Lisbon, Portugal, 9 May 2012 – The Patriarchate of Lisbon and the Aga Khan Foundation today renewed a partnership agreement to improve the quality of life of marginalized groups in Greater Lisbon. The agreement was signed by the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, His Eminence Dom José Policarpo, and Prince Amyn Aga Khan, younger brother of His Highness the Aga Khan, and Director of the Aga Khan Foundation.
The agreement will be implemented through the Urban Community Support Programme (UCSP) K’CIDADE, an initiative of the Aga Khan Foundation, Portugal. “The renewal of this partnership agreement represents yet another milestone in the long-standing relationship that the AKF and Aga Khan Development Network and indeed the Ismaili Imamat have enjoyed with the Patriarchate of Lisbon,” Prince Amyn said. “In determining the best way to alleviate social exclusion, we found that providing training and increasing the beneficiaries’ ability to help themselves is crucial in allowing those on the margins of society to break the vicious circle of poverty.”
The K’CIDADE programme strives to help improve the quality of life of marginalized groups (including cultural and ethnic minorities) in urban environments. Through support from the Ministry of Labor and Social Solidarity, the programme provides training and education for adults in a number of areas including literacy; the recognition, validation and certification of competencies; and community and family finance. In 2011, K’CIDADE benefitted almost 43,000 people.
The renewal of the partnership builds on an agreement between the Catholic Church and the Aga Khan Foundation which currently involves 20 entities that assist people facing serious issues of poverty and exclusion. The present agreement falls under the framework of the Protocol of Cooperation signed between the Government and the Ismaili Imamat in 2005 which established the groundwork for joint efforts to improve the quality of life of vulnerable populations in Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries of Asia and Africa.
The agencies of the AKDN are private, international, non-denominational development organisations. They work to improve the welfare and prospects of people in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa. Some programmes, such as specific research, education and cultural programmes, span both the developed and developing worlds. While each agency pursues its own mandate, all of them work together within the overarching framework of the Network so that their different pursuits interact and reinforce one another. The AKDN works in 30 countries around the world. It employs approximately 80,000 people, the majority of whom are based in developing countries.
The AKDN’s annual budget for non-profit development activities in 2010 was approximately $625 million. The project companies of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) generated revenues of $2.3 billion in 2010 (all surpluses are reinvested in further development activities). The UCSP has developed partnerships with the House of Mercy of Lisbon, the Ministry of Social Solidarity, the Institute of Social Security, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Municipality of Lisbon, the Municipality of Sintra, the Municipality of Amadora, the Municipality of Cascais, Hewlett Packard, Associação Criança, Pressley Ridge, GRACE and Associação Empresarial de Sintra.