Civil Society

The challenge: Effective and efficient civil society organizations have been a hallmark of successful societies, whether it is in the form of farmer’s federations, arts clubs, or other non-governmental organizations. Civil society is when citizens come together to express their shared values and interests and take action for the public good. But around the world, trends indicate that the environment for civil society is becoming more restrictive, while funding – especially for women’s organizations – is decreasing. This is at a time when civil society is needed more than ever, to provide a safeguard against instability and exclusion and help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our solution: We support diverse and active civil society at all levels, from school committees in rural villages to world-class research institutes in urban hubs. Our programs underwrite greater competency, legitimacy, accountability, and sustainability within civil society, which translates to long-term gains across our program areas. All this work is underpinned by a commitment to gender equality and pluralism, to ensure that all voices are heard and valued. A robust, efficient civil society – increasingly funded by local sources – is a key driver of the overall quality of life, both in developing and developed countries.

Spotlight on Yasmin Karim, Gender Advisor for Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan

“Over my career, I have seen many gender advocates evolve and emerge. Society has also been transformed.”

Spotlight on Jennifer Elms, Gender Advisor at AKFC and AKF-US

“My hope would be that gender equality becomes so part of everybody’s DNA that integrating gender and using a gender lens will be a part of everyone.”

Spotlight on Nyambura Gathumbi, Regional Gender Advisor, AKF East Africa

My ultimate hope for the future is that we can transform the way we think, change our mindset around women, around girls, around gender issues.

Spotlight on Zohra Bano, Regional Gender Advisor for Aga Khan Foundation

“I have been working on projects that focus on auditing gender equality, economic empowerment, health, education, conflict resolution, resilience building, climate change, to name a few.”

Foundations for Education and Empowerment (F4EE)

F4EE aims to improve educational systems at the pre-primary and primary levels.

Foundations for Health and Empowerment (F4HE)

Foundations for Health and Empowerment (F4HE) aims to improve the health and wellbeing, and enhance the equitable development and empowerment, of women, girls, their families, and their communities.  

In A Heartbeat: Finding Her Voice

“We don’t need to prove that women are strong. Women are already strong. Our mission is to change the perception

An interview with Onno Ruhl, General Manager of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat

Onno Ruhl is the first General Manager of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), created in 2016 to address the increasing threat posed by natural disasters and climate change.

The Fellowship for International Development Reporting

The Fellowship for International Development Reporting encouraged journalists to push the boundaries of daily foreign coverage – which is often focused on disaster or crisis – and set new standards for reporting on the developing world.