In 2000, His Highness the Aga Khan initiated the establishment of an integrated network of schools, called Aga Khan Academies, dedicated to expanding access to education of an international standard of excellence. The Academies, which educate young men and women from pre-primary through higher secondary education, are planned for key locations in Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Middle East. The first Aga Khan Academy opened in Mombasa, Kenya in August 2003. The second, in Hyderabad, India, began operating in 2011, and the third Aga Khan Academy opened in Maputo, Mozambique in 2013.
For more than 60 years, various agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) have offered microfinance services through integrated development programmes and self-standing microfinance institutions. Today, these programmes have been brought together under the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM).
Currently operating more than 200 schools and educational programmes, AKES provides quality pre-school, primary and secondary education services to students in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The foundations of the present system were laid by Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, III, who established over 200 schools during the first half of the 20th century, the first in 1905 in Mundra and Gwadar in South Asia, and in Zanzibar in East Africa. Today AKES schools and programmes benefit over 75,000 students.
The Aga Khan Foundation brings together human, financial and technical resources to address some of the challenges faced by the poorest and most marginalised communities in the world. Special emphasis is placed on investing in human potential, expanding opportunity and improving the overall quality of life, especially for women and girls. It works primarily in six areas: Agriculture and Food Security; Economic Inclusion; Education; Early Childhood Development; Health and Nutrition; and Civil Society. AKF seeks to multiply the impact of these programmes with the judicious use of new technology and three main multipliers of impact: Networks: the leveraging of shared platforms and partnerships that extend and deepen connections, such as farmer’s cooperatives, Institution building: creating lasting positive changes over the long term by creating institutions that sustain positive change, such as mini-hydels and the communal electricity boards who run them; Influencing policy: by creating replicable models and approaches to development, the Foundation works to influence policy at all legislative levels, such as the adoption of nationwide policies on maternal health care or best practices in water use.
As an international development agency dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship and building economically sound enterprises in the developing world, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) often works in parts of the world that lack sufficient foreign direct investment. AKFED operates as a network of affiliates with more than 90 separate project companies employing over 47,000 people. It had revenues of US$4.1 billion in 2015, but because of its development ethos, it reinvests all profits in further development.
The Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) is one of three agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) that support activities in health. The others are the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and the Aga Khan University (AKU). Together, the three agencies provide quality health care to five million people annually and work closely on planning, training and resource development. AKHS also works with the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) and the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) on the integration of health issues into specific projects.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) focuses on the physical, social, cultural and economic revitalisation of communities in the developing world. It includes the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme, the Aga Khan Music Initiative, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, the on-line resource Archnet.org and related programmes.
In Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Afghanistan and the United Kingdom, the Aga Khan University (AKU) is preparing young men and women to succeed in the global knowledge economy, to lead change in their societies and to increase understanding and respect in a pluralistic world.
The University of Central Asia (UCA) was founded in 2000. The Presidents of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan and His Highness the Aga Khan signed the International Treaty and Charter establishing this secular and private University, which was ratified by the respective parliaments and registered with the United Nations. The Presidents are the Patrons of UCA and His Highness is the Chancellor.
To address the increasing threat posed by natural disasters and climate change, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) works to ensure that poor people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters; that residents who do live in high-risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response; and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunity and a better quality of life.