MoU signed for Badakhshan power transmission, Sheewa Dam construction worth $631 million
By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / on Tuesday, 19 Mar 2019
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed for the implementation of power transmission project to Badakhshan province and construction of Sheewa Dam, the Office of the President said Tuesday.
According to a statement released by ARG Palace, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed during a ceremony which was organized in Char Chinar Palace today.
The statement further added that the Acting Minister of Energy and Water Mohamamd Gul Khulmi, Director of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat Eng. Amanullah Ghalib and Representative of Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development signed the Memorandum of Understanding.
The Office of the President also added that the main purpose of the signing of Memorandum of Understanding is to pave the way the investment of 631 million US Dollars by Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development on two projects.
The statement also added that the contract duration has been considered for 30 years to resolve the issues of electricity demand and the project would be implemented in several phases with each phase to be completed over a period of 7 years.
AKDN and EU sign new €9m partnership to combat COVID-19 in East Africa, reaching 140,000 vulnerable people
The agencies involved will tackle the pandemic’s health challenges, as well as increase support for the wellbeing of communities and young people
In line with its global strategy for tackling the pandemic, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has launched a new €9 million programme in East Africa with funding from the European Union. The programme will focus on strengthening responses to the health, social and economic challenges COVID-19 continues to raise in four countries – Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.
With the spread of the pandemic accelerating in recent months across Africa, many countries’ existing health systems have struggled to keep up, particularly as the virus travels into more rural areas where access to healthcare and up-to-date information on prevention is more limited. If COVID-19 is not checked, the long-term social and economic effects on the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in East Africa could be devastating.
The 30-month, multi-sector programme will help strengthen existing health responses and increase awareness of prevention strategies and support mechanisms, while also minimising the socio-economic impact of the crisis among the young and vulnerable. Funded by the European Union, it will be implemented by three AKDN agencies – the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) and the Aga Khan University (AKU) – alongside partner organisation, In Their Hands (ITH).
In partnership with East African governments, AKDN’s networks of clinicians and facilities will support health systems to respond effectively, including through the provision of PPE, testing kits and other medical equipment, and training health workers on COVID-19 response and management. Given the significant psychosocial impact of the pandemic, AKU will also address emerging mental health needs among health workers and young people.
At a grassroots level, AKF will work with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to strengthen communities’ ability to prevent and respond to COVID-19. This includes identifying and prioritising community needs, providing rapid response funds to CSOs to meet emerging needs, and disseminating messaging on prevention and protection to vulnerable groups. The CSOs are also encouraged to share stories of hope that promote solidarity during these difficult times within their communities.
Young people have been disproportionately affected by the socio-economic shocks brought about by pandemic. Gender-based violence and levels of psychosocial distress have risen across the globe, in many cases as a direct result of COVID-19. AKDN will work with partner organisation In Their Hands to address these challenges. ITH’s digital platform will help adolescents and young people – in particular, young women and girls – to access sexual and reproductive health services and livelihoods skills training. AKF will also engage with young people through remote design sessions to develop innovative business solutions that meet immediate, medium, and long-term community needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated that 140,000 individuals or 30,000 households will be supported with a variety of coping strategies to help them weather the pandemic.
Central to the way AKDN works is to ensure that the work is context-specific and has community buy-in and active participation. Engaging with CSOs (who are at the centre of community interventions), government departments and existing health systems is critical to success. By nurturing ownership, there is far greater chance that the work carried out in response to these difficult circumstances will be sustainable in the long run and benefit communities now and into the future.
First national investment platform launched
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoITT) and its tech innovation arm Ignite (National Technology Fund) on Tuesday launched Pakistan’s first national investment platform called PakImpactInvest, opening up new investment avenues.
The platform was launched at a ceremony attended among others by Federal Minister for IT and Telecom Syed Amin Ul Haque, IT Secretary Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, Ignite CEO Asim Shahryar Husain and senior officials of the ministry, Ignite and Accelerate Prosperity (AP), a joint initiative of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and Industrial Promotion Services (IPS).
As part of the MoU signed between AP and Ignite, the former would assist the MoITT and Ignite as the technical advisory partner for co-designing and launching PakImpactInvest, said a press release.
It would open up new avenues for investment in startups graduating from Ignite Funded National Incubation Centres as well as other startups of Pakistan in future, the statement said.
The AP raises investments from public sector programmes, private sector groups, investment houses, venture funds and philanthropists.
Mr Haque said one of the key challenges of new technology-based startups was access to early stage and growth stage capital. “I’m sure that this initiative will bridge the gap in an efficient manner. This Ignite AP partnership looks promising to solve the financing challenge faced by our startups,” he said.
He noted that the overall environment in the country was improving and added that Bykea, one of the startups accelerated at NIC Karachi, had raised $21 million of Series B Funding.
Lessons from the lockdown: Equality, equity in education
It is now almost a year since the coronavirus pandemic forced a lock-down upon us all, disrupting lives and livelihoods.
Amid all the other hardships, more than 15 million children in Uganda have had to face an unsettled learning and development environment. And with schools only expected to open gradually, many children still face months of home learning.
As we reflect on the past year, what have we learnt? The opportunity to promote equality in education and learning must be realised.
Questions about how to support home learning and deal with the inequality of the ‘digital divide’ have become daily conversations. Government and non-government actors have had to collaborate to develop teaching materials, radio lessons and other ICT enabled solutions.
Early indications suggest that the responses by government and civil society organisations have been laudable.
A study in progress by the Norwegian Refugee Council in refugee settlements indicates that home learning packs developed by the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) reached 96 per cent of homes, and 84 per cent of children were engaging with these materials.
Radio was the second most used method with examples where organisations like the Aga Khan Development Network’s Madrasa Early Childhood Programme partnered with NCDC to create content.
Other institutions, like Save the Children, supported the set-up of community radio broadcasts. Equally impressive was seeing how children and families within our communities established small learning groups while our teachers strived to provide support where they could. This feat of bringing learning support to so many in such a short time must be celebrated.
However, the experience of the past year reminds us that securing equity in learning remains a challenge.
A recent study indicates that while learning levels remained stable for higher classes and higher-level learners, there were learning relapses in lower classes and lower-level learners.
There was also evidence that girls were disadvantaged due to time being consumed by familial chores and responsibilities. This exposes how the inequity of learning persisted, even exacerbated, during school closures.
That said, nearly 70 per cent of children appear to want some form of home learning to continue even after schools open. This goes beyond the notion of homework toward a concept of learning between home and school.
This creates space for thinking about a more ‘hybrid’ approach which might be an option our children prefer.
It offers the possibility of reducing pressure on our school infrastructure and providing children with quality teacher time when in class, not merely access to overcrowded classrooms.
The Ministry of Education and Sports is committed to a back-to-school campaign to elevate the importance of every boy and girl returning to school.
The NCDC, with support of the Aga Khan Foundation, have also developed back-to-school support materials to provide concrete ways to make this happen.
The past year has demonstrated the huge capacity of Ugandans to respond to crisis. Government, civil society, communities, parents and children have worked together to achieve a common goal. Our challenge now is to draw the lessons from this effort and think about new ways of providing education beyond the school compound.
Our ambition must be to look beyond equal access if we are to achieve equitable learning for all Ugandan children.
Mr Amin Mawji OBE, Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network in Kampala.
Girls’ Education in Fragile Contexts
How to deliver a programme where the risks are high
31 March 2021 | Online Conference
9.30 am – 12.15 pm BST | 13.00 pm – 15.45 pm AFT
To mark eight years of the FCDO and USAID-funded Steps Toward Afghan Girls’ Education Success (STAGES) programme, Aga Khan Foundation UK hosted an online conference on 31 March 2021 on the topic of ‘Girls’ Education in Fragile Contexts’.
The context for a new design-driven innovation ecosystem
Today, the global development landscape is facing unprecedented change. Climate change, conflict, urbanisation, automation, artificial intelligence, and environmental degradation are all having a massive impact on the complexity of the challenges communities face.
This is the context in which AKF’s over 4,000 staff are currently working, and whilst inclusivity and co-creation of solutions has always been a central tenet of AKF’s approach, this raft of new challenges has highlighted the need for new and creative approaches that deliver greater value and impact – at scale.
This rationale has underpinned the development of Accelerate Impact. Through this new initiative, AKF not only formalises its inclusive approach, but also applies design-driven innovation to its programmes, ensuring creative collaboration across the organisation, the ability to scale local solutions where applicable, and deliver even greater impact to the communities it serves.
In Mozambique, 1 in 67 women die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth; and 1 in 18 infants die before their first birthday. With the support of the Government of Canada, the #AgaKhan Foundation’s (@AKF_Global) investments in the Pemba Nursing School in Mozambique are helping to provide a better #education for young nurses like Olga Albino who are specialising in #maternal and #neonatalcare.
Learning against the odds – Matt Reed on Girls' Education in Fragile Contexts
Last month, the Aga Khan Foundation (UK) hosted a group of over 200 people dedicated to advancing girls’ education. Brought together over two days, the global audience and participants featured government ministers, international institutions, foundations, academics, international NGOs, and local organisations to share insights, challenges and lessons learned implementing a large-scale education programme in a high-risk environment.
The event marked eight-years of implementation of Steps Toward Afghan Girls Education Success (STAGES), funded under the Girls Education Challenge by the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and, more recently, by USAID. It featured keynote speeches from Alicia Herbert OBE, Director for Education, Gender and Equality at FCDO and UK Gender Envoy and from Her Excellency Rangina Hamidi, the Acting Afghan Minister of Education. The opening address was given by Dr Matt Reed, Global Director of Institutional Partnerships at AKF and CEO of AKF UK. This blog has been adapted from his remarks.
It is my distinct privilege to host this group today to discuss one of the issues our organisation feels most strongly about: how to help girls learn better, live better, and thrive – how to help them fulfil their potential and create (or seize) new opportunities. In short, how to help them have better futures.
This commitment has been fundamental to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) for over a century. Among the very first institutions of what is now known as AKDN were schools in Gujarat and Tanzania, intended to help girls get an education, to improve their prospects and the prospects of their future families. In the last three decades alone, AKDN agencies have directly helped over 10 million girls get into school, stay in school, and learn in school.
Today, we continue to live this legacy through our work in 15 countries. Marginalised children and youth – especially girls – are at the centre of the Aga Khan Foundation’s education strategy.
To help them, we focus on a few broad areas:
First and foremost: improving access, but also critically, quality;
Secondly: making sure that their education is locally relevant and rooted – and that they are supported by their entire communities;
Thirdly: promoting pluralism by ensuring that classrooms are inclusive; and lastly
To achieve these things, we have to make sure that teachers are trained and supported, so we focus especially on their needs.
We are implementing this work in a variety of ways. One example draws on lessons we have learned from STAGES and seeks to apply them across multiple countries. It is called Schools2030.
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