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Afghanistan is facing multiple crises such as COVID-19, the impacts of drought and floods, and rapidly increasing poverty and food insecurity. Since the Taliban takeover of government on 15th of August 2021 and given the increasing numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs), the operational and programmatic context for the UN system in Afghanistan has changed significantly. The level of programmatic and institutional risk is much higher. The provision of basic needs and preserving livelihoods are critical for reducing the rapidly growing demand for humanitarian aid and emergency relief. The gradual progress that has been made over the last 20 years including gains in human rights, education, gender equality, health, social protection, and livelihoods are at risk of being lost, especially for women and other vulnerable groups. These factors not only impact the economy, human security, and social cohesion, but are also potential drivers of further conflict and violent extremism.
Learning from the experience in the last 20 years, and recognizing the realities of the current context, the UN in Afghanistan has outlined the need for an integrated, innovative and highly agile approach, one that puts people first, targets the most vulnerable and meets local needs by focusing on saving livelihoods. The Area- Based Approach to Development Emergency Initiatives (ABADEI) strategy has been designed by the UN as a response to the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan. The strategy is a tailored area-based integrated programming approach to support basic human needs, complementing short-term humanitarian life-saving assistance with the safeguarding of livelihoods and the strengthening of community resilience. The strategy is centred around addressing the worsening poverty and vulnerability, supporting community resilience and social cohesion, and enabling the rehabilitation of small-scale infrastructure vital for basic human needs. The Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan (STFA) has been established to serve as an inter-agency mechanism to enable donors to channel their resources and coordinate their support to the ABADEI strategy and the UN joint programs developed under it.
The eight administrative regions of Afghanistan have been chosen as the hubs for the coordination of ABADEI interventions. Separate area-based joint programme will be developed for each region, responsive to the context-specific needs and vulnerabilities determined by natural resources, population distribution and other diversities. While there is some variation between the regions, as a minimum, interventions for each region will need to address five key issues that support basic human needs at the community level i.e. (i) Food Security, (ii) Water, (iii) Energy, (iv) Health, and (v) Livelihoods and Employment. Cross-cutting themes such as gender equity and risk reduction will be addressed both through mainstreaming and targeted interventions.
Taking these five issues into account and the differences across provinces, the focus of ABADEI interventions will be on prioritized support in each of four key pillars:
- Provision of essential basic services and infrastructure: the rehabilitation of essential infrastructure and services is key to establishing and maintaining liveable conditions in vulnerable areas,
- Community livelihoods and local economic activities: the revitalization of local economies is an important dimension of the ability of communities to cope in the current environment while also addressing the drivers of the vulnerabilities they face,
- Disaster and climate resilient critical infrastructure: due to years of environmental degradation and dependence on agriculture and natural resources for sustenance, Afghan communities are highly prone to intense and recurring natural hazards such as flooding, earthquakes, snow avalanches, landslides, and droughts, and
- Community planning for resilience and social cohesion: to protect development gains, ABADEI interventions will support the development of community-led needs-based socio-economic assessments and recovery plans that promote reconciliation and prevent conflict, improve access to justice, support alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, and protect the rights of women and girls.
The Community Mobilizer will be responsible for the establishment of CDCs, as well as supervision of community mobilization, action planning, contracting, banking and implementation of CDC projects. He/she will support CDCs with registration, capacity building, and organization of CDC events. He/she will act as the contact person between CDCs and the UN-Habitat project team/office at provincial level and liaise with other ABADEI partners on CDC issues.