This AKAH water installation ensures local households have access to clean and safe water. Before, people dran...

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

AKAH has decades of experience in ensuring adequate and safe access to basic services, particularly water, san...

AKDN / Kamran Beyg

AKAH’s technical experts conduct hazard vulnerability and risk assessments using satellite data and geographic...


Mother and daughter using the energy-efficient stove in Thatta, Sindh.


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Pakistan | Habitat



AKAH has provided access to safe drinking water and sanitation for over 500,000 people in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral

Watch an Aga Khan University lecture on water management under extreme conditions


We initiated WASEP in 1997 to provide integrated water supply infrastructure services and to help prevent water-related diseases through improved hygiene and sanitation practices for local communities in the high mountain regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral, as well as the coastal lying areas of Sind. Approximately 80 to 85 percent of the population in these areas do not have access to potable water and 60 percent of the population collects water from open channels, often requiring a walk of up to three kilometres several times a day. Women and children are responsible for collecting water for domestic needs, which poses significant risk for injury and is highly time- and energy-intensive, drawing children away from studies and women from their household chores and other income-generating activities.

AKAH has provided access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities and enhanced the health and hygiene practices of more than 500,000 people in over 700 villages in the mountainous region of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. We have trained community-managed Water and Sanitation Committees to manage operations and maintenance of this critical infrastructure. We are now expanding the success of this rural, community-managed model to urban and peri-urban areas.


In 2003, WASEP was identified as a best practice by the World Health Organization. In 2005, WASEP was named the winner of the prestigious Alcan Prize for Sustainability by the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum. We were awarded the Dubai International Award for Best Practices in 2009 for the transfer of community-based water and sanitation technologies along with health and hygiene education. We were awarded the National Energy Globe Award in 2010 for efficient water supply and eco-sanitation.


BACIP was set up in 1997 as a sustainable model for reducing the pace of deforestation and CO2 emissions in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. We aimed to reduce the incidence of diseases caused by indoor air pollution and improve the living conditions of target communities, reducing their economic burden through the development and supply of energy-efficient home improvement products and technologies. BACIP has developed and tested over 60 products and technologies to improve living conditions and the indoor environment in rural and urban areas. Over 100,000 BACIP products have been installed in over 40,000 houses, benefitting over 300,000 people in the mountainous areas. We are introducing solar lighting systems and have provided over 1,000 homes with access to clean lighting in the last two years.


The programme’s life cycle approach to household energy efficiency, market development and entrepreneurship has been recognised by local communities, public sector organisations, donors and international agencies alike, for having a visible impact on the lives of the community in terms of economic benefits, social improvement and environmental conservation. AKAH has received numerous accolades for BACIP’s contribution to the improved socio-economic and environmental conditions of the local population in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral.

These include the UN-HABITAT World Habitat Award in 2006; Energy Globe Award in 2008; PCIA Global Leadership Award; and the prestigious Ashden Award in 2011 for avoiding deforestation. BACIP has also been recognised by the United Nations Development Programme as a Best Practice.

Habitat Planning

We aim to promote a safe and sustainable habitat in which individuals and communities can thrive. We use a comprehensive process including:

  • community-centred participatory assessments;

  • engagement of key stakeholders, including government;

  • socio-economic and land-use planning;

  • Geographic Information System (GIS) data analysis;

  • planning;

  • design; and

  • construction.

This helps us propose appropriate and sustainable land use, address habitat risk and help communities build safer, greener and more affordable houses, schools and hospitals. For example, we developed the Booni Master plan for a village in Chitral. The plan is designed to enhance risk resilience and ensure the planning of sustainable, growth-oriented settlements. It will serve as a case study for other habitat planning processes in disaster-prone mountainous areas.

Greener and Safer Buildings

We use climate-friendly designs for our construction projects, which include 25 large-scale institutional buildings, over 1,000 school rooms and 54 health facilities totalling over 120,770 square metres. We offer construction management services to deliver modern engineering and architectural solutions and ensure seismic resistance, proper lighting, thermal comfort and ventilation. We have also developed green building guidelines to share with other AKDN agencies, promoting green and climate-resilient construction practices.

The First Microfinance Building (FMFB) in Gilgit is set to be LEED and EDGE certified upon completion, demonstrating global standards of sustainability. It will feature a high-efficiency building envelope tailored to the climatic conditions of Gilgit, reducing the need for temperature control. It will also feature energy-efficiency measures for mechanical heating and cooling, water-conserving faucets and fixtures, solar panels and high-performance glazing. Most of the raw materials for its construction, from the wooden screens on the façade to the stone detailing throughout the building, are sourced locally.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

AKAH is committed to reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that spur climate change. Our emission management policy helps us track and reduce the GHGs that are directly or indirectly emitted through our operations. We help AKDN agencies calculate, reduce and offset GHGs. We also help communities to prepare for and adapt to climate change, while promoting green planning tools and techniques to cut GHG emissions.