Norwegian Church Aid in Afghanistan
- Presence established: 1979
- Funds used in 2015: 58.6 million NOK
Norwegian Church Aid began working in Afghanistan in 1979.
Our programme in Afghanistan focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene, peacebuilding, and economic empowerment.
Access to safe water and sanitation in Afghanistan is among the most limited in the world. Only 27% of the population have access to safe water and sanitation. The lack of access to clean water is a major contributing factor to widespread diarrhoeal illnesses, which is one of the primary causes of the high mortality rate in Afghanistan among infants and children under five.
Through establishing and supporting water management committees, construction of water points and implementing water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, Norwegian Church Aid aims to improve the health conditions of vulnerable communities. Awareness raising, information sharing and education are key factors in achieving improved WASH conditions.
Communities in Afghanistan are in many places subject to conditions of insecurity due to fighting and attacks. A common problem is the fighting between warlords, which affects the communities they seek to control, often leading to long-lasting inter-tribal and inter-ethnic conflicts. There is often also a variety of violent local conflicts between communities and families over access to natural resources.
Read more about our work to empower women to participate in peacebuilding
Norwegian Church Aid's partners work in schools in order to provide peace education. By working with religious and traditional leaders, and providing training and opportunities for peace dialogue, our partners facilitate and mentor the work of peace structures and dialogue groups. From 2011 to 2015 the number of female representatives participating in peacebuilding processes as members of women's peace councils (shuras) went from 0 to 280 at the district level.
Lack of jobs commanding a living wage, pervasive underemployment and only 19% of women participating in the labour force are some of the major factors contributing to the high levels of poverty in Afghanistan. These factors are especially acute in rural areas, where an estimated 84% of the country's poor live. Every year, 400,000 people enter into the workforce. This requires more and better quality jobs in the future.
Norwegian Church Aid's partners facilitate businesses' and community group's access to necessary business and vocational training, and provide key inputs and access to finance. We work to establish new businesses, often in the form of collective organisations, such as women's groups and farmer's cooperatives. In Uruzghan, the use of new techniques decreased post-harvest losses from 29% to 10% between 2011 and 2014.
Norwegian Church Aid believes it is only the people and the communities themselves that can bring about lasting change. We implement our programmes together with local partner organisations and in close contact and coordination with the local government.