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.
ASI/MoMP – Shaping Afghanistan’s Natural Resources Strategy
This study aims to provide the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) with a robust set of citizen and organisational feedback to refine its natural resources vision, the Extractive Industry Development Framework (EIDF), and strategic planning process. The main objectives of the National Stakeholder Engagement are to map stakeholders’ expectations and perceptions regarding the natural resources sector development, involve the stakeholders in the development of Afghanistan’s natural resources vision by collecting their views on what should be the government’s priorities to develop the sector and the EIDF, and to ensure buy-in from a broad range of stakeholders and foster collective national ownership to guarantee continuity beyond electoral cycles.
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.
UNICEF – Social Protection System: An Afghan Case Study
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/STUDY ON MIGRATION DYNAMICS
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.
SH Annual Report 2014
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.
MoRR/UNHCR/NRC – Afghanistan National IDP Policy Brief
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.
Conference / Gender & Justice in Afghanistan
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.