July, 1994

European Commission's largest single grant to an NGO awarded to AKF (UK)

The European Commission has announced its largest ever grant to a single non-governmental organization, committing ECU 14 million (US$ 15.7 million) to co-finance, with the Aga Khan Foundation (United Kingdom), community management of natural resources in rural India. The co-financing agreement provides funding to an eight-year programme in the State of Gujarat. Total financing for the programme is ECU 18.8 million (US$ 20 million), including ECU 4.8 million mobilised by AFK.

Co-ordinated by AFK, the programme will be implemented by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, India (AKRSP,I) and the Sadgura Water and Development Foundation. Established in 1984, AKRSP(I) fosters rural development through village organizations in three poor, drought-prone districts of Gujarat: Junagadh, Surendranagar Baruch. AKRSP(I) has, between 1985 and 1993 worked in more than 185 villages promoting the establishment of 146 village organizations and 37 women's organizations. Various soil, water and forest conservation projects, amongst others indicated by AKRSP(I) have benefitted directly approximately 150,000 villages. The Sadguru Water and Development Foundation was founded in 1976 in the tribal district of Panchmhals to enable poor farmers in the area to obtain water and distribute it to their fields. The grant will enable AKRSP(I) and Sadguru to extend their work to over 460 villages, helping more communities to conserve water and soil, replant forests, raise farm productivity and household incomes, as well as stimulate savings and investment.

"The Aga Khan Foundation's recognized achievements in this field", said a statement issued by the European Commission, "have enabled the Commission to expand its support to the NGO sector and work directly with an NGO as the implementing agency for a major rural development project. The commitment is the largest entered into with a single NGO".

AKF is a private non-profit international development agency. Its purpose is to promote creative and effective solutions to problems that impede social development. AFK seeks to improve health care, enhance the quality of education, increase rural incomes and protect the environment, primarily in the low-income counties of Asia and Africa. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, with nine branches and affiliates on four continents, AFK works with numerous national and international agencies to provide funding and technical assistance to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Established by Mawlana Hazar Imam in 1967, AFK is part of the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of institutions working to improve living conditions and opportunities in specific regions of the developing world. The Network endeavors to develop and implement programmes that can respond to the challenges of social, economic and cultural change.

Source: Ismaili Canada, July 1994

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