Support Afghanistan Livelihoods and Mobility (SALAM)

 Toryalay Jaffary, a deportee from Germany and her daughter. “In Iran, we were kept in places like stables. Iranian human traffickers put us in a stable for six days,” said Toryalay. He experienced a variety of punishments. He added. “We got stuck for two days with no proper clothes—thirsty and hungry on the border with Turkey.” © UNDP Afghanistan / Omer Sadaat / 2016

Three decades of conflict in Afghanistan have produced involuntary population movements among Afghans. Many have internationally displaced or forced to leave the country or migrate in search of safety, better economic opportunities, and livelihoods, sometimes in dangerous or exploitative conditions. The employment situation in Afghanistan is challenging, especially for vulnerable populations. The unemployment rate peaked at 40% of the population in 2015, and this factor along with others drive many to leave the country. However, when Afghan refugees and migrants do repatriate, they return to a country that has been plagued by insecurity, poverty, and lack of opportunities.

Support Afghanistan Livelihoods and Mobility (SALAM) is a joint UNDP, ILO and UNHCR programme that is implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) to support the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) in developing comprehensive, coherent and integrated national policy and institutional frameworks for labour market at a time of crisis and protracted conflict.

SALAM brings together three UN agencies and the government to engage the private sector and other partners and create durable solutions for external and internal migration in line with the government’s vision and the National Priority Programs. This initiative will focus on returnees, refugees, displaced people and migrants with focus on women and girls and is defined by the close participation of the national and international private sectors.


 Hashmat, from Faryab province, is another deportee. He says, “I sold my land, my house and everything I had and migrated to Europe. I destroyed my life. I have five kids and they were about to sink in sea. We had no value there, we had to move from one camp to another.” He’s now back in Afghanistan with his family. “When I landed in my country, I kissed its soil,” says Hashmat. © UNDP Afghanistan / Omer Sadaat / 2016

SALAM activities aim to create livelihoods opportunities for Afghans. The programme is aligned with the ideals embedded in the new Afghanistan Citizens’ Charter, especially the commitment of the government to deliver services for all. SALAM also recognizes the special needs for certain population groups in Afghanistan and will provide customized support activities to address them.

SALAM activities and resources will help respond to the unique challenges faced by IDPs and returnees, whose lack of resources and societal connections require both short-term relief and activities to promote long-term self-sufficiency. Interventions will be tailored to meet the different needs of unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled Afghans.

The SALAM programme focuses on three broad, interlinked output areas:

Output 1: Formalized institutional structures in support of regular labour migration for Afghan women and men are established

Output 2: National and international employment opportunities for potential women and men migrants and returnees in five select provinces and Kabul increased

Output 3: Public awareness of the risks of irregular migration as well as local employment and regular migration and reintegration opportunities in five select provinces and Kabul increased

Planned activities

  • Competency based training programmes for IDPs, returnees, unskilled and semi-skilled youth, and potential migrants (women and men)
  • Financial literacy training courses for migrants and their family members (with focus on female literacy)
  • Skills training programme for entrepreneurs
  • Value chain interventions as well as measures for stimulating enterprise innovation and creation of SMEs/startups
  • Support existing local business-oriented incubation centres, small industrial parks, and rehabilitate/provide productive infrastructure
  • Institute local and international events (job fairs, business fora and exhibitions) to promote job placement, business and entrepreneurship

Who Finances it?


Donor name

Amount contributed per year in US$


Finland 1,453,247.00

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