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"For two generations now, those who care about African development have been seeking an important key, searching for the best way to improve the quality of human life by advancing the pace of economic development. One of the most promising outcomes of that search was the creation of a new set of venture capital institutions ready to invest in projects which traditional private investors were less likely to support."

HH the Aga Khan speaking at the Official Opening of the Kampala Serena Hotel (10 November 2006)

Social Development

The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) began activities in Uganda in 1994. AKF’s mission is to promote innovative and effective solutions to problems that impede social development. It focuses on education, health, rural development and civil society strengthening.

Through the East Africa Quality in Early Learning (EAQEL) project, AKF has for the last three years worked to achieve measureable improvements in children’s literacy and numeracy competencies in the selected primary schools in Dokolo and Amolatar districts. Emphasis has been put on developing a pedagogical model for improving the learning outcomes of children in the early years of primary school (Grades 1-3) that has the potential for replication. By working with parents, children, community members and teachers in public schools as well as with the Ministry of Education and Sports headquarters, District Education Offices and other key stakeholders, AKF is working to improve the overall quality of Universal Primary Education outcomes.

Madrasa Resource Centre Uganda has assisted more than 87 poor communities in Uganda to establish and manage their own community-based preschools, which are attended by both Muslim and non-Muslim children.Madrasa Resource Centre Uganda has assisted more than 87 poor communities in Uganda to establish and manage their own community-based preschools, which are attended by both Muslim and non-Muslim children.

The Madrassa Resource Centre Uganda (MRCU) also plays a key role in Early Childhood Development curriculum development and teacher training in Uganda. Over the coming years, MRCU will be working with approximately 20 additional preschools located in the West Nile Region and upgrading teachers’ and caregivers’ qualifications to meet national standards and ensure consistency in quality

AKF also operates the Madrasa Resource Centre Uganda (MRCU), part of its regional Madrasa Early Childhood Programme. The Madrasa programme has pioneered the provision of affordable, high-quality, culturally relevant and holistic early childhood development in East Africa. Currently there are 190 schools being supported across East Africa; in Uganda, MRCU has assisted more than 85 poor communities establish and manage their own community-based preschools, which are attended by both Muslim and non-Muslim children. The programme includes creation of school management committees, community resource teams (CRTs), and clusters of pre-schools to encourage teachers’ peer-learning as well as a training component for pre-school teachers and school management committees.

The International Scholarship Programme offered by AKF provides a select number of scholarships each year to enable exceptional students to study in top European and North American universities.

AKF is also actively strengthening the civil society sector in Uganda by supporting initiatives to improve the transparency, accountability and integrity of civil society organisations and by promoting best practices in collaboration with civil society, government and the private sector. The Civil Society programme has worked closely with Ugandan institutions including DENIVA (Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Associations) and Makerere University in these efforts. Through its Young Development Professionals programme, AKF is also fostering the development of tomorrow’s civil society leaders.

The Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) runs four private day schools in Kampala. Though AKES operations had to be discontinued in the early 1970s, the schools were reintegrated into the AKES system in the mid-1990s. Since then they have re-established themselves as quality day schools for middle income families, offering both the Ugandan and international curricula. In partnership with AKF and the Kampala and Wakiso City Councils, AKES also supports the school improvement project for Enhancing Universal Primary Education in Communities (EUPEC).

In August 2007, His Highness the Aga Khan laid the foundation stone for a new Aga Khan Academy in Kampala. The Academy will join a network of 18 proposed Aga Khan Academies worldwide dedicated to expanding access to education of an international standard of excellence across the developing world. The Academy will seek exceptional young people, from all backgrounds, with potential to become future leaders. They will be selected on merit regardless of their family’s ability to pay (Find out more on Aga Khan Academies).

Since 2000, the Aga Khan University (AKU) has been developing its nursing, medicine/health sciences and teacher programmes in Uganda as part of a regional effort, which includes Kenya and Tanzania, to offer professional development for doctors, nurses and teachers (Find out more on the Aga Khan University).

AKU’s Advanced Nursing Studies programme (ANS) is a regional programme aimed at providing professional career . The aim is to enable nurses to contribute more effectively to quality health care delivery in East Africa. The programme, which was accredited in Uganda in July 2000, admitted its first group of nursing students in 2001. Students enrolled in the ANS programme receive continuing education relevant to the health needs of the East African region, in a flexible environment that allows them to study while working. In Uganda, 196 students have graduated from the programme since its inception.

AKU’s Improving Nursing Education and Practice in East Africa (INEPEA) project is establishing a Knowledge Network of Higher Education Institutions concerned with the training of nurses and midwives in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The aim of the Knowledge Network is to design and develop a common curriculum for continuing nurse education that will ultimately strengthen health systems across the region. In Uganda, AKU is working with Makerere University’s Department of Nursing in the Faculty of Medicine.

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