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 37 – 48 of 78

Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF)

01.11.2015 - 31.10.2024

Millions of Afghan women, men and children gained access to services and improved their income since the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund’s initiation (ARTF) in 2002. It also significantly contributed to the Afghan state’s capacity and legitimacy. ARTF constitutes a coordinated financing mechanism for the state's budget (Recurrent Cost Window) and for its priority national investment projects (Investment Window) in the areas of agriculture, rural development, infrastructure, education, health and governance.


Contribution to Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA)

01.11.2015 - 30.06.2018

For the benefit of Afghan women, men and children as well as of the rule of law in Afghanistan, the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA) contributes to a more human rights compliant, institutionally strengthened and more gender balanced Afghan National Police. Amongst other, it supports community policing as well as the recruitment, retention and training of policewomen and the improvement of their working conditions.


Sustainable Land Management Project (SLMP)

01.07.2015 - 30.09.2016

The rural population in Afghanistan suffers from overexploited and rapidly deteriorating land and water resources. Policies for sustainable land management are only slowly emerging. There is an urgent and sustained need for professional and institutional capacity for sustainable land management to prevent further degradation, improve production and reduce disaster risks. This reduces vulnerability and contributes to improved food security and better livelihoods for poor rural families.


National Human Rights Programme for Afghanistan (Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission)

08.06.2015 - 31.12.2018

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has a constitutional mandate to promote and protect human rights of women, men, girls and boys living in Afghanistan. Towards that end, the AIHRC lobbies and works with the Afghan government. It contributes to significantly enhance human rights awareness of Afghan people. Switzerland, together with a number of other development partners, supports the AIHRC financially, technically and when required politically.


First Allocation of SDC Funding to ICRC Operations in 2015

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2015

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.


Second Allocation of SDC Funding to ICRC Operations in 2015

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2015

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.


Allocation (Cereals) of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2015

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2015

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 WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


UNMAS Support for Mine Action in Afghanistan 2014 - 2015

22.12.2014 - 31.12.2015

Afghanistan suffers more civilian casualties than Iraq, Colombia or Cambodia, recording an average of 39 casualties every month as a result of mines and Explosive Remnants of War. Almost three quarters of all accidents continue to affect children. The goal for mine/ERW risk education is to put in place a comprehen-sive and sustainable system to educate and raise awareness throughout people and communities nationwide regarding the residual mines/ERW threats, including sufficient information to recognize and report these items to the appropriate authorities.


AF Government School Support Program (GSSP)

01.12.2014 - 31.12.2018

The Government School Support Program (GSSP) supports the Afghan Ministry of Education (MoE) to enhance quality of education at secondary level. The aim is to increase student enrolment, retention and learning. It works with 200 secondary schools as well as provincial and district education departments and communities in 3 of the poorest provinces (Badakhshan, Baghlan and Bamyan) of Afghanistan. GSSP is part of the Aga Khan Foundation’s (AKF) education programme.


WFP, Secondment

01.12.2014 - 28.02.2017

The country suffers from one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. Over half of children under 5 years are chronically malnourished (stunted) and one-fifth of Afghan women of child-bearing age are underweight. The operating landscape in Afghanistan will become increasingly challenging over the medium term as international troops withdraw, foreign aid levels decline, and presidential and parliamentary elections remain contested. Growing insecurity resulting from these pivotal transitions could further impede humanitarian access to a third of the population is food-insecure and experiences high levels of undernutrition due to protracted conflict, frequent natural disasters, low development, weak institutional capacities and volatile food prices. Food insecurity and undernutrition must be addressed to respond to humanitarian needs and promote economic growth and stability in the country.


Enhance balanced education in Afghanistan - BALEDU

01.09.2014 - 30.09.2017

The project aims at enhancing the quality of general education as well as the access of girls to primary and secondary education. To do so, it supports teacher training institutions and girls’ schools in the province of Takhar. It promotes the commitment of Takhar communities to girls’ education. On a national level, it works with the Teacher Education Directorate (TED) of the Ministry of Education (MoE) to enhance gender equality in teaching nationwide.


Healthy Families, Healthy Societies

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2017

The project will use creative radio dramas, feature programs and complementary print and online outputs to raise awareness and enable women, men and youth to make informed decisions in the areas of elections and civic engagement, sustainable livelihoods and economic opportunities, healthy eating practices to combat nutrient deficiencies and food-related health problems in children and adults, and water management including drinking water and irrigation.

Object 37 – 48 of 78