Our work in Afghanistan

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Our work in Afghanistan

Concern’s charity work in Afghanistan began in 1998, focusing on infrastructure repair and emergency relief in response to a major earthquake in the northeast. Our main focuses now are on working with communities to reduce the risk of disaster, improve livelihoods and respond to emergencies.

Life in Afghanistan

After nearly 30 years of conflict, Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 169 out of 188 countries on the 2016 Human Development Index. One-third of Afghanistan’s 31 million people currently live below the national poverty line and more than half are vulnerable and at serious risk of falling into poverty.

Concern operates in the northeast of Afghanistan in Takhar and Badakhshan provinces. Both areas are prone to disasters and at risk of floods, landslides, avalanches, earthquakes and droughts. Concern’s programmes aim to increase community and household resilience to these hazards, enable people to earn a living and improve access to nutritious food, water and sanitation. 

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Kozur Village in northeast Afghanistan. Concern has worked with the community here to reduce poverty and vulnerability to natural disasters. Photo: Concern Worldwide.

Disaster risk reduction

Concern is a member of the Afghanistan Resilience Consortium (ARC), a consortium of five development agencies founded in 2014, including Afghanaid, ActionAid, Save the Children and the United Nations Environment Programme. The objective of this group is to provide a coherent and coordinated response to Afghanistan’s urgent needs and vulnerabilities to natural disasters and climate change.

With the support of the UK’s Department for International Development, ARC is currently implementing a project to increase community-based resilience to natural disasters and climate change. This project will target approximately 400,000 people in eight of Afghanistan’s most disaster-prone provinces.

Key partners for this project include the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority, National Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, and Ministry of Education, as well as provincial, district, and community development councils in Badakhshan, Bamyan, Balkh, Ghor, Jawzjan, Samangan, Sar-e Pul, and Takhar provinces. Read press release here

Concern is active in the Badakshan and Takhar Provinces of Afghanistan. These areas form a major part of the mountain livelihood zones, and where flooding and earthquakes present serious hazards. Concern's programmes in these provinces support communities to improve their livelihoods, access to water and sanitation, education and promoting disaster risk reduction. In 2015, Concern applied to join the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance and received funding to start a new project to promote resilience to floods among communities in two districts. As part of this project, Concern piloted a Flood Resilience Measurement Tool developed by the Alliance.

Enhancing lives

Our livelihoods programme focuses on food, incomes and markets. Its overall aim is to reduce poverty by increasing access to food. The programme works at strengthening social, human and natural resources. This involves:

  • Training community groups and government bodies
  • Supporting community structures
  • Implementing initiatives to manage natural resources and reduce the risk of disasters

Check dam to prevent flooding by slowing down the rainwater in Shah Dara village, one of the communities that the Concern Cha'Ab district team is working with. Photograph: Concern Worldwide.

Emergency response

Our work in Afghanistan also focuses strongly on emergency response and responding to the humanitarian needs of vulnerable households affected by natural disasters such as landslides, avalanches, flash floods, as well as political instability.

In depth