The programmes of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) aim to increase the quality of life of immigrants and ethnic minorities by working in three key themes: education inclusion (including early years), social cohesion and economic inclusion. AKF works across all communities, raising the quality of life of all people living in the communities in which it works, by nurturing a set of values and norms, which include pluralism, cultural respect and social and economic equity. Activities include strengthening of intercultural relations, civil society and the enabling environment as well as developing human capacity.
AKF started to work in neighborhoods with high numbers of immigrants in 2004, supporting people to identify their needs and solutions and promoting the development of self-reliance and leadership. By doing this AKF strengthens human capacity and supports people´s social and economic inclusion. Working in partnership with public sector and civil society organizations, AKF links community views with agencies responsible for services. AKF strengthens civil society organizations systems and processes by creating networks and by mobilizing existing organizations to work together and enhancing their knowledge and skills. In 2005, the Patriarchate of Lisbon and AKF signed a Partnership Agreement to cooperate in an innovative urban programme to address the challenge of social inclusion and poverty alleviation at the neighborhood level. The Agreement reflects the shared commitment of the Patriarchate and Aga Khan Foundation to an improvement in the quality of life of marginalized and disadvantaged populations, including immigrants and ethnic minorities. The lessons which result from the work developed by AKF are currently being systematized, for potential use and replication at a national level and in other European countries. Looking forward the programme will strengthen its focus on community development for the social inclusion of immigrants by identifying and removing obstacles to inclusion and building bridges and bonds between communities and between institutions.