Aga Khan Foundation Supports Women's Organizations in Pakistan

As featured in the just released 2011 annual report, Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A (AKF USA) supports civil society organizations that grow from local initiatives.  A good example is the Unzila Welfare Organization, founded in rural Sindh province north of Karachi by Naheed Sadurudin, a mother moved by her own daughter's death to help other women and children.  In a region where women lead lives isolated from others and help, Ms. Sadurudin created a group to give them better choices for healthcare and livelihoods.  At AKF-organized training at the Civil Society Resource Center in Karachi, the Unzila Welfare Organization gained skills for leadership and better management.  Ms. Sadurudin and Unzila Welfare Organization joined over 180 women-led and-focused organizations across Pakistan that received such support through the women's empowerment program, funded by the U.S. Department of State.

"Before the training, it was difficult for me to even introduce myself to people," Naheed admits.  AKF gave her the confidence to reach out to women in the communities as well as to donors.  Now the organization named for her daughter has expanded to seven districts, with 250 volunteers.  She adds that the training made them more professional and sure of their mission.  "Through Unzila Welfare Organization's work," she said, "I hope  women will be more aware of their rights and able to raise their voices."

USAID Showcases Aga Khan Development Network Experience

The AKF-supported program in Pakistan that helped Unzila Welfare Organization get underway (see above) was one of two Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) examples highlighted this month at a summit on Local Capacity Development, hosted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, DC on June 18-19, 2012.  The conference drew innovative examples from all over the world to provide lessons for USAID's agency-wide reform effort, USAID Forward.

The AKF program in Pakistan, Women Empowered through Citizen's Community Boards (WECCB), helps community organizations become involved in the development process, and specifically target the inclusion of women.  At USAID's learning summit, WECCB was represented by Natalie Ross, AKF USA program associate for civil society.  Following a "cafe-style" session of rotating small-group presentations, Ms. Ross and WECCB were voted one of several People's Choice projects and received a spotlight in the plenary session on June 19.  "it was an unexpected pleasure for the Civil Society Resource Center Pakistan to be selected, but we were honored to further share WECCB's program successes and challenges with conference participants," she explained.  "The summit was a wonderful opportunity to learn about different approaches towards civil society capacity development that are being implemented around the world."

The other AKDN experience highlighted was that of the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme in Kyrgyzstan, represented by CEO Talant Aldashov.

Aga Khan University Featured at UNICEF's Call to Action on Child Survival

On June 14-15, health ministers from more than 50 countries, along with leading experts and celebrity advocates from around the globe, gathered at Georgetown University for the Child Survival Call to Action.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, actor Ben Affleck and others came to renew a promise made in 1990 to end preventable child deaths.  Every year 7.6 million children worldwide die before their fifth birthday from easily preventable causes.  Half of these deaths occur in five countries: India, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, NIgeria and Ethiopia.  Dr. Lidan Du, senior health program officer for AKF USA, reports on the conference, the progress and obstacles to improving child survival rates, in her blog post.  Dr. Zufiqar Bhutta, Chair of Division of Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University in Pakistan, presented a forceful picture of Pakistan's place in improving child survival and the way ahead.  Read Lidan Du's blog post here.  


Partnership Golf Events Unfold

On June 29, Chicagoans take a swing at ending global poverty in the annual Chicago Partnership Golf tournament.  In the third Partnership Golf event of the year, Chicago is expected to have about 100 people on hand to raise awareness and funds for AKF USA's activities worldwide.  Read the full press release here.  The Seattle Golf tournament is scheduled to take place July 6.