Central to this transformation has been the careful development of citizen-led village organisations whose inclusive processes allow diverse communities to seek joint solutions to multi-sectoral development opportunities and challenges. AKF also supports women’s groups, water users’ associations, non-governmental organisations and professional associations. AKF supports civil society organisations that reach over seven million people, helping their members attain greater food security, higher household incomes and increased opportunities.
AKF also encourages philanthropic giving through grassroots campaigns, as well as through digital giving platforms. It supports institutions that offer certification programmes for civil society organisations, building trust with governments, donors and other stakeholders.
The Aga Khan University
The Aga Khan University has provided quality healthcare services, training and research in the developing world for over 30 years. Originally chartered in Pakistan to help improve health care in the region, campuses have now expanded to East Africa. Our six teaching sites stretch across three continents. Over 17,000 alumni including doctors, nurses, teachers and school managers are raising standards and playing leading roles in their respective fields.
New faculties of arts and science in Karachi, Pakistan and Arusha, Tanzania are underway. Graduates of these schools will tackle issues crucial to the wellbeing of society: Architecture & Human Settlement; Economic Growth & Development; Government, Public Policy & Civil Society; Law; and Media & Communications.
The University of Central Asia
The Civil Society Initiative (CSI) highlights the importance of associational life in the well-being of communities, and of civil society organisations in giving people a voice on policy and governance. CSI aims to foster a more enabling policy and administrative environment for civil society's development, including measures that unlock the potential of philanthropy and private giving to support activities for public benefit. It helps to build the organisational capacity of a range of civil society groups and create broader public awareness of their essential contribution to society.
Recent projects in the Kyrgyz Republic have included training participants from civil society organisations to work with data, helping women-led organisations to develop ideas on COVID-19 response practices and participating in the National Forum of Open Government Partnership to promote accountable, responsive and inclusive governance.
Building an Enabling Environment
We also help develop an enabling environment that allows the private sector, particularly civil society, to fully contribute to national development. An effective and functioning state apparatus is essential for any developing country but, in AKDN’s experience, complex development agendas cannot be left only to the state. A nation’s growth – perhaps its survival – requires private initiative. Both for-profit businesses and non-profit civil society organisations must make full and effective use of the country’s human potential, generate material resources and develop a vibrant and robust socioeconomic base. An enabling environment is therefore essential to building civil society.