Dushanbe, 22 October 2011 – Speaking at a meeting called the “Town Hall with Women, Youth, and Civil Society”, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton thanked the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) for arranging for the use of the Ismaili Centre for the forum and remarked that the Network was “working so hard to create opportunities for the Tajik people”. The town hall meeting was part of a “New Silk Road Initiative”.
The town hall meeting brought together various members of the country’s civil society, local and international aid and development organizations, and local and regional media outlets. The Secretary discussed collaboration – within the context of the New Silk Road Initiative – with AKDN Resident Representative Munir Merali.
In highlighting some of the critical challenges facing the region, Secretary Clinton discussed the potential to create employment, especially among the youth and women; attract foreign investments; and integrate regional economies, as outlined in the New Silk Road Initiative, to engender peace, security and stability in the region and beyond.
Secretary Clinton also cited the successful private-public-partnership of PamirEnergy, a rehabilitated hydropower station in South Eastern Tajikistan, noting, "the United States is working with the Aga Khan Development Network to support PamirEnergy in building an integrated energy grid along the Tajik-Afghan border". PamirEnergy is a cross-border electricity transmission project that is helping to light up two very remote provinces of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Today, PamirEnergy not only meets the electricity needs of its catchment population, but also provides energy to over 1,500 households across the Pyanj River in some of the most isolated and vulnerable areas in Northern Afghanistan.
Program Support Officer,
Aga Khan Development Network
8 - 10 Gani Abdullo St.,
Tel. (992-37) 224 65 00
Mobile (992) 93 500 83 08
The Aga Khan Development Network’s development efforts in the region span countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. In addition to fostering regional cooperation, the Network looks to support social investments by strengthening community participation and promoting local governance. The Network’s rural development support programmes include the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) in Pakistan’s Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan provinces, which has brought positive change to 1.3 million villagers in a remote and mountainous area the size of Ireland.
The Network has actively promoted and invested in educational institutions from early childhood development centres to the establishment of two regional universities. These include the Aga Khan University in Pakistan and the University of Central Asia, which is located on three campuses in Tekeli, Kazakhstan, Naryn, Kyrgyzstan and Khorog, Tajikistan.
The Network is also engaged in the sphere of cross-border and regional cooperation. In addition to the four bridges at Tem, Darvaz, Vanj, and Ishkashim, which connect remote communities across the Pyanj River, AKDN has begun preliminary work on a fifth bridge in Shorobad, which will connect communities in Khatlon Oblast, Tajikistan with Kohon Province, Afghanistan. The bridges provide opportunities for local trade and transit, better food security, access to social services, and a more efficient delivery channel for humanitarian aid. These bridges are also facilitating the exchange of ideas and the strengthening of relations across the border, representing important steps towards fostering peace and stability in the region.