Christian Aid (CAID) has worked in Afghanistan for more than three decades under four different regimes – from the Soviet occupation to the current government that was voted in after the US-led invasion of 2001.
Our work with partners on community development, livelihood creation, gender equality and emergency response has brought us experience and expertise in running projects in this highly fragile environment, a deeply divided society ravaged by insecurity, violence and war.
We always strive to deliver projects which have a real impact, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalised communities and groups.
- Work towards a society without war and conflict, where women, men, boys and girls can access their human rights and live with dignity.
- Strengthen national and local civil society organisations.
- Support communities to embed culturally suitable and locally acceptable methods of gender empowerment.
- Support partners and communities when humanitarian emergencies strike.
- Support national organisations to engage in dialogue with government on justice, human rights, gender equity, and governance.
- Encourage women and men to speak out about their communities’ needs and take collective action to reduce poverty, marginalisation and vulnerability.
We have learned many things on the benefits of education and women’s rights. Now we talk with more confidence in the community which helps solve problems.
- Gulnar Balkh, CAID Afghanistan project beneficiary..
Building resilience is an important aspect of all our work in Afghanistan – it is particularly important given the context of insecurity and conflict. CAID supports communities to handle shocks from disasters, climate change, market forces, political instability, and overcome cultural barriers.
Our rural infrastructure work has included building solar and wind-powered wells, piped water and canal-cleaning projects, and reducing the impact of soil erosion and dust storms.
Human rights and peace building
We work to protect human rights through advocacy and by supporting national organisations to build community awareness. This also contributes to tackling violence and building peace.
CAID believes in the empowerment of civil society and local organisations. We support our partners to engage with various social, political, religious and governance structures around equality, justice and human rights.
To further strengthen local civil society groups we have taken part in a twinning programme supported by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID), where we mentor local organisations in the western region.
CAID Afghanistan has strong connections with civil society platforms, including United Nations bodies, at provincial, national and international levels.
CAID supports communities affected by slow and rapid onset natural disasters – including droughts and floods – and conflict by providing urgent relief and aiding their recovery. We have received humanitarian funding from many donor organisations, including UN clusters.
Community-based disaster risk management committees have been established to take on specific responsibilities before, during and after disasters.
Women’s empowerment and gender equity
Inclusive programming is a core objective for CAID in Afghanistan and we include women as a core component in all of our projects. One specific approach includes working with religious leaders to spread messages of women’s empowerment.
We are confident that when people see the positive impact of women’s empowerment on families and society, attitudes towards women in Afghanistan will begin to change.
CAID Afghanistan recently completed a five-year community resilience-building initiative, reaching more than 67,000 people in 29 villages in Herat and Ghore.
We supported vegetable growing, animal husbandry and silk production. Working with farmers to form cooperatives and get their products to market, arranging training on production, packaging, branding and marketing.
Our local partners also used this resilience programme as a gateway to progress on social justice, accountability, good governance and building peace.
We received strategic support for our resilience work from UK aid, via DFID's Programme Partnership Arrangement (PPA) over the last five years.
Women's groups and networks
Through a project in Herat, Balkh and Faryab we helped establish 80 women’s shuras, 24 youth councils, and three provincial women’s councils – all now formally recognised by government as organisations representative of communities.
Eight local support networks and three local NGO networks have also been established to provide technical, advocacy, lobbying, and networking support to community and provincial shuras and promote peace and human rights.
Peace building and education
The European Union-funded Non State Actors (NSA) project has helped resolve family, village and community conflicts, providing literacy classes, income generation activities and job opportunities for women and young people, and supporting women to take part in village decisions.
Advocacy and governance
CAID supports work with women inmates in Maimana prison, Faryab province, by providing legal services to the most marginalised prisoners and training in income generation activities.
Though national level NGO networks, we are campaigning for greater rights under law for Afghan women. We fought against a proposed law effectively legalising child marriage. We have also supported training and awareness-raising for the judiciary and police, so they are more able to protect women’s rights.
Our policy and advocacy work, with partners and organisations such as BAAG (British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group), ACBAR (Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief) and Crisis Action, is part of an integrated approach that supports communities and individuals to hold the Afghan government to account on key issues such as gender equality and empowerment, rights, conflict resolution and peace settlement.
Who we work with
We have links to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK, the Afghan delegation of the European Union, the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghanistan (ACBAR), the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation.
CAID also has close links to international organisations working in Afghanistan, including Afghan Aid, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), USAID, Community World Service Asia (CWSA), and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).
For many years, CAID Afghanistan received significant support from the European Commission for our work on livelihoods and community empowerment. We have also previously received funding from the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO).
We received flexible funding from DFID’s PPA and Irish Aid’s Multi-Annual Programme Scheme (MAPS) to support core areas of our work and staffing. Afghanistan is a priority country for DFID and other donors.
CAID and its partner the Agency for Humanitarian and Development Assistance for Afghanistan (AHDAA) ran an emergency project funded by Irish Aid in Badghis province in 2015.
CHF humanitarian fund
In 2014, CAID Afghanistan went through UNOCHA’s eligibility process for the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), and we can now apply as an implementing partner to any CHF call. CHF is a multi-donor pooled fund which supports the allocation of donor resources to the most critical humanitarian needs in Afghanistan.
Private sector partnerships
We have a good record of success with non-institutional donors and are seeking to build on this. We have worked with the private sector (Monsoon Accessorize Trust, Electric Aid), individual donors, trusts, and community partnerships. While these grants are smaller, they are appropriate to the size of some partnerships, and enable us to develop a varied portfolio of work.
We have worked with Monsoon Accessorize Trust to help rebuild the silk industry in Herat and provide income opportunities for women. The projects aim to lift more than 14,000 women and their families out of poverty.