By Neelapu Shanti, New Delhi, Aug19 ANI | 3 months ago

The Aga Khan Foundation and Aga Khan Development Network (AGDN) have been working in Afghanistan for nearly two decades now.

Talking exclusively to ANI, Dr. Matt Reed, CEO, Agha Khan Foundation, India said, "India's contribution to Afghanistan's development through the AGDN have been substantial. We have a substantial number of Indians that have worked for us in Afghanistan, bringing their knowledge from whole variety of sectors, ranging from world development health care, education, financial services, mobile telephony and other sectors".

The engagement started in 1995, during Afghanistan's civil war. The foundation had distributed aide from Tajikistan through AKDN's affiliate.

Today it has channeled roughly about $700 million of assistance to Afghanistan and has benefited more than 2.5 million people.

The perennial challenge of Aga Khan Foundation is doing high quality work with local partners and one of the things that the foundation is very rigid on is building the capacity of local Afghans to do this work. Thus, they take a lot of care to choose their partners in Afghanistan and work very closely with them.

The foundation is not only working with a variety of partners but also the Indian government and the World Bank to deliver development assistance at the village level.

In those areas it is active in building schools helping the local teachers to learn student-oriented techniques.

"The Government of India has actually contributed financially to some of the programmes that we are operating in Afghanistan, most notably in and around the restoration of cultural monuments and cultural activities. Thus, the government has supported the restoration of the office of Ministry Of Foreign Affairs which is the historic building in Kabul", added Dr Reed.

The active participation of AGDN has been in reducing maternal mortality, child morality and literacy rates going up.

Dr Reed believes that India has the sustainability of doing work over decades in Afghanistan and it will be a long lasting one.

"We have sent variety of technical support to our teams working in Afghanistan, and teams in Afghanistan including Afghanis have come and trained in India from our staff. For example, we have a support called Aga Khan World support programme. They are primarily based in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar and the work they do is natural resource management. Water shed management, check dams working with community organizations on how to govern water resources and another resources as well as agricultural work, things like rain water harvesting, safe water those kinds of things," Dr Reed further added.

Aga Khan Foundation has actively participated in a number of sectors. It has taken into its ambit areas like agricultural productivity, natural resource management especially building community development councils, building village organization, building Afghanistan's civil society, getting participatory governance between local Afghan people and district officials, regional officials.

(Posted on 20-08-2014)

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