Aga Khan Rural Support Programme
The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) is a private, non-profit company, established by the Aga Khan Foundation in 1982 to help improve the quality of life of the villagers of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. AKRSP’s development approach gives primacy to the people and their abilities. It is based on the belief that local communities have tremendous potential to plan and manage their own development, once they are organized and provided access to necessary skills and capital. The organisations proclivity for a participatory approach found much support in Shoaib Sultan, the founding General Manager of AKRSP.
AKRSP’s past efforts have led to many notable achievements in social and economic domains. Key achievements include manifold increase in incomes, construction/rehabilitation of more than 4000 small infrastructure projects (bridges, roads, irrigation channels, hydropower units and other small projects), the planting of tens of millions of trees and the development of hundreds of acres of marginal lands, developing a cadre of more than 50,000 community activists, mobilization of nearly $5 million village savings, and the establishment of more than 4,993 community organisations. AKRSP supported community organisations, which have established patterns of local governance that are participatory, democratic, transparent and accountable to their members, are now federating at the union council level to establish Local Support Organization (LSOs). Currently, there 67 LSOs across Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral that are forging direct partnerships with government departments, local development partners, donors and the private sector actors to increase the scope and outreach of services for their member communities.
Key Areas of Intervention
- Social organization
- Natural Resource Management
- Community Infrastructure
- Human Resource Development
- Women’s Development
- Enterprise Promotion
- Credit and Savings
Based on the above-mentioned broader areas of interventions AKRSP enhanced the social development process of its targeted areas, its major outcomes in terms of institutional and community development include:
- Establishment of the First Microfinance Bank in private sector
- 9 Rural Support Programs in Pakistan
- 8 RSPs under AKDN across Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- Core values such as ‘community participation’ and ‘community development’ internalized by various government and non-government program
- By investing in Community infrastructure and skill building, AKRSP has helped local people internalize the benefits of large government investments such as the KKH
- By organizing communities and involving them in planning and implementation, AKRSP has been able to set a tradition of ‘good governance’ at grass-roots
- Further strengthen the tradition of community driven development by investing in civil society organizations
- Further strengthen the relationship of complementarity's with state institutions (political and line dept)
- Work together with government and other players to increase the space for private sector to accelerate economic growth
It has since won a number of awards, including the 2005 Global Development Awards for Most Innovative Development Project and an Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy.
- Balochistan Rural Support Programme
- Sarhad Rural Support Programme
- First Microfinance Bank
- Aga Khan Development Network
- Kreutzmann, Hermann. Sharing Water: Irrigation and Water Management in the Hindukush, Karakoram, Himalaya. Oxford University Press. p. 145.