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  • Al-Azhar Park, Cairo, Egypt.
    AKDN / Gary Otte

AKDN agencies have won a number of awards for their work in a variety of disciplines, from historic preservation to water and sanitation. The following awards represent just a few of the awards received in recent years.


Sundar Nursery’s Central Axis with the 16th century Sundar Burj in the backdrop, New Delhi, India.

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture received in 2020 two important awards from UNESCO's Asia-Pacific regional office - for cultural heritage conservation and sustainable development - in Delhi's Sunder Nursery. The prizes included a 2020 Award for Special Recognition for Sustainable Development; and a 2020 Award for Excellence. The awards were established in 2000 to recognise "the efforts of private individuals and organisations that have successfully restored, conserved and transformed structures and buildings of heritage value in the region". For more information, read article on line.


Jamal Khan, volunteer caretaker of a Flood Early Warning System in Sherqilla. AKAH installs early warning systems and community-managed weather monitoring posts in the most vulnerable areas.

The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) won the World Habitat Awards 2020 Gold Award  for its “Integrating Indigenous Knowledge and Technology for Safer Habitat” project in Pakistan. For more information, read article on line.






Allpack, a project company of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, has used solar arrays to offset the cost of electricity in Kenya, resulting in a 21% cost savings and 90750 tonnes of carbon emissions avoidance per year.
AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura

Allpack Industries Ltd., a project company of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), was awarded the overall renewable energy winner (small and medium consumer) at the 16th Energy Management Awards (EMA), organised by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM). For more information, watch this video Green Energy for Industry. The 2020 EMA also named Wire Products Ltd (WPL) Runner Up in the electricity savings award (small consumer) category. For more information, please read article online


As part of the Aga Khan Development Network’s humanitarian assistance activities, including emergency health care and food aid, AKTC undertook surveys and technical studies for the rehabilitation of Souk al-Saqatiyya.

The rehabilitation of the central souk in the Old City of Aleppo by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) has received an ICCROM-Sharjah Award for Best Practice in Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management in the Arab region. The biennial Award seeks to honour and reward outstanding work that contributes to the protection and vitality of tangible cultural heritage in the Arab world. For more information, please read article online.




The AKTC team and the health workers carried out the house-to-house WHO Covid-19 survey (for the Delhi Government) in 1862 households.

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) in India was the 2020 recipient of a World Responsible Tourism Award in the “Neighbours and Employees -- Highly Commended” category for its work in Nizamuddin, Delhi. AKTC was commended for action on multiple fronts, including mobilising health workers to visit every home to create awareness, assisting in WHO house-to-house surveys, establishing a WhatsApp radio network, supplying emergency relief to 700 vulnerable families week after week, distributing masks made locally by women previously making tourist souvenirs, and other measures. For more information, please read article online.  


Pamirs Eco-Cultural Tourism Association (PECTA), a project of the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme of the Aga Khan Foundation in Tajikistan.
Leiden-based Green Destinations has awarded a “World's Top 100 Sustainable Destinations” designation to the High Pamirs Mountain Region.  The High Pamirs are a mountain plateau located in Tajikistan, stretching from Afghanistan in the south, China in the east and Kyrgyzstan in the north.  Thirty-two finalists were selected by a jury representing 12 international organisations.  The Pamirs Eco-Cultural Tourism Association (PECTA), a project of the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (a part of the Aga Khan Foundation in Tajikistan), has been working for years to promote responsible tourism to the Pamirs.  It works to create fair job opportunities while encouraging preservation of historical heritage, natural resources and wildlife. For more information, please visit the GreenDestinations' Awards website.


The Music of Central Asia, edited by Theodore Levin, Saida Daukeyeva, and Elmira Köchümkulova.
The winner of the 2018 Dartmouth Medal for the most outstanding reference work is "The Music of Central Asia" which was co-produced by the Aga Khan Music Initiative.  "The Music of Central Asia" is a book that provides an informative introduction to the musical heritage.  It provides a companion website where viewers may access 189 audio and video examples accompanied by listening guides.  For more information, please read article online.


At the 2017 European Microfinance Awards, The First MicroFinance Bank – Afghanistan (an AKDN institution) was a finalist for “targeting rural clients and focusing on facilitating incremental building and home improvement”.   The Award also noted FMFB “for its focus on providing expert technical support and the flexibility of its loan terms, as well as the particularly challenging context in which it operates.”  In 2017, the European Microfinance Awards focused on  “Microfinance for Housing”, intending to “highlight the role of microfinance in supporting access to better quality residential housing for low income, vulnerable and excluded groups, with no or limited access to housing finance in the mainstream sector.”  For more information, please read article online


Khorog 1 Hydro Power Plant, Tajikistan. Since 2002, Pamir Energy has restored 11 micro hydro power plants and upgraded 4,300km of transmission lines, as well as distribution facilities.
AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Pamir Energy won the 2017 International Ashden Award for Increasing Energy Access for its work bringing hydro power to 220,000 people in East Tajikistan and 35,000 people in North Afghanistan, as well as to many businesses, schools, and health centres.  Fifteen years ago only 13% of households in the region had reliable energy.  Since that time, Pamir Energy has restored 11 micro hydro power plants and upgraded 4,300km of transmission lines, as well as distribution facilities.  Today, 96% of households in VMKB, some 220,000 people, have access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.  In 2008, the company began exporting energy across the Panj River to communities in northern Afghanistan – some receiving electricity for the first time in their history.  Currently, 35,000 Afghans are connected.  The company plans to reach thousands more customers in Afghanistan in the coming years and to expand its operations to Northern Pakistan by 2025.  For more information, please see the press release and the article on Ashden website.

Pamir Energy Company (Pamir Energy) has been listed among the best 12 Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) projects during the UNECE PPP forum held in Geneva in April 2016.  The Pamir Private Power Project has helped to enhance development and improve welfare in GBAO by providing reliable, affordable, and clean electricity.  For more information, please visit the UNECE website. 


The Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, Kenya.
AKDN / Gary Otte

Two students from the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, Sumera Yego and Magdalena Gakuo, were the first Kenyans to achieve the gold level 2015 President’s Award- Kenya (PA-K) via the newly-introduced online documentation platform.  The President’s Award is a self development programme delivering life skills and ethical values to young people aged 14 to 25, with the aim of building a better society.  Currently, 120 countries worldwide, including Kenya, Ghana, Mauritius, Canada and Australia are involved in the programme.  For more information, please read the article online.  

Nairobi Serena Hotel won Africa's Leading Green Hotel award at the World Travel Awards 2015.  World Travel Awards™ was established to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all key sectors of the travel tourism & hospitality industry.  Today, the World Travel Awards™ brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.  For more information, please visit the World Travel Awards website.

Roshan, which supplies telecommunications services for over 6.5 million Afghans, was named as one of the “Top 51 Companies Changing the World” by FORTUNE Magazine.  The 51 global companies were chosen for the way they integrated social concerns and business practice.  Roshan is one of the project companies of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic development.  For more information, please read article online.  

The director of the Centre for Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University, Karachi, Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta, has been conferred with Turkey's 2015 International TÜBA Academy Prize for his remarkable services in health and life sciences.  The annual TÜBA Academy prizes are presented by the Turkish Academy of Sciences in three categories to scientists with original and path-breaking works in their fields.  Dr Bhutta received the award in recognition of his ground breaking research on mother and child health, and contributions to global health and policy.  For more information, please visit the Turkish Academy of Sciences website.

Senior neurologist, Prof. Mohammad Wasay, Aga Khan University (AKU), has been awarded with the Pakistan Academy of Science (PAS)'s Gold medal 2015 in recognition of his work for prevention and control of neurological diseases in Pakistan.  For more information, please visit the Pakistan Academy of Science website.

Three Nation Media Group journalists were among 16 journalists recognised for their exemplary work in reporting on development issues at the inaugural 2015 Zimeo Excellence in Media Awards by the African Media Initiative in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Mr Mosota and Ms Kilonzo received a joint award in the data journalism category for a story published in the Daily Nation and titled "Tobacco war gets graphic" on tobacco use in the country and its consequences.  Ms Okeyo, on the other hand, received the Dr Ameena Gurib-Fakim (president of Mauritius) Award for Excellence in Media: Science Reporting for her story titled "Medics prescribe measures to tame rising drug abuse" and published in the Business Daily, a Nation Media Group publication.  For more information, please visit the ZIMEO website.

Islamabad Serena Hotel was awarded Pakistan's Leading Hotel & Pakistan's Leading Hotel Suite (more information here), the Kabul Serena Hotel was awarded Afghanistan's Leading Hotel (more information here), and Dushanbe Serena Hotel was awarded Tajikistan's Leading Hotel (more information here) at the World Travel Awards at the Asia & Australasia Gala Ceremony 2015 in Hong Kong.


The AKDN project company Roshan, Afghanistan's leading telecommunications operator, provides mobile phone services to more than 6.5 million Afghans.

Roshan received five 'Stevie' awards at the 12th annual International Business Awards (BAs) in Toronto, Canada.  The 2015 IBAs received entries from more than 60 nations and territories.  Receiving the highest honour of Stevie Award, Roshan’s CEO Karim Khoja was named “Executive of the Year” for the telecommunications industry.  Shireen Rahmani, Director of Human Resources at Roshan, also received a Gold Stevie for “Human Resources Executive of the Year,” a category that spanned all industries worldwide.  Shireen’s department was honoured as “Human Resources Department of the Year” in the Computer Services and Telecommunications division, receiving a Gold Stevie Award.  Roshan also won a Silver Stevie Award for “Company of the Year – Telecommunications” and a Bronze Stevie Award for “Communications or PR Campaign of the Year – Community Relations” for its Roshan Afghan Premier League programme.  BA is the world's premier business awards programme.  All individuals and organisations worldwide – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small - are eligible to submit nominations.  For more information, please visit the International Business Awards website.


Kigali Serena Hotel, Rwanda part of the Serena chain of hotels that mark the highest standards of excellence.

Kigali Serena Hotel was awarded the Leading Hotel in Rwanda Award by the 2015 World Travel Awards Africa and Indian Ocean, with Kampala Serena Hotel and Nairobi Serena Hotel being given a similar award as Leading Hotels in Uganda and Kenya respectively.  For more information, please visit the World Travel Awards website.

Nation Media Group’s NTV reporter Enock Sikolia and cameraman Charles Kariuki were among the five Kenyans who clinched the prestigious 2015 CNN Multichoice African Journalist of the Year awards.  The NTV journalists won in the health category for their story on osteoporosis—a disease which is causing paralysis among Turkana residents due to brittle bones because of fluorine.  Please watch video online.

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) was among the two winners, in the NGO section of the environment category, of the TOI [Times of India] Social Impact Awards 2015.  For more information, please read article online.

Ratish Nanda, Director Aga Khan Trust for Culture (India), won an India Harmony Foundation’s Chishti India Harmony Award 2014.  Please read article online.

Two senior journalists with The Citizen - investigative editor Lucas Liganga and senior reporter Mkinga Mkinga - were declared overall winners of the 2014 Excellence in Journalism Awards Tanzania organised by the Media Council of Tanzania.  They are the first two overall winners from the same media house, Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL), part of the Nation Media Group, in the awards scheme organised the Media Council of Tanzania.  For more information, please read article online.


The Head Office of the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank (KICB) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank (KICB) awarded the 2014 Best Commercial Bank in Kyrgyzstan prize by the Global Financial Review.  The GFM awards are recognised as a leading light in the financial world and have grown to include a number of key industries; Banking, Forex, Bonds, Options, Insurance, Reinsurance, Trading, Hedge Funds, BPO Services, Wealth Management, Customer Service, Hotel Industry, Travel, Compliance, Project Finance, Technology, Environmental Impact and other relative areas.  For more information, please visit the Global Financial Market Review website.

The Tajik horse tour operator Pamir Horse Adventure (PHA), an active member of the Pamirs Eco-Cultural Tourism Association (PECTA) established with the support of the Aga Khan Foundation's Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, has won the 2014 UIAA (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation) Mountain Protection Award.  For more information, please visit the UIAA website.

Jubilee Life Pakistan won the 'HR Leadership' award for the second time in a row at the 2014 Asian HR Leadership Awards.  The hosts, World HRD Congress, organise this award function every year to celebrate and recognise outstanding corporate individuals or organisations.  For more information, please read Jubilee Life Insurance's press release.

Conservation work by the Aga Khan Cultural Service on Gali Surjan Singh, home to 13 residences located inside the Lahore Walled City's Delhi Gate, and in the area received an 'honourable mention' from the 2014 Unesco Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.  For more information, please visit the UNESCO website.

Roshan received the "Social Contribution Award" at the 2014 Asia Communications Awards for the social impact of its Telemedicine programme, which leverages the company's broadband and wireless infrastructure to build and improve Afghanistan's healthcare system by linking hospitals and medical specialists across the country.  In addition, the company received a commendation for the "Best Brand Campaign Award" for its "New Heights" brand campaign, which celebrated Roshan's ten year anniversary of operations in Afghanistan and its role as a partner in the country's reconstruction and economic development.  For more information, please read article online.

Nation Media Group: the Daily Nation's deputy news editor, Patrick Mayoyo, was the overall winner of the 2014 African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting (ACCER) Awards that includes entries in print, online, television and radio.

Habib Bank Ltd (HBL) won the award titled 'The Prime Issuer of Union Pay International' cards in the Middle East and North Africa region.  Please read article online.

The University of Central Asia (UCA) was recognised in 2014 as an outstanding example of best practice in the Corporate/Private category by the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) Foundation.  The ECDL Foundation is the certifying authority for the world’s leading international computer skills certification programme, ECDL and (outside of Europe) the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL).  Offered in 150 countries, ICDL is promoted within Central Asia by ICDL Asia.  For more information, please see the ECDL website and spotlight.

Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta of the Aga Khan University and the Hospital for Sick Children, Canada, has been presented with the 2014 WHO (World Health Organization) Ihsan Dogramaci Family Health Foundation Prize for his global work on child and newborn survival and health.  For more information, please visit the WHO website.

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, India (AKRSP) won an award for 'Community-based Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change’ at the 2014 edition of the Earth Care Awards instituted by JSW Foundation and The Times of India.  For more information, please read article (PDF).

Nation Media Group's journalists Lominda Afedraru (Daily Monitor) and Isaac Khisa (The East African) emerged respectively the best 2014 science writer - Bio-sciences for Farming in Africa - and 2014 best agriculture business coverage writer in the two-year Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship in Science.  Ms Lominda was praised for her active, intensive and accurate coverage of agricultural science farming activities and bio-technology development in Uganda.  Mr Isaac Khisa was praised for his in-depth coverage by the judges, Julia Vitullo-Martin and Sharon Schmickle - both senior journalists based in the US.  About 160 journalists from Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda participated in the fellowship that was coordinated in Cambridge University with funding from the John Templeton Foundation based in the USA.  For more information, please read article online.

Serena Hotels was among the winners of the Rwanda CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Awards 2013 as "best in environmental protection”.  For more information, please read Serena Hotels' press release.

Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Karachi won the CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] Brands of the Year Award 2013 for its indigenously designed solar shuttle.  The Brands Foundation presents the awards, which each year shortlists over 1,000 popular and trusted brands in Pakistan from which a winner is selected for each category.  This is the first time that AKUH has won this CSR Award.

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) in India was awarded a 2014 JSW -The Times of India, Earth Care Award under the category of "Community based mitigation and adaptation to climate change".  The honour recognises the efforts of AKRSP in India, under the SCALE project on economic development and institutional building in tribal districts of Bharuch, Surat and Narmada.  The ECA believes that the Project’s initiatives have strengthened community-based institutions and developed ownership on common property resources.  The interventions have led to better adaptability to the challenges posed by climate change in tribal areas of Gujarat.  For more information, please visit the 2014 JSW - The Times of India website.

Dr Anita Zaidi, head of the paediatrics department at the Aga Khan University and one of the first doctors trained by AKU, won the first $1 million Caplow Children's Prize.  For more information, please visit the Children's Prize Foundation website.

Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank (KICB) awarded the 'Bank of the Year 2013', from the authoritative magazine in the United Kingdom "The Banker".  For more information, please read KICB's press release.

Fifteen Nation Media Group journalists emerged winners in the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Seventh Annual Kenya Media Network on Population and Development (Kemep) awards, sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund.


Khaplu Palace after the restoration work, Khaplu, Pakistan.
AKTC's restoration of Khaplu Palace has received a 2013 UNESCO Asia-pacific Heritage Award of Distinction.  From the citation: "Once the former seat of government and one of Baltistan’s finest royal residences, Khaplu Palace has been restored from a dire state of dilapidation.  The work, undertaken with a high level of technical competence, addressed a range of challenges from structural concerns to historic landscaping in a manner that has retained the authenticity.  The Palace has been reintegrated as a vital part of the community through its new function as a small-scale heritage hotel and Balti Folk Museum.  The upgrade of the adjacent village’s infrastructure and the creation of new livelihood opportunities have ensured improved well-being for local inhabitants in this remote rural area.  The project is testimony to the success of the well-tested approach to mobilising culture for sustainable development pioneered by the Aga Khan Cultural Services Pakistan."  For more information, please visit the UNESCO website.


Habib Bank Limited.
Habib Bank Ltd
(HBL) has been named as the winning bank of the Best Retail Bank in Pakistan Award for the year 2012 during the 12th International Excellence in Retail Financial Services.  For more information, please read the Asian Banker's press release.

Serena Hotels received six awards, including “Africa’s leading Hotel Brand”, at the 20th edition of the World Travel Awards (2013), which are considered by many to be the “Oscars” of the travel industry.  In addition to “Africa’s Leading Hotel Brand”, Serena hotels also won “Leading Eco Hotel of the Year 2013” for the Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge; “Rwanda’s Leading Hotel 2013” for the Kigali Serena (an award it also won last year); “Kenya’s Leading Business Hotel 2013” for the Nairobi Serena Hotel; “Uganda’s Leading Hotel 2013” for Kampala Serena Hotel; and “Tanzania’s Leading Hotel 2013” for the Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel.  For more information, please visit the Serena Hotels' website.

Nation Media Group: Mwananchi Communications Ltd (MCL) dominated the 2012 Excellence in Journalism Awards Tanzania, scooping 12 of the available 19 prizes.  The Citizen's Chief Reporter, Mr Lucas Liganga, scooped the overall Journalist of the Year award. For more information, please read article online.


Altit Fort, Pakistan.
The restoration of Altit Fort in Hunza, in Pakistan Gilgit-Baltistan province, an Aga Khan Trust for Culture project undertaken by the Aga Khan Cultural Service, received an Award of Distinction at the 2011 UNESCO Asian-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.  For more information, please read the press release.

The Aga Khan Development Network was selected as a 2011 Devex Top 40 Development Innovator.  Based on a poll of thousands of global development professionals who are part of Devex, the largest network of aid and relief workers in the world, the award was announced on 18 April 2011.  "Devex Top 40 Development Innovators is an impressive listing of the world’s leading donor agencies and foundations, development consulting companies, implementing NGOs, and advocacy groups," says the citation.  For more information, please visit the DEVEX website.

The Gulabpur Khanqah in Shigar valley, Skardu, Baltistan, was awarded the 2010 Asia-Pacific Award of Distinction in Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.  For nine consecutive times, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) has won a UNESCO Asia Pacific Cultural Heritage Award for its conservation efforts in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan province.  For more information, please read the press release.

The Talloires Network and the MacJannet Foundation awarded their first annual MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship (2009) to the Urban Health Program based at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan.  This innovative and long-standing programme run by Aga Khan University’s Department of Community Health Sciences provides critical health and socio-economic support to the squatter settlements of Karachi.  While its impact has been far-reaching in a number of areas, it has had a notable effect on malnutrition, which has been cut by half in programme areas.  For more information, please visit the MacJannet Foundation website.

The Building and Construction Improvement Program (BACIP) – a built environment improvement initiative by the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan – has been selected as the best project in Pakistan for the World ENERGY GLOBE Award (2008).  Out of a total of 800 entries from 111 countries, BACIP has won the award for Pakistan.  Last year, the Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) was selected for the award for Pakistan.  For more information, please visit the Energy Globe website.


The Shigar Fort Restoration Project in Pakistan received the 2008 Virgin Holidays "Best for conservation of cultural heritage" Award.
The Shigar Fort Residence, which was restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and which is now operated as a small hotel by the Serena Hotels (a company of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development), has received the 2008 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award in the "Best for conservation of cultural heritage" category.  From the citation: "For the sensitive restoration of this historic building and its development as a hotel which has placed the property once again at the heart of the community as a cultural and economic asset bringing employment, microenterprise opportunities, and social and cultural empowerment for local men and women."  For more information, please see Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards. Please also visit the Serena Hotels' website. 

In November 2008, Serena Hotels received the 2008 Skål International Ecotourism Awards, which highlight responsible tourism practices around the world.  Serena Hotels won the award in the Global Corporate Establishments category, which includes contributions made towards the conservation of nature and the environment, the conservation of cultural heritage, community involvement and benefits, educational features and innovation.  Skål International, the largest organisation of travel and tourism professionals in the world, initiated the Ecotourism awards programme in 2002 in an effort to encourage the conservation of the environment and help to promote sustainable practices in the tourism industry.  For more information, please visit Tourism Promotion Services and the Skål International Ecotourism Awards

An independent jury of five international experts met in Dubai on 12 – 13 November, 2008 to select the 12 winners of the seventh cycle of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment (DIABP).  The selection was made from a list of 48 initiatives, which had been short-listed out of nearly 500 submissions.  The Jury based their decisions on criteria of tangible impact, partnership, and sustainability and also took into account considerations of leadership and community empowerment, gender equality and social inclusion, and innovations that can be replicated.  WASEP's DIABP Best Practices Transfers award was given to the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services (AKPBS) for "tangible impact resulting from the transfer of one or more of the following: ideas, skills, processes, knowledge or expertise, and technology; changes in policies or practices and sustainability of the transfer as part of a continuous process of learning and change".  For more information, please visit the DIABP website.


Al-Azhar Park, Cairo, Egypt.
AKDN / Christian Richters

The Project for Public Spaces, which works to help "people turn their public spaces into vital community places" has selected Azhar Park as one of the "60 of the World's Best Places."   From its citation: "Why It Works? In transforming such a large part of Cairo, which was for so long used as an open dump, the impact of Al-Azhar Park on the city is tremendous.  It has been planned with a multitude of activities in mind and incorporates a conceptualised hilltop lookout kiosk, a children's play area, an amphitheatre and stage, playing fields, a viewing plaza and a historical wall promenade."  For more information, please visit the Project for Public Spaces website. 


Early Childhood Development in Kyrgyz Republic.
When the Aga Khan Foundation learned that many rural Kyrgyz children were missing out on kindergarten during the annual migration to the jailoo, or high pastures, for four to five months a year, it supported a programme to bring early childhood education to the mountains.  The yurt kindergartens have since become exceptionally popular in the jailoo and have even caught the notice of World Challenge, which nominated the programme as one of 12 finalists for its annual award (2008).  For more information, please visit the Jailoo Programme and the World Challenge website. 

On 24th June, 2008, during a ceremony presided over by HRH Prince Khaled al-Faisal, Governor of the Makkah region, and in the presence of HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the second cycle of the “Prince Sultan bin Salman Award for Urban Heritage” was presented to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for “AKTC’s widely recognised efforts in attending to urban heritage through many venues and activities” (Award citation).  The Urban Heritage Award was created because "urban heritage conservation is a national necessity as it represents the identity of the society and the originality of its history," according to the organisers."  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has witnessed a boom that covered all aspects of life accompanied by a large expansion of Saudi cities with unrestricted openness to the various continental architectural styles.  Consequently, a lot of the traditional urban heritage was lost.  These dramatic changes have necessitated taking instant and effective steps to protect the national urban heritage, and make use of its qualities to lay a solid foundation for deep-rooted architecture inseparable from the past taking into consideration the absorption of modern technologies in a reasonable way that ensures such kind of blending without surpassing heritage fundamentals".  For more information, please visit the Al Turath website.


In 2008 the AKDN, in partnership with the Afghan Government, began restoration of the Citadel of Herat.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture's work in the restoration of Herat, Afghanistan, has received a 2008 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award of Excellence. UNESCO selected the project for demonstrating "the important role of cultural revitalisation as an integral part of the process towards establishing normalcy in a post-conflict situation.  The restoration works display a high level of artisanship and a commitment to the use of traditional materials, leading to a positive impact in reviving the traditional construction system as well as local building trades.  The community-led project has clarified the reading of the historic cityscape, strengthened the social fabric, and renewed Herat’s spirit of place.  Another Trust project, the Shigar Historic Settlements and Bazaar Area, in Baltistan, Pakistan, received an Award of Merit.  For more information, please vist the UNESCO website.

The First MicroFinance Bank’s client, Ms. Sifat Gul from Gharam Chashma, Chitral won the “Best National Micro-Entrepreneur Award Female” at the recently organised Citi-PPAF Micro-entrepreneurship Awards 2007 ceremony in Islamabad.  Dr. Ishrat Hussain, former Governor State Bank of Pakistan was the Chief Guest for the occasion where Sifat Gul was awarded a cash prize of Rs. 115,000.  The objective of the Citi-PPAF Micro-entrepreneurship Awards Programme 2007 is to illustrate and promote the effective role that micro-finance plays in poverty alleviation.  It recognises the extraordinary contributions that individual micro-entrepreneurs have made to the economic sustainability of their families as well as their communities.

The Aga Khan Music Initiative, a programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, received an Honourable Mention in the 2007 Travel + Leisure Global Innovation Awards.  From the citation: "Recognising the vital role music has played in the cultures of Central Eurasia and the Middle East, and fearing its increasing fragility in the face of rapid modernisation throughout the region, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture established the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia in 2000.  By setting up music schools throughout the region and supporting a worldwide touring programme, the trust aims to preserve Central Asia’s musical heritage by ensuring its transmission to a new generation of artists and audiences - both inside the region and beyond its borders."  For more information, please visit the Travel + Leisure website. 


Since its restoration by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), the Bagh-e-Babur (Babur’s Gardens) has attracted over 400,000 visitors annually.

Following the 2005 Best of Asia award for restoration of the Baltit Fort in Hunza, Pakistan (the Fort graced the cover of TIME Asia), the Aga Khan Trust for Culture has now been awarded another Best of Asia award for its restoration of Babur's Gardens in Kabul, Afghanistan.  From the citation: "When the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, in collaboration with the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, began to restore the gardens in 2002, they decided to honour Babur's original instructions.  His grave now lies open to the sky, encircled by a delicate, carved marble screen and surrounded by fruit trees full of songbirds.  The rest of the 4.5-hectare garden, which once served as a temporary refuge for civilians displaced by war, has been returned to its former glory.  The complex system of water canals that channel rainfall from the surrounding hills has been rebuilt, turning the sere hillside into a verdant oasis.  Graceful saplings have replaced the great chinar trees that were felled for firewood, and the fountains burble once again with clean water.  There are even plans to turn the elegant European pavilion built by Amir Abdur Rahman Khan in the late 1800s into a restaurant.  On Fridays, the start of the Muslim weekend, the gardens are thronged with picnicking families who come to enjoy classical concerts much like the performances that enhanced the former Emperor's idylls.  Finally, one can see why Babur wanted this to be his last resting place."  For more information, please visit the TIME magazine website.

The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBS, P) has received the World Habitat Award 2006 for its efforts to improve housing conditions in Pakistan through its Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP).  The programme has developed low-cost, seismic-resistant, energy and resource-efficient housing construction methods and standards.  Over 15,000 fuel-efficient products have been installed in 7,000 households to date, benefiting more than 50,000 people.  BACIP has been listed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Global Environmental Facility (GEF)/ Small Grants Programme (SGP) as Best Practice in UNDP/GEF-SGP 10 years of operations in Pakistan.  For more information, please visit the BSHF website. 

The Shigar Fort Palace (in Skardu in the Northern region of Pakistan) has been honoured with the Award of Excellence in the 2006 UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation.  The Shigar Fort has been converted, through adaptive re-use, into a small hotel. From the commendation: “The Award of Excellence winner, Shigar Fort Palace (Skardu, Northern Areas, Pakistan) was commended for setting a high-profile precedent for a sustainable modern reuse of heritage structures in Pakistan.  The adaptation into a boutique hotel has strategically capitalised on the complex’s authentic local architecture and dramatic setting in the Karakoram mountains to create a unique destination for visitors.  Through a holistic community development approach, multiplier effects from the project have benefited the local villagers in form of job creation, upgrade of shared infrastructure and water supply, and renewed pride in the area’s rich crafts and intangible heritage traditions".  For more information, please visit the UNESCO website.

The Indian village of Karan, in the Gujarat's taluka of Siddhpur, received the "Nirmal Gram" Award.  The project to make the village "nirmal" (clean) was undertaken by the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services (AKPBS), India, with the full cooperation of the Patan district's rural development committee.  Karan has a population of 766 people and 130 families.  Each home has a toilet facility and underground sewerage.  There have also been changes in common practice that have led to improved health.  For more information, please visit the Nirmal Gram Puraskar website.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) announced the winners of the 2006 PATA Gold Awards on 17 February of this year.  The restoration and re-use of Shigar Fort Palace by the Aga Khan Cultural Services Pakistan won a Gold Award in the Heritage and Culture category.  The winners will receive their awards during the 55th PATA Annual Conference in Pattaya, Thailand, April 23-27, 2006.  Lean more on Shigar Fort Palace.

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in Pakistan has won the 2005 Global Development Awards for Most Innovative Development Project.  The award, which was announced at the Seventh Annual Global Development Conference held in St. Petersburg, Russia on 20 January 2006, was given to the development projects that are judged to have the greatest potential for benefiting the poor in developing countries.  For more information, please visit the Global Development Network website. 

The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service in Pakistan (AKPBS,P) has been named the 2005 winner of the $1 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability by the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF).  It received the award for its efforts to improve Pakistan’s built environment and water and sanitation facilities.  Launched in 1997, the programme's aim is to reduce the risk of water-borne diseases through the provision of potable water as well as improved hygiene and sanitation practices.  The success of this programme has led to a partnership between AKPBS,P and the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.  As a result, the programme is being replicated in several other areas with the support of donors and partners.  For more information, please read the press release.

The Azhar Park project in Cairo has won the 2005 Global Vision Innovation Award from Travel + Leisure magazine . From the citation: "Our judges were drawn to the extraordinarily multifaceted approach of this project: Al-Azhar provides leisure and recreational space to a city that has little; acts as an engine of social and economic development for neighbouring residents; and is a catalyst for historic preservation. In a city where the amount of green space per resident was roughly the size of a footprint, Al-Azhar is a much-needed green lung for Cairo's 17 million inhabitants... Al- Azhar has proven to be one of the most significant urban renewal efforts in recent history."  Learn more on Al-Azhar park.

The First MicroFinance Bank Ltd (FMFB) in Pakistan was awarded one of five top Financial Transparency Awards (2005).  The winners were selected from 175 applications sent in from 57 countries.  The Bank had the unique distinction of being the youngest institution to get the top award.  In 2004, FMFB earned “Honourable Mention” in the CGAP 2004 Financial Transparency Award competition sponsored by the World Bank-affiliated Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP).  For more information, please visit the CGAP website.

Two entrepreneurs supported by the First MicroFinanceBank Ltd (FMFB), Pakistan, won the 2005 Global Microentrepreneurship Award in a ceremony jointly organised by the United Nations Capital Development Fund, the Citigroup Foundation and Pakistan National Committee for 2005 International Microcredit.  Selection for the Award was made by an independent panel comprised of experts from UNDP, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Citigroup Foundation and Harvard Business School.  110 successful case studies were evaluated and 16 shortlisted before eight finalists were chosen.  FMFB was the only institution with two entrepreneurs winning first prize.  In 2004, FMFB entrepreneurs received first and second prizes and two runner-up prizes.  For more information, please visit the Microcredit 2005 website.

The Amburiq Mosque, the first mosque built in Baltistan, received a UNESCO 2005 Asia Pacific Heritage Conservation Award of Merit.  The project was praised for its "sensitive conservation programme which was undertaken by the Aga Khan Cultural Services Pakistan.  The building and its courtyard have now been returned to modern use as a community museum, giving renewed life to one of the region’s historically and socially significant structures."  For more information, please visit the UNESCO website. 


Baltit Fort, Gilgit, Pakistan.
The restoration of Baltit Fort in the Hunza Valley of Pakistan appeared on the cover of Time Magazine (27 June 2005, Asian edition) in a roundup of the "Best of Asia".  It won the "Best Restored Treasure".  Time said that "seven hundred years' worth of earthquakes, avalanches and neglect had turned it into a rubble-strewn heap, prompting the Mir to turn it over to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in 1989.  The charitable foundation embarked on a restoration, which took six years and more than $3 million - and the results are stunning."  Learn more on Baltit Fort.

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in Pakistan has won an 2005 Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy for "outstanding and innovative renewable energy projects".  The Award was given for the innovative use of mini hydroelectric plants, called micro-hydels.  The Ashden Award cited the AKRSP for the sustainable and eco-friendly solution: "Unlike dams, which invariably damage the local eco-system, the micro-hydel technology used by AKRSP involves simply digging a narrow channel to divert water along a hillside and into a pipe, creating enough pressure to turn a turbine and so produce 20 -100kw of power."  Over 180 micro-hydel units supplying electricity to 50 percent of the population of Chitral have been built.  The projects are implemented, maintained and managed by the communities themselves.  For more information, please visit the Ashden Award for Sustainable Eneergy website. 

2004 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award for Excellence.  From the citation: “The restoration of the majestic 700-year-old Baltit Fort exemplifies excellence in conservation practice applied to large-scale monuments.  This challenging project was the first of its kind in northern Hunza.  By demonstrating that historic structures can be saved, restored and recycled for continued use in the community, the Baltit Fort project is a model for the revitalisation of historic structures throughout the northern regions of Pakistan.  In this project, the historic wood and masonry structure was carefully repaired using a combination of traditional local knowledge and state-of-the-art conservation techniques.  The fort's restoration has fostered the local revival of traditional building trades, while an associated handicrafts project provides improved livelihood opportunities in the area.  In its new use as a cultural centre and museum, the Baltit Fort attracts thousands of visitors to the province and has contributed to reinvigorating the local community's pride in their heritage".  For more information, please visit the UNESCO website. 

2003 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award for the astana (historic tomb) of Syed Mir Muhammad in Khanqah Settlement.  From the award citation: "noteworthy restoration of the 300-year old mausoleum ... which returns an important architectural and community landmark to its former prominence in the northern Pakistan highland settlement of Khaplu.  The building’s aged patina and historic character have been carefully retained through skilful and sensitive conservation techniques."  The Awards are designed to "recognise the efforts and contributions of individuals and organisations within the private sector, including private-public partnerships, who have successfully restored and conserved structures and buildings of heritage value in the Asia-Pacific region".  For more information, please visit the UNESCO website. 

2002 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award for the Ganish settlement projects.  From the award citation: “The restoration of four 300-year old wooden mosques in the Hunza Valley has successfully revitalised the village “chataq”, the traditional public heart of the Ganish historic settlement. Initiated and undertaken by the villagers, with professional guidance, the project has rebuilt community spirit in an authentic rural village which has undergone major socio-economic change and natural disasters over the years."  The restrained conservation approach has stabilised the buildings which were in danger of collapse, while retaining the rich historic patina and showcasing the intricate detailing of the structures. Modern materials were selectively incorporated alongside the use of traditional materials and techniques.  The preservation of the surrounding buildings and infrastructural improvements was sensitively executed, consequently strengthening the traditional urban fabric while upgrading the quality of life of the residents.  The project presents an outstanding example of a community-led initiative strategically facilitated by outside support”.  For more information, please visit the UNESCO website.

British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award Global Winner for 2000.  From the citation: "The Aga Khan Trust for Culture has restored the prime historic landmark of the 700 year old Baltit Fort on the terraced slopes in Hunza, in Northern Pakistan.  The main theme of the project is to preserve this setting despite natural decay and the inevitable impact of recent changes, such as urbanisation which has begun to threaten the integrity of the built heritage.  The Fort is now a museum and cultural centre.  Moreover, culturally and environmentally compatible small enterprises are being promoted which provide gift items, local woollen rugs and hand-knotted vegetable dye carpets for visitors."  These activities are playing a major part in reinvigorating the traditional community spirit and restoring the residents' pride of their heritage.  A self-paying waste management project has been set up to safely dispose of human waste and garbage.  The project now attracts over 20,000 visitors, half of which are from outside the country.  Access to the Fort is limited to pedestrians and only 25 visitors are allowed at any one time.  To reduce the pressure on the environment there is a break from tourists during the 4-5 months of winter."  Learn more on Baltit Fort

5 million
Each year, in collaboration with its partners, the AKDN provides 5 million people with quality health care, through outpatient visits and community health programmes.
116 projects
116 projects have received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture over the last 40 years, often anticipating innovations, such as green buildings, or reflecting architectural discourse, such as a return to human scale.
Over 9,000 building projects have been documented and are now available on  They range from rural schools to urban water towers, from state-of-the-art skyscrapers to modest mud-brick structures.