As societies become increasingly urban, there is a growing demand for a better understanding of – and solutions to – the conditions of urban poverty. In AKDN’s experience, urban poverty requires multi-input, multisectoral solutions. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s (AKTC) work in urban regeneration and revitalisation of culturally significant sites in the Islamic world is therefore linked with the Aga Khan Foundation’s (AKF) social programmes and the work of project companies of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED). Together, they help to improve the quality of life for inhabitants living in a number of historic cities, including Cairo, Delhi, Kabul, Lahore, Mopti and Zanzibar.
In Mopti, Mali, programmes began with the restoration of the Great Mosque but have since grown to encompass a water supply and sanitation programme, including a sewage network connecting all the households in the Komoguel area to a sedimentation and filtration basin; installation and operation of a brick manufacturing facility to produce street paving blocks made of sand and recycled plastic bags; open space improvement; and vocational training in brick manufacturing, construction, and sewage and plumbing installations.
Programmes also include projects in rural development, health care, microfinance, education and civil society strengthening, which are all coordinated through the Mopti Coordinated Area Development Programme. In addition, AKFED has invested in critical infrastructure projects designed to improve the quality of life, including aviation, water and electricity.
Programmes have expanded to other cities and towns, including Bamako and Timbuktu. Following its restoration work in Mopti, AKTC initiated comprehensive conservation of the Djingereyber Mosque in Timbuktu at the end of 2006. The project includes on-the-job training of local craftsmen and apprentices in traditional earth building techniques and in new restoration methods.