Wednesday 12 March, 1997 -- The newspaper that serves the nation

Aga Khan unveils major initiatives Network to invest in key sectors


His Highness the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, yesterday highlighted new capacity-building initiatives in Kenya and the region.

Speaking at State House, Nairobi, at a function hosted in his honour by President Moi, he said the initiatives included:

  • an $80 million (Sh4.4 billion) phased development programme for the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi which will include the establishment of a new laboratory with state-of-the-art technology to provide a regional referral service.

  • the Kwale Rural Health Support Programme, costing $4 million (Sh224 million) in its first phase, which will build skills and community organisations to help 60,000 people double their incomes in 10 years.

  • the improvement of 200 schools through teacher training and management support and the possible establishment of Professional Development Centre in East Africa with linkages to the Institute for Educational Development of the International Aga Khan University.

  • exploring the feasibility of an institute of advanced nursing studies in Nairobi, affiliated with the Aga Khan University.

  • the formal incorporation and further development of Madrasa Resource Centres in Mombasa, Zanzibar and Kampala.

  • the establishment, by the Aga Khan Foundation, jointly with Kenya experts and others, of a project to strengthen the capabilities of non-governmental and community-based organisations and to enhance the practice of philanthropy in Kenya.

During the luncheon attended by Cabinet Ministers, President Moi thanked the Aga Khan for the Sh4.4 billion investment commitment. He said the Network had promoted economic development initiatives in industry, finance and tourism.

``Your current visit to Kenya comes at a time when our country is facing severe drought and famine due to insufficient rains for the last two seasons. Whereas the Government has taken adequate measures to feed those who are worst-hit by food shortages, we also call upon all our foreign friends to assist in these emergency efforts.''

He acknowledged that emergency famine relief was only a temporary measure which did not address the root cause of the problem.

It was for that reason that the Government sought to focus more on awareness building programmes like research and extension programmes for dryland farming, drought resistant crops and water harvesting technologies to minimise the impact of drought in the future.

He assured tha Aga Khan of the Government's co-operation for the smooth ``operation of your organisation''.

The Aga Khan said that although a few problems remained in Kenya, ``I see real signs of optimism spreading across the continent of Africa''.

The initiatives announced yesterday have been largely facilitated by the Accord and Protocol Co-operation for Development signed in 1992 between Kenya and the Aga Khan Development Network, which created an enabling framework for the Network's activities in social and cultural development.

The Network is a group of institutions working to improve living conditions and opportunities in specific regions of the developing world.

Its institutions have been active in East Africa since the turn of the century.

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