Maputo, Mozambique, 28 March 2000 — The Aga Khan Development Network today announced the launch of three social development programmes and a project to build a major school complex in Mozambique. The announcement was made this morning during the visit of Portuguese First Lady, Maria José Ritta, to the future premises of the Mozambican branch of the Aga Khan Foundation Portugal.
The announcement comes a week after Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS), an affiliate of the Network, completed an emergency humanitarian aid operation to assist victims of the floods in Mozambique. In an operation that lasted three weeks, FOCUS's staff and volunteers from Portugal and Mozambique helped nearly 30,000 refugees by supplying food, medicines, boats and essential commodities.
Following the signature of an Agreement of Cooperation for Development with the Government of Mozambique in 1998 and feasibility surveys by its various agencies, the Network is this year launching its long-term development activities with the establishment of its first agencies in Mozambique.
The incorporation of the Aga Khan Education Service Mozambique will advance the plans to build a high quality bilingual (Portuguese and English) school to cater to approximately one thousand students on a 15 hectare-plot in Maputo.
The Aga Khan Foundation will, within the coming months, initiate an integrated rural development programme in the province of Cabo Delgado, which is intended to cover a population of over 120,000 people. Cabo Delgado is one of the poorest regions of Mozambique and one that receives the least international aid. According to the UNDP, 49,58% of the province's population earns less than 150,000 Meticais (2400 Escudos or USD 12,5) per month, and the province has the lowest rate of literacy in Mozambique (92 % of women are unable to read or write).
In addition, the Foundation will be supporting a training programme for officers in the public administration and will also help to train the staff of the Cabo Delgado integrated rural development programme.
The Foundation is also exploring with the Catholic University of Nampula the possibility of financing a scholarship programme in that province with the aim of increasing and retaining human capital in the region. This initiative is a result of the interfaith dialogue that the Aga Khan Foundation has been conducting in Portugal with the Catholic Church in the area of social development.
The Aga Khan Foundation is a private, non-denominational development agency that seeks to promote creative and effective solutions to problems that impede social development, primarily in Asia and Africa. Since 1983, the Foundation has been operating in Portugal, especially in the Northern and Central areas of the country, where it has funded sixteen programmes in education, primary healthcare and welfare support to ethnic minorities.
The Aga Khan Education Services currently operate more than 280 schools and advanced educational programmes that provide quality pre-school, primary, secondary, and higher secondary education services to more than 54,000 students across Eastern Africa and in South and Central Asia.
Both organisations are members of the Aga Khan Development Network, which groups a number of private development agencies working to improve living conditions and opportunities for disadvantaged people, primarily in the developing world. With a presence in twenty-five countries on four continents, the Network's agencies work for the common well being of all regardless of their faith or origin. The individual mandates of these agencies range from architectural and environmental upgrading, to improving the quality of health care and education delivery, to the promotion of the private sector initiatives and rural development.
For further information, please contact:
Aga Khan Foundation Portugal
Avenida Lusiada, 1