Join us this International Women’s Day as we celebrate women who are breaking the bias in their communities! The women below are just 12 of the millions of women that AKF and the broader Aga Khan Development Network support across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
AKF strives towards a future where gender does not determine status, power to make decisions, or access to resources and services – a world where women, men, girls, and boys can all reach their full potential. We promote gender equality in all of our programmes by engaging women and men, girls and boys, to address the underlying beliefs and practices that create and reinforce gender inequalities. We also empower the disadvantaged, whether male or female, to develop confidence and skills and take control over their lives, and invest in institutions and relationships that facilitate an environment that supports gender equality.
Monique Pinto Alexandre is a member of Bytes4Future, a digital skills training programme in Sintra, Portugal, supported by AKF.
She is learning to code in order to open up new employment opportunities for herself. Two years ago, she emigrated to Portugal from Brazil where she was a teacher for many years. Now Monique wants to become a web developer.
Maria, an avid reader, lost her sight gradually over time, but she did not let her passion for books waver. By creating the Digital Inclusive Library, she provides access to Urdu literature for other visually impaired people like herself.
Her business is supported by Accelerate Prosperity, a business support programme in Central Asia led by AKF, AKFED & the EU.
Ayikoru Jane Longo is a community leader & advocate for women’s rights. She leads a community group for women with disabilities – she suffers from a visual impairment herself, but never lets it get in her way.
She’s taken part in training from AKF so that she can support victims of Gender-Based Violence & follow the correct referral system in order to stand up for their rights.
Zarina runs a culinary school in Dushanbe where she offers courses in cooking, baking and patisserie. She provides other women with a marketable skill so that they can start their own businesses & generate income.
AKF and USAID’s Local Impact project is helping Zarina improve her business skills and expand her culinary studio to support more women entrepreneurs.
Farida Ally is a social worker, mentor & youth leader in Mombasa. She founded Elimu Care, a youth-led community organisation tackling gender-based violence & championing education.
Currently, she’s taking part in values-based education training led by AKF & supported by The LEGO Foundation. This project aims to support teachers & educators to reflect on their roles & encourage more inclusive learning environments.
Dilshodbegim Khusravova is an Aga Khan Agency for Habitat volunteer & leader of a community emergency response team (CERT).
She was born & raised in the Pamir mountains & has been a champion for mountain communities since she was a young girl. She is passionate about protecting mountains & mountain life, as well as encouraging women to speak up and lead.
Last year, she was nominated as a Youth Goodwill Ambassador by the UN’s Mountain Partnership.
Buziru Alphonse runs a shop in her village which she was able to set up using money she saved in an AKF-supported savings group for women with disabilities. She opened her shop after the outbreak of COVID-19 to better support her income.
She has also been able to register land in her name, rather than the norm of a male family member doing so.
Fauzia is an Aga Khan Agency for Habitat search & rescue volunteer. She helps her community & others respond to natural disasters like floods & landslides, which are very common in northern Pakistan where she works.
As a female search & rescue volunteer, she’s not only fighting natural disasters, but fighting for equality too. The job can be physically demanding, but Fauzia doesn’t let this stand in her way – she knows that she is just as capable as her male peers.
Sumera studied Architecture at the National University of Science & Technology in Islamabad. She believes that preserving heritage is vital for understanding our own identities.
She was part of the team of local conservators that led the restoration efforts of The Picture Wall at Lahore Fort in 2019, facilitated by Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA).
Lucy Gisore is the head teacher at a girls’ primary school in Mombasa & a consultant in transformational leadership, as well as online teaching & learning.
She’s been collaborating with AKF to improve literacy across coastal Kenya since 1995. More recently, Lucy took part in human-centred design training led by AKF to ensure that the educational systems she manages are teacher-led.
Ana Rita Pires is a member of Bytes4Future, a digital skills training programme in Sintra, Portugal, supported by AKF.
She’s learning to code so that she can combine her passion for neuropsychology and technology, and achieve her dream of creating a cognitive stimulation app for elderly people and people with degenerative disorders.
Elizabeth supported construction work at a hospital in Kisii. The work involved upgrades to the existing maternity ward & the construction of a new operating theatre, funded by AKF & Global Affairs Canada.
By becoming a construction worker, she learnt new skills & created an alternative source of income to support herself & her family.