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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UNICEF is considering the development of a social protection programme with a specific focus on children, within the already existing framework developed by the World Bank and MoLSAMD. With the end goal of articulating children-sensitive programming with the World Bank’s own safety net programme in mind, the first step in this direction is for the organisation to launch a pilot programme in Balkh to test the best modalities of programming to cover children’s needs for social protection in the country. In the longer run, both organisations aim at increasing the scale of interventions, with the government eventually taking ownership of the system.
IOM has recently completed a study on displacement dynamics in Afghanistan, focusing on the movement intentions, needs and vulnerabilities of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The study, funded by the Federal Republic of Germany and conducted by Samuel Hall Consulting, covers the provinces of Herat and Helmand, which have some of the highest levels of IDP vulnerability as identified by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the 2013 Humanitarian Needs Overview Report.
We published our first Annual Report last year which provided a summary of our activities in 2013. Our latest Annual Report provides you with our activities and achievements in 2014 and outlines our strategy for 2015. We have done a lot, learnt a lot and achieved a lot. We would like you to share and be a part of our journey.
This Policy Brief, prepared with the support of UNHCR and NRC, is intended to serve as a reference guide to help all stakeholders understand what their role is in supporting the effective implementation of the Policy and to contribute towards ensuring that the rights of IDPs are protected throughout all phases of displacement. This Policy Brief will be disseminated widely and will accompany training sessions, sensitization initiatives and workshops planned for national and sub-national levels throughout 2015 to ensure that Afghanistan can live up to its commitment to protect IDPs.
This paper is based on several research studies conducted for DFID, GIZ, the World Bank, UN agencies and INGOs. The talk at the London School of Economics, part of a discussion on gender in the Middle-East, addressed key findings on women’s access to justice in Afghanistan and their consequences for state-building.
For the enthusiastic, “resilience” is a concept; for the cynical, it is a buzzword. For both, the question remains the same: how can aid actors turn it into humanitarian and development practice? According to UNDP, resilience is a “transformative process of strengthening the capacity of people, communities and countries to anticipate, manage, recover and transform from shocks”.
Part of a peace and conflict assessment, a workshop between all relevant GIZ departments enabled Samuel Hall to present initial assessment findings and dig deeper into the issues faced by donors with regards to teaching and the mining sector in Afghanistan.
This research, funded by Samuel Hall, is a first look at the situation of urban displaced youth in Kabul. It draws attention to the vulnerabilities of IDPs and deportees, while acknowledging the low levels of social and economic inclusion and integration of all (displaced) youth. Displacement has a clear impact on vulnerabilities – and migration is not accompanied by greater skill sets. How to ensure that migration can benefit development? How to reinforce the skills, potential and role of displaced youth in Afghanistan?
The findings of our evaluation for GIZ on their BEPA programme were shared with all national and international stakeholders at the Afghan Ministry of Education. Actors included government officials, donors, embassies and NGOs.
This ground-breaking study was funded by the European Union and conducted by Samuel Hall, DRC and PIN. It provides new insights into the nature, level and complexity of poverty, food security and resilience issues among urban households in Afghanistan. It compares the experiences of host communities, IDPs and returnees across the five major Afghan cities and provides evidence-based recommendations for practical action and policy reform to more effectively address urban poverty. The Kabul report launch and discussion was attended by many high-profile guests, including relevant government actors.
The present study’s first aim was to review the relevance and impact of the strategic choice made by GIZ BEPA’s to use community mobilization as a conduit for the promotion of girls’ secondary education. Its second aim was to evaluate the quality of implementation and sustainability of the programme; and finally, it will provide GIZ with practical recommendations for the improvement and potential extension of the programme.
UNMAS and the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA) are in a paradoxical situation. Successful and increasingly efficient over the past six years, the MAPA is now in a delicate position to negotiate the years to come, as it struggles to secure the yearly funding it needs to allow Afghanistan to fulfil its treaty obligations.
In a challenging Afghan environment, Cash Transfer Programmes (CTPs) have proven to be an efficient, safe, and flexible assistance tool that has delivered all or part of a response: i) in emergency or development situations; ii) across a large spectrum of activities (livelihoods, WASH, food security), and iii) in diverse geographic locations (urban and rural communities). To fuel the on-going debate, we listed for OCHA key findings and lessons learned from Samuel Hall’s most recent publications.