While governments in Asia and Africa are major players in driving human development, civil society organizations have an equally critical role in ensuring development is equitable, sustainable, responsive and innovative. AKFC partners with local civil society organizations to equip them with skills to improve their effectiveness, governance and standards, and to foster positive relationships with government, their communities and the private sector.
Several wooden spoons and forks are perched on a table as Fatima puts the finishing touches on another one. Around her, other carpenters are carving signs, measuring material, and smoothing out large pieces of wood for new projects. Working in a comfortable rhythm, they all appear at ease in the workshop.
In many ways, this carpentry workshop nestled in the Hunza valley in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan is like many others around the world. There is one notable exception: all the carpenters here are women.
Apendiwe Momade sits in the shade outside her home in rural Mozambique, next to a billowing pile of dried grass.
Her legs are outstretched on one of her homemade mats, her fingers a blur as she expertly twists the grass into intricate patterns. For Apendiwe, learning to weave was just another household skill, passed down from generation to generation.
It sits nestled in the palm of my hand, a shrunken, wrinkled russet sphere that rattles softly when I shake it. I find it in Zeverdashd, a Tajik village wedged between the towering Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. It represents a livelihood for 15 women and their families.
Swinging ice picks and digging their crampons into the frozen cliff, two young mountaineers edge their way up a vertical wall of ice. Wearing brightly-coloured snow gear and helmets, they track their progress along nylon ropes anchored above their heads. For these young climbers, reaching the top of the ice fall isn’t just about personal achievement – succeeding as a mountaineer means unlocking new opportunities in a region where a steady income can be hard to come by.
Around the world, people are working hard to create a better life for their families and communities – people like Sufo Sufo, a silversmith in rural Mozambique. Sufo designs and crafts intricate silver jewellery in his workshop and sells the pieces to earn a living for him and his family. He uses his earnings to buy books, school materials, and food.
Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) is working with Aga Khan Foundation Mozambique (AKFM) to support craft entrepreneurs in Cabo Delgado as part of a larger program that tackles poverty by improving food security and promoting economic empowerment in the region.