Afghanaid News Update Issue 21 Spring/Summer 2012

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Afghanaid works alongside poor, vulnerable and marginalised people to enhance their opportunities and capabilities. Afghanaid is a registered UK charity with a small London team. The head office resides in Kabul, Afghanistan with provincial offices in Samangan, Badakhshan and Ghor. UK Registered charity (1045348) since 1983.

A Time for Afghan-led Change

In the above photo, three women stand beneath two posters of the Ka’aba in Mecca. Their gear may look a bit out of the ordinary, but in fact it is essential for the important and often dangerous work they undertake.

Afghanistan, a land locked country, is prone to a multitude of hazards, both human-made and natural - earthquakes, floods, landslides, avalanches, and droughts. Since 1990, 5.6 million people have been directly affected by natural hazards causing $110 million in damages and losses. Afghanaid’s work helps communities and schools to strengthen their resilience against these hazards and risks.

The women above have just been trained by Afghanaid in emergency first aid, firefighting, search and rescue. They have also taken part in training to develop community management plans and to educate others in their villages about reducing the risks associated with disasters. These women represent a shift in responsibility in Afghanistan – and it is “Afghan-led”.

As international troops begin to withdraw from Afghanistan, the question of the country’s future remains in focus. Many hope that 2012 will be a year of change for Afghanistan. With a positive outcome at the Bonn Conference in December, Afghanistan looks to the world for thoughtful aid but a plan which is Afghan-led, accountable and sustainable.

From Afghanaid’s perspective, it is important to recognise and support Afghanistan’s potential by increasing engagement with Afghan people and civil society. Sensible investment and human development in the region should focus on harnessing the potential of the Afghan people.

Afghanaid’s News Update Issue 21 looks at the challenges limiting Afghanistan’s progress and draws attention to examples of Afghan achievement. In this edition Afghanistan’s athletic hopefuls talk about the London 2012 Olympic Games and we focus on two conferences – the NATO summit in Chicago and the International Economic Forum in Tokyo. The Chicago conference lists “Afghanistan operations and war policy” as a topic of discussion, while Japan has been one of the major contributors to Afghanistan’s development over the last ten years and will undoubtedly scrutinise its legacy.

It is clear that the spring and summer months will be a crucial time for Afghanistan’s development, and now more than ever, poor Afghans need your support. Share this edition and its contents with your friends and family. Help Afghanaid and rural Afghan men, women, and children to make 2012 the year of change and prosperity in Afghanistan.