May 13, 2007

Aga Khan Building and Planning Services

HomeSite Guide

Aga Khan Building and Planning Services

The Aga Khan Planning and Building Services (AKPBS) works to improve the built environment, particularly housing design and construction, village planning, natural hazard mitigation, environmental sanitation, water supplies, and other living conditions. AKPBS achieves these goals through the provision of material and technical assistance and construction management services for rural and urban areas.

The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBS, P) has received the World Habitat Award 2006. For more information,
please see the press release.

News Archive

World Habitat Award for Aga Khan Planning and Building Service in Pakistan

The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBS, P) has received the World Habitat Award 2006 for its efforts to improve housing conditions in Pakistan through its Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP). The programme has developed low-cost, seismic-resistant, energy and resource-efficient housing construction methods and standards. Over 15,000 fuel-efficient products have been installed in 7,000 households to date, benefiting more than 50,000 people. BACIP has been listed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Global Environmental Facility (GEF)/ Small Grants Programme (SGP) as Best Practice in UNDP/GEF-SGP 10 years of operations in Pakistan. For more information, please see the press release.

"Clean Village" Award for AKPBS Project in India

The Indian village of Karan, in the Gujarat's taluka of Siddhpur, will receive the "Nirmal Gram" Award. The project to make the village "nirmal" (clean) was undertaken with the assistance of the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, India, with the full cooperation of the Patan district's rural development committee. Karan has a population of 766 people and 130 families. Each home has a toilet facility and underground sewerage. There have also been changes in common practice that have led to improved health.

AKPBS Wins Alcan Prize for Water and Sanitation Programme

AKPBS was named the 2005 winner of the US $1 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability. For more information, please see the press release

On 7 December 2005, The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service in Pakistan (AKPBS,P) was named the 2005 winner of the US $1 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability by the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF). It received the award for its efforts to improve Pakistan’s built environment and water and sanitation facilities. Launched in 1997, the programme's aim is to reduce the risk of water-borne diseases through the provision of potable water as well as improved hygiene and sanitation practices. The success of this programme has led to a partnership between AKPBS,P and the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund. As a result, the programme is being replicated in several other areas with the support of donors and partners. For more information, please see the press release.


AKPBS acts through national service companies. The service companies plan, organise and finance activities and operate facilities and programmes in close collaboration with other AKDN institutions, government agencies and selected external partnering agencies. The national service companies are officially registered as not-for-profit, non-governmental organisations in each country. The international sponsor of the national service companies is the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services S.A., which is incorporated as a not-for-profit company in Geneva, Switzerland. The Chairman and some or all of the directors of the AKPBS boards in India and Pakistan are appointed by the sponsoring company. All directors serve as volunteers on an unremunerated basis.

The activities of the national service companies are coordinated by the Social Welfare Department at the Aga Khan's Secretariat in France. This is achieved primarily through five-year plans, ten-year projections, annual budget submissions and the provision of technical assistance to country programmes and institutions.

Current priorities

The current priorities of AKPBS are:

  • to remain a lead agency in Asia for water and sanitation programme design and implementation in the rural areas;
  • to expand capabilities to implement village mapping and planning activities to include disaster mitigation (landslides and flooding prevention, and earthquake structural resistance) and management issues; and
  • to achieve optimal cost-recovery methods for low-cost housing and physical infrastructure improvement projects.


The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBS,P), established in 1980, is an independent executive body with the mandate to plan and implement infrastructure and technology related development initiatives to improve living conditions of the people. AKPBS,P is mandated to assist local communities within various provinces and regions, such as the Northern Areas of Pakistan, The Punjab, North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Sindh in development program areas such as habitat risk reduction, energy efficient building and construction improvement, water supply and sanitation, and natural resources conservation.

AKPBS,P takes an integrated, community-based approach to sustainable development while its development programmes address not only the immediate needs of clean water, adequate sanitation and safe housing, but also, the overall impact that these initiatives have on the economic, social and environmental sustainability. Poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability, gender equality, and economic regeneration are corner stones of AKPBS,P activities. Capable, proficient, vibrant and self-reliant community based organisations underpin all AKPBS,P’s developmental interventions.

AKPBS,P undertakes the delivery of services in collaboration with local and national development agencies, community-based organisations and donors to have an extended outreach. Two of the AKPBS,P’s development programmes: Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP)-providing an integrated approach of water and sanitation, and Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP)-providing life cycle approach to household energy efficiency, market development and entrepreneurship have been universally commended by local communities, public sector organisations and donors for having a visible impact on the lives of the community in terms of economic benefits, social improvement, and environmental rehabilitation. In both cases, technical and engineering solutions have been supported by social innovations and human resource development solutions.

AKPBS,P, at present, is actively engaged in the relief and reconstruction efforts of local communities following the catastrophic earthquake in Kashmir and NWFP province of Pakistan. Within the relief phase, AKPBS,P has provided temporary shelters, water supply, and sanitation facilities to affected communities and villages. A comprehensive reconstruction programme encompassing permanent seismic resistant housing, environmental health, community capacity building, and livelihood opportunities is planned to commence shortly.

AKPBS,P has been named as the 2005 winner of the US $1.0 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability by the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), for promoting sustainable social, economic and environmental development in the country through its efforts to improve the built environment and water and sanitation services.

The Water and Sanitation Extension programme (WASEP)

Approximately 80 to -85 percent of the population of Northern Areas of Pakistan and the Chitral in the NWFP province does not have access to potable water, whereas up to 60 percent of the population collects water from open channels, often requiring a walk of up to 3 km a trip several times a day. Women and children are mostly responsible to collect most of the household water and hence bear the most burden.

WASEP was initiated in 1997 with the aim of providing integrated water supply infrastructure services to local communities and to help prevent water related diseases though improved hygiene and sanitation practices. Development of community capacity in design and maintenance of these services is a key element of WASEP’s integrated approach. Communities also take the responsibility of the operation & maintenance of the scheme, as well as contribute to a fund for salaries of community scheme based operators, health monitors, and spare parts. WASEP provides engineering and construction services, non-local materials, skilled labor, training, and health and hygiene education during the scheme implementation. WASEP’s integrated intervention package includes:

  • Community mobilization and participation;
  • Potable water supply infrastructure;
  • Water quality management;
  • Grey water drainage infrastructure;
  • Household sanitation infrastructure and
  • Health and hygiene education, including Community Health Intervention Programme and School Health Intervention Programme

Until June 2005, WASEP had successfully partnered with 130 rural communities of the Northern Areas and Chitral region in developing water supply and sanitation infrastructure services. WASEP has supplied potable water to 116,900 people, installed 9,200 latrines, and conducted 5,700 hygiene education sessions, generally with women and children in rural communities, and has trained about 50 public sector and other NGO staff in the design and operation of integrated water and sanitation services.

Some of the key achievements of WASEP after eight years of intervention through its integrated W&SS approach include:

  • It is observed that the level of water borne diseases in WASEP’s programme villages has gone down by an average of 60 percent
  • The March 2003 issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that WASEP integrated intervention package has reduced the diarrhea incidences by at least 25 percent
  • Successful demonstration of workable and replicable Private-Public Partnership model
  • All of the 130 water supply schemes developed by WASEP are currently operational and being run and operated by communities who also have contributed approximately US$ 1.85 Million in kind and in cash towards its construction and the operation and maintenance fund. More over, in all such communities:
    • Water quality is at an acceptable level (85 percent of schemes to WHO standard)
    • Water treatment plants are fully operational
    • Microbiological contamination is minimised
    • Water Supply Operators and Water and Sanitation Inspectors are performing their duties
    • Water and Sanitation Committee are administrating the water management system, and;
    • Communities are aware of how to have system maintenance performed

The Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP)

Energy efficient products and Technologies as a means to natural resources conservation and improved livelihood

The Northern Areas of Pakistan are disaster prone, located in a seismically unstable zone. Degradation of natural resources, especially loss of foliage and vegetation cover at an alarming rate has caused land degradation and soil destabilization, resulting in increasing loss of life and livelihood opportunities.

High pace depletion of natural forest in mountain areas is due to rapid and sustained cutting of the forests, mainly as timber for house construction and firewood for heating. An estimated 15 percent of all household income is spent on heating, cooking and house maintenance needs.

Building and Construction Improvement programme (BACIP), established in 1997 as a research and extension programme has introduced over 70 products and technologies in local communities where approximately 15,000 energy efficient and living condition improvement products etc have been installed in various households.

When applied, such techniques and products can, on average :

  • Reduce biomass consumption of up to 60 percent -app. 3.3 tons/ per month or US $ 30-36 / month (Pak RS 1,800-2,200/ month).
  • Incidence of ARI, pneumonia and other health related disease in women and children are reduced up to 50 percent (especially during winters)
  • Save health related household expenditure amounts to approximately US $ 58/ annum
  • Increase household disposal income by 25 percent
  • Reduce recurring house maintenance cost by 10 percent

Some of BACIP’s standard products inlcude:

  • Roof hatch window, double glazed windows which allows for more light, conserves heat;
  • Fuel-efficient stoves with water warming facility with the same amount of fuel.
  • Floor insulation, wall insulation and roof treatment techniques for thermal efficiency
  • Light-weight and low-cost galvanized iron wire reinforcements for walls to strengthen housing structures against earthquakes and encourage multi-storey construction.
  • Wooden bow-string composite beam for earthquake proof light roof construction reducing timber use in roof construction by 500 percent/ roof
  • Solar cookers and solar water heaters for fuel conservation.
  • Bedding racks and shelving to protect items from dampness dust and dirt
  • Fanoos (candle wick lamp) for energy conservation in indoor lighting
  • Household level Bio-gas plants for alternative energy source for cooking and water heating
  • Locally adaptable Arch foundation construction techniques to address construction in high water table area

The BACIP programme activities have recently been accorded a Global Best Practice status by the UNDP/ GEF Small Grants programme.


Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, India (AKPBS,I) has been active since 1970. A major element of AKPBS,I's programmes has been the installation of sanitation units in the villages of Gujarat state. AKPBS,I also assists communities with the improvement of village water systems, the construction of water harvesting systems, and water quality monitoring. AKPBS,I also provides technical advice in design, construction and financing. For more information of the number of installations and beneficiaries, please see the table.

Central Asia

Making use of the experiences in Pakistan and India, there are advanced plans for the establishment of AKPBS companies in both Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...