Afghanistan: Life-saving water & sanitation project launched in vulnerable Central Provinces

Afghanistan -- On 1 June 2007, Medair began a project that will provide sanitation facilities and access to clean water for 1,200 families (8,500 people) in the remote Wardak and Bamyan provinces of Afghanistan.

This project will have a dramatic impact on the local population, who have few roads, very poor access to health care and almost no infrastructure.

Medair has received US$600,000 from ECHO (Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission) to build and improve 50 shallow wells and 50 protected springs in the Second Behsud district of Wardak province, and in the Waras district of Bamyan province. Medair will also build 300 latrines, 150 bathrooms, and teach hygiene promotion.

"According to villagers in both provinces, each person suffers from bloody diarrhoea at least twice each summer. Approximately 75 percent of women suffer from urinary tract infections, and one of the reasons is because they don't drink enough so that they can avoid going to the toilet, as there are no facilities," 1 said Torsten Zellmer, Medair WatSan Manager.

"We are delighted to be able to offer clean water and improve the health of people in this forgotten area, especially by training the communities in hygiene awareness. We hope that by providing these life-saving facilities and training, the increased quality of life will encourage families to stay in the region."

Medair's activities in Afghanistan are supported with the assistance of USAID, ECHO (Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission), People in Need, and MCC/CFGB. However, Medair's life-saving activities are also dependent upon private financial donation. To contribute to this work, please visit

As well as water & sanitation, Medair also provides essential health care to the people of Raghistan, Yawan, and Kohistan districts through four permanent clinics and over 40 health posts. Medair health professionals also train local clinic staff in basic emergency obstetric care, and surgery in primitive conditions.

Founded in 1988, Medair is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) independent of any political, economic, social or religious authority. Its international headquarters are based in Switzerland. Its mission is exclusively humanitarian and it accomplishes its work in a spirit of dedication and solidarity, inspired by its Christian values.

Medair's objectives are to respond to suffering victims in war and disaster situations (especially those which have been forgotten or neglected) through various kinds of emergency and rehabilitative projects.

Medair employs 50 people in Switzerland, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Holland. In the field, 120 full-time expatriates help populations in difficulty, with the support of 1600 local employees.

The organisation is certified ISO 9001 at world wide level for its quality management system.