1. KHOST & PAKTIKA UPDATE
Accountability to affected populations is critical during humanitarian response efforts in order to ensure assistance is meeting the needs, the affected populations have mechanisms to provide feedback, and for organizations to better understand the situation, in order to design and adjust interventions. In Khost and Paktika, UNCHR undertook a number of different options to support refugee leadership including the establishment of refugee representative groups, women’s groups and focus group discussions.
These groups have proved to be invaluable and UNHCR was able to consult these groups on a range of issues. For example, with the reduced availability of food the refugee representatives decided it would be better for every family to get a smaller amount than for a few families to get a larger amount. The Women’s Coordination Group which includes service providers, teachers, female staff from the clinic in Gulan camp and female refugee representatives have helped UNHCR and other organizations access women, provide services and learn about gaps. Both the women’s coordination gaps and refugee representatives have raised the importance of education and schooling for children, particularly the adolescent children. In addition, UNHCR conducts regular consultations on potential assistance in the camp as well as protection interventions like registration, complaint mechanisms and intention of return.
A refugee committee has also been established outside the camp to help advocate for interventions in the community. This group is helping UNHCR design livelihood interventions by providing information on their ideas as well as skills that their group currently have. Not only is this an important channel to deliver better assistance, but it helps reduce tensions as refugees have a mechanism to raise their concerns while it empowers them in the decision-making process.