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Alumni News
Karim Alibhai (ISP 82-84), who is currently Project Director of the Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP) in Gilgit, Pakistan, was invited to present a film at the World Water Forum held in the Hague from March 17-22. The film, entitled "Search for Water" by Sabiha Sumar, illustrated the water supply and sanitation activities that WASEP (a programme of the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, Pakistan) is carrying out in Chitral and the Northern Areas of Pakistan. The programme focuses on increasing community and household awareness about the importance of clean water supply and appropriate sanitation systems. It also helps organise communities to participate in the setting up of new systems or rehabilitating old ones. The aim is to reduce the incidence and severity of water-borne and sanitation-related diseases, and to train local communities to continue the work begun by WASEP after the project period. WASEP is also implementing health and hygiene education for adults and children using health education materials developed with assistance from the Aga Khan University's Community Health Sciences Department and Institute for Educational Development. It is expected that in total WASEP will cover 105 villages and benefit over 25,000 people. Before returning to Gilgit, Karim visited the AKF office in Geneva to meet with the Management Staff and bring them up to date on the project.

Nazneen Kanji (ISP 85-88), a Lecturer in the Department of Social Policy and Planning at the London School of Economics, is co-author of an internal consultancy report for the Mountain Societies Development and Support Programme (MSDSP) on "Gender and Livelihoods in Gorno-Badakhshan". MSDSP is a Tajik NGO that implements the humanitarian assistance and agricultural reform programmes intitiated by the Aga Khan Foundation. The authors of the report undertook two weeks of field interviews and were asked to explore the questions of women's decreasing participation in political and economic life in Gorno-Badakhshan, and the possibility of women benefiting less than men from the agricultural revolution in GBAO during the past seven years. They were asked to suggest ways in which AKF and MSDSP could better address the interests and needs of women. Among the recommendations are: the development of a health education campaign which uses available media - radio and TV - to inform women on a range of areas including safe water and sanitation, reproductive health and better nutrition; and improvements in the physical infrastructure, such as the completion of a stalled hydroelectric power station, to decrease women's drudgery and help increase their productivity.

Akhtar Badshah (ISP 81-83) is an architect who runs his consulting practice and an organisation called the Asia Pacific Cities Forum from his base in the state of Washington, and will be co-ordinating an International Week-long Workshop on Metropolitan Governance and Sustainable Environments at the University of Washington, Seattle, from August 27 - September 2, 2000. University of Washington faculty members and practitioners in urban governance will explore the latest developments in information technology in urban leadership; democracy through neighbourhood planning; urban ecology and environmental planning; cities as centres for investment; and appreciative planning for action. In case you would like further information, please consults the website:, or contact Akhtar at

Al-Namaan Adra (ISP 95-99) from Syria who is finishing his PhD in Rural Studies at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, has been hired by AKF as a full-time consultant for the Mountain Societies Development and Support Programme (MSDSP) in Tajikistan with the position of Horticulturist, beginning on March 1, 2000. Good luck to Namaan!

Photo Album
Recent ISP Alumni and Student Gatherings
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Nursing instruction in East Africa
Faridah Shamsy (ISP 95-97, Distance Learning Master's in Health Professions Education, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands) joined the Aga Khan University's new Advanced Nursing Studies Program (ANS) in Kampala, Uganda, as a full-time faculty in 2000 and is grateful for the AKF scholarship which enabled her to gain the skills needed for her interesting and challenging job. Faridah was instrumental in setting up the ANS program in Kampala and planning the curriculum with the Associate Dean, Dr. Yasmin Amarsi (another ISP alumna).

The Advanced Nursing Studies Programme was developed by the Aga Khan University School of Nursing, Karachi, in collaboration with nursing and government officials both in East Africa and internationally. The programme is designed to improve nursing practice and patient care delivery in public and private sectors throughout the region. It offers professional education within a lifelong learning framework, using a flexible "module-based" approach. The initial modules are being offered during the first academic year, 2000-01.

In the next six years, it is planned that the ANS programme will offer certificate, diploma and degree programmes for nurses in practice and upgrade the skills and competencies of over 1,500 nurses. The programme was opened first in Kampala and will in the future also have campuses in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. The part-time module-based approach is an innovation that enables nurses to enter and leave the programme as circumstances and needs dictate, and a planned distance-education programme will ensure that nurses in rural locations will also have access to training.

Innovation in technology
Karim Lakhani (ISP 97-98, MS, Technology & Policy Programme, MIT), who has been working for the Boston Consulting Group since graduation, is going back to MIT to do a PhD at the Sloan School of Management. He plans to do research on technology management and the impact of innovation on knowledge management and community action. Karim will be working with Professor Eric von Hippel with whom he has previously studied how innovation works in the development of open-source software, such as the Apache server and the Linux operating system.

Their research appears on the MIT website ( Advocates of open-source software believe in the unrestricted and free release of software, including the underlying code, to liberate users from dependence on proprietary software, and to enable them to modify software to meet their own needs and to contribute to its further development. In an interview for CIO Magazine in October 15, 2000, Professor von Hippel and Karim described how open-source software can help organisations discover new ideas and concepts and make novel breakthroughs.

Questioned about whether companies are accepting the use of open-source software, Karim remarked that there has been resistance, but that it "is changing and people are realizing that there is a trade-off between using open source and buying something off the shelf packaged by Microsoft, Sun Microsystems or someone else. Open-source software allows you to control your own destiny. If there are things you need that aren't being done by vendors, you always have the capacity to make the changes yourself and to adapt the system to your particular requirements."

Technology in the service of the poor
On April 4-5, 2000, global leaders met a the White House in Washington DC to discuss the growing gap between those who are connected to technology and those who lack access to the tools of the Information Age. One of the participants on the panel discussing the "Digital Divide in Health, Education and Technology" was Mirai Chatterjee (ISP 83-85, MHS, Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University), who is the General Secretary of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) in Ahmedabad, India. The panel was chaired by President Bill Clinton and included Bill Gates, the founder and chairman of Microsoft, James Wolfensohn, the President of the World Bank, and Dr. Amartya Sen, the 1998 Nobel Prize winner in economics from India. Here are excerpts from Mirai's comments.

"I would like to share some experiences from SEWA which I represent. It is a union of a quarter of a million very poor women workers who are earning definitely less than $1 a day, more close to 40 cents a day. What we have learned in the last 30 years is that work and employment are central to poor women. As my sisters at SEWA say, if we work, we survive; if we work, we can eat, we can feed our families. They work hard and long hours and are ready to maximize any employment opportunities that come their way.

But despite this, I'm sorry to say that the income divide for my sisters is increasing both within India and across countries. The good news is that while income inequality is increasing, the divide in health and education is narrowing down, even in poor countries like mine….

I'd also like to talk about two or three issues which have the potential to close the divide and to force the divide open further. One is the impact of globalization and liberalization. As most of you would know, we are one of the last countries in the world to open our economy. Our experience with globalization is about 10 years old. And from the point of view of the poor it has been a very mixed experience; it has in some ways enhanced the divide, in some ways closed it.

If I look at the positive impact, we now have our own Women's Cooperative Bank in India with 125,000 women depositors. And with globalization and deregulation, we've been able to get financial services to our rural members. Also, those of our members who are involved in production and in small businesses have been able, for the first time, to dream of having access to markets in the North. My sisters who are producing exquisite craft products - embroidery, textiles - are now equipped with an export license and can proudly sell their products all over the world. And of course, this has resulted in higher incomes.

Speaking about the negative impact, which reinforces the divide, we no longer have access to raw materials. Certain industries are almost going extinct because we are exporting to the global market, and primary producers such as hand loom weaves simply cannot afford to buy cotton yarn.

The other issue… is the whole rise of the infotech sector, with tremendous possibilities even for a poor country like mine. But so far, we find that this sector is mainly linking those who have access to this technology, and leaves out and even de-links those who don't have access, the poor. I'd like to give a few examples of how in my own organization we've been trying to close the divide and increase incomes through use of information and technology.

Through the use of computers, we've been able to rapidly expand the number of poor women self-help groups to almost 2,000 small groups. These women are saving 30 to 40 cents per month. Although these are small beginning, they're now able to buy a buffalo, their work equipment, and to have assets for the first time in their own name...

Even a simple technology which you know for many years in the United States but is still new to us, the telephone, has revolutionized the lives of many of my rural sister in SEWA. Recently one of our members took the plunge, as they always do, and took a loan of, I think, $4 to get a telephone. And now, there's a rush of people trying to get telephones, because they found that their income was enhanced just by this one technology.

Infotech can increase incomes provided we set up the infrastructure. For a poor country like ours, the hardware is still far too expensive. The software has to be appropriate, it has to be in our languages. Most of us don't speak English, we don't work in the English world at all, and we also have to have training an backup service. We are excited by the infotech revolution, and so we have been using satellite communication to reach out to large numbers of women. We have been using our own government's satellite - SATCOM, we call it - to get training. And for the first time, rural women are able to pin down and speak to government officials whom they have been waiting to speak to for months.

The other point that I would like to make, which is keeping the divide open, is the health sector. Both the issue of access and affordability. I mean, we are very heartened by the development of vaccines and other important developments in science. But the question is, how do we reach these exciting developments to the poorest, the women in the most remote village in countries like mine. We have to develop mechanisms for that to happen. Otherwise, whatever little our members earn is frittered away in high medical costs and medical bills….

I'd like to close my remarks with a few points on what we have learned from women and work as to how we can actually close the divide. One very important point, Mr. President, which I also suggested to you when we met in Mumbai, is the increasing of employment opportunities. I was very happy to hear it discussed this morning on the panel because we are saying the same to our government. Full employment, regular, continuous work, and an increase in the number of employment opportunities are the surest ways to fight poverty, to attack poverty, and also to close the divide.

The second way that we have learned to close the divide is capitalization of the poor. Promotion of capital formation at grass-roots level - and particularly with women. We have learned that asset ownership is one of the most powerful tools to attack poverty and close the divide.

The third point is capacity building of the poorest, even if they're illiterate, unschooled. We have learned that the poor have tremendous hunger to learn, particularly women, they want the opportunities, they need the capacity building and the education to stand firm in the competitive markets, to have access to information technology, science, education and also management skills…"

Mirai's reflections on how to aid the poor women of Ahmedabad takes on particular significance after the recent devastating earthquake that hit the state of Gujarat.

Bitter Chocolate in India
Pinki Virani (ISP 79-81, MA, Journalism, University of Missouri) has produced her third book, Bitter Chocolate, published by Penguin Books, about the taboo subject of child sexual abuse in India. Her book was reviewed in India Today and received high praise for its courageous exposé of the widespread practice of child abuse in Indian families. Based on studies, reports and investigation, the book reveals that a minimum of 20% of girls and boys under the age of 16 are regularly being sexually abused, half of them by family members and close relatives.

"What stays with the reader is the author's strong and sincere plea to act to protect our children from this nightmare of childhood. Her book is a must read for all parents and others who love children and hate crimes."

Pinki's previous books were Aruna's Story, the real-life story of the brutal rape of a nurse in a hospital, and Once was Bombay about various aspects of life in the city of Bombay. Both were best sellers and have been translated into regional Indian languages.

Sweet Honey in Kenya
Farouk Jiwa (ISP 94-98, BSc, Environmental Biology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario) has found a dream job in Nairobi with Honey Care Africa Ltd. Farouk is Operations Manger at this small company which manufactures and supplies high quality hive systems and related bee-keeping equipment (bee suits with veils, hive tools, smokers, etc.) to organisations, communities and individuals across Kenya. In addition, Honey Care has established a number of projects with NGOs, such as the Aga Khan Foundation, which has engaged Honey Care to develop a bee keeping project at its Kwale Rural Support Programme in Mariakani.

Besides the sales aspect of its work, Honey Care provides free-of-charge basic training in bee keeping, assists communities and individuals in developing organisational and management skills, and teaches them basic record-keeping and farm economics. Because most farmers lack a ready and guaranteed market for their honey, Honey Care also agrees to buy their production at a guaranteed and mutually acceptable price.

During its short life, Honey Care has won several awards for its work as an innovative, ethical and farmer-friendly business organisation. It is because of its caring and ethical business practices that Farouk is so enchanted with working at Honey Care. Although this is only his second job out of school, his judgement and decision-making skills are highly valued and he has an important say in how the company is managed.

Other News

Recent Dissertations
Kulsoom Jaffer, MA dissertation in Educational Management and Administration at University of London Institute of Education, entitled : "The Headteachers' Changing Role & Training Requirements : A Comparative Study", August 2000.

Rafikali Momin, dissertation for the degree of PhD in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University, entitled "Phytoceutical and Other Biocactive Natural Products from Apium Graveolens L. Seeds", 2000.

George Mugwanya, a dissertation submitted to Notre Dame Law School in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the JSD degree, entitled "Human Rights in Africa: Enhancing Human Rights Through the African Regional Human Rights System", May 2000.

Voluntary Contributions to ISP
ll-Noor Goeffers (ISP 93-94, MS, Naval Architecture, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées, Paris) contributed FRF 2,000 to the scholarship programme in January.

Shakeel Hasham (ISP 89-92, BSc Hons, Economics with Statistics, University of Bristol) has started to repay his scholarship with a first payment of £500 in February.

Feroze Merchant (ISP ISP 93-95, MS, Electric & Computer Engineering, University of Southern California) has sent a cheque for $2,000 as a contribution to ISP in February.

Anissa Lakhani (SAJ 87-89) Diplôme D'Etat, Etude d'Infirmière, Ecole des Peupliers, Paris) has finished repaying the entire amount of her scholarship last June.

New ISP Scholars in 2000-2001

The International Scholarship Panel of the Aga Khan Foundation met on June 29th at Aiglemont, the Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan, to select new scholars and renew the awards of continuing students. Twenty-seven new students were selected for awards, bringing the total number of ISP scholars to 60 in 2000-01.

AKF is proud to announce its list of new students:

Pallavi Aiyer, Indian, MSc, Global Media & Communications, London School Economics
Natalya Avakova, Tajik, PhD, Rural Studies, University of Guelph
Amina Charania, Indian, MS, Human Development, Iowa State University
Amin Charaniya, Indian, PhD, Computer Science, University of California, Santa Cruz
Tuichi Chorshanbiev, Tajik, MS, Finance & Management, Academy of Finance, Moscow
Al-Nasir Hamir, Canadian, MA, International Affairs, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC
Saleema Hashwani, Pakistani, MS, Nursing (Health Administration), University of California, San Francisco
Jameel Janjua, Canadian, MEng, Aeronautics & Astonautics, MIT
Hafiz Karmali, Canadian, PhD, Religious Studies, La Sorbonne, University of Paris
Milly Kayongo, Ugandan, MPH, Population & Family Health, Johns Hopkins University
Akbar Keshodkar, Indian/US resident, DPhil, Anthropology, University of Oxford
Bilquis Khan, Pakistani, MSc, Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Manizha Kholiknazarova, MS, International Economic Relations, Friendship University, Moscow
Manizha Mamadnabieva, Tajik, MS, Economics, Friendship University, Moscow
Lubna Mazrui, Kenyan, PhD, Education Policy & Leadership, Ohio State University
Amyn Merchant, British, Postgraduate Diploma, Violin Studies, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester
Tahereh Mirzadeh, Iranian (in India), MSc, Drilling Engineering, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
Diloro Muborakshoeva, Tajik, MS, Economics, Moscow State University
Farzan Nathoo, Tanzanian, MSc, Financial Mathematics, University of Toronto
Tom Olali, Kenyan, MPhil/PhD, African Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, London
Shezad Pradhan, Pakistani, MEng, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax
Razia Raghavji, Canadian, EdM, International Education Policy, Harvard University
Alidod Shirinbekov, Tajik, English Language, Institute of Applied Language Studies, Edinburgh
Prerna Singh, Indian, Tripos/MA, Social & Political Sciences, University of Cambridge
Noorani Valli, Tanzanian, MA, Hospital Management, University of Leeds
Iead Wanus, Syrian, Graduate Bridging Diploma/MA, Theatre Studies, Royal Holloway College, London
Buthenah Zedan, Syrian, MPhil, Electrical Engineering, Cardiff University, Wales

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