Afghanistan

Switzerland's engagement in Afghanistan aims to reduce poverty, human suffering and the loss of life. Switzerland promotes the respect for human rights and the protection of vulnerable population groups. In addition, it contributes to the improvement of rural livelihoods and fosters access to quality basic education.

Map of Afghanistan
2014 Natural Earth

The long period of war has caused enormous human suffering. Institutions have been weakened and economic and social development hampered. Afghanistan is now one of the poorest and most fragile countries on Earth. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made since 2001 in the areas of education, health, rural development, justice and good governance. Further international support for the Afghan reform agenda is vital to maintain the results achieved so far and to ensure that all Afghans benefit equally from this progress.

Switzerland has distinguished itself in Afghanistan through its many years of experience and the high quality of the projects it has implemented there. Switzerland also enjoys a great deal of trust on the part of both the government and the population. The overarching objective of Switzerland's cooperation strategy for the 2019–22 period in Afghanistan is to reduce poverty, human suffering and the loss of life. It seeks to promote a peaceful society with effective, accountable and inclusive institutions based on the rule of law, geared towards meeting the needs of the population. Switzerland's activities focus on three interconnected areas: 1) rule of law and protection 2) agriculture and management of natural resources and 3) basic education.

Rule of law and protection

Switzerland contributes to the promotion and protection of human rights. It supports the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and civil society organisations in this area. Switzerland also helps to strengthen trust between the population and the Afghan government by improving access to legal services for women and men and supporting institutional reforms of the justice system. For example, Switzerland has contributed to the establishment of courts in 16 provinces that specialise in case law relating to violence against women.  Switzerland also contributes to life-saving aid through the country's most important humanitarian organisations. At the political level, Switzerland is committed to the protection and long-term reintegration of internally displaced persons and returnees, as well as to improved access to humanitarian aid for people in need of assistance.

Agriculture and management of natural resources

Switzerland assists smallholder farmers and their families in remote and mountainous areas to increase their productivity and manage their natural resources sustainably. Women are included in the activities to the extent that circumstances allow in what is sometimes a very conservative environment.  Possible impacts of natural hazards and climate change are also taken into account and mitigated through appropriate measures. Switzerland intervenes mainly indirectly, by strengthening the public services provided by the Afghan state for smallholders. Switzerland also supports the World Food Programme, which provides food assistance and promotes asset creation.

Agriculture and food security

Basic education 

Basic education plays a key role in the economic development and social cohesion of the community. Switzerland is committed to increasing access to high-quality basic education for all. To this end, communities are closely involved in the running of their schools. In dialogue with parents, teachers and village communities, the local government implements measures for safe and conducive learning environments. Switzerland is also strengthening the academic supervision system, providing advice and support to schools and teaching staff in order to improve the quality of basic education. Thanks to targeted humanitarian measures, vulnerable and conflict-affected children have access to education in a safe environment.

Basic education and vocational skills development

Approach and partners

Switzerland's development cooperation and humanitarian aid in Afghanistan complement each other. In development cooperation, the focus is on structural challenges, while humanitarian aid is provided in crisis situations. Implementing partners include UN institutions as well as Afghan, Swiss and international NGOs.

Current projects

Object 13 – 24 of 45

Allocation of SDC Funding to ICRC Operations in 2019

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2019

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to ICRC operations allows the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to respond proactively and to provide immediate protection and assistance for people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence.


Retain Access in Afghanistan (RAA)

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2022

The security situation in Afghanistan remains a major concern for humanitarian and development actors. They depend on reliable security reports and advisory services, on independent analyses of political events and trends, and on physical access to remote and conflict-affected areas. With this project, strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus, the SDC enables interventions that are essential for poor populations and people in need of humanitarian assistance and development aid.  


Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT)

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2021

Africa and Europe are intrinsically linked with respect to migration. Swiss support to the pioneering Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT) contributes to strengthening the capacities of African Diaspora Development Organisations based in Europe, including in Switzerland, to promote sustained development in Africa. As ADEPT and its members are active throughout the African continent, a support to the platform allows an outreach in Africa with a relatively limited financial investment.


Contribution to Paris21 (2018)

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2019

The Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) is a global partnership of national, regional and international statisticians, development professionals and policy makers seeking to improve evidence-based decision making mainly in low-income developing countries. The main accent of PARIS21’s activities is to stimulate the dialogue between data producers and users and act as a knowledge hub in the field of statistical capacity building.


African Forests, People and Climate Change

15.11.2018 - 31.12.2021

The African forestry sector holds considerable potential for mitigating and facilitating adaptation to adverse impacts of climate change that severely threaten the development of Sub-Saharan Africa. Support to the African Forest Forum ensures that policies and action base on the improved understanding about the relationship between climate change, forests and trees and that these elements will be reflected in their revised nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the climate convention.


Planned project

East African Migration Routes

01.08.2018 - 30.04.2029

In a region of interest to Switzerland, children and youth in vulnerable displacement in East Africa along the northbound route are supported for better protection and development of their life skills and economic independence. Child-friendly perceptions and political will are built; policies are focused on the best interest of the child; organizations are strengthened and cross border cooperation promoted; and protection and educational/economic programs are improved.


Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) Africa

01.08.2018 - 31.07.2026

Today, only 12 plant species and five animal species provide more than 75 percent of all human food. Quality seed and maintaining the agrobiodiversity are key concerns for food security and nutrition. Aiming at enhancing access of smallholders to quality seed of their choice, the Integrated Seed Sector Development in Africa programme combines public and private efforts. With its contribution and policy work, SDC supports healthy food systems, as well in fragile contexts.


Planned project

Afghanistan Urban Peacebuilding Programme

01.05.2018 - 31.03.2024

Afghanistan’s cities grow rapidly. Crime, insecurity and social disintegration are an increasing problem in urban areas. The government is struggling to improve the situation affecting its legitimacy and public trust. The Afghanistan Urban Peacebuilding Programme supports municipalities and community-based structures to tackle insecurity through an inclusive approach. The ambition is twofold: improve urban security and governance.


Afghanistan Urban Peacebuilding Programme (AUPP)

01.05.2018 - 30.04.2021

Afghanistan’s cities grow rapidly, accommodating high numbers of internally displaced and returnees. Crime, insecurity and social disintegration are an increasing problem in urban areas. The government is struggling to improve the situation affecting its legitimacy and public trust. The Afghanistan Urban Peacebuilding Programme supports municipalities and community-based structures to tackle insecurity through an inclusive approach. The ambition is twofold: improve urban security and governance for city dwellers.


Enhance Balanced Education in Afghanistan (BALEDU)

01.03.2018 - 31.01.2020

The project works to improve the quality of teaching in Afghanistan. The rapid increase in enrolment numbers over the past fifteen years has led to a high demand for teachers which is not met. In rural areas, half of primary education teachers are underqualified, resulting in low learning achievements. The project engages Teacher Training Colleges and the competent line ministry to improve teacher’s subject-specific and methodological skills, so that children benefit from better education.


Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF)

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2020

ARTF is a coordinated on-budget financing mechanism for the state, administered by the World Bank. Its priority national investment projects focus on agriculture, rural development, infrastructure, education, health and governance. Since the initiation of the Trust Fund in 2002, Millions of Afghan women, men and children have gained access to services and improved their income. It also significantly contributed to the Afghan state’s capacity.


Rangeland Management project (RAMA)

01.10.2017 - 30.04.2030

The project will improve the livelihoods and food security of rural households by supporting communities to sustainably manage their rangeland resources. Poor and landless families depend on rangeland resources for livestock rearing and fuel and fodder collection. A growing population puts increased pressure on limited resources, while decades of conflict have weakened rangeland management systems. This has resulted in degradation of rangelands, which is exacerbated by the effects of climate change.

Object 13 – 24 of 45