Oct 28, 2013UNDP Afghanistan at a GlanceUNDP Afghanistan Corporate Brochure in English, Dari and Pashto, a full-color glance at the country office, which places renewed emphasis on development.
Building a Way Out of Poverty: UNDP Project Connects People to Schools, Hospitals, MarketsUruzgan, Oct 2015 – The village of Qadam Shahli is split right down the middle by a river. For years, the only way people from one side could visit family members living on the other was via a little wooden bridge.
Clean Water for 400 Households in BadghisIn a remote part of western Badghis province where underground water is mostly salty, people in Dahane Abshar-e-Rigi village of Maqur district responded to their drinking water need by building rainwater reservoirs with US$ 125,000 funding from the National Area-Based Development Programme of UNDP and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.
A Bridge to a Better Future - One of Nearly 600 UNDP Transport ProjectsPanjshir, 27 January 2015 — Panjshir Valley, a 2-hour drive north of Kabul, is known for its scenic mountains and crystal clear rivers. It remains one of the safest places in Afghanistan as its sky-high mountains and narrow roads are a natural barrier against terrorism. Its beauty attracts local families from nearby provinces to visit for picnics, fishing, photography and swimming.
Afghan Women Muster Courage to Escape Domestic ViolenceNewly-married and pregnant Amena recently took the bold step of leaving her violent husband. She is among the millions of Afghan women for whom life has improved over the past decade. Today, more women are able to access services, like legal aid, participate in decision-making, and more girls are enrolled in school than a decade ago.
Herat Women Get Legal Help to Fight Desertion and Domestic ViolenceHerat, November 2011: Fatima (name changed), resident of Injil on the outskirts of Herat city in western Afghanistan, was married to her first cousin Sultan, at age 15. Unable to cope with the daily physical violence of her husband who also forbade her from attending school, and daily arguments with her mother-in-law, she ran away to her parent’s home. It has been seven months since Fatima left her husband’s home and her condition is exacerbated by the fact she is in an advanced stage of pregnancy.
Afghanistan’s First Female District Police Chief: Colonel Jamila BayazShe was supposed to be an engineer. But Jamila Bayaz lasted a year studying engineering at Kabul University before finally convincing her family to let her join the police force.
Religious Inter-school Competition Inspires Young LeadersKabul, Afghanistan: “I want to be the President of Afghanistan.” This is Zhania’s response when asked about her ambitions. Zhania Zainab is the top scorer among the students of her school and for the last three years has attended a madrassa (religious school).
Women Members of the High Peace Council Present to UNDP a 250,000-Signature Petition Calling for PeaceThe women’s committee of the High Peace Council (HPC), an Afghan body involved in the country’s peace efforts, has submitted today a petition – containing the signatures of more than 250,000 Afghan women and girls calling for peace – to the Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan for onward transmission to the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.
Afghan parliamentarian Masouda Karokhi Receives the 2013 N-Peace AwardAn Afghan women’s rights activist, Masouda Karokhi, has received in Kabul the 2013 N-Peace Award, an initiative supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Jewelry Making Brings Hope to Impoverished Women in HeratA UNDP programme trains women in jewelry making so that they can provide their families with incomes and escape abusive situations Every day Sediqa, 26, walks for two hours to get to her jewelry making class. “I save my transportation allowance to buy food for my children,” she says.
No More Floods! UNDP Canal Protects Qala-e-NawA canal that passes through Qala-e-Naw city and its eight adjacent villages in western Badghis province no longer leaks during flooding after it has been repaired with US $ 740,000 funding from the National Area-Based Development Programme, a joint rural development initiative of UNDP and the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.
Kabul Launch of HDR Stirs a Buzz and Conversation on Employment among Afghan YouthUNDP’s Human Development Report 2015 launch kicked of Tuesday afternoon at the American University of Afghanistan with an impressive turnout—over two hundred civil society activists, government officials, private sector representatives, journalists, students and UN staff, with one third of them women.
Women Entrepreneurs from Herat Link with Kabul-Area MarketsWomen from across the western province of Herat are engaged in a number of entrepreneurship activities that include making handicrafts and jewelry, growing saffron and processing dry fruit such as pistachio and almond. Women entrepreneurs from Herat City, and Gozara, Injil, Karukh, Koshan and Zindajan districts of Herat province are particularly active in running and expanding their small-scale businesses.
Getting out of a Pickle – Business Training Helps Women Succeed in the Market08 February 2016, Nangarhar - Small businesses in Afghanistan often find it difficult to find customers and lack the management and marketing skills needed to compete with foreign imports.
A Home-Based Embroidery Business Witnesses Twofold Increase in ProfitAzima Safi, 50, runs a small embroidery business in Jalalabad. She learned sewing handicrafts when she lived with her family as a refugee in Peshawar, Pakistan during the 90s. As the oldest kid in the family, she had to quit school at grade five and work for someone else making handicrafts at a low daily wage, which she spent on her siblings’ schooling. Upon returning to Afghanistan in 1998, she started up a home-based embroidery business of her own in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province.
Equator Prize Winner from Afghanistan Brings Back Pride and HopeBadakhshan, 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.
Once Were Hunters – Now Conservationists17 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.
Lighting up the Homes and Lives of ThousandsEleven-year-old Mohamed Nasim, who is in sixth grade, wakes up at 5:30 every morning to take computer lessons in a makeshift classroom here in Borghaso village, Bamyan Province, northwest of Kabul. He draws a house in Microsoft Paint, colors it, and types his name in the corner as his young teacher watches over his shoulders.
Environmental Councils Changing Face of Development in Proviincial CommunitiesChar-i-Kar, Parwar Province: Standing at the edge of Joe-e-Projey canal in the northern town of Char-i-Kar, Mohammad Tahir, a car mechanic, rues the fate of children who drink water from the local canal. “This canal has snuffed out many, many young lives. It is a bed of dirt and disease,” he says sadly, with moist eyes.
Ushering in a ‘Green’ Bags Culture, Saying No to Plastic Glut in AfghanistanEleven-year-old Mohamed Nasim, who is in sixth grade, wakes up at 5:30 every morning to take computer lessons in a makeshift classroom here in Borghaso village, Bamyan Province, northwest of Kabul. He draws a house in Microsoft Paint, colors it, and types his name in the corner as his young teacher watches over his shoulders.
Forest Preservation at a Remote Area in Badakhshan Province Generates Rural LivelihoodsA forest that blankets a mountain along the Kishim River in Tagab district of northeastern Badakhshan province and where wild animals, rare plants and a variety of natural fruit trees inhabit has been preserved. Behind this success is Rural Green Environment Organization (RGEO), which, as a result, has been able to generate livelihood opportunities for rural communities dwelling near the forest. This organization has been engaged in protecting the natural resources in the area since 2002.
Female Rangers, Female Role ModelsJahanbin is not a man who is easily frightened or thwarted. As a ranger in one of Afghanistan’s two national parks, he’s been out alone in the vast empty spaces of the northern plateau and he’s faced gangs of poachers and crowds of belligerent tourists who don’t want to follow the rules. Unarmed and with the nearest police station several miles away, he’s held his own and talked his way out of trouble until help can arrive.
Band-e-Amir: Afghanistan’s Hidden WonderlandThe evidence was out there weeks before anyone even knew. On July 07, 2014, a small box hidden way out on the northern plateau – an open area of inhospitable hills and valleys in the Afghanistan’s central Bamyan province – clicked into life and snapped a photo of a Persian leopard – a species of wild cat long thought to be extinct in this area.
Preserving a pristine landscape in BamyanJawzari 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.
Cleaning up the Streets in BamyanDue to an upsurge in urban migration, new townships are appearing all across Afghanistan. But how do the new residents in these towns dispose of their waste? In Bamiyan’s Zargaran Township, the Green Afghanistan Association (GAA), a local NGO, with support from UNDP and the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme, has put rubbish bins on the streets of this town.
Green Energy and Clean Water Improves Lives in a VillageSang-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.
A New Bridge in Garam Sair District Brings People Closer to Schools and MarketsMore than 2400 Kuchi of Registan area in Bost district have now access to water provided by 20 wells built with support from the National Area-Based Development Programme (NABDP) and UNDP’s Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP).
Mushroom Cultivation Training In India Opens New Vistas for Afghan FarmersKabul, Afghanistan: Sherpur, a tony neighborhood in the heart of Kabul city and a busy urban sprawl is the most unlikely place to find a vegetable farm. In one of the obscure lanes here surrounded by plush apartment blocks that are home to a gaggle of foreigners, Haji Nisar Ahmad runs a mushroom research and cultivation centre. “Mushrooms can be grown anywhere, from a car-park to an attic, why even a goat shed would do just fine”, Nisar says with a chuckle.
After Her Father Falls Ill, a 14 Year Old Girl Must Pay for Family Expenses“My father was the only person feeding our family. Before he was young and healthy and was able to sell our vegetables and fruits at the bazaar.” But this is not the case now as Farzana Hazarath, a 14 year old girl from Kang district of Nimroz province in southwest Afghanistan, explains.
Women Learn Small Business Skills, Look To Future with HopeAliabad, Mazar-e-Sharif: Five days in a week, Laila, a single mom of five children including an 18-year-old daughter, walks to the Food Processing Center in Aliabad village just outside Mazar city, learning the finer aspects of basic business development.
Local Decision-making Improves Women’s Lives in AfghanistanIn the village of Jukna in Badghis Province, Gulsatan recalls how in earlier days women had to walk four kilometres daily simply to collect drinking water for their families. The 45-year-old widow, a mother of six, is relieved those days are now past. ”They collected water from uncovered reservoirs which were exposed to impurities. Women were constantly at risk of bacterial and parasitic infections, and their children risked diarrhoeal disease,” she says. This is a common problem across this remote, mountainous province in western Afghanistan. Potable water is scarce, and often brackish or contaminated.
Building Peace through Community InvolvementIn Afghanistan, a UNDP programme helps communities come together in peace to develop and prosper. In a remote, rugged province in eastern Afghanistan, the raging waters from the surrounding mountains have often flooded the 8000 homes that line the local river’s path.
Wells Provide Water to a Kuchi Community in Bost DistrictMore than 2400 Kuchi of Registan area in Bost district have now access to water provided by 20 wells built with support from the National Area-Based Development Programme (NABDP) and UNDP’s Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP).
After half a life of working in UNDP, Farida has seen a lot, learned a lot and helped a lot of people24 February 2016, Kabul — Farida Alam is UNDP Afghanistan’s longest-serving member of staff. She’s been with us for 25 years – a period in which Afghanistan and UNDP have seen astonishing changes.
Bringing the police closer to the peopleColonel Noor Aqa Ibrahimkhail, the district Chief of Police for Farza, located 45 kilometres north of Kabul, is a veteran officer who has experienced many brushes with violence and unrest throughout his career. But compared to his previous postings, he says, Farza is a haven of peace and tranquility.
Afghan Police Recruit Women to Fight Crime and StigmaIt was four years ago that Captain Zohra Daulatzia joined the Afghan National Police. But the mother of two girls still gets excited about that momentous day in her life when she achieved one of her life’s greatest ambitions.
Building Skills for Afghan Policewomen to Lead Change and Restore Public TrustOne of the top ten priorities of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) is to promote gender equity and women as role models of change in the Afghan National Police (ANP). UNDP’s Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOFTA) is supporting the MoI in training policewomen in leadership and management skills at the Kabul Police Academy.
Trading Guns for Tube-Wells, Sowing Seeds of Lasting PeaceMohammad Akbar (name changed), 47, a former combatant from a village in one of the northern provinces of Afghanistan, turned in his weapons, along with those of his ten men to the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP).
Code of Conduct underpins modern policing in AfghanistanAfghanistan’s national police force virtually disappeared as a legacy of decades of conflict. Hikmatullah Stanikzai, 26, and Safiullah Stanikzai, 25, are part of a new generation at the Afghan National Police (ANP), determined to rebuild a renewed police force capable of protecting the rights of citizens and promoting national unity among Afghans.
Future Officers Buoyed by Post-elections Praise for PoliceAfghanistan’s national police force virtually disappeared as a legacy of decades of conflict. Hikmatullah Stanikzai, 26, and Safiullah Stanikzai, 25, are part of a new generation at the Afghan National Police (ANP), determined to rebuild a renewed police force capable of protecting the rights of citizens and promoting national unity among Afghans.
Afghan Youth Votes in Historic ElectionDespite rain and security challenges in many parts of the country, Afghans went to the polls on 5th April in Presidential and Provincial Council elections. The election marks the first time in Afghanistan’s history that power is handed from one democratically elected government to another. Young Afghans who reached the age of 18 since 2010, and those who have not registered before, were queuing to receive voter cards until 1st April. As nearly two thirds of Afghans are under the age of 25, Afghanistan's youth make up a significant proportion of voters.
Portrait of a Young Man as a Civic EducatorMazar-e-Sharif: A class of 130 female students at the Mawlana Institute of Health Sciences in downtown Mazar, listen in rapt attention as Abdullah Ahmadi (name changed), 25, a civic educator and his team explains the finer details of the on-going voter registration process to the young students: the essential documentation that they need to bring to the registration centre to establish their legal date of birth and their identification.
Enabling Responsive Governance, Cutting Time in Service DeliveryMazar-e-Sharif: Marzia, resident of Baba Kambar area in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, found her husband disappear after the floods. She was left to fend for herself and her three daughters. Marziya approached the Citizen Service Centre (CSC) located in the Provincial Governor’s Office, with her grievance.
Local Democracy and Development Go Hand-in-HandMahmud-i-Raqi, Kapisa Province—Mushtari, a 42-year-old high school graduate and secretary of the District Development Assembly of Mahmudi-Raqi district, some 80 kilometres north of Kabul, is presenting to fellow Assembly members a project to build a primary school for girls.
Government Turns to Merit-Based RecruitmentSayra Shakib Sadat was a young female school student from an illiterate family, living in an isolated village in northern Afghanistan, when fighting broke out among political leaders and the mujahidin in the early 1980s.
Police and the People Become Closer in HeratIn a country like Afghanistan, emerging from decades of conflict, people deeply feel the need for a police force that is closer to the community. Traditionally, Afghan citizens have harboured suspicion and fear towards the police dating back to the years of war. But this image is now gradually changing as the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MOIA) has rolled out a model for Community Oriented Policing with technical support and funding from the Law and Order Trust Fund, which seeks to bring communities and police closer to each other.
Newly Trained Law Students to Respond to Legal Needs in Helmand ProvinceAbdullah Atal is a law student at Arakozia University in Helmand province. Though in his last year, he had yet to study key aspects of practicing law, such as how to process criminal and civil cases. That is, until he attended a training session sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme’s Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan (JHRA) project.
UNDP Supports Improved Workplace Safety for Afghan PolicewomenUntil mid-2014, Sergeant Mastura and her 11 female colleagues based at a police station in Kabul had to cope with the fact that most police premises simply were not designed to cater for the needs of female employees. “We did not have a separate place for ablutions so we had to use the same toilets as the policemen,” said First Sergeant Mastura, who has served with the national police force for six years.
From Refugee to Politician: Afghanistan’s First Female Provincial Council Chair Fights for RightsTayeba Khawary is an Afghan, but she was born as a refugee in Iran after her family fled Afghanistan’s violent conflict in the 1980s. Hoping for better times one day, her father worked as a laborer to support her university studies until the family could return to their home in Afghanistan’s central province of Bamyan.
Ministry of Interior Affairs and UNDP Sign New LOTFA AgreementFahima*, pregnant, was forced by her husband to crawl on all fours with the family’s dogs. It was just one of the ways she was abused during her one year marriage. He also beat her with sticks, yelled obscenities at her and poured boiling water on her hands.
Improving Accountability Through Access to InformationWhile doing a story on maternal health in Afghanistan, journalist Mary Nabardaeen wanted to know how many women had died in childbirth at a certain hospital. Officials refused to reveal the number, saying that doing so was prohibited by the minister of public health. It was a response that the head of the Bakhter News Agency had become familiar with in her twenty years as a journalist. It was just another example of the challenges she has faced in attempting to get information from the government.
UNDP supports Initiatives to Provide Legal Aid in HelmandPeople accused of crimes or imprisoned in Helmand province will now have access to legal representation and legal aid following the opening of the office of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) in Lashkar Gar. The initiative, supported by UNDP’s Justice and Human Rights (JHRA) project, will mobilise 10 defence lawyers who are expected to provide legal support to approximately 150 people in 2014. The project is funded by Denmark.
Leaving a Fighting Life Behind, the Ex-Fighters Enjoying Reunion with their Families and FriendsSince early 2013, close to 700 combatants have surrendered their weapons and reintegrated with their families and communities in eastern provinces of Kunar, Laghman, Nangarhar and Nuristan as a result of concerted efforts of a number of state agencies, including the provincial offices of the High Peace Council and Afghanistan National Security Department, with technical support from UNDP’s Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP).
Former Fighter Opts for Peace: How UNDP Helps Start New Lives in Safer Communities“I loved my gun; it gave me dignity. But it was used for the wrong purpose, so I handed it over to be used for good,” says former Taliban fighter, 43-year-old Dawood Jan Nangyaly. Mulah Dawood, as he is also known, was a deputy commander leading some 60 insurgents against national and international forces in Zabul Province’s Nawbahar District.
A Seller’s Market - UNDP Helps Street Vendors in KabulEvery day in Kabul, around 700,000 street vendors rise with the sun and rush into the city to earn a living. Managing this huge influx of people is a major challenge for Kabul municipality and the police. They don’t want blocked roads and traffic chaos, but the vendors also need to earn a living.
Even nurses need lawyers: UNDP funds legal aid for womenNangarhar, 03 March 2016 – At 19 years of age, Gul Bashra had completed school, finished two years of midwifery training, and was all set to realize her lifelong dream of bringing better healthcare to her fellow Afghans in Nangarhar.
Taxi Driver Beats Unfair Murder Rap - in Just One MonthMazar-e-Sharif, 3 February 2016 – Sayed Hakim, a 27-year old taxi driver and father of four, worked hard every day, but he was happy with his life. Little did he know that everything he enjoyed could disappear in a flash.
Stitched up in Herat: UNDP helps free taxi driver from false accusationHerat, 15 February 2016 — Twenty-three-year-old Noor Ahmad drives a motorbike in Heart to support his family. His father has two wives and two sets of children, which is common in parts of Afghanistan. One day, rivalries between these two sides of the one family boiled over. It nearly pulled his life apart.