In Afghanistan DRC carries out a comprehensive set of activities reflecting specific local needs and conditions, focusing on improved protection and livelihoods as well as establishing contingency capacities along the entire displacement axis. DRC’s activities include: livelihood, vocational training community mobilization, community infrastructure, self-reliance grants, protection monitoring, emergency support, winterization, non-food items distribution, food distribution, emergency logistics as well as transport and distributions. DRC is working intensively in urban displacement settings but also in rural areas with high IDP or return rates.
Returnees and deportees from Pakistan and Iran, IDPs and host communities remain among the most vulnerable population groups in Afghanistan. According to UNHCR June 2012 data, since 2002 more than 5,7 million Afghan refugees have returned from other countries and 90% of these returns have been facilitated and assisted by UNHCR in the biggest repatriation operation in the agency’s history. The returnees constitute more than 20% of Afghanistan’s population, and according to a 2011 survey, 43% had not fully reintegrated into their communities with severe difficulties in obtaining land, shelter, livelihood opportunities and basic services. Challenges to sustainable return and reintegration are vast and complex, and comprise conflict and insecurity, severe lack of livelihood opportunities, scarcity of both land and housing, very limited access to basic services, urbanization, protection concerns, gender inequalities and frequent natural disasters. Internal displacement remains widespread because of the worsening security situation and enormous socio-economic challenges, and the number of IDPs has tripled from 129.000 in 2007 to 450.000 in 2011.
The issue of Afghan refugees, returnees and IDPs must be seen in a regional context, comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. Consequently, DRC’s work is characterized by a regional approach to Afghan displacement supported by offices and operations in both Pakistan and Iran.
In addition to the work in Afghanistan and along the displacement axis, DRC organizes the Afghan Diaspora in Denmark via a grants facility to take part in the support to sustainable livelihoods of compatriots in Afghanistan. DRC’s activities in Afghanistan also take place within the framework of Danish Demining Group and DACAAR.
Danish Demining Group
Danish Demining Group (DDG) is a humanitarian mine action unit in DRC. In Afghanistan, DDG has recovered and disposed of more than 33.000 landmines and 1.3 million pieces of unexploded ordnance. The beneficiaries of DDG Afghanistan include recently returned refugees from Iran and Pakistan, vulnerable rural populations and the wider humanitarian and development community.
DRC is a founding member of the umbrella organisation Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DACAAR), which has 30 years of experience conducting relief and development work in Afghanistan. Among DACAAR’s main activities are safe water supply, hygiene education and sustainable rural development, with families from the returnee and IDP communities being among the main beneficiaries.
Partners and donors:
UNHCR - The UN Refugee Agency: www.unhcr.org
DANIDA - Danish International Development Cooperation Agency: www.um.dk
ECHO - European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection: www.ec.europa.eu/echo