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Partnership for change: CAID in Afghanistan

CAID has worked in Afghanistan for more than three decades. We work with local organisations on long-term development and humanitarian programmes in western and northern parts of the country, and have also responded to emergencies in the Central Highland, and south central and eastern parts.

LPRR: action learning research

In order for productive learning to occur within the context of this project, monitoring practices must be robust and go beyond collecting data against indicators. This is especially important within a resilience context, as the pre-emptive baseline measurement that is usually used for measuring progress/success is not desirable here. Instead, an ‘outcome harvesting’ approach is more practical, as it does not measure progress towards predetermined outcomes or objectives, but rather collects evidence of what has been achieved, and works backward to determine whether and how the project or intervention contributed to the change. Within the LPRR project there is a need for rigorous evaluation, which balances accountability and learning. Given the ever-evolving evidence base of ‘what works under what conditions’ coupled with the need to demonstrate quality, impactful programming in both upwards and downwards accountability, these types of robust evaluations are essential. In order to ensure learning and accountability are achieved through evaluations, they must be well-planned and budgeted for. This is where the role of the learning strand comes in; by recognising that learning is essential at the outset, it enables it to be included within the design of the project.

Introducing Christian Aid Afghanistan

An introduction to Christian Aid’s programme in Afghanistan, which has been running for nearly three decades under four regimes – from the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, which controlled the country during the Soviet invasion, to the current government that was voted in after the United States-led intervention of 2001. Today, our work in Afghanistan focuses on protecting human rights during conflicts, increasing food security, building the resilience of communities, and promoting the rights and empowerment of women. We work alongside local Afghan organisations on projects that reach and respond to the needs of communities facing high levels of poverty, disempowerment and inequality. Christian Aid works with its partners at every stage of a project – from needs assessment and design, to supporting partners and communities as they implement projects – and to regularly monitor and evaluate the impact and changes the work makes on the ground. All of our projects in Afghanistan are designed with our partners, and draw heavily on their relationships and lines of communication with communities. This approach means partners and communities understand the projects and are fully committed to them from the start. Since the majority of programme activities are implemented by the communities themselves, sustainability and a sense of local ownership are integral.