The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) has always relied heavily on local communities, partner governments, and dedicated teams of local staff, who are intimately connected with the regions and issues on which they work. These staff - and an institutional commitment to remaining engaged in a specific geography for decades - distinguish AKDN from many other development actors and have allowed the diversity of approaches and interventions summarised above to evolve and flourish over time.
As the rural development programmes move into their fourth decade, they will be called on to address emerging challenges including rapidly changing demography, climate change, and unpredictable geo-political circumstances. In meeting these challenges, approaches and priorities may shift, but the core elements of the rural development programmes will likely remain constant and will continue to rely on the partnership between AKDN and the communities it seeks to serve.
In its participatory governance work, AKF will focus increasing efforts on “meso-level” institutions, which represent the interests of clusters of communities or whole districts. Working with fewer, higher-level institutions will allow AKF to extend coverage and facilitate engagement with local government.
In agriculture and NRM, AKF will invest more resources in helping smallholders adapt to climate change, and engage more actively in agriculture markets. Responding to the aspirations of large populations of under/unemployed young people in its programme areas, AKF plans to increase its focus on vocational training and skills building outside the agriculture sector.
Finally, as AKF seeks to intensify its efforts in support of financial inclusion, mobile financial services are likely to play an increasingly important role. In all these areas, AKF will endeavour to fully realise the potential for collaboration with other AKDN agencies, government and private sector partners.