Summary of the National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment 2007/8 - A profile of Afghanistan

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Kabul, October 2009 - Nearly every second Afghan citizen is under 15 years of age - in numbers: 12 million or 49 percent of the population. Also, more than one out of three Afghans - some 9 million people or 36 percent of the population - lives in absolute poverty and cannot meet his or her basic needs. On the positive side, the proportion of primary-school age children that is attending school has increased from only 37 to 52 percent in just over two years time. These are only a few of the numerous figures of the National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA) 2007/8 conducted by the Central Statistics Organization (CSO) and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The assessment is based on statistical data collected during a one-year period from August 2007 through August 2008 - making it the most extensive statistical venture of its kind in Afghanistan. 156 enumerators were involved, male and female interviewers travelled to 395 districts in 34 provinces, collected data from more than 20.000 households with over 152,000 Afghan citizens.

Afghanistan is facing fundamental economic and social change. To measure progress in social and economic development, as well as in poverty reduction, it is imperative that the Government of Afghanistan has access to information on the social and economic situation of the population. This information will serve to assist the government in adapting policy to changing socio-economic conditions, and allow it to monitor the impact of such policies on the more vulnerable groups in the country and on the country as a whole.

The NRVA as it stands today is the only comprehensive nation-wide multi-purpose household survey in Afghanistan, enabling a large amount of cross-section analysis. The present 2007/8 NRVA is the third of three successive rounds of surveys, following NRVA 2003 and 2005. The NRVA 2003 survey was carried out with co-operation of the World Food Programme (WFP) and supported by the Vulnerability Analysis Unit (VAU) of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. The second NRVA survey was launched in 2005, with CSO and MRRD as the implementing agencies. The NRVA 2005 was a significant improvement in terms of sample design and coverage.

As a follow-up to the first two surveys, the third NRVA survey was launched in 2007, jointly by MRRD and CSO, and with co-operation and funding from the European Commission. The NRVA 2007/8 was based on a smaller sample of 20,576 households, but with further improvements in the questionnaire, sample design and coverage. It was designed to provide the government and other agencies with more robust and up-to-date socio-economic data.

This brochure provides a summarized overview to the National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment 2007/8. It collects several important findings and delivers some background information. It also helps to interpret complicated contexts - but it does not claim to cover all facts and data, which are collected and compiled in the NRVA 2007/8 main report. The individual reader with certain fields of interests and requests is advised to look for more information in the specific chapters of this report and in the large amount of predefined tables on the website of CSO '' to serve the more advanced user. The assessment has 12 chapters, which cover the fields: population structure and change, labour force characteristics, agriculture, poverty, education, health, housing, position of women, household shocks and community preferences and recommendations.