CENTRAL HIGHLANDS RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
MADERA, GERES and Solidarités International, three French NGOs working in Afghanistan, have come together to implement a 3 1/2 year program, funded by the French development agency (AFD). The aim of the program is to increase the living standards and quality of life for the rural population of the Central Highlands region, through the promotion of rural development and natural resources management.
The Central Highlands is an isolated, mountainous region in central Afghanistan, where a majority of the population are farmers, whose livelihoods depend on available natural resources: land for pasture and agriculture, water for irrigation, biomass (wood and bushes) for animal feed, cooking, heating and construction purposes. Due to the harsh climate conditions in the region, combined with over-exploitation of the land, a substantial burden is being placed on already scarce natural resources, which necessitates finding solutions for frequent land-use conflicts and degradation of these resources.
A 6 month inception phase took place from July to December 2013, during which preliminary and preparatory studies (diagnostics, technical assessment, vulnerability assessment, etc...) were conducted in order to determine the relevance of the actions to be undertaken, and to develop an overall vision of the territory. Implementation of the following activities will begin in April 2014:
· AGRICULTURE & LIVESTOCK: Support sustainable improvements of crop and animal farming production;
· ENERGY: Improve households’ resilience regarding energy and living conditions while limiting the depletion of natural capital;
· NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: Improve the access to and the management of natural resources—pastures and water—by local communities.
· CAPACITY BUILDING: Support local communities in terms of knowledge building and networking.
The project is to be implemented in 5 districts in 2 provinces of Afghanistan:
- 3 districts of Bamyan Province (Saighan, Kahmard, Yakawlang)
- 2 districts of Wardak Province (Hissa-e-Awal-e-Behsud, Marzak-e-Behsud)