Our Stories

  • When the Levee Breaks

    Sami Jan, a 45-year-old villager, remembers the day flash floods erupted near his fields in Balkh district, 25 kilometres northwest of Mazar-e-Sharif city in northern Afghanistan. His crops – his sole livelihood—were washed away and he was trapped in the rising water. “I had no way to escape,” said Sami. “I would have died that same day if an army helicopter hadn’t rescued me. But my crops were ruined.” Chimtal River flows through Balkh district, home to 127,000 people, mostly farmers. The river is the main source of irrigation for their farmlands, but over the past decade, flooding from the river has become more frequent and more severe, mainly due to climate change.

  • New Trees Bring a Breath of Fresh Air to Bamyan Farmers

    Jawzari is an area of great beauty and environmental significance in Bamyan province. But it is threatened by floods and avalanches. Since 2013, UNDP has helped local communities plant trees and set up nurseries, which protect against floods and provide new sources of income.

  • Come On, Bovine, Light My Fire: UNDP Biogas Systems Turn Manure into Cheap, Clean Power

    21 September 2016, Dara Noor, Jalalabad – For most rural Afghans, having a cup of tea, or a bath, or a warm house means you have to cut down some trees. With mains power covering only 35% of the countryside, wood remains the primary source of heat and fuel.

  • From the Spent and Unconsidered Earth – a Forest!

    15 August 2016, Jalalabad – The Gamberi Desert, on the outskirts of Jalalabad, is home to 1,000 families. It’s a land of extremes: harsh, dry, sandy, and hot, making life a struggle for the people who live there. Many years ago, it was different. The Gamberi Desert was a forest of indigenous bushes that held the soil together and allowed life to grow. But decades of conflict and poverty forced communities to cut down the bushes and use the wood cooking and heating. Deforestation led to desertification, sand storms and the erosion of agricultural fields.

  • Solar Powered Education: Nangahar University Blazes a Trail

    Nangarhar University, on the outskirts of Jalalabad, is the second largest University in Afghanistan. Covering a whopping 40 hectares of land and serving 15,000 students, its tree-lined avenues stretch on for miles. But at night, they are pitch black, leaving both students and professors feeling unsafe in the dark. Public spaces are empty and no one spends much time outside.

  • Afghanistan’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest

    5 June 2016, Kabul – Today is World Environment Day and here in Afghanistan we celebrated with the country’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest.

  • Once Were Hunters – Now Conservationists

    17 March 2016, Kabul – Daud killed his first ibex when he was only 12 years old. His father would wake him up in the middle of the night to go hunting, and they’d set out together in the dark, Daud so afraid that his hands would shake. Later on, he’d learn to kill with calm efficiency.

  • Equator Prize Winner from Afghanistan Brings Back Pride and Hope

    Badakhshan, 20 January 2016 – Ahmad Seyar woke up early one morning in late September, performed his prayers and went back to bed. Then he picked up his phone, scrolled through his emails and read “Congrats on winning the Equator Prize” – a message from Helen Clark, the head of UNDP.

  • Green Energy and Clean Water Improves Lives in a Village

    Sang-e-Nawishta, Nov 2015 – Sang-e-Nawishta is only a short drive from the centre of Kabul, but until a few months ago the villagers who live here had no running water or electricity.

  • Preserving a pristine landscape in Bamyan

    Jawzari lies in pristine foothills of central Afghanistan’s Baba Mountains, about 15 kilometres south of Bamyan City. It’s an area of great beauty and environmental significance that needs to be preserved – but in a way that protects the livelihoods of Jawzari’s several isolated farming communities who depend on local rangeland for food, fire, water and shelter.

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