The Danish NGO DACAAR (Danish Committee for Aid to Afghans Refugees) celebrates its 30th Anniversary for its work with development and relief in Afghanistan. This will be marked on Friday 14 November in Copenhagen at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Danish NGO DACAAR (Danish Committee for Aid to Afghans Refugees) celebrates 30th anniversary for its work with development and relief in Afghanistan. This will be marked on Friday 14 November in Copenhagen at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The anniversary is held at a time when international development assistance to Afghanistan is under pressure. International forces are in the process of withdrawing and will soon leave the full responsibility for the country’s stability to Afghan security forces. The political situation is still fragile after the presidential elections and many areas of Afghanistan are under the control of armed opposition groups.

”At this point, it is crucial that Afghanistan is not forgotten by the international community – even though the world is currently facing a number of crises. We must not leave Afghanistan alone and risk losing important progress. Afghanistan’s future stability will depend on the continued support from the international community to the Afghan population and government,” says DACAAR Programme Coordinator, Andrea Karner.

At a moment in which the international engagement in Afghanistan is declining, there is a need to focus on locally anchored development with a long-term perspective.

“Local Afghan ownership has been a cornerstone in DACAAR’s work through 30 years. We believe that this is the only way to achieve sustainable results and long-term development. In the present security environment, working through local communities is completely necessary. In many districts, we would simply not be able to implement projects if we did not have a solid local foundation,” says DACAAR Director John Morse.

36 % of the Afghan population lives below the poverty line and 20% lives just above. Many Afghans do not have access to safe drinking water and proper sanitary facilities. This adversely affects public health and results in a low average life expectancy of approx. 60 years. Food insecurity is a major problem, unemployment is widespread and there is still a long way to go in terms of securing women’s rights.

”At present there is a huge need for development in Afghanistan, including in some of our core areas of intervention: Women empowerment, strengthening local capacity, and support to returned refugees and internally displaced persons. Through our activities in the areas of natural resource management and development of small scale enterprises, we work to create growth and employment, especially in poor rural areas. In addition, there is an urgent need for the provision of safe drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, including among refugees and IDPs. These remain key priorities for DACAAR,” says Andrea Karner.

At DACAAR’s anniversary reception on 14 November in Copenhagen, the organisation will present examples of its locally anchored development work and together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs facilitate a dialogue on how to continue supporting development in Afghanistan over the coming years.