Afghanistan has experienced three decades of internal conflict which has seriously affected its socio-economical infrastructure, causing wide scale displacement of people both within and outside the country accompanied by widespread poverty. The cumulative impacts of the conflict and its aftermath have deprived many people access to basic facilities like water, electricity and basic health care. Besides the effects of these man-made disasters, the frequent occurrence of natural disasters which in most cases leads to loss of life and damage to infrastructure thus doubles the challenges for the people in Afghanistan. Discrimination among different ethnic groups and the plethora of gender related issues are other consequences of the ongoing conflict in the country.
In this unstable situation, the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), the only indigenous, nationwide humanitarian organization in Afghanistan since its establishment in 1934, has provided assistance to the most vulnerable communities, through its 34 branches spread across all provinces of the country, and its active volunteers and members. However, the ARCS, which was quite self-sufficient earlier, also suffered severe damage to its socio-economic and functional infrastructure as a result of many years of conflict and political upheaval. The current sociopolitical change process and the move towards the restoration of peace in the country have had a positive effect on the national society.
It is in this context that the ARCS programme support plan for 2010-2011 has been developed to provide need-based services to the most vulnerable communities in the country. The four programmes of disaster management (DM), health and care, organisational development and principles and values are aligned with the 4 Global Agenda goals and will be implemented in close collaboration with key government ministries, concerned UN agencies, and partners within the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
The ARCS strategic disaster management plan is linked with the government national disaster management plan (NDMP) and the regional and Global Agenda goal one (reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters).
The programme will be implemented in line with the International Federation's Global Alliance on disaster risk reduction and commitment to the priorities outlined in the Hyogo Framework for Action, the Regional 'Building Safer Communities' concept and the Millennium Development Goals.
Under the health and care programme, the ARCS has been providing health facilities to vulnerable communities through its basic health centres, comprehensive community-based health intervention, emergency medical units, community-based first aid initiatives, HIV/AIDS prevention project and the Marastoon (social welfare) project. The overall goal of the programme is linked with the International Federation Global Agenda goal two (reduce the number of deaths, illness and impact from disasters and health emergencies).
The organizational development programme seeks to enable the ARCS towards becoming a well-functioning national society and increasing its institutional capacity by developing its human resources, financial systems, branches, legal base and management systems for its youth, volunteers and members. This would help the national society to provide effective and efficient services to vulnerable communities thereby contributing towards Global Agenda goal three (increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability).
The principles and values programme aims to address discrimination and stigma in targeted communities; thereby contributing towards Global Agenda goal four (promote respect for diversity and human dignity, and reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion).
Support would be channelled through the harmonized operational plan which was developed in a participatory way. The first harmonized plan was developed in April-June 2008 through close consultation and coordination with the ARCS headquarter departments and branches, the International Federation and International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) programmes and with back up support from the Asia Pacific zone office. This process was to harmonize support towards the ARCS five year strategic plan in order to achieve the set objectives of the plan.
This plans, over two years aims to target 4,586,000 people directly in some of the most marginalised communities.
The budget for 2010 is CHF 5,697,907 (USD 5.52 million or EUR 3.74 million) and the budget for 2011 is CHF 5,568,013 (USD 1.66 million or EUR 1.13 million).