Youth Volunteer to Clean Kool-e-Hashmat Khan to Save Rare Birds

Dec 5, 2014

UNDP Afghanistan: Youth volunteers in cleaning campaign to advocate for restoration of Kool-e-Hashmat Khan.

Volunteers from Kabul participated in this cleaning campaign to advocate for restoration of Kool-e-Hashmat Khan, a wetland on the southeastern outskirts of Kabul City, to protect over 150 species of birds

Kabul City, Friday, 05 Dec 2014 — Marking the International Volunteer Day, a group of nearly 150 Kabul-area youth gathered today to clean Kool-e-Hashmat Khan, a wetland on the southeastern outskirts of Kabul City where a huge number of various birds used to live, and is now on the brink of ruin. To encourage its restoration, Youth for Change Afghanistan Organisation, a Kabul-based youth group, led this campaign in partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture, United Nations Volunteers, United Nations Development Programme in Afghanistan, and the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme.

Kool-e-Hashmat Khan, once a natural wetland inhabiting 157 species of birds, and a recreational site for residents of Kabul City, has lost most of its birds over the last three decades due to poor attention from previous governments and illegal encroachments by nearby communities. The wetland is now surrounded by auto repair workshops, a livestock auction house, and a number of other business activities, grabbing nearly 10 out of its 190 hectares of its land. Wastes produced by these activities are dumped in the wetland.

“Today, on the International Volunteer Day, we’ve gathered here to show how volunteerism can restore biodiversity by cleaning this historic site,” said Enayatullah Safi, Director of Youth for Change Afghanistan Organization (YCAO). “Since cleaning this site requires concerted efforts, we’re here to seek the attention of the Afghan Government and its donors and partners to invest in restoring this highly significant site, and thus make an unmatchable contribution to the environment of our city.”

Even at this stage, there are good chances of saving this ecologically important site. Over last year, the Ministry of Agriculture, looking after the wetland, has recorded 107 species of birds still coming to the site, but their number has drastically reduced due to lack of water and accumulation of wastes suppressing the growth of reeds where the birds inhabit.

“We appreciate the spirit of volunteerism these young people are promoting,” said HE Taimoor Shah Eshaqzai, Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Information and Culture. “Every Kabul resident shares the voice these young people are raising today. We support this campaign for the revival of the historic wetland of Kool-e-Hashmat Khan, which preserve our precious birds and offer a wonderful recreational site to our city’s residents.”

“While we encourage the practical steps these young people are taking in restoring their city’s precious environment, their activism makes us optimistic for a prosperous Afghanistan,” said Ms. Marta Ruedas, UNDP Country Director in Afghanistan. “Mobilizing young people to make change happen in their societies and elsewhere in the world is at the core of UNDP’s work. To Afghanistan alone, we’ve brought over a hundred UN Volunteers from around the globe to support UN’s work in this country.”

International Volunteer Day (IVD) celebrates, each year, the act of volunteerism that is founded on the universal values of solidarity, commitment and engagement across the world. This year, on International Volunteer Day 2014 under the theme of “Make Change Happen, Volunteer”, volunteers across the globe recognize and celebrate volunteerism by acknowledging and honoring people’s participation through volunteering. People’s engagement makes change happen locally, nationally and globally. 

Contact information

Jalaluddin Kasaat
UNDP Afghanistan, Contacts: +93799450630, jalaluddin.kasaat@undp.og

Karimullah Rasoli
Ministry of Information & Culture, Contacts: +93782927787, karimullah.rasoli@gmail.com

Enayat Safi
Youth for Change Afghanistan Organization, Cell: +93791611023, enayatsafi@gmail.com

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