2019 drew to a close with heightened discussions around climate change, it’s effects and what we can do to minimise the risks moving forward. For families living in rural Afghanistan there is no time to waste. Climate change is a very real and current threat. And despite being one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, Afghanistan is one of the least equipped to deal with the consequences: increasing instances of natural disasters and extreme weather, damaging the natural resource base, and putting families lives at risk.

Afghanaid's response

We kicked off the new decade by launching a 12-month project funded by the Swedish Postcode Foundation, which aims to combat the effects of climate change in rural Afghanistan, and responds to the myriad challenges faced by farming families in one of the most vulnerable areas of the country.

Taking decisive action

We know that making permanent changes to the management of natural resources is crucial for halting the negative effects of climate change: such as land degradation, water scarcity, serious damage to ecosystems and increasing natural disasters. As a result, farmers are able to produce less and less, trapping their families and communities in poverty.

Marie Dahllöf, Secretary General of the Swedish Postcode Foundation commented,

Rural populations who live in poverty are very vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. We are therefore proud to support Afghanaid in their work to create sustainable conditions for farmers in Afghanistan in order to secure food for their families and be able to survive such disasters.

Targeting those who need it most

Ghor is amongst the poorest provinces in Afghanistan, with 70% of its population living in multidimensional poverty. The majority of families live in small remote villages, where agriculture is the primary source of food and income. However, like much of rural Afghanistan, Ghor is extremely vulnerable to climate-induced disasters such as locust infestations, flash floods,  droughts, landslides and snow avalanches, all of which destroy crops, damage land, deplete the natural resource base and threaten lives and livelihoods. 

For example, Ghor was one of the areas that was hit hardest by the 2018/2019 drought, leaving the vast majority of families struggling to recover.

Over the course of 2020, we will support some 8,000 vulnerable Afghan men and women in Ghor. They will learn how to combat the effects of climate change, reduce the risks of climate-induced disasters and strengthen their livelihoods. 

This means healthier families, safer villages and a stronger future for their communities.

How will we achieve this?

We will be supporting communities to restore and reinvigorate their local ecosystems, improve the management of their land, promote sustainable agriculture, and increase vegetation cover. 

In doing so, these communities will be able to reduce the risks of future disasters, adapt to the changing climate, boost agricultural productivity, strengthen their resilience, and improve their ability to feed their families.

Improving water management

By cleaning and repairing blocked and damaged irrigation systems, we will restore farmers’ access to water for their animals and crops, thereby producing greater yields, so they can better feed their families and sell surpluses at the market.

To ensure that the improvements to their irrigation canals are long-lasting and sustainable, we will establish Water Management Committees and train them to properly maintain, monitor and operate these canals, enabling families and communities to eat more healthy food, invest in their children’s healthcare and education, and lift themselves out of poverty.

Looking to the future

To address the longer-term challenges facing these villages, we will train communities to better manage, conserve and regenerate their natural resources, and sustainably use their land. 

We will also support these communities to increase vegetation cover and improve soil quality by planting orchards and fodder crops.

Taking a multifaceted approach

By tackling these challenges from multiple angles, these communities will be able to increase their resilience to climate change, restore vital ecosystems and more sustainably manage the natural resources on which their livelihoods – and lives – depend.

How can you help?

Complex programmes like this require ongoing support. Set up a monthly gift today and support vulnerable communities to combat the effects of climate change.

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