Afghanistan: Sustainable Livelihood and Environment
The main sources of livelihood for Afghans are agriculture and herding. But profit in this sector is very low, applied technologies old fashioned and the expert knowledge of local farmers limited. Extensive farming drains the soil of its nutrients and moisture, which leads to lower yields, forcing the farmers to cultivate larger and larger expanses of land. This leads to disruption of natural vegetation and exposes the soil to higher risk of erosion from the rain and the wind.
People from remote localities are often stuck in a vicious circle of unsustainable farming practices. Often they cannot even grow enough products to feed their own family, which forces them to either cultivate more soil or to give up their livelihood and move to the town or city.
This is why People in Need concentrates on introducing sustainable farming practices in remote communities. We introduce the locals to new crop or plant variety and demonstrate improved farming techniques and various measures for economical management of natural resources.
We also support local farmers in processing their production, expanding the value chain and diversifying income. This way we help communities to escape the confines of primary agricultural production, thus ultimately contributing to general economic growth.
Support of agricultural production and sustainable management of natural sources
We also support the farmers’ additional money-making activities of such as beekeeping, orchard planting, oil pressing or carpet weaving. This way we support the diversification of income and the resilience of the households.
As well as supporting individuals under our programme directed at sustainable management of natural sources, our wider focus includes working with entire communities. In cooperation with relevant committees, we support community projects in different localities aimed at lowering the risks related with natural sources such as woods and pastures.
People in Need stresses disaster prevention, but is usually very difficult to recognize in time that a disaster is approaching. Unlike earthquakes, floods or drought which are very frequent occurrences in the area are very difficult to anticipate in its first phase. PIN therefore monitors certain indicators which should warn of a problem in time.
The objective of such monitoring is the early detection of a forthcoming crisis ,because early intervention is more effective and makes more sense. The programme therefore included schooling of the local public in prevention and chiefly mitigation of such disasters. Combination with development programmes, mainly in the field of nutrition and sustainable management of local resources, magnifies the benefits of this programme.
Improvement of access to drinking water
People in Need primarily concentrated on the quality of drinking water sources which is the basic prerequisite for further usability. We helped farmers to build the water distribution system, water supply lines, new wells, and water containers which in many areas represent the only water source for more than a half of the year.
It is mainly in these areas, where the only source of drinking water is rainwater, that it is particularly essential to work with the subsequent users of this water. Therefore, training of local public focused on retention and further processing of water and food, personal hygiene and sanitation is integral to the whole programme.
A very interesting technological advance in the last years represent bio-sand filters which, after proper user training, achieve promising results not only in the People in Need programme. PIN has used them in new projects continually since 2010.