New opportunities for more than a million people in Asia and Africa

February 28, 2014 – His Highness the Aga Khan and Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced a joint initiative that will see $100 million invested to improve the quality of life for more than a million people living in Asia and Africa.

The Partnership for Advancing Human Development in Africa and Asia builds on more than three decades of cooperation between Canada and the Aga Khan Development Network, which has touched millions of lives through programming to alleviate poverty and promote human development.

“Most of our AKDN activities have been born from the grassroots of developing countries, reflecting their aspirations and their fragilities,” said His Highness the Aga Khan during a rare address to Canada’s Parliament on Thursday. “Amongst the great common denominators of the human race is a shared aspiration – a common hope – for a better quality of life.”

Over five years, the partnership program will improve health care in Central Asia and strengthen education systems in East Africa. It will also support the work of civil society organizations working on gender issues, climate change adaptation, and innovative approaches to alleviating poverty.

In Canada, the partnership aims to promote a global perspective, helping Canadians understand Canada’s leadership role in the world and offering them meaningful opportunities to contribute to international development efforts.

“Partnerships are essential for accelerating development results and ensuring that we maximize the effectiveness and reach of aid dollars, “ said Prime Minister Harper in a press release announcing the partnership. “Canada is pleased to partner on this initiative with Aga Khan Foundation Canada, a trusted ally who continues to do remarkable work around the world under the leadership of His Highness, a true champion of international development, pluralism and tolerance.”

The program draws upon the intellectual, institutional, and financial capacities of both the Government of Canada and the AKDN. Under the agreement, the AKDN will contribute up to $25 million of the investment, funded by donations from individual Canadians who participate in the World Partnership Walk and World Partnership Golf fundraising events, raising millions of dollars every year.

The Government of Canada will contribute $75 million.

To read more about the partnership and its components, click here.

The announcement of this initiative follows Thursday’s historic signing of a Protocol of Understanding by His Highness the Aga Khan and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, committing Canada and the Imamat to regular, high-level consultations on a range of global and regional issues.

Read the Prime Minister’s backgrounder for more information.

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