World Bank – Subnational Doing Business in Afghanistan Study
Doing Business in Afghanistan 2017 is the first report of the subnational Doing Business series in Afghanistan. It measures business regulations and their enforcement in 5 provinces. The provinces are compared against each other, and with 189 other economies worldwide.
OCHA – February Humanitarian Bulletin
Conflict, disasters, and other humanitarian emergencies have broad reaching consequences, but often lost in emergency responses are the psychosocial impacts of these events. Yet such crises can have a detrimental effect on psychosocial wellness, as demonstrated by Samuel Hall research with urban youth in Kabul. 71 per cent of youth interviewed by Samuel Hall had experienced a traumatic event, with many reporting symptoms associated with trauma. Our data shows that the mental health of these youth should absolutely be considered a priority – the time for action is now.
Dubai Cares – Strengthening Early Childhood Education Programme Evaluation
The overall goal of this research was to conduct an evaluation of the programme considering its effects after conclusion using the OECD-DAC criteria (relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability) to inform Dubai Cares’ design, development and investment in potential future programme iterations, or similar programming in the Afghan context. The research team conducted 1225 surveys with parents and children as well as 20 key informant interviews and 40 focus group discussions including also teachers and other community stakeholders, in order to gather statistically significant results and draw out the details of learning environments and behaviours. The results of this research underline a largely successful programme with strong community involvement. Positive impacts on students, parents and children can clearly be measured. The relevance of the programme is undeniable. Nevertheless, some clear opportunities to inform future programming are also highlighted, particularly in strengthening the impressive community-driven sustainability initiatives.
NRC – Access to Tazkera and other civil documentation in Afghanistan
The purpose of this research is to inform future work in supporting displacement-affected persons to access civil documentation as well as accessing other rights and services connected to it. This will in turn contribute to enabling persons affected by displacement to achieve durable solutions – whether local integration, return or settlement in another part of Afghanistan.
Urban Displaced Youth in Kabul – Part 1: Mental Health Matters
Largely ignored for over 10 years, the role of Afghanistan’s youth in transition has been increasingly in the spotlight since 2013, the year of the National Youth Policy. Much more needs to be done to bring change for youth as 60% of Afghanistan’s population is under the age of 24. Taking the case of Kabul’s urban displaced youth, this study shows just how. This is the first of a three-part series that will be released between now and August 2016, ahead of the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan.
Women Provincial Council Members in Afghanistan
International support to local government in Afghanistan is waning at a time when the provincial administrations are in a state of transition. What support remains often tends to focus on female elected officials.
IOM – Assessment of Economic Opportunities Along the Afghan-Tajik Border
IOM Tajikistan has been active in the border region between Afghan Badakhshan and Tajik GBAO through its Tajik–Afghan Border Security and Community Stabilization (BSCS) programme, whose first phase came to a close in March 2015. One key finding of its final evaluation was that an important driver of instability in the region was the lack of livelihood opportunities. Phase II will thus focus on the border’s potential as a site of economic opportunity. In October 2015, Samuel Hall was contracted by IOM Tajikistan to conduct a study on cross-border economic opportunities in the Badakhshan–GBAO region. The purpose of this assignment was to identify the needs and the economic potential in border communities on both sides, and point out initiatives with the potential to be scaled up to the benefit of local residents. The research questions addressed the potential of cross-border markets and possible synergies in cross-border labor market supply and demand. It considered existing initiatives with an eye to avoiding duplication of efforts.
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES ALONG THE AFGHAN-TAJIK BORDER
Connected by the ancient Silk Road, the remote border region between Afghanistan (Badakhshan) and Tajikistan (GBAO) was once a place of prosperous exchange. Today the communities living on “the roof of the world” face a number of challenges common across the border: security concerns, poverty and lack of employment opportunities.
NRC – Regional Workshop Report on Afghan Displaced Youth
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan gathered in November 2015 in Tehran for a regional meeting on Afghan refugee issues with a thematic focus on Afghan displaced youth. At a time when displacement in and out of Afghanistan continues to rise, when the number of Afghan asylum seekers grows steadily in Europe and debates on durable solutions for Afghan refugees remain, it is all the more necessary to take stock of the profiles of the millions of Afghan youth outside of their homeland, and those who made, with their families, the decision to return. The outcome of this workshop is concrete and operational: a set of possible key objectives and indicators that can help guide NGOs in their work with Afghan refugee youth, as well as facilitate improved donor and host government understanding of key issues. The centrality of better data was voiced by all NGOs present, a priority need in Iran and Pakistan, as well as upon return to Afghanistan, to enable tailored programming that support youth’s potential and are aligned with their aspirations.
THE INFORMAL PROLETARIAT
Afghanistan is urbanizing at a staggering rate. Today, however, urban poverty is on the rise with worrying signs of economic collapse. The construction, transportation and services sectors are in decline, and jobs have become even scarcer than before.
NRC – The Impact of Cash Transfer Programmes on Protection Outcomes in Afghanistan
Although cash-based interventions (CBIs) are increasingly used to deliver humanitarian assistance in support of more traditional in-kind emergency distributions, there is now a growing, global acceptance among stakeholders of the need to pay closer attention to the positive and negative impact of CBIs on key protection components. Although there have been several key contributions on this issues in recent years, including studies conducted by Samuel Hall, more research needs to be carried out in Afghanistan on the secondary effects of CBIs on protection issues for IDPs, which are often not systematically considered during the inception phase of project designs, nor as part of wider assistance program strategies. Samuel Hall has been commissioned by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) to identify the effects and impact of cash-based programming on protection outcomes in Afghanistan, particularly in relation to ‘Do No Harm’ and minimising risks in terms of protection. This builds on Protection Outcomes In Cash Based Interventions: A Literature Review produced by DRC in January 2015 and which draws a number of conclusions on the impacts of CBIs on protection issues and recommends areas of further research.
NMFA – Review of Support to ACTED in Faryab
The third phase of the Faryab Sustained Rural Development Program (FSRDP), funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), began in 2013, with the primary goal of sustaining rural development in nine districts of Faryab province. Given the current worsening security situation in Afghanistan broadly and Faryab province more specifically, this evaluation is particularly timely: the identification of the success and challenges of existing of the current project are necessary to identify a realistic roadmap for the NFMA and ACTED, as this will prove a pivotal time in identifying necessary internal and external changes. While the study showed that, broadly, ACTED’s work to date has been both relevant and, given the clear implementation challenges faced, successful, it also poses serious questions around the current programme model’s applicability and sustainability moving forward.
GIZ – Labour Market Needs Analysis in the Afghan Mining Sector
This study was commissioned by GIZ with the aim of drawing a picture of the needs and demands of the private sector in the Afghan mining industry. The objective of this nation-wide consultation was to a) provide a thorough picture of the specific skills demanded by the Afghan mining sector through the establishment of job-specific competency profiles; and b) based on the information gained through the first phase of the research, design workshops in close collaboration with private sector actors in order to improve the practical skillset of Afghan students in mining-related fields.
UN-HABITAT – State of Afghan Cities Report
The State of Afghan Cities report provides the first-ever assessment of the conditions in all of Afghanistan’s 34 Provincial Capitals that are home to over 8 million people. It shows that Afghan cities are a driving force of social and economic development, state-building and peace-building, yet their full potential has been constrained by the absence of an effective urban policy and regulatory framework, insufficient and poorly coordinated investment, and weak municipal governance and land management. Samuel Hall contributed its expertise to the urban economy analysis section of the report.
Modern Slavery in Afghanistan
For a topic that conjures vivid images in the public imagination, trafficking in persons remains largely misunderstood as the forcible movement of people. Yet, other disquieting images—the child bride given to resolve a conflict, the “dancing boy” kept as a sex slave, and the household toiling in bonded labour—are also forms of human trafficking.
DACAAR – Agency and Choice Among the Displaced
The focus of the study is on the decision-making process behind refugee returnees’ and IDPs’ choices of destination. More specifically this research identifies factors that influence whether a returnee/IDP individual, family or community chooses to move to an urban or a rural location. The study presents a nuanced analysis of the combination, and interaction, of the different influences and variables affecting migration decisions to urban or rural areas (including areas of origin). The secondary focus of the study is on the livelihoods situation of displaced populations. Finally, the study provides a policy dimension to inform future programming for returnees and IDPs – crucial at a time of significant policy developments in Afghanistan, including the launch of the National IDP Policy. The study concludes with a section on policy recommendations for future action.
SHAMSHAD TV – Audience Research
Established in 2006, Shamshad TV has become a fast-growing satellite television station broadcasting nationally and catering mostly to the country’s Pashto speakers. The channel broadcasts 24 hours a day, providing educational content, news, shows, dramas, and entertaining programmes to both local areas of Afghanistan as well as other countries via satellite. Airing mainly in Pashto (80%), Shamshad TV programmes are predominantly watched in the South and East of the country. In order to continue being a company that duly caters to its customers, Shamshad TV commissioned Samuel Hall with a phone-based audience research. Conducted in Kabul and other relevant provinces, it targeted a sample of 2000 respondents, both male and female. This research aims shape Shamshad TV’s future strategy in terms of programming and time viewership.
WOMANITY FOUNDATION – SCHOOl-IN-A-BOX ENDLINE SURVEY 2015
The school-in-a-box programme is a broad educational initiative, created and implemented by the Womanity Foundation. Launched in 2007, the programme was developed while working at the Al Fatah School in Kabul and as of 2015 has been replicated in 11 other public schools. The programme aims to improve the quality of girls’ primary and secondary education in Afghanistan through teacher training, student counselling, improvements in infrastructure, and community outreach. This evaluation, the fourth of its kind, was commissioned to assess conditions at twelve schools where the programme is completed or ongoing, as well as three schools where it is soon expected to commence.
HARAKAT – Special Economic Zones in Afghanistan
To help the Government of Afghanistan (Ministry of Commerce and Industry) and its partners promote ambitious economic and employment generation schemes in the country, this report investigates the economic context for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Afghanistan across seven regions in the country: Kabul, Balkh, Nangarhar, Paktia, Kunduz, Kandahar, and Herat. SEZs are geographical areas within a country, usually cities, which concentrate infrastructure requirements for business; create a hub of suppliers, distributors, and product markets for industry; often enjoy more liberal commercial laws and regulations, lower tariffs than the rest of the country to attract both local and international investors. Such zones can be found in China, India, and Singapore, where they are widely considered successful in their aims.
OCHA – June Humanitarian Bulletin
The focus of humanitarian and development assistance should be on the poorest families; many of whom will be either internally displaced or returnees. However, the argument for targeting returning refugees as a particular group is becoming less convincing. As this study and previous studies (Samuel Hall/MGSOG 2013 UNHCR Shelter assistance programme evaluation) show, returnees are comparatively less vulnerable compared to internally displaced persons.