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Community resilience and sustainable livelihoods security

Through its 2012-2014 country strategy, ACTED adopts a holistic approach which empowers people to provide secure ownership and access to resources and incomes, including reserves and assets which enable them to offset risks, shocks and meet contingencies.

In 2013 ACTED continued to help communities build the key resources to meet their needs, recover from shocks and build their resilience, responding to emergency shelter and food needs as a result of floods and helping communities to prepare and have adequate food stocks for winter.

Insecurity presented challenges to humanitarian access and actions, with a stark escalation in security incidents in Afghanistan over 2013; but ACTED continued to work with over 2,500 communities, reaching almost 8.5% of the population. The NGO remains committed to positive development in Afghanistan through partnership, coordination and dialogue.

Empowering communities to build sustainable livelihoods

ACTED Afghanistan’s Country Programme focuses on six main sets of assets which sustain livelihood security: good governance and human, natural, financial, physical, and social capital. Beneficiaries determine their own needs through participatory, community-led processes and the programme is tailored accordingly.

ACTED promoted good governance through community-based organisations (CBOs), engaging 2,300 Community Development Councils, as a partner of the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), as well as organisations for management of natural resources and to represent women and youth. CBOs have demonstrated capacity to manage millions of dollars in funds, deliver relevant services, leverage funds independently and multiply initial investments.

Developing human capital though training, capacity building, skills development and supplementary education is key to ACTED’s work in the country. Results have included improved governance, better resource management, increased yields and incomes, reduced incidence of disease, increased employment, increased literacy levels and enrolment rates. The NGO also focused on improving the management of existing natural resources and reducing livestock mortality, which directly resulted in increased yields and incomes.

While supporting communities and districts with more than 3,000 infrastructure projects, ACTED also contributed to social capital, providing residual support to all other activities by promoting cohesion in a context where many issues divide people. Activities included sport, culture and social events, interactive media and networking. Participation and demand in this regard are high.

Women’s and youth empowerment and disaster risk reduction are cross-cutting issues which are integrated across all programme components.

Partnership and coordination

ACTED is committed to enhancing the quality, effectiveness and relevance of development through partnership and coordination: the Afghanistan Livelihoods Network (ALN), created by ACTED, provides a resource for all stakeholders in the development sector and supports national policy. ACTED ALN is co-chair of the Early Recovery Network, and member of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock - NGO Coordination Unit and several technical committees for developing guidelines, harmonized tools and conducting joint assessments.

ACTED supports NGOs through ACBAR, which represents 110 humanitarian and development NGOs, the NSP Facilitating Partners’ Representative Group and Gender Working Group (chair) which represents 28 NSP partners, and the Human Rights Research and Advocacy Consortium representing 15 national and international NGOs. ACTED is also on the Board of Directors for the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University, Zardozi Markets for Afghan Artisan and OXUS Afghanistan, one of the main microfinance providers in Afghanistan.

In 2013, ACTED partnered with four local NGOs, Afghanistan Women for Afghan Women, Human Rights Research and Advocacy Consortium, the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance and Saba Media Organisation.

Reaching out to marginalised groups

In 2013, ACTED’s Programming specifically reached out to marginalised communities often suffering from lack of access to basic services or income generating activities. Throughout 2013, emphasis was placed on providing access to education, support for women taking entrance exams to university, and improving basic literacy amongst women in Afghanistan, which has one of the lowest female literacy rates in the world at 12-18%. Income generating activities were provided for women in Self-Help Groups, enabling them to form businesses and earn a sustainable income. ACTED also partnered with two local Afghan NGOs, both supporting the role of Afghan women in public and political life and providing community level family rights support and mediation services.

Building on efforts made while preparing for the transition ahead

In 2014, ACTED programmes will continue in line with the objectives set out in our Country Strategy “Towards Sustainable Livelihoods Security 2012- 2014”. The third phase of the Sustained Rural Development Programme in Faryab will build on the social, human, physical, financial and natural capital of farmers, women and youth across the Province. ACTED will continue to support farmers cooperatives and their access to markets in the North of Afghanistan and infrastructure projects such as schools, roads and bridges will be constructed in the North East of the country. Women and youth will continue to be supported through income generating activities, access to education and raised awareness of human rights.

Through long relationships with a number of communities in the North of Afghanistan, ACTED is positioned to respond to the emerging needs of populations as the security and political situation in Afghanistan remains uncertain throughout 2014.

Partners in 2013:

Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), DFID, EuropeAid, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO), GiZ, Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Afghanistan, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Royal Norwegian Embassy (RNE), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), US Embassy, World Food Programme (WFP)

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