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  • Noor Dahir, director of the Kiunga Youth Bunge Initiative (KYBI) in Lamu, Kenya - KYBI is one of many youth groups supported by the Aga Khan Foundation to help marginalised and idle youth develop skills and find employment opportunities.
    AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer
  • In Kenya, AKF is working with youth groups, government and the private sector to support young people to develop skills, become apprentices and develop the confidence to gain employment and choose a more positive path. Photo: Kiunga Youth Bunge Initiative group shot, Lamu county.
    AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer
  • Kinango Village, Kwale County, Coast Province, Kenya.
    AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura
  • A youth dialogue organised by the East African Institute (EAI) in Nairobi, in an effort to encourage discourse among East African young adults about the future of the region.
    AKDN / Stephen Ouma
  • Lamu Vocational Training Centre, Kenya - with the Administrative Assistant Alice Mwende (left) and Head of IT (right). AKF works with the local Vocational Training Centre to provide materials for skills training such as sewing and IT.
    AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer
Civil society

Strengthening civil society to improve the quality of life is a central goal of the AKDN.  Civil society is increasingly recognised globally as a building block for democracy and economic development.  AKDN understands civil society in the broadest sense as civic institutions working for the public good, therefore, a strong civil society can enhance social cohesion and pluralism, advance meritocracy, ethics and standards of quality, act as a bulwark against volatility in times of crisis, and protect communities against state failure.

AKDN works with the civil society sector to improve its accountability, transparency, integrity, and cooperation with government and the private sector.  Ultimately, its aim is to improve the quality of life by strengthening the ability of local communities, NGOs, small businesses and governments to become more self-reliant and realise their own goals.

The East African Institute (EAI) of the Aga Khan University is an example of a regional platform that uses policy-oriented research and analysis for public engagement. Its research focuses on youth, urbanisation, food systems, education, the extractive sector, growth and inequality.  The EAI advances it work and impact through building partnerships with government, civil society, media, academia, business sector and local communities.

In Coastal Kenya, the “Citizen Voice in Devolved Governance” project is developing a vibrant civil society by assisting selected organisations in Kwale County to better communicate, innovate and engage with government.  It works with networks of 280 community-based organisations to increase civic engagement in the development and implementation of county government programmes.  It also responds to local priorities with effective programming, measures and documents results, and shares its lessons with governments, donors, and development actors to amplify impact by influencing enabling policies and practice.


This community library is the only library in this coastal Kenyan village. It is one of more than 1,100 established in East Africa, creating opportunities for families to read and learn together.