|Country Name||Islamic Republic of Afghanistan|
|Population||28.6 million people (2015-‘16 estimate, 2014-’15 Central Statistics Organization, Afghanistan Statistical Yearbook)|
|Demographics||Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek and so forth|
|Languages||Dari, Pashto (Both official languages), Hazara, Tajik and so forth|
|Religions||Islam (Most of them are from the Sunni branch, but Hazara are from the Shia branch)|
Afghanistan carries a very high mortality rate among children under five with 97 in 1,000*, which is the 16th worst figure in the world. As for infants under
one year of age, although improvements can be seen year by year, 70 babies in 1,000** are still dying and this figure is still high.
In addition to delays in the maintenance of the water and sanitation environment, the development of obstetrics and gynecology facilities is laggingbehind. The local governments and hospitals are suffering from lack of budget and the maintenance of life-saving medical equipment for infants and pregnant women is delaying. JEN has been providing much-needed hospital facilities and monitoring their usage in addition to carrying out necessary training for doctors and birth attendants in order to improve the medical environment surrounding the newborn, infants and pregnant women.
JEN continues to provide hygiene training to teachers and mullahs to create a mechanism where they can spread the knowledge to the school children and community members. Moreover, we are making an attempt to deepen the local people’s understanding of the knowledge by showing hygiene education movies in the target schools and in the surrounding communities.
On October 26th 2015, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck northeastern and central Afghanistan. JEN has been conducting a primary research from November 4th 2015 at 4 prefectures that are close to the seismic center. Based on investigations by the local government, local NGOs and sufferers, we have decided to provide emergency assistance in the Badakhshan province, the center of the shock. The damage was most severe in this province, where 4,348 houses were destroyed by the earthquake. During winter time, the temperature sometimes drops to minus 10 degrees Celsius in the Kishim district, where JEN has provided support. Due to the cold weather, temporary tents were not strong enough to provide a satisfactory living environment. In addition, it requires time to repair destroyed houses. Even for the households that managed to escape total destruction, daily necessities such as beddings, clothes and utensils have suffered damage. To help those suffering with stand the winter, JEN distributed stoves, firewood and charcoal to four affected villages from early December 2015 to early February 2016. The villages comprise 625 households.
In May 2014, 97 northern districts of Afghanistan were hit by floods and subsequent landslides. In mid-May, JEN distributed relief supplies such as hygiene kits, baby formula, baby bottles, hand soap, and plastic containers to the 850 households in the Argo district of Badakhshan province where it was estimated that at least 503 people were killed due to one landslide. To make matters worse, continuous heavy rains in June brought more damages of floods and landslides and as a result, more than 65,000 people living in 27 provinces centering around the northern areas of Afghanistan were killed. JEN responded by conducting emergency assistance from early July to early October, including distribution of relief supplies and infrastructure improvement such as construction of a defense wall against floods towards approximately 57,000 households in Bagram province where one of the worst-hit areas among northern areas of Afghanistan.
In recent years, Afghanistan government has been working on maintenance of water supply and sanitation systems at schools. However, there are as yet only a few schools with well-maintained facilities due to the deterioration of public safety. In addition, children in Afghanistan have little knowledge about hygiene and they are often seen suffering from diarrhea. Taking this situation into consideration, JEN has been working on the maintenance of water supply and sanitation systems, promotion of hygiene education and maintenance of facilities for the schools in all of 10 districts in Parwan state for the period of five years starting from 2011.
A large number of schools were destroyed in the long years of armed conflict. In addition to the devastation, the increase in the number of students caused by the returns of the refugees has created a shortage in the number of schools. Consequently, children were forced to attend classes outside in tents, under trees and in unsafe buildings. In order to improve the educational environment, JEN has been working on restoration of schools since 2002. From 2005 onward, JEN also built schools in the districts where no buildings were available to hold classes in. In the School Rehabilitation and Construction Project, JEN helped establish a School Management Committee consisting of local authorities, residents and teachers in 2003. The School Management Committee discusses priority issues in rehabilitation and construction, solves problems during construction work, and talks over the management and supervision of the schools after the project was successfully conducted. Through these committees, JEN aims to strengthen people’s sense of responsibility for school education, and enhances their awareness about value of education. In addition, as locals took part in the rehabilitation and reconstruction, this program promoted employment opportunities for returnees who had limited means of income.
In July 2007, our international staff had to move the operation base to Pakistan due to deterioration of public safety and they had to operate the project from afar in Pakistan. Under such a situation, in the period from 2007 to 2009, JEN constructed 4 schools: Laghmani Girls’ School and Toghberdi School in Charikar district in Parwan state, Khadejatul Kobra Girls’ School in the suburbs and Chubakhshi Rabat School in Bagram.
Due to the warfare which lasted for 30 years, sanitation infrastructure has lost its function and sanitation environment has deteriorated. Many people were forced to live in the wretched sanitation environment where infectious diseases prevailed. Since 2008, JEN carried Sanitation Environment Improvement Project consisting of hygiene education and improvement of sanitation infrastructure in addition to School Rehabilitation/Construction Project. In 2008, JEN built a well and a toilette beside the school simultaneously with the building of Laghmani Girls’ School. In 2009, JEN provided training for hygiene education to locals who were teachers, students and their parents in Toghberdi in Parwan state and other villages around there. In 2010, JEN constructed water supply and sanitation facilities for the 7 schools in Charikar district which were in the most immediate need.
In 2011, JEN performed School Hygiene Education at 42 schools in Sayed Khel district and Salang district in Parwan state. JEN maintained the sanitation environment at 14 schools of those schools which could not receive any support from other organizations. 8 out of the 14 schools had very poor learning environment, so JEN also repaired their school facilities. When carrying the projects, JEN encouraged local residents and communities to work with JEN, hoping that they will be able to lead independent lives on their own after the projects.
One of the biggest problems Afghanistan faces is the shortage of safe drinking water, which is an absolute necessity. According to a report by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation & Development, 15 million out of 19 million farmers do not have access to safe drinking water. Additionally, infant mortality rate under the age of five in Afghanistan is 25%, which is much higher than that of neighboring countries, which is about 10%. About half of such deaths are due to unsafe drinking water. In Parwan Province, located in the north of Kabul, the quality of the water has severely deteriorated, and a recent increase in the population has also caused a water shortage. As a result, chronic diseases caused by unsafe water have become a serious problem in the province, including the provincial capital of Charikar.
To address this issue, JEN is working to supply safe drinking water in Parwan Province, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and cooperating with the Parwan government and other international organizations. In three priority regions in Parwan and the provincial capital of Charikar, JEN is building and repairing a water supply system in order to improve sanitation. JEN is building and repairing pipelines for supplying safe drinking water, cleaning and repairing underground canals and holding workshops to teach the locals about basic sanitation.
In Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, refugees have returned in great numbers, They account for roughly half of all the returning refugees in Afghanistan.
In particular, a place called Carte Sakhi in Kabul's number 3 area was the site of many battles during the past civil war. Most of the citizens who lived in this hilly area had to evacuate and were thus deprived of any and all educational opportunities during this period of time.
Numerous refugee families now lack stable occupations, working miscellaneous day jobs or creating artwork to sell for a living. Most of them are living in severe circumstances due to their low incomes.
To address this pressing issue, JEN started the literacy education project in this area from Jan 2006. Presently, 162 students (6 classes) have been learning how to read and perform basic calculations.
This education will give students the opportunity to improve their economic situations., Additionally, the project aims to empower women, whose educational prospects are limited by the society they live in.
Although there are small wells and canals in the villages of Charikar in Parwan Province, many years of drought have caused severe water shortages.
Presently, the quality of water is also poor, with devastating effects on the health and living conditions of the locals, who often die of diarrhea. In 2005, JEN initiated the Well-Digging Project in the farmlands of Charikar to improve living conditions by providing access to clean water.
A committee consisting of JEN, the local government, and local leaders was established for the purpose of well supervision and maintenance. This committee is responsible for the implementation of the project; they decide the locations for well-digging and the next course of action when water pumps malfunction. The committee also oversees the maintenance and supervision of the wells once a particular project begins, in particular, it is responsible for determining how to subsidize any fees. The overarching purpose of this committee is to establish a management system for the wells when the project is completed. The Well-Digging Project aims to raise locals` awareness of the value of participating in social activities that lead to a healthy living environment.
Due to devastation from the civil war and uninhabitable living conditions, many returnees have lost their homes and are living with relatives. Some of them are trying to restart their lives in difficult conditions, renting from relatives spaces as small as 8 square meters for families of 10. Since 2002, in the area of Charikar in Parwan Province, JEN has been assisting Afghan returnees who have difficulties reconstructing their homes by themselves, such as women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Target populations for our projects are selected in cooperation with a committee comprised of local residents and the local government. JEN provides a portion of the building materials and technical advice for construction. In 2002, to aid in the reconstruction, JEN trained engineers, manufactured building materials, and offered trainings in wood processing in collaboration with local NGOs. However, JEN also encouraged self-reliance in all returnees. Returnees procured their own sun-dried bricks and any other materials that they could obtain without outside help, and they performed the actual reconstruction themselves.
JEN constructed a 17km long road and two bridges in Ashaba, Parwan Province. Local people worked on the construction, receiving food from WFP (World Food Programme) as compensation for their labor. They constructed roads and bridges to 26 villages in mountainous regions, where aid had been difficult to reach. The new infrastructure allowed villagers to move and transport goods with greater, ease and it greatly improved schoolchildrens` commute to school.
In an area in Kabul where many Hazara (an ethnic minority) people live, JEN trained women in traditional carpet weaving and offered literacy classes in collaboration with local NGOs. This was a project for socially vulnerable women: returnees, widowed, elderly, and disabled women. We also organized management trainings in order to train women leaders to implement and continue these activities in the future.
Three NGOs collaborated to organize donations for Education Assistance in Afghanistan. These donations made it possible for JEN to renovate schools in Charikar, Parwan Province. Many people from local schools and communities actively participated in the renovation, and they continue to supervise and manage the schools.
JEN distributed 3,000 blankets for victims of the earthquake that occurred in Bagran Province in March 2002. In order to give earthquake victims access to safe water, we also carried out well digging in the new locations where victims resettled.
In Kabul, JEN made and distributed packages of essential goods for returnees who had returned without any of their possessions. In order to distribute as many items to as many people in need, JEN prepared two kinds of packages for families with women or elderly heads of household, one with daily necessities and another with kitchen utensils.
In January 2002, we distributed pencils and notebooks to 2,300 students (1,700 girls) at schools in East Kabul. Through this activity, we supported female students who have not had any educational opportunities for the past 5 years. In May 2005, we also distributed stationery--notebooks and color pencils--donated from Japan to 4 kindergartens in Parwan Province.
In the winter of 2001, JEN assisted IDPs who were trying to survive a harsh winter. We distributed blankets, kitchen utensils, buckets, and heaters. In the following winter in 2002, we also sent 2,000 packages of jackets and socks for children, and 918 sets of daily necessities such as cooking utensils.
JEN opened two offices in Peshawar and Islamabad in October 2001 to execute emergency winter assistance in Afghan refugee camps along the border of the North West Frontier Province. In April 2003, given that the majority of refugees began to return home, JEN ended the project and withdrew from Pakistan.
JEN distributed 20,000 blankets, which were provided by the Association of Japanese Agencies for Supporting Africa (AJASA), to Afghan refugees who were living in harsh environments. The blankets were used in a variety of ways, such as jackets, rugs, and bags for carrying items. It was useful not only in refugee camps, but also upon return to their homelands.
We distributed necessary supplies for refugees in the camps so that they could live through the severe winter. 12,000 winter jackets were provided from Fast Retailing Co.; blankets, mats, winter jackets, and daily necessities such as plates, buckets, and heaters were also distributed.