Background and objectives:
Over two decades of civil war created millions of refugees and IDPs. Since March 2002, more than four million refugees have been repatriated to Afghanistan. Many of these returned to urban centres – particularly Kabul – in search of a better future. The returnees and IDPs faced limited access to adequate land, housing and tenure security, as well as big challenges in finding adequate employment. Without any other viable options, most of the returnees and IDPs, the majority of whom are landless and do not own property, settled in informal settlements, estimated to accommodate about 70 per cent of Kabul’s population, and perhaps 50 per cent of the population of other large cities. The goals of the project are to contribute to the sustainable return and reintegration of Afghan returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are otherwise impeded due to lack of institutional mechanism for participation, lack of investment in infrastructure, limited capital for meeting shelter needs and a lack of policy, planning and legislative instruments.
Specific objectives were:
- To improve access to services and shelter for the most vulnerable
- To ensure participatory planning and build a positive relationship with Kabul Municipality
- To improve the capacity of Afghan authorities - mainly MoUD and Kabul Municipality- in order to promote the provision of sustainable livelihoods and safe return.
The main activities included:
- Formulating an urban policy framework in conjunction with the Afghan National Development Strategy;
- City profiling and strategic municipal action planning (MAP).
- Identifying settlements in Kabul and establishing neighbourhood-level CDCs;
- Selecting beneficiaries for the provision of housing grants to enable housing reconstruction;
- Preparing Community Action Plans (CAPs);
- Implementing projects identified in CAPs and monitoring.
The results achieved were:
- Upgraded infrastructures – over 53 km of roads paved, over 2km of sidewalks paved, over 300 m of steps constructed, over 57.7 km of roadside drains build, and 182 box culverts constructed.
- Generated over 153,000 person-day of employment through the urban area upgrading project.
- Implemented 20 women’s projects, including training courses in tailoring, weaving, and computer skills. 1,252 women were provided trainings.
- Benefited 814 households through the shelter improvement project.
- Prepared City Profiles and Strategic Municipal Action Planning (SMAP) in Kandahar, Jalalabad, Mazar, Herat, and Farah.
- Supported MoUD by drafting Urban Sector Strategy document, Housing Strategy, and proving technical support to the municipal law development task force.
- Conducted several rounds of training for both project field staff and focal persons of municipality and MoUD.