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BRIEFApril 23, 2024

Supporting the People of Afghanistan


World Bank / Rumi Consultancy

Projects funded by the Afghanistan Resilience Trust Fund (ARTF) are providing urgent and essential food, livelihoods, health, water, and education services to the people of Afghanistan. In addition, projects are also supporting increasing financing for micro and small enterprises, with a focus on women’s entrepreneurship, and building NGO capacity to deliver services.

All projects are implemented off-budget and out of the interim Taliban administration’s control, through United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations. The activities are coordinated with other multilateral and bilateral funding pledges for Afghanistan.

These projects are designed to help women and girls benefit from all project activities. All projects also have internal fiduciary control and independent monitoring arrangements to ensure that funds are utilized for their intended purposes. Click here to learn more about the latest results achieved through these projects.

The Afghanistan Emergency Food Security Project aims to increase production of food crops for smallholder Afghan farmers to help prevent the further deterioration of food security. The project supports the nutritional needs of children, people with disabilities or chronic illness, and households headed by women. It provides them seeds and basic tools for backyard kitchen gardening and technical training on improved nutrition and climate-smart production practices. The project also aims to link both farmers and women involved in gardening with local markets so they can sell surpluses of wheat, vegetables, and legumes. The project also aims to increase access to irrigated water, improve soil and water conservation, and build climate resilience by supporting the rehabilitation and improvement of selected irrigation and watershed management systems over 137,000 hectares of land. The project is implemented by FAO.

The Afghanistan Community Resilience and Livelihoods Project aims to provide livelihood and income opportunities for one million households in 6,450 rural communities across Afghanistan and in the cities of Bamyan, Herat, Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar, Khost, Kunduz, and Mazar-e-Sharif. In addition, an estimated 9.3 million Afghans in the same areas will benefit from basic utilities and services such as clean water, sanitation, and rehabilitated roads. Women and vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities and internally displaced people, will receive special assistance. The project takes a bottom-up approach through the Community Development Councils (CDCs) that have provided services to communities for over 18 years. In addition, by engaging local private sector contractors in the cities, the project will help preserve the local civil works implementation capacity that has been gradually developed over the past two decades. Activities are coordinated with the United Nations’ ‘ABADEI’ Programme. The project is implemented by UNOPS.

The Afghanistan Health Emergency Response Project supports women’s and children’s continued access to basic health services by delivering basic health and nutrition services in partnership with national and international service providers in more than 2,300 health facilities nationwide. The project aims to fully immunize 2 million children and enable 1.2 million women to give birth at health facilities. The project also aims to enhance nutrition services at both community and health facilities. The project is implemented by UNICEF and WHO.

The Education Emergency Response in Afghanistan (EERA) Project aims to increase girls’ and boys’ access to education and improve learning conditions throughout Afghanistan. It focuses on reaching out-of-school children, including adolescent girls, through a combination of community-based education and innovative approaches to provide learning options for secondary-level girls who are out of school. The project also supports students in primary public schools by providing teaching and learning materials and by constructing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities and boundary walls in schools, which are key to enabling girls’ participation in school. The project is implemented by UNICEF.

The Afghanistan Water Emergency Relief Project (WERP) aims to improve access to safe drinking water and irrigation water services for 1.2 million people in rural Afghanistan, including women and girls. This project is leveraging existing community-led institutions to restore access to vital drinking water and surface water irrigation services in some of the rural communities most affected by the ongoing drought. The project prioritizes 16 drought-affected provinces covering approximately 120 districts that face severe constraints to access safe water and sanitation facilities. The project is implemented by Aga Khan Foundation USA and UNOPS.

Empowering Microfinance and Enterprises for Resilience and Growth (EMERGe) Project aims to help revive microfinance providers in Afghanistan so they can provide new financing to micro and small enterprises. The project will also provide business development services that focus on building a pipeline of bankable micro and small enterprises and enterprises that proactively create jobs for women. These services will help women-led small businesses transition from informal savings groups to formal credit channels. The project will also establish a Credit Viability Fund to help these enterprises access formal financial channels. The project is implemented by the Aga Khan Foundation-Afghanistan and the Afghan Credit Guarantee Foundation. 

The NGO/CSO Capacity Support Project recognizes the important cross-cutting role that the non-governmental and civil society organizations (NGOs and CSOs) are undertaking to deliver basic services across Afghanistan and works to enhance the capacities of select registered organizations to improve their performance and effectiveness.  The project is implemented by UNDP.

Responding to the Earthquakes in Herat in 2023

The World Bank and ARTF were able to respond quickly to the devastating earthquakes in Herat in October 2023 because the projects under Approach 2.0 were designed to be nationwide. The health, food security, and community resilience projects operate in the affected districts and were able to quickly address needs and deliver basic services.

  • The Health Emergency Response Project provided basic health and nutrition services to over 30 basic health facilities in Herat province. The immediate response supported Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams and tents for distribution of emergency items.
  • The Emergency Food Security Project covers four quake-affected districts in Herat.
  • The Community Resilience and Livelihoods Project works across 122 communities in the Herat districts of Zindajan and Kohsan. The project immediately provided cash for work for 500 people to remove rubble and help their communities and provided food for work. The project provides labor intensive work in 8 cities, including Herat.

The World Bank’s Afghanistan Futures the program of research, monitoring, and analytical reports has contributed to analytics for the earthquake response and future preparedness. Working closely with the UN, ADB and EU, the Bank supported a comprehensive post-disaster needs assessment. The analysis assesses direct physical damage of up to $217 million and losses at almost $80 million. The assessment underscores the urgent need for just over $400 million to support critical recovery and reconstruction efforts in the province.