About Aga Khan Agency for Habitat
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat’s (AKAH) goal is that people live in safe, sustainable, and resilient habitats with the opportunity to thrive, whether in a remote mountain village, a town, or a densely populated urban centre. It works with communities to help them prepare for and respond to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. AKAH also works to expand access to services and opportunity for people to improve their life. AKAH helps communities prepare for the worst; provides immediate relief after disaster strikes; and helps build back better -- and greener -- while planning for a better future. AKAH currently operates in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Syria, Pakistan and India, with plans to expand further in Central Asia as well as East Africa.
Established in 2016, AKAH brings together several AKDN agencies and programmes that had been working on habitat and disaster preparedness and relief since the 1990s, including Focus Humanitarian Assistance, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, the Disaster Risk Management Initiative and the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment.
Disaster Preparedness and Response
AKAH works with communities to understand vulnerabilities and protect themselves against the risks they face. Combining scientific analysis with local knowledge and community participation, AKAH has conducted hazard, vulnerability and risk assessments (HVRAs) for over 2,500 settlements covering nearly 3 million people. Using these assessments and satellite data, it maintains a detailed GIS database that analyses and predicts disaster risk. It monitors 15 glacial lakes and operates 88 community-managed weather monitoring posts that cover over 600 avalanche-prone settlements and provide early warnings of potential disasters. AKAH also supports a network of nearly 40,000 local emergency first response volunteers, almost half of whom are women. These volunteer teams warn and safely evacuate people before disasters strike and respond with first aid, search and rescue, and emergency relief post-disaster.
AKAH brings communities together to design a better future, thinking about what it takes to make neighbourhoods, villages and towns safe while simultaneously creating places that offer economic opportunities. It has developed a unique approach to planning that integrates community engagement, data-driven decision-making and spatial design that creates thriving communities for decades to come.
Water and Sanitation
AKAH experts work with communities to construct critical infrastructure for clean water and sanitation. Its aim is to ensure access to safe drinking water and sanitation for every family -- in their home. AKAH has built safe water and sanitation systems for more than 600,000 people, trained hundreds of community volunteers to operate and maintain water supply systems and conducted thousands of school and community health and hygiene sessions.
Safe and Sustainable Construction
AKAH provides planning, design and construction management services to promote safe, seismically resistant construction and develops green, energy-efficient solutions. Its teams have helped communities build 50,000 homes and 5,000 hospitals, schools, and community centres, many in remote areas, which are resilient to natural hazards. They are also designed to use energy and resources efficiently. AKAH also promotes resilient and climate-smart construction by providing green building solutions and safe construction design and management services.
AKAH’s vision is that even the most vulnerable communities live in safe places where they can thrive for generations to come.