Last winter, more than 1,000 Afghans died as a result of food shortages and extreme weather conditions. The winter's additional massive loss of livestock combined with severe drought during the summer months and rising food and fuel prices have all contributed to an alarming situation leading up to the coming winter.
Using unskilled labour from approximately 200 villages, DACAAR will implement four road rehabilitation and five irrigation canal cleaning projects. The labourers will be selected among vulnerable groups such as landless people, farmers who experienced severe crop failure in the 2008 harvest season, families with no other sources of income, returnees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Extremely vulnerable groups - such as families headed by women, the elderly or disabled - will benefit from the project without having to contribute physical labour.
The communities in Qadis district have been active in both planning suitable infrastructure projects and identifying needy families to benefit from the 'Cash for Work' project.
"For DACAAR, a participatory approach is the key to local ownership and long-term sustainability", said Mohammad Asif, DACAAR's Rural Development Programme Manager. "Repairs to irrigation channels will help reduce the impact of drought on agricultural production, whilst better roads will improve access to markets and help increase trade. This in turn will enable communities to better prepare for potential future food shortages".
DACAAR's 'Cash for Work' project began in October 2008 and will continue for four months. The funding provided by the European Commission amounts to 843,393 Euros (52,381,507 Afghani).
Through its short and long-term projects, and with the active participation of recipient communities, DACAAR has brought development to rural areas in 27 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.
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