dozen nurses and lady health visitors.
A Ph.D scholar Dr. Ghulam Ali Allana went on to become vice-chancellor of the Sindh University and Allama Iqbal Open University. The other, Dr. Mansoor Ali, a position holder in chemical engineering from the Mehran University has achieved his doctorate from London and lives in Canada nowadays.
A number of youth who received education from a community-based primary school established in the village in 1926 under the auspices of the Agha Khan Foundation have gone to the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia and a number of other European countries to purse advanced studies.
Ms Mehrunnisa Khuwaja is one of such students doing masters in engineering from a Canadian university after receiving a degree in architectural engineering.
The village population almost exclusively comprises Ismaili community, which is highly organised and dependant on agriculture for a living. The average literacy rate is slightly above 80 per cent.
Every village family owns large tracts of fertile land around the village and almost all female members equally take part in work on farms despite having been educated and employed in different government departments.
The village got electricity in 1982. Although old straw thatched huts have given way to cemented houses but their interior deign looks like a replica of traditional village houses with barns, big piles of paddy plastered over with mud and agricultural implements.
Natha Khan Khuwaja, a prominent advocate, Ghulam Mustafa Hashmani, a social activist and Mashooq Ali and Mansoor Ali, noted academicians, told Dawn that the village`s achievements in education had inspired adjoining villages to follow their model and they were now sending their children to primary school in Tar village.
A poor son of a hari made it to the post of revenue mukhtiarkar in the district after getting education in the village’s primary education, they said.
Natha Khan Khuwaja, an octogenarian, is a leading spirit behind progress in the village`s prosperity and literacy. In 1958 he requested Aga Kan Some-III to establish a separate Agha Khan Council for the village. The request was approved and he was made the first head of the village council and remained in the office from 1958 to 1972.
He said that he established the Prince Cooperative Credit Society to alleviate poverty from the village and it played a key role in bringing progress to poor families.
Tar is a Sindhi word for a berth on a river bank where a boat can take passengers on board to get them across. The village has taken its name from a now dried up tributary of the Indus which passed through the village in olden times.
The village has lush green fields where farm workers and land owners are always seen busy ploughing, weeding and cultivating. Almost all seasonal crops, including paddy, wheat, sugarcane, cereals, tomatoes, vegetables, sunflower and cotton are cultivated in the village farms.
The Civil Society Resource Centre (CSRC), a project of the Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan (AKF-P) in collaboration with Microsoft Pakistan organized an event ‘NGO Connection Day’
The Civil Society Resource Centre (CSRC), a project of the Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan (AKF-P) in collaboration with Microsoft Pakistan organized an event ‘NGO Connection Day’ on Friday 24th December 2010 from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm, at the Marriot Hotel, Karachi.
The theme for the ‘NGO Connection Day’ was Role of ITCs for Development: Opportunities and Challenges
The Civil Society Resource Centre (CSRC), a project of the Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan (AKF-P), has 20 years of experience of working with Civil Society Organizations in Pakistan &abroad. It has, since its inception in 1991, emerged as a national-level support organization for civil society in Pakistan.
Working primarily on the theme of ‘fostering capable people and capable systems’,it also serves as a vehicle for the Aga Khan Foundation’s Civil Society program, helping civil society organizations to address structural problems such as capacity gaps, lack of expertise in organizational and financial management, human resources, as well as relevant issues such as governance, program management, and, monitoring and evaluation in the development sectors.
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