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Awards Received by the Agencies of the AKDN

AKDN agencies have won a number of awards for their work in a variety of disciplines, from historic preservation to water and sanitation. The following awards represent just a few of the awards received by AKDN agencies and programmes in recent years.

AKTC Receives 2011 UNESCO Award for Culture Heritage Conservation
Altit Fort, Hunza, Pakistan.The restoration of Altit Fort in Hunza, in Pakistan Gilgit-Baltistan province, an Aga Khan Trust for Culture project undertaken by the Aga Khan Cultural Service, received an Award of Distinction at the 2011 UNESCO Asian-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. For more information, please see the press release.

Devex Top 40 Development Innovator
AKDN works with rice farmers in northwestern Madagascar to improve yields of the staple.The Aga Khan Development Network was selected as a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator. Based on a poll of thousands of global development professionals who are part of Devex, the largest network of aid and relief workers in the world, the award was announced on 18 April 2011. "Devex Top 40 Development Innovators is an impressive listing of the world’s leading donor agencies and foundations, development consulting companies, implementing NGOs, and advocacy groups," says the citation. For more information, please see the DEVEX website.

2010 UNESCO Award of Distinction for Community-based Restoration in Pakistan
The Gulabpur Khanqah in Shigar valley, Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan), was restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.The Gulabpur Khanqah in Shigar valley, Skardu, Baltistan, was awarded the 2010 Asia-Pacific Award of Distinction in Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. For nine consecutive times, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) has won a UNESCO Asia Pacific Cultural Heritage Award for its conservation efforts in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan province. For more information, please see the press release.

2009 MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship Awarded to AKU's Urban Health Programme
A smoke-free stove and heating system created by BACIP.Aga Khan University’s Department of Community Health Sciences, which recieved the 2009 MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship, provides critical health and socio-economic support to the squatter settlements of Karachi.The Talloires Network and the MacJannet Foundation awarded their first annual MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship to the Urban Health Program based at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. This innovative and long-standing programme run by Aga Khan University’s Department of Community Health Sciences provides critical health and socio-economic support to the squatter settlements of Karachi. While its impact has been far-reaching in a number of areas, it has had a notable effect on malnutrition, which has been cut by half in programme areas. For more information, please see the AKDN blog entry.

AKPBS' Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP) Receives Energy Globe Award, 2008
A smoke-free stove and heating system created by BACIP.The Building and Construction Programme in Pakistan designs energy efficient products and technologies, like this smoke-free stove, as a means of conserving natural resources and improving the overall quality of life.The Building and Construction Improvement Program (BACIP) – a built environment improvement initiative by the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan – has been selected as the best project in Pakistan for the World ENERGY GLOBE Award, 2008. Out of a total of 800 entries from 111 countries, BACIP has won the award for Pakistan. Last year, the Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) was selected for the award for Pakistan. For more information, please see the Energy Globe website.

 

Shigar Fort Residence in Pakistan Receives Responsible Tourism Award
Shigar Fort in Baltistan, Pakistan.The Shigar Fort Restoration Project received the 2008 Virgin Holidays "Best for conservation of cultural heritage" Award.The Shigar Fort Residence, which was restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and which is now operated as a small hotel by the Serena Hotels (a company of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development), has received the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award in the "Best for conservation of cultural heritage category. From the citation: "For the sensitive restoration of this historic building and its development as a hotel which has placed the property once again at the heart of the community as a cultural and economic asset bringing employment, microenterprise opportunities, and social and cultural empowerment for local men and women." For more information, please see Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards. Please also see information on the restoration work undertaken by AKTC and on the Serena Hotels website.

Serena Hotels Receive Skål International Ecotourism Award
Nairobi Serena Hotel.  Serena Hotels received the 2008 Skål International Ecotourism Awards.

In November 2008, Serena Hotels received the 2008 Skål International Ecotourism Awards, which highlight responsible tourism practices around the world. Serena Hotels won the award in the Global Corporate Establishments category, which includes contributions made towards the conservation of nature and the environment, the conservation of cultural heritage, community involvement and benefits, educational features and innovation. Skål International, the largest organisation of travel and tourism professionals in the world, initiated the Ecotourism awards programme in 2002 in an effort to encourage the conservation of the environment and help to promote sustainable practices in the tourism industry. For more information, see Tourism Promotion Services and the Skål International Ecotourism Awards.

AKPBS Receives Dubai International Award For Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment
Water and Sanitation  Programme in Altit, Hunza, Pakistan.The Water and Sanitation Extension Program (WASEP) of the Aga Planning and Building Service, Pakistan was selected for a 2008 DIABP Best Practice Transfer Award.An independent jury of five international experts met in Dubai on 12 – 13 November, 2008 to select the 12 winners of the seventh cycle of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment (DIABP). The selection was made from a list of 48 initiatives, which had been short-listed out of nearly 500 submissions. The Jury based their decisions on criteria of tangible impact, partnership, and sustainability and also took into account considerations of leadership and community empowerment, gender equality and social inclusion, and innovations that can be replicated. WASEP's DIABP Best Practices Transfers award was given for "tangible impact resulting from the transfer of one or more of the following: ideas, skills, processes, knowledge or expertise, and technology; changes in policies or practices and sustainability of the transfer as part of a continuous process of learning and change". For more information, please see the DIABP website.

Azhar Park Selected One of World's Best Places
The AKF-supported Jailoo Programme in the Kyrgyz Republic.The Project for Public Places selected Azhar Park as one of 60 of the "World's Best Places". The Project for Public Places, which works to help "people turn their public spaces into vital community places" has selected Azhar Park as one of the "60 of the World's Best Places". From its citation: "Why It Works? In transforming such a large part of Cairo, which was for so long used as an open dump, the impact of Al-Azhar Park on the city is tremendous. It has been planned with a multitude of activities in mind and incorporates a conceptualised hilltop lookout kiosk, a children's play area, an amphitheatre and stage, playing fields, a viewing plaza and a historical wall promenade." For more information, please see the Project for Public Spaces website.

AKF Early Childhood Development Programme a Finalist in World Challenge
The AKF-supported Jailoo Programme in the Kyrgyz Republic.The "Jailoo" kindergarten programme in the high pastures of the Kyrgyz Republic was a finalist in the 2008 World Challenge.When the Aga Khan Foundation learned that many rural Kyrgyz children were missing out on kindergarten during the annual migration to the jailoo, or high pastures, for four to five months a year, it supported a programme to bring early childhood education to the mountains. The yurt kindergartens have since become exceptionally popular in the jailoo and have even caught the notice of World Challenge, which nominated the programme as one of 12 finalists for its annual award. For more information, please the Jailoo Programme and the World Challenge website.

AKTC Receives 2008 Prince Sultan bin Salman Award for Urban Heritage
Urban Heritage Award for AKTC.  Click on  photo for larger image.Farrokh Derakshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, accepting the Prince Sultan bin Salman Award for Urban Heritage on behalf of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.On 24th June, 2008, during a ceremony presided over by HRH Prince Khaled al-Faisal, Governor of the Makkah region, and in the presence of HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the second cycle of the “Prince Sultan bin Salman Award for Urban Heritage” was presented to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for “AKTC’s widely recognised efforts in attending to urban heritage through many venues and activities” (Award citation).

The Urban Heritage Award was created because "urban heritage conservation is a national necessity as it represents the identity of the society and the originality of its history," according to the organisers. "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has witnessed a boom that covered all aspects of life accompanied by a large expansion of Saudi cities with unrestricted openness to the various continental architectural styles. Consequently, a lot of the traditional urban heritage was lost. These dramatic changes have necessitated taking instant and effective steps to protect the national urban heritage, and make use of its qualities to lay a solid foundation for deep-rooted architecture inseparable from the past taking into consideration the absorption of modern technologies in a reasonable way that ensures such kind of blending without surpassing heritage fundamentals."

AKTC Receives 2008 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award of Excellence for Work in Herat, Afghanistan
Malik Cistern in Herat, Afghanistan.  Click on  photo for larger image.The Malik Cistern in Herat is part of a broad pro- gramme of revitalisation and conservation undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.The Aga Khan Trust for Culture's work in the restoration of Herat, Afghanistan, has received a 2008 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award of Excellence. UNESCO selected the project for demonstrating "the important role of cultural revitalization as an integral part of the process towards establishing normalcy in a post-conflict situation. The restoration works display a high level of craftsmanship and a commitment to the use of traditional materials, leading to a positive impact in reviving the traditional construction system as well as local building trades. The community-led project has clarified the reading of the historic cityscape, strengthened the social fabric, and renewed Herat’s spirit of place. Another Trust project, the Shigar Historic Settlements and Bazaar Area, in Baltistan, Pakistan, received an Award of Merit.

First MicroFinance Bank Client Wins 2007 "Best Micro-Entrepreneur" Award
The First MicroFinance Bank’s client, Ms. Sifat Gul from Gharam Chashma, Chitral won the “Best National Micro-Entrepreneur Award Female” at the recently organised Citi-PPAF Micro-entrepreneurship Awards 2007 ceremony in Islamabad. Dr. Ishrat Hussain, former Governor State Bank of Pakistan was the Chief Guest for the occasion where Sifat Gul was awarded a cash prize of Rs. 115,000. The objective of the Citi-PPAF Micro-entrepreneurship Awards Programme 2007 is to illustrate and promote the effective role that micro-finance plays in poverty alleviation. It recognises the extraordinary contributions that individual micro-entrepreneurs have made to the economic sustainability of their families as well as their communities. For mor information, please see the press release.

Music Initiative Receives 2007 Award for Cultural Preservation
The Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia, a programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, received an Honourable Mention in the 2007 Travel + Leisure Global Innovation Awards. From the citation: "Recognizing the vital role music has played in the cultures of Central Eurasia and the Middle East, and fearing its increasing fragility in the face of rapid modernization throughout the region, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture established the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia in 2000. By setting up music schools throughout the region and supporting a worldwide touring program, the trust aims to preserve Central Asia’s musical heritage by ensuring its transmission to a new generation of artists and audiences - both inside the region and beyond its borders." For more information, please see the Travel + Leisure website.

AKTC Receives TIME Magazine's "Best of Asia" Award for Revitalisation of Bagh-e Babur in Kabul, Afghanistan
Babur's GardensBabur's Garden in Kabul is part of a much larger AKTC programme of revitalisation that encompasses the restoration of the mausoleum of Timur Shah and the rehabilitation of many historic buildings in Asheqan wa ArefanFollowing the 2005 Best of Asia award for restoration of the Baltit Fort in Hunza, Pakistan (the Fort graced the cover of TIME Asia), the Aga Khan Trust for Culture has now been awarded another Best of Asia award for its restoration of Babur's Gardens in Kabul, Afghanistan. From the citation: "When the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, in collaboration with the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, began to restore the gardens in 2002, they decided to honor Babur's original instructions. His grave now lies open to the sky, encircled by a delicate, carved marble screen and surrounded by fruit trees full of songbirds. The rest of the 4.5-hectare garden, which once served as a temporary refuge for civilians displaced by war, has been returned to its former glory. The complex system of water canals that channel rainfall from the surrounding hills has been rebuilt, turning the sere hillside into a verdant oasis. Graceful saplings have replaced the great chinar trees that were felled for firewood, and the fountains burble once again with clean water. There are even plans to turn the elegant European pavilion built by Amir Abdur Rahman Khan in the late 1800s into a restaurant. On Fridays, the start of the Muslim weekend, the gardens are thronged with picnicking families who come to enjoy classical concerts much like the performances that enhanced the former Emperor's idylls. Finally, one can see why Babur wanted this to be his last resting place." For more information, please see TIME magazine's site.

AKPBS Receives World Habitat Award for 2006
The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBS, P) has received the World Habitat Award 2006 for its efforts to improve housing conditions in Pakistan through its Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP). The programme has developed low-cost, seismic-resistant, energy and resource-efficient housing construction methods and standards. Over 15,000 fuel-efficient products have been installed in 7,000 households to date, benefiting more than 50,000 people. BACIP has been listed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Global Environmental Facility (GEF)/ Small Grants Programme (SGP) as Best Practice in UNDP/GEF-SGP 10 years of operations in Pakistan. For more information, please see the press release.

Shigar Fort Residence Receives 2006 UNESCO Award of Excellence
Shigar FortShigar Fort received the 2006 UNESCO Award of Excellence, as well as the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold Award. For more information about AKDN projects in northern Pakistan, please see the Project Brief: "Baltistan and Hunza:
Conservation and Development Projects"
The Shigar Fort Palace (in Skardu in the Northern region of Pakistan) has been honoured with the Award of Excellence in the 2006 UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation. The Shigar Fort has been converted, through adpative re-use, into a small hotel. From the commendation: “The Award of Excellence winner, Shigar Fort Palace (Skardu, Northern Areas, Pakistan) was commended for setting a high-profile precedent for a sustainable modern reuse of heritage structures in Pakistan. The adaptation into a boutique hotel has strategically capitalized on the complex’s authentic local architecture and dramatic setting in the Karakoram mountains to create a unique destination for visitors. Through a holistic community development approach, multiplier effects from the project have benefited the local villagers in form of job creation, upgrade of shared infrastructure and water supply, and renewed pride in the area’s rich crafts and intangible heritage traditions.” For more information, please see the announcement.

"Clean Village" Award for AKPBS Project
The Indian village of Karan, in the Gujarat's taluka of Siddhpur, will receive the "Nirmal Gram" Award. The project to make the village "nirmal" (clean) was undertaken by the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services (AKPBS), India, with the full cooperation of the Patan district's rural development committee. Karan has a population of 766 people and 130 families. Each home has a toilet facility and underground sewerage. There have also been changes in common practice that have led to improved health. Find out more on Aga Khan Planning and Building Services.

2006 PATA GOLD Award for Heritage and Culture to Shigar Fort Restoration
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) announced the winners of the 2006 PATA Gold Awards on 17 February of this year. The restoration and re-use of Shigar Fort Palace by the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan won a Gold Award in the Heritage and Culture category. The winners will receive their awards during the 55th PATA Annual Conference in Pattaya, Thailand, April 23-27, 2006. For more information, please see the PATA website.

2005 Global Development Awards: Most Innovative Development Project
The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in Pakistan has won the 2005 Global Development Awards for Most Innovative Development Project. The award, which was announced at the Seventh Annual Global Development Conference held in St. Petersburg, Russia on 20 January 2006, was given to the development projects that are judged to have the greatest potential for benefiting the poor in developing countries. For more information, please see the Global Development Network website.

AKPBS Wins 2005 Alcan Prize for Water and Sanitation Programme
The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service in Pakistan (AKPBS,P) has been named the 2005 winner of the US $1 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability by the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF). It received the award for its efforts to improve Pakistan’s built environment and water and sanitation facilities. Launched in 1997, the programme's aim is to reduce the risk of water-borne diseases through the provision of potable water as well as improved hygiene and sanitation practices. The success of this programme has led to a partnership between AKPBS,P and the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund. As a result, the programme is being replicated in several other areas with the support of donors and partners.

For more information, please see the press release and the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services home page.

Azhar Park Receives Travel + Leisure 2005 Global Vision Innovation Award
The Cairo project has won the 2005 Global Vision Innovation Award from Travel + Leisure magazine. From the citation: "Our judges were drawn to the extraordinarily multifaceted approach of this project: Al-Azhar provides leisure and recreational space to a city that has little; acts as an engine of social and economic development for neighboring residents; and is a catalyst for historic preservation. In a city where the amount of green space per resident was roughly the size of a footprint, Al-Azhar is a much-needed green lung for Cairo's 17 million inhabitants... Al- Azhar has proven to be one of the most significant urban renewal efforts in recent history."

Microfinance Awards
2005 CGAP Financial Transparency Award: The First MicroFinance Bank Ltd. (FMFB) in Pakistan was awarded one of five top Financial Transparency Awards. The winners were selected from 175 applications sent in from 57 countries. The Bank had the unique distinction of being the the youngest institution to get the top award. For more information, please see the CGAP site. In 2004, FMFB earned “Honorable Mention” in the CGAP 2004 Financial Transparency Award competition sponsored by the World Bank-affiliated Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP).

2005 Global Microentrepreneurship Award: Two entrepreneurs supported by the First MicroFinanceBank Ltd (FMFB), Pakistan, won the 2005 Global Microentrepreneurship Award in a ceremony jointly organized by the United Nations Capital Development Fund, the Citigroup Foundation and Pakistan National Committee for 2005 International Microcredit. Selection for the Award was made by an independent panel comprised of experts from UNDP, Pakistan Poverty Evaluation Fund (PPAF), Citigroup Foundation and Harvard Business School. 110 successful case studies were evaluated and 16 short listed before eight finalists were chosen. FMFB was the only institution with two entrepreneurs winning first prize. In 2004, FMFB entrepreneurs received first and second prizes and two runner-up prizes.

UNESCO 2005 Asia Pacific Heritage Conservation Award of Merit
The Amburiq Mosque, the first mosque built in Baltistan, received a UNESCO 2005 Asia Pacific Heritage Conservation Award of Merit. The project was praised for its "sensitive conservation programme which was undertaken by the Aga Khan Cultural Services of Pakistan. The building and its courtyard have now been returned to modern use as a community museum, giving renewed life to one of the region’s historically and socially significant structures". For more information, please see the UNESCO website.

Time Magazine Asia: 2005 Best of Asia Award
The restoration of Baltit Fort in the Hunza Valley of Pakistan appeared on the cover of Time Magazine (27 June 2005, Asian edition) in a roundup of the "Best of Asia". It won the "Best Restored Treasure". Time said that "seven hundred years' worth of earthquakes, avalanches and neglect had turned it into a rubble-strewn heap, prompting the Mir to turn it over to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in 1989. The charitable foundation embarked on a restoration, which took six years and more than $3 million - and the results are stunning." For more information, please see Time Magazine Best of Asia website.

2004 "Green Oscar" for AKRSP's Micro-hydros in Northern Areas of Pakistan
The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in Pakistan has won an Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy for "outstanding and innovative renewable energy projects". The Award was given for the innovative use of mini hydroelectric plants, called micro-hydels. The Ashden Award cited the AKRSP for the sustainable and eco-friendly solution: "Unlike dams, which invariably damage the local eco-system, the micro-hydel technology used by AKRSP involves simply digging a narrow channel to divert water along a hillside and into a pipe, creating enough pressure to turn a turbine and so produce 20 -100kw of power." Over 180 micro-hydel units supplying electricity to 50 percent of the population of Chitral have been built. The projects are implemented, maintained and managed by the communities themselves. For more information, please see the Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy website.

2004 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award for Excellence
From the citation: “The restoration of the majestic 700-year-old Baltit Fort exemplifies excellence in conservation practice applied to large-scale monuments. This challenging project was the first of its kind in northern Hunza. By demonstrating that historic structures can be saved, restored and recycled for continued use in the community, the Baltit Fort project is a model for the revitalization of historic structures throughout the northern regions of Pakistan. In this project, the historic wood and masonry structure was carefully repaired using a combination of traditional local knowledge and state-of-the-art conservation techniques. The fort's restoration has fostered the local revival of traditional building trades, while an associated handicrafts project provides improved livelihood opportunities in the area. In its new use as a cultural centre and museum, the Baltit Fort attracts thousands of visitors to the province and has contributed to reinvigorating the local community's pride in their heritage.” For more information, please see 2004 Awards on the UNESCO website.

2003 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award for the astana (historic tomb) of Syed Mir Muhammad in Khanqha Settlement
From the award citation: "noteworthy restoration of the 300-year old mausoleum ... which returns an important architectural and community landmark to its former prominence in the northern Pakistan highland settlement of Khaplu. The building’s aged patina and historic character have been carefully retained through skillful and sensitive conservation techniques." The Awards are designed to "recognize the efforts and contributions of individuals and organisations within the private sector, including private-public partnerships, who have successfully restored and conserved structures and buildings of heritage value in the Asia-Pacific region". For more information, please see the 2003 Awards on the UNESCO website.

2002 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award for the Ganish settlement projects
From the award citation: “The restoration of four 300-year old wooden mosques in the Hunza Valley has successfully revitalized the village “chataq”, the traditional public heart of the Ganish historic settlement. Initiated and undertaken by the villagers, with professional guidance, the project has rebuilt community spirit in an authentic rural village which has undergone major socio-economic change and natural disasters over the years.

"The restrained conservation approach has stabilized the buildings which were in danger of collapse, while retaining the rich historic patina and showcasing the intricate detailing of the structures. Modern materials were selectively incorporated alongside the use of traditional materials and techniques. The preservation of the surrounding buildings and infrastructural improvements was sensitively executed, consequently strengthening the traditional urban fabric while upgrading the quality of life of the residents. The project presents an outstanding example of a community-led initiative strategically facilitated by outside support.”

For more information, please see the UNESCO website.

British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award:
Global Winner for 2000

From the citation: "The Aga Khan Trust for Culture has restored the prime historic landmark of the 700 year old Baltit Fort on the terraced slopes in Hunza, in Northern Pakistan. The main theme of the project is to preserve this setting despite natural decay and the inevitable impact of recent changes, such as urbanisation which has begun to threaten the integrity of the built heritage. The Fort is now a museum and cultural centre. Moreover, culturally and environmentally compatible small enterprises are being promoted which provide gift items, local woollen rugs and hand-knotted vegetable dye carpets for visitors.

"These activities are playing a major part in reinvigorating the traditional community spirit and restoring the residents' pride of their heritage. A self-paying waste management project has been set up to safely dispose of human waste and garbage. The project now attracts over 20,000 visitors, half of which are from outside the country. Access to the Fort is limited to pedestrians and only 25 visitors are allowed at any one time. To reduce the pressure on the environment there is a break from tourists during the 4-5 months of winter."

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