By Anita Rahmani, Programme Officer
A lack of rain and snowfall over the past winter caused a severe drought in the Badghis province of Afghanistan. With roads littered with landmines, coupled with the activities of insurgent groups, this north-western province of Afghanistan remains one of the most underdeveloped provinces in the country.
Among the communities of Badghis province, Miranzai-ha is one of the most vulnerable, located 45 kilometres away from Qala-e-Naw, capital city of the province. Here, poverty is so acute, only a small percentage of people have regular source of income.
As the severe drought struck the province, the impact on the lives of the people was very significant. They lost their crops and livestock and many families became internally displaced. During a meeting organised by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), non-food item distribution was identified as one of the crucial needs for this community, to prevent them from becoming internally displaced.
Christian Aid and its partner Agency for Humanitarian and Development Assistance (AHDAA), in close coordination and collaboration with other local and national organisations, prioritised the distribution of winter items for Miranzai-ha community.
Among 550 families, AHDAA distributed items including 2 blankets, 1 carpet and 1 hygiene toolkit. The hygiene kit included sanitary clothes, bucket, tooth paste, tooth brush, washing soap and so on. The feedback collected by AHDAA from 60 community members showed that 85% of them changed plans to leave their community after receiving these items to survive harsh winter.
Keeping the communities together
Abdul Rahman’s family is one of many who decided to stay in the community after receiving the aid. The 7-member family of Rahman had around 100 sheep and a small farm. They lost all the cattle in the drought and there was no water left to grow anything on the farm. The family was not prepared for winter and was uncertain of what the future held for them. They were thinking of moving to one of the camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) close to the provincial capital. “At the right time, AHDAA counted our family as a beneficiary in their list, and I received these supports. We cancelled our first decision to leave our home. At least we can sleep warm and can take care of our hygiene conditions”, said Abdul Rahman, 38 years-old from Miranzai-ha village.
Before distribution, beneficiaries were carefully identified through a joint group consisting of AHDAA, Community Development Committees, Shura structures and other key community members. This process ensured selection of the most vulnerable people in the affected community.
We cancelled our first decision to leave our home. At least we can sleep warm and can take care of our hygiene conditions’
The governor of Badghis, Abdul Ghafoor Malikzai in a meeting with AHDAA team said that this work had made an impact in preventing people leaving their communities and joining other IDPs, which is becoming an increasing challenge.
Find out more: our work in Afghanistan