In remote areas of Afghanistan like Kushka village in Ghor Province, isolated and poor families get by on small-scale farms, which are hit by heavy snowfall in the winter, flash-flooding in the spring and often drought in the summer. Their lives have always been tough but increasingly frequent natural disasters are devastating their rural livelihoods on a yearly basis.

We worked with the community in Kushka village to establish a community-based disaster management committee, through which we helped committee members like Orza (pictured) to understand how climate change and disaster hazards impact their livelihoods and find ways to lessen their impact.

"All together the committee is made up of 6 women and 6 men: we work together to help our community better prepare for the disasters which affect us here. In the past, floods and avalanches cut us off from the nearest hospital and contaminated our water supplies and many people’s lives were put at risk.

Since becoming a member of the committee, I am much more confident in myself. My family is supportive of my new role and, now they know I have more knowledge, they respect me more. I feel honoured to be a member of this committee and I also really enjoy it - it is great to know that I can help people when they need me.

I have also learned many new skills: Afghanaid trained us in search and rescue and first aid, and provided us with equipment such as first aid kits, shovels, pickaxes and stretchers, as well as my high-visibility jacket. The first time I put this jacket on, I felt the responsibility that my community had trusted me with - I feel that this is a special uniform that is known throughout the community, to be worn only by people who have been trained to rescue and help those who need us.

It is our responsibility to raise the alarm in times of disaster, and evacuate people from the risky areas. We then go to these areas and look for people who may be injured and help them, and take them to the nearest hospital if they need further assistance.

Now I know I can help if there is a crisis, but I am also confident that I can support my family and my community day-to-day if there is even a small issue. If someone is unwell or has had an accident, I can provide medical assistance to them.

In the past, our agriculture land and crops were often destroyed by the avalanches and floods. Afghanaid also provided us with fruit trees, improved varieties of wheat and vegetable seeds, as well as training us in improved cultivation techniques and providing us with the tools we needed. Thanks to our training, we are now able to identify areas to plant which are at low risk to natural disasters, so our livelihoods can stay safe as well as us.

Now I know that my community can face the future with confidence - we do not need to worry anymore because we are prepared!”

Find out more:

How we support communities to prepare for disasters and build a brighter, more sustainable future for themselves and their families.

How you can help:

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