Founder and Chairman
His Highness the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.
Board of Directors
His Highness the Aga Khan
Prince Amyn Aga Khan
Maître André Ardoin
Guillaume de Spoelberch
Head Office - Geneva, Switzerland (1967)
United Kingdom (1973)
United States of America (1981)
Kyrgyz Republic (2003)
Private, not-for-profit, non-denominational, international development agency. Part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of 11 development agencies and institutions whose mandates include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities.
AKF seeks to provide sustainable solutions to long-term problems of poverty, hunger, illiteracy and ill health in the poorest parts of South and Central Asia, Central and Eastern Africa, Western Africa and the Middle East. These activities are often concentrated in rural communities in mountainous, coastal and other remote, resource-poor areas. In addition, the Foundation works in several urban European geographies to address the challenges faced by new immigrant communities and to improve their overall quality of life.
In every context in which it works, AKF’s efforts are coordinated not only with those of other AKDN agencies, but also with local, national and international partners in order to bring to bear a full package of multiple activities that can spark a long-term process of positive change for these communities.
With a central focus on community-based participation and decision-making, the ultimate objective is to enable community members to undertake well-informed activities for sustainable and equitable development.
There are four central objectives:
Rural development, health, education, civil society and the environment, with particular emphasis on community participation, gender, pluralism and human resource development.
3,800 worldwide. AKF attempts, as a management principle, to develop local human resource capacity and most AKF employees are nationals of the countries where AKF offices are located.
Information for partners
The Foundation is largely an implementing organisation rather than a grant-making foundation. It receives grant funding from numerous development agencies, private foundations and corporations; raises funds locally in annual events in North America and Western Europe; and receives funding from His Highness the Aga Khan. In addition, an endowment contributes towards its operating costs.
When AKF does make grants or pursue collaborations, they are generally targeted to grassroots organisations testing innovative approaches in the field to specific development problems within AKF’s focus. AKF units are field-based, so queries are best sent directly to country offices. Please see the following web page for more information and criteria about the grant-making process, including the addresses of our country offices: http://www.akdn.org/akf_grantees.asp
Learning and evaluation
AKF projects are designed to contribute lessons towards understanding complex issues and identifying potential solutions for adaptation to conditions in different regions. AKF measures success when beneficiaries report improvements in their lives, and when the processes which led to these improvements serve as useful models in other places. Wherever relevant, approaches are tested primarily in rural settings but also in some urban settings, and within different cultural and geographic environments.
Evaluation and dissemination are equally essential. International teams, collaboratively with implementers, conduct reviews at agreed intervals in the project cycle. The conclusions are shared with AKF affiliates, beneficiaries and interested governmental and non-governmental organisations. Valuable lessons are brought to the attention of policymakers to enhance decision making, and to the public to raise awareness of important issues facing developing countries.
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