Agriculture and Animal-breeding
In Bamyan Province, the main challenges for rural development are intrinsically linked to the increasing scarcity of natural resources (soil, water and pasture), and to climate change. The three projects currently being implemented by SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL, with the support of the European Commission and the French government (l’Agence Française de Développement), seek to help small rural producers adapt their agro-pastoral techniques to these contextual constraints. To do so, we use a participatory approach enabling farmers to share their experiences via Farmer Field Schools. Together, participants work to find innovative solutions to those factors which limit their agro-pastoral production.
Another essential element of our activity is the diversification of diets and sources of income. To this end, we have helped put in place kitchen gardens in primary schools in Yakawlang District and provided training in vegetable-growing for women. A pilot project involving commercial greenhouses is also being developed in Yakawlang, where three trial greenhouses were built in late 2014.
Natural resource management
Any activities which aim to improve living conditions in rural areas through adapted agricultural, pastoral or dietary practices in village households cannot have any real impact unless the whole community is aware of the dangers facing local natural resources. With this in mind, pasture management groups are created and receive guidance on the sustainable management of elevated pasturelands. In summer, these pasturelands serve as a source of food for animals; in winter, they provide wood to be burnt for heating.
These groups are responsible for the definition of the boundaries of their pasture lands, the rules governing their management, and the identification of those plots which are to be protected. This approach - launched in 2007 in Yakawlang and extended to other districts - has the advantage of being reliant on existing community management mechanisms which fell into disuse during the 30-year war. By 2014, the first groups to be formed were autonomous and continued to apply the rules drawn up with the support of SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL.
In 2011, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL facilitated the creation of several water users’ groups in Saighan District, where some villages were lacking water for irrigation during the summer. These groups are responsible for monitoring the condition of their water networks and drawing up a plan for the development of irrigation infrastructures. These groups benefit from technical advice from SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s civil engineers, who are responsible for the construction of priority irrigation infrastructure and anti-erosion initiatives. Water users’ groups are legally recognised and registered with the Afghan authorities. As such, they are empowered to represent their member communities in interactions with the Afghan government and the international organisations which fund rural water-supply projects.
Water, sanitation and hygiene
Access to clean drinking water and the improvement of hygiene conditions remain major challenges in the more isolated villages of Afghanistan. Water-related diseases, particularly those affecting young children, remain the primary reason for visits to local medical centres. In 2014, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL began implementing a project which aims to improve access to clean drinking water and sanitation infrastructures in Yakawlang District. By the end of 2016, two drinking water networks, 12 wells, 16 protected water points and 850 family latrines will be built in the district. A pilot water network put in place in 2014 now provides clean drinking water to 23 households in an isolated village. These activities will be accompanied by a hygiene promotion campaign.
As of October 2014, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is providing clean drinking water, family latrines and hygiene promotion sessions for the Pakistani refugees in Gulan Camp, Khost Province, with the support of the European Commission (ECHO).
Due to the intensification of the fighting in the tribal areas of Pakistan (North Waziristan), the population of the camp is constantly increasing. In January 2015, it was home to 40,000 people. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is scaling up its activities in the camp to meet the needs of this growing population.
Currently, three new boreholes are under construction, enabling SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL to supply the residents of the camp with 490,000 litres of clean drinking water per day. Our teams in Khost are planning the construction of further boreholes with a view to reaching a daily production of 600,000 litres before spring.
In November 2014, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL ended its emergency flood response project in Ruy-e-Doab (Samangan Province) which provided shelter for 176 families (1232 persons) whose houses were destroyed by the exceptional floods of spring 2014. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL provided building materials and tools, as well as technical advice, enabling these 176 families to build houses that are better able to withstand the harsh climatic conditions of this mountainous area.
However, of the 67 CDCs (Community Development Councils, or groups of villages) assessed by SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s team, 51 saw their agricultural infrastructures - mostly irrigation channels - destroyed by the floods, compromising the next agricultural campaign. The most vulnerable families have limited food stocks for 2015 and their food security is at stake. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has developed a project which aims to improve the food security of these more vulnerable villagers as well as to increase the capacity of the rural population of this district to cope with future disasters. Currently, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is seeking funding to implement this new project, due to start in March 2015.
Last updated - January 2015
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