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  • House 2052/55, before restoration and rehabilitation, Zanzibar urban village programme.
    AKDN / Ivan Sutilla
Sweden and Aga Khan Trust for Culture reach agreement on second-phase funding for rehabilitation of Zanzibar’s Stone Town

Zanzibar, 11 December 2001 -- The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) announced the conclusion of an agreement for a second phase of funding for the Community-Based Rehabilitation Programme in Zanzibar Stone Town. Total funding over a two and a half year period will be Swedish Crowns 4,500,000 (US$ 455,000). The projects will be carried out in cooperation with the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority (STCDA).

“We are proud of having the opportunity to assist in restoring historic buildings and cultural environments in Stone Town,” said Sweden’s Ambassador to Zanzibar, H.E. Sten Rylander. “In addition to continuing to work through the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, we are also pleased to be able to establish a more direct co-operation linkage with Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority.”

The objective of the Community-based Rehabilitation Programme is to engage the community as a whole in the efforts to preserve the historic Stone Town of Zanzibar, through training, public awareness, tenancy reform and physical restoration projects in the town.

“This is the second phase of the rehabilitation programme initiated by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture,” said Stefano Bianca, Director of the Trust’s Historic Cities Support Programme. “The aim of this phase is to ensure the sustainability of Stone Town’s ongoing rehabilitation through economic and social progress that reinforces restoration efforts.”

The first phase of the Community-based Rehabilitation Programme began in July 1998 with funds from Sida. The Trust successfully implemented a number of projects through its local service company, Aga Khan Cultural Services Zanzibar, including a successful television series, “Stone Town Baraza”, which dealt with issues affecting the Stone Town and its inhabitants. A series of 12 training workshops dealt with conservation practice and traditional construction methods for craftsmen, building professionals and Government officers working in the Stone Town. Over 50 students from the building technology course at Karume Technical College participated in training, gaining hands-on experience in the process.

The Programme also undertook a pilot project dealing with tenancy issues at the Kiponda Caravanserai, in which tenants received extended contracts in return for taking a greater participatory role in the management of their homes. During the course of the two-and-a-half year Programme, three buildings in the Stone Town were restored, including the Old Customs House in Forodhani and the Kiponda Caravanserai.

The second phase of the Community-based Rehabilitation Programme funded by Sida began in December 2001. The Programme features public awareness raising projects, including another “Stone Town Baraza” television series and more training projects for building professionals, students, craftspeople and government officers. The programme also works closely with the public housing agencies to develop proposals for improving the tenancy situation and the condition of the public housing stock.

A “Conservation Centre” will be set-up in the Old Customs House to offer advice to the community on conservation and tenancy issues. A series of rehabilitation projects on buildings in the Stone Town will be undertaken in so-called “Urban Villages”. Funds will be made available for urgent repairs in exchange for new tenancy arrangements that guarantee long-term sustainability and a participatory role for tenants.

In 2000, the Trust concluded an agreement with the Ford Foundation for further funding for the Community-Based Rehabilitation Programme.

The Trust has been active in Zanzibar since 1989, and has successfully completed the restoration of the Old Dispensary, now renamed the Stone Town Cultural Centre, the re-landscaping of Kelele Square, and has worked with the STCDA to develop the Conservation Plan. The Trust is currently negotiating an agreement with the Government for large-scale investment in the rehabilitation of the Seafront area of the Stone Town.

UNESCO listed Zanzibar Stone Town as a world Heritage site in 2000.

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, focuses on culture as a means to enhance the physical, social and economic revitalisation of communities in the Islamic world. The other non-profit, non-denominational development agencies of the Network are: Aga Khan Foundation, which focuses on health, education, rural development and the enhancement of non-governmental organizations; Aga Khan Health Services, which provides primary and curative health care in India, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, and Syria; Aga Khan Education Services, which operates more than 300 schools and advanced educational programmes at the pre-school, primary, secondary and higher secondary levels in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Tajikistan; the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, which provides material, technical assistance and construction management services for rural and urban areas; and the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, a for-profit agency also registered in Switzerland, which works to strengthen the role of the private sector in developing countries by promoting entrepreneurial activity and supporting private sector initiatives. Two universities are also part of the Network: Aga Khan University, Pakistan's first private, autonomous university, which is headquartered in Karachi; and the University of Central Asia (UCA), which is the world's first university dedicated exclusively to education and research on mountain regions and societies.

For more information, please visit the website:  

To contact the Trust in Zanzibar:

Aga Khan Cultural Services (Z)
P.O. Box 3716
Zanzibar, Tanzania
Tel: (255 24) 223 3378
Fax: (255 24) 223 1181

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