HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Afghanistan

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation has been active in Afghanistan since 2002. The goal of the organization is to improve the livelihoods and resilience of the communities in the target districts through collective and individual initiatives to manage land and water sustainably, do fair business with their marketable products while Good Local Governance is strengthened, quality education is available for All, and reliable access to safe water, improved sanitation facilities and hygiene leads to improved health.

Implementation Strategy

In the absence of a vibrant civil society, public and private sector, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation plays several complementary roles and adopts a systemic approach to local development under the conditions of a fragile or failed state: facilitating community driven development initiatives, capacitating local actors, providing technical services, managing small grants and fostering learning, innovation and policy dialogue. The local development efforts are supported through full-fledged district offices which team is composed by engineers, agronomists, veterinarian doctors, community facilitators, trainers, an administrative and financial manager and supporting staff under the leadership of a district coordinator. In the five districts of Kunar and Nangarhar eastern provinces HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation strengthens its partner to play similar roles as HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation does in the Northern and Central region.
HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation and, in the eastern districts, its partner, work through the Community Development Councils, a people’s elected body in charge of the management of local development initiatives brought in place by the National Solidarity Program (NSP) .Over the past six years HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation has built a considerable amount of trust, knowledge and solid reputation of transparent, accountable, impartial and reliable partner of the CDCs, likewise did in the eastern provinces. CDCs ensure that HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation’s support is anchored into the traditional institutions: shura (tribal leaders or elders’ council), Mullahs Council, Mufti and Imam (religious scholars, jurist and leader of the prayer and mosque), arbab or malik (people’s designated representative to the government), mirab (manager of the irrigation water), Commander (local strongman or warlord). In the fragile context of Afghanistan this capital of strong relationship with the communities is key to security of the team and a sine qua none condition for working with an incremental development approach rather than mere short term relief or quick impact approach being the most common in Afghanistan.

Geographic Focus

The geographical focus reflects the socio-cultural and religious diversity of the country and strives to avoid any sort of discrimination, being political, religious, ethnic, economic or social. The districts in Northern and Central region supported by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation record very few NGOs or International Organizations due to its remoteness, even so among the most disadvantaged ones. In the Eastern region numerous development actors are present but rather focusing on quick impact projects. Against this short-term approach, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation and its implementing partner  introduce a long term development approach. In the focussed geographic area in North, Central and Eastern region, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation is the only development actor working through the Community Development Councils (brought in place by the National Solidarity Program – NSP) and aims at further building the capacity of its members and constituencies to initiate and manage local development initiatives in a systemic manner for sustainable development to take off and good local governance being promoted.