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  • Village Development Organisations (VDOs), formed with assistance from the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), mobilise community resources, identify priorities and resolve problems.
    AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura
  • Since 2008, the Aga Khan Foundation has been implementing an integrated area development programme in Mopti, Mali to help improve the quality of life in one of the country’s poorest regions.
    AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura
  • In the northern province of Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, supporting communities to build inclusive, participatory, transparent and accountable village-level institutions is a cornerstone of AKDN's approach to development.
    AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura
  • Social audit in the village of Kohi Daraz, Afghanistan. Rouhgul, an AKF worker, facilitates the women's side of the meeting. The audit, introduced by AKF to promote transparency and accountability among Community Development Councils (CDC), requires elected representatives to demonstrate that the CDC spent funds wisely and in the manner agreed to by villagers.
    AKDN / Sandra Calligaro
  • Community-based Savings Groups (CBSGs) in Nanaganga, Tanzania.
    AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura
Civil society

AKDN contributes to stronger civil society through its network of meritocratic institutions, including schools, hospitals and universities. This includes an economic dimension through investment in enterprises and financial services that contribute to both social and economic development, underpinning the viability and sustainability of civil society.

AKDN through its agencies and programmes supports a range of citizen organisations including professional, cultural, and faith-based associations, NGOs, disaster response teams, housing associations, savings groups and community organisations managing local resources and local governance.

Village Development Organisations (VDOs), formed with assistance from AKF, mobilise community resources, identify priorities and resolve problems.
AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura

AKDN is a civil society network that supports the conditions that shape the functioning and effectiveness of civil society, also referred to as the enabling environment, through nurturing and advancing:

  • Ethical standards and meritocracy;
  • Pluralism and cultural diversity;
  • Quality services, e.g., in education, health and financial services;
  • Protection and management of natural resources;
  • Development, improvement and restoration of the built environment;
  • Effective and inclusive institutions for local governance;
  • Favourable legal and fiscal frameworks;
  • Public-private partnership agreements for social, economic and cultural services
  • Responsible expression and deliberation in the public sphere, including media;
  • Sustainable financing and mobilisation of local resources;
  • Knowledge on context and cultures, e.g., through research, teaching and museums.

A robust civil society can help to ensure that there is the necessary capacity for services and support to enable citizens to improve their quality of life. AKDN is working in different contexts including post-conflict, post-Soviet and newly emerging states with fragile government capacity to meet public needs and is engaged in long term thinking around the notion of the key pillars of civil society in specific regions of the world where it has a significant presence. Civil society in its broadest sense is a defining and binding framework. AKDN is positioned in its countries and regions of coverage to map the composition, quality, and effectiveness of civil society within each of its thematic areas through the combination of the collective agencies. Over the long-term, along with other civil society institutions, AKDN aims to assess the effectiveness of actions to strengthen civil society through quality of life indicators and broader measures that reflect a more enabling environment.