Cordaid has been active in the country since 2001, aiming at a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. We work in five thematic areas: health care, humanitarian aid, resilience, private sector development and security & justice. In addition, we have a lobby & advocacy program supporting our work in these thematic areas including women, peace and security. We also have a social contracts program that focuses on the extractives industry.
Cordaid has specific activities in most provinces. This includes security & justice with grassroots Provincial Women Networks of 30 women leaders each in 15 provinces (Kabul, Parwan, Bamyan, Daikundi, Urozgan, Kandahar, Helmand, Herat, Faryab, Balkh, Kunduz, Badakhshan, Laghman, Nangarhar and Paktia), relief and resilience work in 6 provinces (Urozgan, Kandahar, Herat, Balkh, Kunduz and Nangarhar), private sector development in 1 province (Kabul), and health care strengthening for 5 provinces (Urozgan, Zabul, Kandahar, Helmand and Nimrooz).
In addition, Cordaid undertakes national and international lobby & advocacy in four trajectories (health, inclusive and engendered peace, access to justice and extractives) and helps operationalise the Afghan National Action Plan (NAP) 1325 by linking inclusive security and justice through close collaboration between the Country Office and the Global Office. Cordaid is decentralising its oversight and support from its main office in Kabul to regional field offices that are (being) set-up.
Afghanistan has suffered three decades of war and conflict that has killed, displaced or disrupted millions of lives. At the same time, the country is prone to natural hazards including droughts, floods, earthquakes and harsh winters in its mountainous areas. Nevertheless, hope is on the horizon as increased war fatigue has shifted Afghan and international attention toward a possible political settlement in 2019. Despite some promising developments, many issues lay ahead that must be resolved before a sustainable peace process can be undertaken. Numerous spoilers could possibly derail this process. Meanwhile, living conditions are particularly challenging in rural areas, with women and children being the most vulnerable groups.
Cordaid in Afghanistan
Key Results 2018:
855,384 Afghans provided with access to health services in clinics and hospitals;
342students enrolled in midwifery, nursing, laboratory and pharmacy schools in the Kandahar Institute of Health Sciences (KIHS).
Uruzgan province, Tarin Kowt, November 2009. The main hospital in the town of Tarin Kowt was supported by Cordaid. Image: Sven Torfinn / Cordaid.
Despite continuing insecurity, Afghanistan has made strong and continued progress in the health sector over the last 15 years. It has done so by establishing and innovating a large-scale partnership model with NGOs for service delivery, through which Cordaid has provided basic health services in Urozgan and Zabul provinces and essential hospital services in Urozgan and Kunar provinces.
Nevertheless, more work needs to be done in strengthening the health systems, which includes the training of medical personnel and the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage for all Afghans. Cordaid is supporting this efforts through professional training and through a comprehensive international and national lobby and advocacy program with support from the Dutch government. In the South, through generous funding received from Dutch private donors, Cordaid strengthens the health system through the training of midwives, nurses, laboratory and pharmacy technicians through the provision of technical and financial support to the Kandahar Institute of Health Sciences (watch the video about Cordaid’s support to the KIHS). At the national level, Cordaid supports the Ministry of Public Health in its advocacy for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and in its follow-up with the Ministry of Finance and Parliament for increased budget allocations from domestic revenues accordingly.
Key Results 2018:
6,239returnees, IDPs and Other Vulnerable People were provided with basic household items;
21,538with cash for food;
7,234with cash for winterisation;
10,619with water supply, sanitation and hygiene support;
4,556with multipurpose cash.
Afghanistan has one of the most protracted, complex and high risk humanitarian situations in the world. A situation that is likely to deteriorate as it enters a period of increased political uncertainty. In order to address lifesaving and other humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable groups, Cordaid provides relief to Internally Displaced People, Returnees and other vulnerable groups through the provision of shelter, water and sanitation facilities, hygiene promotion, vocational training and multi-purpose cash to serve most immediate needs.
May, 2017, outskirts of Jalalabad. Father and son. They and other members of their family are Afghan refugees who were forced to return from Pakistan. They received multipurpose cash support from Cordaid. Image: Cordaid / Frank van Lierde.
Such humanitarian assistance helps reduce the vulnerability of people in fragile and conflict-affected locations. Cordaid also chairs the Dutch Relief Alliance (DRA) in Afghanistan and leads a consortium of international NGOs accordingly.
Key Result 2018:
2,130 Afghans received loans and started their small businesses.
Communities in Afghanistan face continuing shocks from natural and manmade disasters, and have been subject to ongoing conflicts that lead to migration for the most vulnerable among them. In order to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities and minimise their need to leave their homes and livelihood due to drought, floods or other natural and manmade disasters, Cordaid has initiated livelihoods and community-managed disaster risk reduction (CMDRR) interventions that include its CMDRR pilot project in the Sholgera district of Balkh province. This project aims to build the resiliency of eight communities through the development of their skills and capacities, helping them to become more resilient against disasters, environmental degradation and conflict risks. And in doing so, decrease their vulnerability through improved livelihood security, enhanced peaceful co-existence and sustainable & inclusive community growth.
Private Sector Development
Key Result 2018:
200 small scale entrepreneurs received income-generating support.
The creation of conditions for the emergence of a dynamic private sector that is capable of diversifying exports, creating jobs and strengthening resilience is one of the most challenging and important issues facing Afghanistan. As the country struggles with the legacy of decades of continuing conflict, questions of security and economic development are inextricably linked. Conflict resolution and economic reconstruction must go hand in hand. Armed conflict deters investment, damages physical infrastructure, and imposes enormous human and financial costs. At the same time, it is clear that the creation of economic opportunities, particularly for the young, will be critical to breaking the vicious circle of conflict and overcoming the limited state capacity and poverty in which much of the country is trapped. This will require strengthening institutions, fostering functional regulatory frameworks, and creating a business-enabling environment to support the private sector. Cordaid is committed to play its part with one of its projects being the Bright Future Program, funded by the Dutch Government. This program is aimed at enabling an environment for business start-ups and empowering and linking job seekers to the job market. It is focused on serving and enabling urban youth in gaining employment or in starting-up or expanding their own business. This program also includes legal training and admits graduates into the Bright Future eco-system: a hub through which entrepreneurs and job seekers can help each other and through which new business opportunities can be explored, and partnerships concluded.
Security and Justice
Key Result 2018:
1,070 men and women received capacity building training at national and provincial level.
Afghanistan is taking important steps towards building a stable, lawful and democratic state. At the same time, it is facing with the legacy of egregious human rights violations committed in the context of decades of armed conflict, which has cast a dark shadow over the peaceful and just co-existence of the people. In order to break this legacy, ways should be explored to build co-existence amongst all citizens of this country based on the principles of tolerance, forgiveness and the requirements of a social order. In Cordaid, we try to contribute by building long‐term partnerships that focus on the meaningful participation of women in peace and decision-making processes, and by boosting access to justice for all. In doing so, we engage with local authorities, create a common security and justice agenda and aim to restore and build trust in and between communities. Through our projects, we empower women to undertake evidence-based lobby & advocacy to generate positive changes in society. We are also empowering communities to find access to formal and informal justice and engage with the judicial systems as appropriate.
Social Contract on Extractives
Afghanistan has extensive mineral resources located in every province of the country, which includes world-class deposits of iron ore, copper, gold, rare-earth minerals and many other natural resources. Such extensive natural endowments can create a “natural resource curse” if not properly exploited by taking the long-term view, supported by the right set of institutional structures, legal basis and policies that would create the conditions for Afghanistan to move towards middle-income status in the next decades. In order to create the right set of rules to be able to extract these resources, a roadmap to help ensure that all Afghan people will benefit was approved in 2018. In addition, laws and regulations have been adjusted or are in the process of being so. One of the critical elements for success is community engagement in mining areas. It is in this element that Cordaid is advocating for an effective social contract between the Government of Afghanistan and communities (to be) impacted by the extractives industry. Activities that are being considered include:
roundtables with the participation of all key stakeholders;
training of government staff in better understanding and appreciating the social contract
training of extractive companies awarded with contracts to better understand their obligations;
community mobilization to allow communities to assert their rights and effectively negotiate with all key stakeholders concerned, most particularly the extractives companies. In doing so, special attention will be paid to facilitate a level playing field for all community members.
Lobby & Advocacy
Key result 2018:
6,010 members of CSOs and communities were involved in lobby and advocacy, 35% of them were women.
A long history of conflicts and violence in Afghanistan has created a tenuous social contract between its government and its citizenry, and a challenging environment for women and girls to assert their equal rights to education, to health, to justice and many other facets of society. It is in this context that Cordaid is focused on strengthening the influence of local communities in an integrated manner through local, national and international lobby and advocacy with a specific focus on women, youth and marginalized groups. It is doing so in all thematic areas in Cordaid operates in Afghanistan, with particular attention paid to the Strategic Partnership on Dissent & Dialogue with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for strengthening social contracts between the Afghan community and state/government. Its activities focus on enabling health systems reforms, access to justice, inclusive & engendered peace and extractives. In doing so, we are strengthening Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) at national and provincial levels to create an enabling environment and civic space for dialogues among government, communities and CSOs that influence policies to help strengthen social contracts in Afghanistan. We promote civil movements and discussions accordingly.
Wahida participated in courses from the Cordaid supported Afghan Women Resource Center (AWRC). She is now ready for further education, which is uncommon for many women in Afghanistan. Image: Mariam Alimi / Cordaid.