When Salima Alibhai served on her first Aga Khan University (AKU) TKN assignment in 2015, she could not have anticipated that it would change the course of her future.
How can someone on one side of the world affect an initiative on the other side? Or contribute to making an improvement to a large-scale process? Or share the knowledge they have acquired through years of education and experience? The stories of TKN volunteers Ali Thanawalla, Adam Jutha, and Huma Pabani are all examples of short-term, remote assignments with the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), which have made a significant impact on the agency's work.
Dr Anees Chagpar and Dr Farin Amersi served on a TKN assignment with the Aga Khan University (AKU) in Karachi for three weeks in September and October this year, in their first visit to Pakistan, to assess the breast cancer programme at AKU.
Karim Marani’s TKN journey with the University of Central Asia (UCA) began in March 2013 when he received a call to determine his interest in contributing to the design of the university’s academic library. This was in preparation for UCA’s inaugural undergraduate programs across three campuses in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Karim has an undergraduate degree in Library and Information Science from East Africa and a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from the USA. He is currently Director of the Learning Resource Center, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Denmark-based Information Technology (IT) professional, Shaukat Khan, heads global IT infrastructure for Novo Nordisk, a multinational pharmaceutical company. He has extensive experience in leading infrastructure and development teams. Prior to Novo Nordisk, he worked with UNICEF’s HQ IT Centre in Copenhagen.
Dr Fazila Lalani, a full-time emergency physician with the Aga Khan Health Services, Tanzania, is working in her ideal job, and it started as a TKN assignment.
When Ali Velshi was offered the chance to teach economics to a group of students at the University of Central Asia (UCA), it was a great opportunity for him to learn new aspects about the industry he has worked in for 25 years.
In February this year, Dr. Umed Ali Ajani, Associate Director for Science at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, travelled to Tajikistan for a week to provide guidance on managing a heliotrope outbreak and preventing similar incidents in the future. A physician by training, Dr. Ajani has worked in the United States as an epidemiologist for more than 20 years. His TKN assignment was with the US Ismaili Health Professionals Association (IHPA) and the US Aga Khan Health Board (AKHB), institutions he has previously served with. The onsite host institution was Aga Khan Health Services Tajikistan (AKHS-T).
Over the past few years, Sadru and Nishat Damji have served on TKN assignments with several AKDN and Jamati institutions in many countries.
When Rosemin Kara received the phone call asking her if she would be interested in teaching cytology at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi (AKUHN) she was, in her words, “surprised, excited and humbled to be offered such a fabulous TKN opportunity”.
Three Canadian TKN volunteers - Sobia Makhani, Ashna Suchak and Kais Khimji – delivered programs for the Aga Khan Education Service, Tajikistan (AKES, Tj) from June to August 2017. Sobia delivered the first junior LEGO robotics program in the region, Ashna ran the schools summer English upgrading program and Kais taught Math numeracy.
Financial inclusion is a key area of focus for the AKDN. The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM), which manages several microfinance institutions across Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa, launched an initiative in 2016 to improve access to basic financial services for unbanked and underbanked communities through Digital Financial Services (DFS).