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

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Partenariat scientifique entre 2iE Ouagadougou et institutions universitaires suisses

01.10.2017 - 30.09.2020

La maitrise de l’eau et l’accès à des sources d’énergie durables sont des facteurs nécessaires pour créer les conditions d’un développement humain durable en Afrique. Pour y parvenir la formation de cadres compétents et le développement de technologies et d’approches innovantes sont indispensables. Le partenariat avec 2IE y a contribué durant les années écoulées et les résultats atteints feront l’objet d’une capitalisation au cours de cette phase de désengagement qui est la dernière phase de ce partenariat.


Rangeland Management Project (RAMA)

01.10.2017 - 31.05.2022

Poor and landless families depend on rangeland resources for livestock rearing, fuel and fodder collection. A growing population puts increased pressure on limited resources, while decades of conflict and displacement have weakened rangeland management systems. RAMA will improve livelihoods and food security of rural households through empowering the communities to sustainably manage and use their rangeland resources in order to generate equitable benefits.


Skateistan

01.08.2017 - 31.12.2020

Skateistan offers quality educational, sport and recreational opportunities for the empowerment of Afghan children and youth, particularly girls and marginalized groups, with an aim to increase their confidence, abilities and involvement in their communities as well as to strengthen their social networks. It runs across two purpose-built project sites in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.


Skateistan

01.07.2017 - 31.12.2026

Skateistan offers quality educational, sport and recreational opportunities for the empowerment of Afghan children and youth, particularly girls and marginalized groups, with an aim to increase their confidence, abilities and involvement in their communities as well as to strengthen their social networks. It runs across two purpose-built project sites in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.


Agricultural Services and Livelihood Improvement (ASLI)

01.06.2017 - 31.07.2021

Farming households in the Central Highlands of Afghanistan suffer from high levels of poverty and food insecurity. Their agricultural productivity remains low due to insufficient access to inputs and information. The Agricultural Services and Livelihood Improvement project aims to improve the livelihoods of poor rural families by strengthening the public extension system at subnational level to enable targeted, demand-driven agricultural service delivery.


Postharvest Management in Sub-Saharan Africa – FAO/IFAD/WFP

01.06.2017 - 31.05.2020

Food losses in Sub-Saharan Africa account for almost one third of the production and occur mostly at postharvest handling and at processing level. The goal of this project is to reduce postharvest losses for improved food security of smallholder farmers. The project will be jointly implemented by FAO, IFAD and WFP focusing on a global Community of Practice to enhance knowledge sharing and e-learning, and on support to policy development in three target countries (Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burkina Faso).


Postharvest Management in Sub-Saharan Africa

01.04.2017 - 31.03.2020

In Africa, the value of annual postharvest losses for cereals is estimated at 4 billion US$. In Sub-Saharan Africa losses reach up to 40% of the harvested crop. This project promotes simple technologies (metal silos, improved traditional silos, hermetic bags a.o.) to increase food security and nutrition among smallholder farm families. An estimated 10’000 families benefit directly in two focus countries (Benin, Mozambique). The knowledge gained serves to market postharvest storage options in several other Sub-Saharan countries.


Core Contribution to icipe (International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology)

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2020

icipe is a pan-African organisation for the development of arthropod pests to help ensure food and nutritional security and better health for people and livestock. SDC considers icipe’s work crucial for Africa’s development because icipe delivers world-quality science, contributes to regional and national food and health policies and produces biological products that help farmers to get better crop harvests. SDC supports icipe’s research for development efforts with a core contribution for the successful implementation of its strategic plan until 2020.


Advancement of priority topic SGBV in SDC/HA

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2020

Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) is a serious, life-threatening issue in humanitarian settings and a new priority topic of SDC/HA. The intervention aims at promoting this new priority topic within SDC/HA through targeted, strategic interventions and on the basis of the operational concept on SGBV approved by SDC/HA in 2016. While this credit proposal sets the framework and criteria for such strategic interventions the individual actions will be administered by partial actions.


Labour-based Road Construction, Rehabilitation and Maintenance (LBRC)

01.11.2016 - 31.10.2019

The rural poor in Afghanistan suffer from a lack of access to basic services and markets. The labour based road construction project addresses these pressing needs of the people and complements an ongoing Swiss livelihood intervention. Through predictable income, the rehabilitation of vital rural infrastructure and by ensuring access to services and markets, the project contributes to improve the lives of men, women and children in a remote rural area.


FarhangSara: Promotion of Cultural and Artistic Expressions

01.07.2016 - 31.12.2019

Through promotion of active citizen participation, in particular women and youth, in cultural activities, the project aims to strengthen shared and diverse values as well as peaceful interaction among people. It will collaborate with and enhance the capacity of public and private cultural and arts institutions and civil society organizations as well as female and male artists in five regions of Afghanistan.


Green Initiative for Afghanistan’s Agriculture (GIAA)

01.07.2016 - 30.06.2020

Land and water resources in Afghanistan are overexploited and deteriorating fast with severe consequences for rural households. The Green Initiative for Afghanistan’s Agriculture will upscale the professional and institutional capacity for sustainable land and water management to prevent further degradation, improve production and reduce disaster risks, especially in mountainous areas. It will contribute to improved food security and better livelihoods for poor rural families.

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