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Sustainable community development and emergency response to vulnerable populations’ needs

In 2015, unprecedented levels of violence and natural disasters have regularly hit and displaced already impoverished populations In Afghanistan, ACTED’s strategy combines emergency aid and development programming aiming at providing holistic assistance and at addressing the various challenges faced by the country, with the overall goal of alleviating poverty and building resilience. In 2015, ACTED has had the opportunity to greatly expand its programming capacity in the area of emergency response. ACTED has provided disaster-affected populations with shelter, water and sanitation and cash/voucher assistance in 7 provinces in Afghanistan, making it a leading actor in emergency response and recovery.

Providing emergency and recovery assistance for communities hit by conflict and natural disasters

According to the UN, natural disasters affect approximately 250,000 Afghans each year. In addition, the past years have seen an influx in military operations and offensives lead by armed opposition groups, resulting in the displacement of 197,000 individuals in 2015. ACTED responded to emergency needs by providing conflict and natural disasters-affected populations with emergency assistance in the forms of food and non-food items, vouchers or cash distribution for approximately 68,000 individuals. ACTED’s interventions also aimed at supporting recovery, through participatory approaches to building back shelters and water infrastructure damaged by natural disasters, as well as disaster risk reduction through training.

Supporting the development of economic, education and livelihood opportunities for marginalised populations

To support marginalized groups such as farmers, youth, and women, ACTED works with close to 100 cooperatives and 15,000 farmers to enhance governance, production, access to agricultural inputs and training in order to support the development of sustainable livelihood opportunities in rural areas. Vocational training, literacy classes, and support to small business development are also provided to hundreds of women and youth, and ACTED supports close to 200 Self Help Groups every year, providing over 8,000 women with safe and supportive space to develop business activities. ACTED is supporting education through the construction of Youth Development Centres, and formal and informal education opportunities to approximately 14,000 girls.

Investing in governance and local civil society to improve service delivery and inclusive development

ACTED vision for development is of an inclusive, vibrant civil society, and accountable government. Focus in Afghanistan is placed on empowering youth and women, through providing training on human rights, promoting volunteerism, facilitating sports and cultural events and the creation of grass-root organisations such as youth councils, aligned with government strategies and development plans. ACTED is a major facilitating partner of the National Solidarity Program, the flagship program of Afghanistan, that supports governance at the village level, and has established and empowered close to 3,000 Community Development Councils across the country. ACTED also works closely with local civil society organisations, building their capacity and developing joint projects to reach vulnerable communities.

Responding to on-set emergencies while maintaining development efforts

Despite facing significant security challenges, ACTED remains committed to supporting Afghans through diverse programming such as good governance, building the capacity of civil society, rural development, and emergency humanitarian response. ACTED will strengthen stock piling, contingency planning and preparedness, in order to provide timely assistance for those affected by natural or man-made disasters.

Tackling gender-based violence in Afghanistan

Gender-based violence is pervasive throughout the country. Early or forced marriages are common for young women, particularly in traditional rural areas. Access to justice for GBV victims also remains an issue. In the face of this challenge, ACTED has therefore developed a specific set of activities to address gender-based violence.

In 2015, ACTED has been working with three local women organisations, running shelters and providing protection services to women, supporting their work, enhancing the sustainability of their activities and striving to improve their outreach. Carried out by local partners, sensitive but essential and sometimes life-saving activities, such as shelter, case management and counseling gain legitimacy. These activities are combined to ACTED focus on economic empowerment, girls’ education, literacy and inclusion of female youth and ensure an inclusive, holistic programming for women.

Providing ongoing support throughout the transitional process

In 2015, ACTED continued to expand sustainable development programmes in alignment with national priorities, supporting the government (from local to national levels) to strengthen their accountability, transparency and leadership, while also supporting the capacity, sustainability and emergence of strong organisations throughout civil society. Through long-standing relationships with communities across the North of Afghanistan, ACTED continued to be positioned to respond to the emerging human, social, financial and physical needs of the population, including resilience related to climate change and natural disasters, as the security and political climate continues to transition.

Partners in 2015:

Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), Afghanaid, Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Department for International Development (DFID) – United Kingdom, European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Royal Norwegian Embassy (RNE), ShelterBox, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), US Department of State, World Bank (WB), World Food Programme (WFP)

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