The vast majority of Afghan families are reliant on natural resources as their main source of income. As the climate changes, affecting these natural resources, poor families in towns and villages across the country have struggled to adapt quickly enough. Environmental issues and natural hazards such as avalanches, floods and droughts are hitting communities with ever increasing regularity, with devastating effects on rural livelihoods.

Afghanaid works with men and women like Ali (pictured), giving them the training and equipment they need to adapt to this ever-changing environment and lift themselves out of poverty. Ali, who lives in the mountainous region of Ghor, has used his new skills to build his own business and become self-sufficient.

“In the past, I worked as a labourer on a local farm to earn an income to support my family; my father is elderly so my parents and three younger siblings relied solely on my income. Last year, the land I was working on was totally destroyed by an avalanche so I was out of a job and had no way to earn any money. I started to worry about the future for my family.

Then, Afghanaid came to my village and offered me the chance to learn about more resilient livelihood options. They taught me how to plant and irrigate flood-tolerant vegetables and fruit trees, and how to look after them during different seasons, as well as protect them from animals and diseases.

After finishing Afghanaid’s training course, I wanted to establish my own orchard in order to provide for my family. Using my training, I was able to identify some land on a hillside just outside of the village where I knew there was a low risk of natural hazards. I planted my orchard on this land as I knew it would be safe.

I invested the money I had left from my previous job into buying the tools I needed, and Afghanaid provided me with saplings. I constructed terraces along the hillside before planting the trees because Afghanaid had taught us that terraced land slows the flow of flood water so the soil doesn’t get washed away and water is conserved.

Afghanaid also taught me about the importance of crop rotation to keep nutrients in the soil, and provided me with vegetable seeds, so I have also started growing vegetables to sell.

Thanks to Afghanaid, I now have a small orchard of my own and so far it is going well - I spend all of the income on my family. I am hopeful that it will continue to give a good yield and, when I have money to spare, I plan to expand it further so my family can continue to benefit. In the past, the hillsides worried us because of avalanches and floods, but now the hillside has helped me change my life.”

Afghanaid works with men and women across the country, giving them the support they need to build a brighter, more sustainable future for themselves and their families.

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