Tearfund’s Operational Programme Team has been working in Afghanistan since 2001 in response to natural disasters and conflict.
A major focus for the Afghanistan programme is water, sanitation and public health promotion; specifically child-focused health education. This includes a new livelihoods, food security, water and sanitation project in Jawzjan in the north of the country, where an office was established in 2008.
The second area of focus is disaster risk reduction. The Operational Programme Team is now seeking to mainstream disaster risk reduction into Afghanistan’s development programming to target vulnerable people in disaster-prone areas. The approach aims to both mobilise government ministries and agencies to roll out national disaster risk reduction policy and programmes and to assist communities to prepare for disasters at a local level. For example, flood prevention workshops targeting key decision makers within government bodies and aid agencies have been carried out in each province.
A consortium of NGOs has been established to advocate for increased focus on the importance of preparing for disasters at the government level. At the community level, radio groups have been established in Kandahar and Kapisa to raise public awareness by radio and assessments have been carried out in a number of villages to help communities identify their specific vulnerabilities to disaster.
Projects are located currently in Kandahar, Kapisa and Jawzjan Provinces. The programme employs approximately 100 staff (including expat and national) and has an annual budget of roughly £2 million. The programme is currently assisting around 130,000 people and donors include the governments of Canada (CIDA) and the UK (DFID). Previous projects, predominantly in Kandahar Province, have included canal rebuilding, schools reconstruction, water and sanitation and health education delivered via radio.