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Overview

Established in 2015, Rizwan Adatia Foundation is a private, not-for-profit international organisation that works in select countries of Asian and African continents, namely India, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Swaziland, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It has its global head office in New Delhi, India.

RAF is non-denominational/non-religious and non-political, allowing us to deliver development services to people in need regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, political view or sexual orientation.

RAF’s programmes are aligned with global goals such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – An Agenda that UN member countries have committed to, for full implementation by 2030- and are informed by national, regional and local priorities and people’s voices.

RAF’s programmes are implemented through RAF country offices which are supported with the intellectual and technical assistance of, and programme management by, RAF Global team members.

Our Vision

A resilient society that is free from poverty and where every woman, man and child leads a fulfilling life with dignity, peace and security of rights.

Our Mission

RAF works with the most marginalised individuals, families and communities in the poorest areas of Asia and Africa to improve the quality of life by acting as a catalyst that brings together resources, technology, systems, and effective grassroots strategies, giving better choices and control to people for a lasting change.

Interdependence between different sectors and their inescapable link to quality of life means that RAF’s mission cannot be accomplished by addressing one sector in isolation. Influencing sustainable and lasting change further requires adopting a holistic, multi-sectoral approach to development. In pursuit of its mission, RAF endeavours to make long-term, strategic and systemic investment around 5 thematic areas, namely,

  • Economic Integration and Livelihood Support for Women and Youth (EILSWY)
  • Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)
  • Health and Nutrition Initiative (HNI)
  • Education and Technology Programme (ETP)
  • Good Governance Programme (GGP)

The Foundation’s initiatives and partnerships are grounded in the belief that access to quality education and healthcare, access to productive resources, fulfilment of human potential and the assurance of good governance is critical to improving the overall quality of life of an individual, and of communities.

Besides the above, RAF has been proactive in its response to emergency situations in Asia and Africa be it any natural calamity or public health crisis. Humanitarian Response therefore, is an emerging programme area for RAF, an area it is envisioning to grow so that RAF can provide a wide array of disaster responses tailored around local realities, with a long-term approach.

Ethical Foundation

RAF is grounded in values that it strives to practice within the organisation and in its relations with communities it works with, as well as in its partnerships. It is committed to:

Integrity

We are committed to demonstrating accountability to governments, civil society, collaborative partners and communities whom we serve. We commit to sharing our results, lessons and stories with transparency.

Faith in the power of people

Our interventions are based on the core belief that people whom we serve are capable of analysing, planning and driving the change they need for a self-reliant, resilient and peaceful society.

Faith in the power of people also makes us committed to engaging with diverse stakeholders and collaborative actions for those we serve as well as for strengthening the social fabric where everyone can thrive.

Equality

We believe that every human life has equal value that must be respected and honoured. This shall hold true for the communities we serve as well as how we conduct ourselves in relation to others. Following this belief in equal rights and opportunities, we work towards creating a level playing field for everyone and keep women and girls at the centre of programming interventions and strategies.

Diversity

We acknowledge and respect the differences among people – of age, sex, caste, religion, geographies, language, residential locations (rural and urban), physical ability and the like, and strive to practice pluralism, cultural tolerance and inclusiveness in our conduct.

We shall embed our programmes in the diverse lived realities of the communities we serve and work towards creating pathways to opportunities/solutions that work for them.

Pro-poor

We believe that in every decision, a weighted consideration must be given to the needs, rights and aspirations of the most marginalised and vulnerable people.

Gender Equity & Gender Equality

We believe in the potential of individuals as a form of capital that is essential to the progress of any society. We are also aware of the systemic, structural, institutional, cultural and societal barriers to equity and inclusion. We therefore strive to build an organisational climate and culture that is fair, offers flexibility to both men and women and nurtures both, across various levels, within the organisation.

Volunteerism

We understand that we have limited resources and the ambition to touch as many lives as possible. As a key practice, we maintain financial frugality in programme execution so that maximum resources reach the community we serve. Our practices of Convergence and Collaboration is also derived from living the values of frugality, faith in the power of people and our understanding of a holistic view of human experience and aspirations.

Frugality

We understand that we have limited resources and the ambition to touch as many lives as possible. As a key practice, we maintain financial frugality in programme execution so that maximum resources reach the community we serve. Our practices of Convergence and Collaboration is also derived from living the values of frugality, faith in the power of people and our understanding of a holistic view of human experience and aspirations.

Rights and Responsibility

We believe that every person has basic rights that flow from human dignity and also the responsibility to respect and protect similar rights of others so that we have a peaceful society based on trustful relations where everyone can live with dignity and thrive.

We shall also act in the spirit of trusteeship with regard to natural resources and commit ourselves to environmentally sustainable practices as an organisation in the interest of future generations.

Global Leadership

RAF’s global board consists of professionals of international repute from different walks of life who together bring a nuanced understanding to RAF’s international development commitments and enhance the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of its programmes.

Rizwan Adatia

Founder and Chairman, RAF

Rizwan Adatia is the Founder Chairman of Rizwan Adatia Foundation (RAF), a foundation that is committed to improving Quality of Life of the most marginalised communities in Asia and Africa. A successful businessman, Mr.Adatia is the Chairman of COGEF group, a multinational consumer goods group spanning across 11 countries of Africa and covering a vast range of sectors, including import /export trade, manufacturing, retail, and warehousing.

Mr. Adatia who started his life with humble beginnings in Porbandar, Gujarat, developed a positive attitude and endearing spirit of a survivor at an early age. At the age of 17, he migrated to DR Congo, Africa to earn a livelihood. With strong volition and courage against adversities, he worked with dedication and focus and was able to expand and sustain his business from a small chain of shops to COGEF Group, which is a multi-million dollar business conglomerate in Africa today.

Driven with a strong sense of purpose and service, Mr. Adatia contributes the bulk of his profits for espousing a wide array of philanthropic causes across Asia and Africa, including supporting the work of Rizwan Adatia Foundation as well as Rizwan Adatia Foundation for Social and Cultural Development.

Besides offering support to RAF, Mr.Adatia works closely with youths to motivate them towards a resilient and positive life for self and service to community. With his ability to build a shared vision and draw leaders from all walks of life globally, for meaningful action on scale, Mr. Adatia continues to drive and guide the work at RAF. He was conferred the Honorary Doctorate in International Business Development by Global Triumph Virtual University in 2020.

Dr. Amir Kassam

Trained in Agriculture, Agro-ecology and Irrigation, Dr.Amir Kassam is a pioneer in the area of sustainable agriculture and natural resource management, presently serving as a Visiting Professor in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, at the University of Reading, U.K. Dr.Kassam currently moderates the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) hosted Global Platform for Conservation Agriculture Community of Practice (Global CA-CoP), chairs the International Conservation Agriculture Advisory Panel for Africa, is Vice-Chair of the Conservation Agriculture Association of the United Kingdom, and is Honorary Member of the European Conservation Agriculture Federation.

In the past, Dr. Kassam worked at senior positions and was the Interim Executive Secretary of CGIAR Science Council, FAO Rome; Chairman of the Aga Khan Foundation-U.K; Deputy Director General at WARDA-the Africa Rice Centre; Scientist at ICRISAT; and Chairman of Focus Humanitarian Assistance Europe Foundation. He is a recipient of OBE in the Queen’s Honours List for services to tropical agriculture and rural development and is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (U.K).

Dr. Kassam’s current research and development work is focused on globalising and mainstreaming the application of Conservation Agriculture for sustainable agricultural development and land management to address national and global needs and challenges.

Md. Abdul Karim

Md. Abdul Karim serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of IPDC Finance Limited (previously known as Industrial Promotion and Development Company of Bangladesh Limited), the first private sector financial institution to have played a significant role in nurturing the private sector in Bangladesh. A former Principal Secretary to the Government of Bangladesh, he has an illustrious career in bureaucracy and has served as Secretary to the Government in the Ministries of Home Affairs, Commerce, Fisheries and Livestock, Communications and Finance (Internal Resource Division).

Md.Abdul Karim has strong ties with the development sector in Bangladesh and community services. He is a nominated Director and Senior Advisor of BRAC, a leading organisation in the field of poverty reduction in Bangladesh. He also serves as the Secretary General of South East Asian Cooperation Foundation (SEACO) that works to enhance regional trade, investment and overall cooperation among participating countries, comprising of Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Maldives.

In the past, he served as the Managing Director of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation, a company not for profit in Bangladesh that creates self-employment opportunities through credit programme.

Having worked with the state, private sector as well as civil society institutions, Md Abdul Karim is an invaluable resource on subjects of governance and reforms, poverty alleviation efforts through inclusive financing strategies, enterprises and people centred integrated programmes. He is also a Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) Rotarian.

Scholastica Sylvan Kimaryo

Ms Scholastica Sylvan Kimaryo is the Founder and Chief Executive of Maadili Conscious Leadership Solutions, an organisation that works for promoting peaceful societies across the African continent through training, coaching and mentoring the youth on good leadership and integrity and strengthening their competencies of self-awareness, self-consciousness, self-confidence and self-mastery.

Trained in Home Economics, Education, Social Policy and Journalism, Ms Kimaryo had an illustrious career with the United Nations for three decades during which time she served as UNICEF Representative to countries like Botswana, South Africa, Liberia and was the UNDP’s Resident Representative to Lesotho. After holding top bureaucratic positions in the United Nations system – Resident Coordinator of the UN System (between 2001 and 2005) and UNDP Resident Representative and Coordinator of UN System in South Africa (between 2005 and 2008) , she was invited to serve as UNDP’s Deputy Regional Director for Africa, responsible for 22 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Ms Kimaryo is passionate about the theme of transformative leadership and helping people discover and realise their full potential with her knowledge of and practitioner’s skills in yoga, meditation, ayurveda and quantum healing.

Gregory C. Carr

Gregory C. Carr is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist. His growing up years and academic training developed in him a keen interest in biology, history and universal human rights and provided the impetus for his philanthropic work, later in life. He is co-founder of Boston Technology, one of the earliest successful firms selling voice mail systems to telephone companies in the U.S

After leading successful businesses and private sector positions, he made the shift from technology to philanthropy in 1999, and founded the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. The centre seeks to make human rights principles central to the formulation of good public policy in the United States and throughout the world.

In 1999, Carr also founded the Gregory C.Carr Foundation, through which he has undertaken an exemplary initiative of reviving Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, in collaboration with the Government of Mozambique, having pledged $40 million over 30 years, to rebuild the park as a source of tourism to support and sustain livelihoods of local population. Gorongosa is Africa’s most biologically diverse national park with iconic resource concentration of large mammals of the continent. However, it has shut down since 1983 in the backdrop of 16 years of civil war, occupation by rebels and practices of displaced communities such as poaching, clearing the forest for farmland and fire which nearly claimed this jewel of Africa. The Foundation, using conservation biology attempts to restore and protect the Gorongosa ecosystem as well as bring sustainable business in the region through eco-tourism.

Dr. Rajesh Tandon

An internationally acclaimed leader, Dr.Rajesh Tandon is the Chief Functionary of Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), a voluntary organisation which he founded in 1982 to support grassroots initiatives in South Asia around the issue of participatory research, advocacy for people-centred development, policy reforms and networking in India and beyond. Trained in organisational development, management and electronic engineering, Dr. Tandon has worked extensively in promoting engagement of institutions of higher education with civil society and local communities for knowledge generation, mutual learning and to build knowledge societies.

Dr.Tandon is a UNESCO Co-Chair on Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education. He also serves as Chairperson of the Global Alliance for Community-Engaged Research (GACER) network that facilitates the sharing of knowledge and information worldwide to further community-engaged research.

Honored by the Government of India for his distinguished work on Gender issues, and by the University of Victoria, Canada, with the degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) for his significant work in the areas of civic engagement, governance and community-based research, Dr. Tandon has written extensively on themes of democratic governance, civic engagement, civil society, governance and management of NGOs, participatory research and people-centred development.

Aslam Dhamani

Aslam Dhamani is a senior finance professional, a qualified Chartered Accountant who has worked in international settings, across a variety of industries and blue chip companies including Google, Disney,Viacom and Endemol Shine among others. Mr. Dhamani has a track record of driving business performance through data driven insights, structured strategic planning, financial management and process improvement. His key skills are strategic financial planning, business performance management, investment appraisal, system improvement and project delivery.

Mr.Dhamani has also held top positions with international development organisations in challenging regions. He brings to RAF his vast knowledge of financial management best practices, audits and practitioner’s insight into improving programme efficiency.

Chris Eaton

Chris Eaton is the Executive Director of World University Service of Canada (WUSC), a non-profit global development agency that improves education, economic, and empowerment opportunities for youth — with a particular focus on refugees and women.

With a diverse background in international development, Mr.Eaton has worked extensively in Canada, Eastern and Southern Africa and South and Central Asia on market systems development, governance and education programming.

He has held senior management roles at Aga Khan Foundation, Canada since 1999 and in his last association with the organisation, served as Chief Executive Officer of its Afghanistan country office.

Mr.Eaton is a current board member of the Equality Fund – an initiative supported by the Canadian Government to galvanise philanthropic and private investment funds in support of gender equality. He is also a member of the Criterion Institute’s Power of Policy Advisory Committee, which seeks to ensure that innovative finance advances social and gender equality.

Mr.Eaten brings to RAF his vast experience of managing programmes in challenging country contexts as well as his strength areas in capacity building for Governments and communities.​

Vishweshwaran Narayanan

Trained in business management and electronics engineering, Mr. Narayanan has over 20 years of professional experience in helping Fortune 500 companies with technology strategies to streamline business operations and gain competitive advantage. During his long professional career, he worked for several blue chip companies such as PepsiCo and Deloitte. Since 2013, Mr. Narayanan has channelled his technology expertise to companies making meaningful and transformational impact on society. He currently consults for and provides strategic technology advice to rare-disease focused biotechnology companies.

On a personal level, Mr. Narayanan believes in and is an advocate for sustainable lifestyle, equitable healthcare and using the power of education to address economic and social disparities in society. He strongly believes that technology, when used appropriately, can improve health outcomes and quality of life where it matters the most.

Mr.Narayanan brings to RAF his knowledge of cutting-edge technology and its application across programmes as well as global best management practices to inform RAF’s interventions.

Dr. Sanjay Sahay

Dr.Sanjay Sahay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems in BITS, Pilani, K.K Birla (Goa campus). He is also a Visiting Associate of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune. His research interests lie in Information Security, Artificial Intelligence, Authentication, Data-Mining and Gravitational waves. His current projects span across security and privacy for Vehicular ad-hoc network, Internet of vehicle, smart parking, authentication of swarm drone, and proactive identification of android and windows malware using deep learning techniques.

In the past, Dr. Sahay has served as the General Chair for the 8th International Conference on Secure Knowledge Management in the Artificial Intelligence Era. His body of work includes a book on ‘Data Analysis of Gravitational Waves’ and over 60 academic, international publications. He is also guest editor of Information Systems Frontiers, a journal of research and innovation, by the reputed Springer, an innovative e-publisher.

Dr.Sahay is passionate about using technology to improve quality of life for society at large and to promote inclusive development.

Dr. Manjistha Banerji

With an academic background in Economics and doctoral training in Sociology, Dr.Manjistha Banerji is a social demographer with areas of research broadly encompassing daily demography, social and gender, migration and the labour market. She currently works as a fellow at the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and is also a fellow at the National Data Innovation Centre (NCAER) where she works on modules to capture women’s access to resources in large-scale surveys.

Dr.Banerji has a considerable body of work in the field of education and development of survey methods. She previously worked with ASER Centre where she co- authored the ‘India Early Childhood Education Impact’ Study (IECEI). Migration data tracking and cutting edge research in this field is another area where she has expertise and has contributed substantially.

Dr.Banerjee is passionate about social research and evidence based policymaking and is keen to contribute towards grassroots development and governance through research and advocacy.

Executive Leadership

RAF is headed by a Chief Operating Officer who provides leadership support and guidance to the global operations of the organisation in areas of programme development, implementation, management and establishing strategic partnerships with Governments, the private sector and civil society alliances across the regions of its operations.

 

Sujeet Sarkar

Chief Operating Officer

Sujeet Sarkar served the Aga Khan Foundation, Geneva as a Global Lead, Governance in his previous professional stint. He brings to RAF more than two decades of experience in promoting and advancing democratic governance and civil society, primarily in fragile and developing countries, spread across Asia and Africa.

Mr. Sarkar comes with extensive experience of working progressively at the national, regional, and global levels with a multitude of actors in the sector of international development. He has been instrumental in setting up various frontline public delivery systems in complex and volatile settings spread across Africa and Asia, including Afghanistan. He has further advised various federal governments in aiding and transforming a wide array of public policies to make democratic governments work in the best interest of the poor and marginalized section of society.

A published author, Mr. Sarkar regularly writes opinion pieces on South Asian affairs for leading international dailies. After the much critically acclaimed ‘In search of a New Afghanistan’, his second book titled ‘Quest for a stable Afghanistan: A view from Ground Zero’ would hit the market soon.

Mr. Sarkar had his formal education in development in India, and an advanced management course from Case Western Reserve University, Ohio.

Partnerships

Multi-sectoral development involves holistic, inter-organisational and inter-agency efforts across key and relevant sectors, to address common and specific goals. RAF invests in and partners with civil society, the private sector and the Government at various strata, to promote solutions that are timely and relevant to the local context. Such partnerships are aimed at driving lasting change and sustainable development with better convergence and optimization of resources. RAF is committed to its programmes and selected geographies for medium to long-term interventions in order to help deliver lasting change. The development partners bring to RAF different strengths that translate into meaningful and win-win partnerships for achieving a shared goal of improving quality of life of the most marginalised people living in selected geographies. It has worked with Central, state and local governments to improve the effectiveness of interventions; it has supported grassroots NGOs to implement a range of interventions; it engages with Media and Knowledge partners; and is also part of local, regional and global networks.

Past Key Partners

Aga Khan Foundation (India, Bangladesh, Kenya)
Aga Khan Rural Support programme (India)
Aga Khan Trust for Culture (New Delhi)
UNESCO
Ministry of Health (Mozambique)
Ministry of Education (Mozambique)
Provincial Government of Gaza (Mozambique)
Panchayat at Maliya Hatina, Junagarh
Entheos
Helpage International
PRIA
Martha Farrel Foundation

Thembekile Mandela Foundation (TMF)
The Hunger Project, Bangladesh
Operation Smile
Bharat Sewashram Sangh (Jamshedpur, Mumbai)
Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra
India Vision Foundation
Grameen Shramik Pratishthan
Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center
Rotary Club ( India and Mozambique )
Lion’s Club ( India )
Portugal Business Club

Besides its regular programmes, RAF has responded to the appeals for financial contribution by Centre and state Governments during disasters and humanitarian crises and has made generous donations to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund and Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (in Gujarat and Maharashtra).

Finance & Accountability

RAF is committed to the cause of community development while abiding by the strictest codes of fiscal responsibility, accountability, and transparency. Transparency is one of RAF’s core principles. It helps us build resilient relationships with all our stakeholders. Within the organisation, we hold this value in terms of sound auditing practices.

We have a deeply ingrained culture of resourcefulness and efficiency that promotes quick action and getting more done with less. Governed by a Board of Directors, which closely monitors and regulates our fund allocation and management processes, we ensure that we maintain a high degree of accountability.

In every country where RAF works, it adheres to the country level laws and guidelines pertaining to managing its accounting, finances, legal compliances, and constantly strives towards achieving global standards for non-profit organisations.

We are committed to our institutional donors, corporate partners, individual donors, NGO partners as well as the communities we serve.

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