UNICEF Humanitarian Action: Afghanistan Donor Alert 17 Mar 2003

Afghanistan continues to face challenges in advancing the transitional process and continues to face humanitarian crises due to insecurity, political instabilities and natural disasters. Areas of the country are still influenced by the warlord system. Fighting periodically breaks out in some areas disrupting programme implementation. Coalition activity continues against Taliban or terrorist groups restricting access to these often under-served areas. The effects of the prolonged drought are still felt in many parts of the country.

Overall, the year 2002 represented a significant milestone in Afghanistan's history. The collapse of the Taliban regime and subsequent Bonn Agreement in December 2001 led to the formation of the Afghanistan Transitional Administration (ATA). The successful process of the Loya Jirga (the grand council) with representatives, both female and male, from all districts of the country resulted in the inauguration of the Afghanistan Transitional Authority in June. Elections are planned for 2004. Underlying this political progress is still insecurity and political instability.

The year 2002 witnessed a large-scale returns of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees /returnees. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over one million people currently remain displaced by conflict and drought in Afghanistan Also, 1.8 million refugees returned from neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan and Iran, straining the overburdened capacities of social services. With half of the population under the age of 18 years, the conflict has left a long-term impact on both the mental and physical wellbeing of children. The number of IDPs at the end of 2002 was estimated at 700,000, with an additional 450,000 expected to return to their homes during 2003.

Physical devastation and landmine/unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination pose many dangers. Years of war have left 732 sq. km of known mined area, 500 sq. km of UXO contaminated battle area, 200,000 survivors of mine/UXO accidents and 150-300 mine victims/month (UN Mine Action Center Afghanistan (MACA) database, 2002). UNICEF continues to support the UN Mine Action Center Afghanistan and partners to implement mine risk education through available media channels, schools, IDP camps and the entry points of the returnees.

The number of implementing humanitarian organisations dramatically increased. Over the year, many NGOs returned from external bases in Pakistan and neighbouring countries. Many new organisations began operations for the first time. However, many areas, especially those with poor access, extremely poor living conditions and insecurity, remain under-served. This places additional constraints and high operational costs for programme implementation in areas with most needs but limited access to services.

The ATA has been increasingly taking on its role as a legitimate government despite the various government ministries still being in the process of defining their role and responsibilities. Some key improvements have been achieved, such as the massive process of standardising the currency. The ATA completed a draft National Development Framework (NDF) and Budget (NDB). The NDF defines the priorities for the existing and forthcoming financial year and emphasizes the importance of increasing access to basic social services as a key instrument in poverty reduction. Reduction of maternal and child mortality, reduction of malnutrition, increased access to primary education, prevalence of the rule of law, good governance and gender equity are among the priorities set in the National Development Framework. Sector strategic plans are being developed in Education, Health, Social Affairs, Labour, Justice and Water and Sanitation, with UNICEF support.

The continuing needs of the Afghan people required a new appeal for the period January 2003 to March 2004. The Transitional Assistance Programme for Afghanistan (TAPA) lays out the actions of UNICEF and other partners in support of the Government that are necessary to meet the persistent humanitarian crisis faced by the country.



  • 1 million families, including those affected by the prolonged drought, received winter emergency supplies of blankets, children's winter clothing, socks and shoes.

  • 3 million children went back to school with 70,000 primary and secondary teachers following the "Back-to-School" (BTS) campaign in early 2002, with a notable increase in girls enrolment (5% of total enrolment in 2001 to 30% in 2002). Learning and teaching materials, including the University of Nebraska-Omaha textbooks have been delivered to 2.98 million children and 60,000 teachers, along with the installation of 8,500 classroom tents.

  • A total of 101 schools have been rehabilitated for approximately 337,000 students. Another 345 schools received adequate sanitation facilities and 1,050 gained access to safe water, with hygiene education.

  • Successful national polio and measles immunization campaigns achieved their targets of 6 million and 10 million children respectively. Also, five million children received Vitamin A during the polio immunization campaigns.

  • A total of 320,000 children and women were provided with supplementary food (UNIMIX and oil).

  • About 1 million people who are at risk of developing scurvy continue to be supplemented with Vitamin C in Ghor, Farah, Herat, Faryab, Bamyan, and Badakhshan provinces throughout the winter.

  • Policies and procedures have been established for the reduction of maternal mortality (1,600 per 100,000 live births), with initial investment in emergency obstetric care services and the midwife training programme.

  • Over 1 million people gained access to safe water, especially in the areas affected by the drought and in IDP camps.

  • Supplementary food, safe water and sanitation facilities, and health care facilities have been made available to about 200,000 people in IDP camps.

  • Mine risk education reached an estimated 60% of the Afghan population through radio, TV and mine risk education quick impact programmes, including 3,200 schools targeted as part of the "Back-to-School" campaign. Together with radio and TV programmes, 40,000 posters and 20,000 cloth screens were distributed to more than 2,000 schools and major "encashment centres" for returning refugees to increase awareness of the danger of mines and UXO.

  • A pilot initiative of "child friendly spaces" was established in Herat, where over 2,700 IDP children were provided access to basic education and recreational activities and 8,480 women given psychosocial counseling, over 1,000 out of school youth attended literacy classes, and 80 teachers and project personnel trained on conflict resolution and peace education.

  • Support to Programme Secretariats (for Education and Health and Nutrition) throughout the year assisted the Afghan Government to direct their planning and policy development according to the needs and demand of Afghan population.

  • Ground work, including needs assessment, has been done in various areas of child protection, including juvenile justice, the reintegration of children and young people in need of special protection, and psychosocial support approach for Afghan children and their families.

  • Ground work including salt situation analysis and awareness raising has been done in preparation for universal salt iodization.

UNICEF received over US$ 155 million from 24 governments and 30 National Committees for UNICEF, out of the US$ 192 million appealed for under the Immediate and Transitional Assistance Programme for the Afghan People 2002 (ITAP) during October 2001 through December 2002. UNICEF greatly appreciates the generous and flexible contributions of donors which has enabled it to improve the welfare of Afghan children and women. The following donors contributed to the UNICEF segment of the ITAP:

Government: Japan, UK, USA, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Norway, ECHO, France, Kuwait, Ireland, Brunei Darussalam, Austria, New Zealand, Poland, Luxembourg, AGFUND, Andorra.

National Committees: Japan, Germany, USA, UK, France, Canada, Italy, Spain, Austria, The Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Ireland, Finland, Switzerland, Korea, Slovenia, Belgium, Hong Kong, Sweden, Greek/Hellenic Committee, Norway, Luxembourg, Portugal, New Zealand, Hungary, Czech Republic, Andorra, San Marino.


In January - February 2003, UNICEF Afghanistan started the country programme of cooperation for 2003-2005 with the Afghanistan Transitional Authority. The programme plans of action for 2003 were also planned within the framework of the the Transitional Assistance Programme for Afghanistan (TAPA). The following major progress has been made to date:

Winter Teacher Training

The Ministry of Education took advantage of the window of opportunity provided by the closure of schools during the three winter months to initiate a large-scale intensive training of teachers. UNICEF is supporting the Ministry for implementing two teacher-training courses:

  • 18,000 primary school teachers in 29 of the 32 provinces are being trained in child-centred teaching methodologies for language and mine risk education through March. The training of teachers began after the training of senior provincial trainers was completed in early January.

  • Support has also been given to the Ministry of Education for implementing a 3-month training on general teaching methodologies in Kabul where 30,000 teachers are currently teaching. The course is specifically designed for 850 teachers who have completed a secondary education and it will assist them in completing two years additional education.

Accelerated learning courses for over-aged girls

With UNICEF support, the international NGO, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), and a local NGO started a winter accelerated learning courses for over 18,000 over-aged girls at primary schools in Kabul City on 28 December. To date, 600 teachers have been trained and are now in winter schools teaching the girls who will take a placement test to advance to their appropriate grade.

Progress with winterization operations

Support for the vulnerable families during the winter continued with the distribution of winter clothes, blankets, baby kits (skin lotion, small mattresses, and infant blankets), tents, and family kits (cooking utensils, soap, basic household items) to over 81,000 families across the country, and about 12,300 students and teachers as well as 4,600 children in the northern region and Ghor Province of the western region. Also, the distribution of 30,400 out of the planned 65,000 family kits and 50,000 out of the planned 75,000 blankets is currently in progress in all regions.

Response to Whooping cough outbreak in northeastern Afghanistan

In early November 2002, 115 cases of Whooping cough (Pertussis), a highly contagious disease, were confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Kufob sub-district of Khwahan District in north-eastern Afghanistan. Since then, Erythromycin had been provided to treat and protect about 2,000 children and mothers in that district. The Ministry of Health has been supported by the UN in a joint effort, involving WHO, UNICEF, UNAMA, UN Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the offices of United Nations Office for Humanitarian Assistance (UNOHA) in Tajikistan to address the outbreak. During the week of 5 January 2003, a UN and an Afghan military helicopter brought additional supplies of erythromycin for 20,000 children and 40,000 adults, along with vaccines and vaccination equipment, to the affected area. These materials have been procured by UNICEF. Access to Darwaz for supplies of this nature is only possible by air, due to heavy snow and poor road conditions. The equipment and vaccines allowed district health workers to accelerate immunization services to the population, as immunization provides the best and most cost-effective form of defense against the spread of Pertussis. A two-week course of the erythromycin will also protect non-immunized individuals from the disease.

Support for the IDPs and returnees

Progress has been made with the Ogata Initiative (support from the Government of Japan) to provide humanitarian assistance to the IDPs and returnees in Kandahar, Jalalabad and Mazar areas as follows:

  • Based on the assessment of schools with the local authorities and communities, 173 schools, out of 210 planned, have so far been identified for rehabilitation. While the work has already started on 10 schools in Jalalabad and Kandahar, it will begin in Mazar in March due to hard winter weather, in partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

  • Stationery and educational materials were purchased for one million children for 2003. The reparation work for distribution is in progress.

  • Two training sessions were held on emergency obstetric services (training of trainers on emergency obstetric services for 20 trainers and infection prevention for hospital staff in Jalalabad).

  • 273 new water points and 120 new latrines were constructed and 10 handpump mechanics and 17 hygiene promoters trained.

  • Training of trainers workshop on hygiene education and promotion for 17 provincial trainers undertook in January. Planning for the similar training for 134 district trainers by the provincial trainers is being planned.

Launching Tetanus Toxoid (TT) campaign for Afghan women

The first round of the three-year Tetanus Toxoid (TT) campaign took place on 2-8 February in Kabul, Mazar, Kandahar, and Jalalabad, targeting 740,000 Afghan women of child-bearing age. In addition to the Ministry of Health, the Ministries of Education, Women Affairs, Religious Affairs and Justice were involved during the preparations. The campaign was launched on 1 February by President Karzai. His television and radio appeals urging all women to receive TT vaccination will continue to be broadcasted regularly during the coming months. This is the first time that Afghan authorities made such a direct appeal on an issue of women's health. The first round reached 590,000 or 80% in these four cities. Another two rounds of the TT campaigns are planned for the rest of the cities during the year. The vaccination will protect women from tetanus and will increase the protection of new born babies against neo-natal tetanus, one of the leading causes of infant mortality in Afghanistan.

Update for birth registration

In collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, some 1 million children under the age of 1 year will have their birth registered in 2003. At present, around 3% of births are registered. In order to ensure the provision of assistance to many children, registering at birth is vital. In this respect, a campaign similar to the one for national immunisation days will be organized to register all children born during the preceding year. All information will be collated in central and provincial level databases and used by actors for planning for the future, e.g number of children to enter school age in 6 years time. Key supplies to conduct the campaign have been ordered, but funds are required to support the huge campaign teams. When completed, this large increase in the number of children registered will provide an example of best practices for those countries also working to register all children.

Back-to-School Campaign

UNICEF has been preparing for the distribution of stationery and books for 4.5 million school children and 80,000 teachers for the new school year starting on 22 March. Set-packing of the stationery has been ongoing in the Ministry of Education's Warehouse-Kabul and the distribution to schools has started across the country.


Afghanistan is expected to continue to face challenges in 2003, with an unstable and unpredictable security situation, prolonging drought and resulting food insecurity, and increasing return of Afghan refugees from neighbouring countries. The country will be in transition, requiring support from the international community for humanitarian and reconstruction/developmental assistance. UNICEF will support the Afghan government, in coordination with UN agencies and NGO partners, to deliver social services to Afghan children and women with 34 major targeted results listed below:


1. Four million children in schools will be provided with learning materials.

2. All primary school teachers (at least 50,000) will be provided with teaching materials and trained in teaching methodology.

3. 210 primary schools will be rehabilitated or constructed through a partnership with UNOPS.

4. Half a million illiterate women will receive literacy education.

5. Support for curriculum development through institutional agreements with UNESCO and Columbia University.

Expanded Programme for Immunization:

6. Six million children under the age of five will be immunized against polio through immunization campaigns.

7. Five million children aged between six months and five years will be immunized against measles through campaigns.

8. Five million children will be administered with Vitamin A through immunization campaigns.

Safe Motherhood Initiative:

9. 740,000 women aged 15-45 years in Kabul City and Kandahar, Jalalabad and Mazar regions will be vaccinated with tetanus during the Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) campaign.

10. Five regional hospitals and 25 provincial hospitals will be rehabilitated and equipped with facilities and staff trained to provide emergency obstetric care services to pregnant women.

11. Effective antenatal care will be provided to women through trained community health care workers in their communities.


12. The nutritional status of over 300,000 malnourished children and 100,000 lactating and pregnant women will be improved in food-insecure areas through the supplementary feeding programme.

13. About 50,000 children of recently returned families will be protected against malnutrition through the blanket supplementary feeding programme.

14. A plan will be finalized for nation-wide domestic iodized salt production.

15. Technical assistance provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tufts University, and Columbia University will increase the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Public Health to reform the health care sector and establish national policies and standards in the sector.

Water and Sanitation:

16. 4,000 safe water points will be established in primary schools (resulting in having a safe water point in every school in the country). In areas where returnees are coming back, this activity will be implemented in close co-operation with UNHCR.

17. A package of sanitary latrines (blocks of six) and sanitation and hygiene education will be provided to at least a third of all primary schools in the country (1,500 units), including schools set-up in areas where refugees are returning.

18. 7,050 safe water points will be built for 2 million people and 14,000 demonstration latrines for 140,000 people in drought-affected areas and the areas of high returnees and IDPs.

19. The capacity of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) to be increased with the establishment of institutional arrangements between the Ministry and renowned institutions with established track records in water supply, sanitation and hygiene education programmes. The selection process for technical partners is currently underway.

Mine Risk Education (MRE):

20. A total of 50,000 teachers will receive training on Mine Risk Education and will get a package of mine awareness materials to use with students.

21. A series of training workshops aimed at building the capacities of MRE implementing partners in teaching methodologies and Monitoring and Evaluation will be organized and conducted in coordination with UNMACA.

Juvenile Justice:

22. Comparative Analysis of applicable national legislation with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) will be conducted and recommendations made for legislative changes.

23. Workshops, seminars and study trips will be conducted and legal materials on children's rights distributed to all personnel working with children in conflict with the law, in co-ordination with Penal Reform International (PRI).

24. Technical and operational support will be provided to the pilot rehabilitation programme for children in conflict with the law in partnership with the "Association for Supporting Children's Rights" in Iran.

Protection and reintegration of especially vulnerable/at-risk children and young people:

25. 2,000 accelerated learning centres will be established for child soldiers, street children and adolescent girls in collaboration with BRAC.

26. Training modules will be developed on prevention of exploitation and abuse, based on "threats" identified by Afghan children during the psycho-social research conducted in 2002.

27. A few child friendly spaces will be established in selected "high risk" locations, including Darey Dasht IDP Camp near Kandahar City.

Social and Community-based Protection:

28. Social protection policies, systems and services for children at risk and their families, with a focus on children deprived of parental care, will be developed including a Plan of Action and pilot initiatives for transformation of institutional care, through alternative family and community based schemes, professional capacity building, and establishment of data collection and monitoring system for children at risk.

29. Master trainers from key NGO partners will be trained on child protection monitoring tools developed by the Save the Children Alliance, who will train local NGOs and communities for ongoing day-to-day identification and resolution of child protection issues.

30. Using the module on response to abuse/violence and psycho-social distress, professionals working with children, including 11,000 teachers and 1,000 health staff, will be alerted to threats to children's psycho-social well-being and to enhance their capacity for taking appropriate action.

Protection and Reintegration of Children and War-affected Young People:

31. 10,000 child soldiers (indicative estimate) will be demobilized, starting in three locations as pilot areas, viz.: Bamiyan, Kunduz and Ghazani.

32. 20,000 child soldiers, street and working children will participate in the community based reintegration programme including non-formal education, vocational skills training, psycho-social support in all parts of the country.

33. 10,000 young people will be supported in peace building and rights promotion throughout the country.


34. Birth registration system will be established and approximately 1.2 million children under one year of age will be registered.

35. Communication strategies (through media, printed materials, advocacy and social mobilisation activities) will be developed on girls education, safe motherhood, and salt iodization.


In order to achieve the plan of action for 2003, UNICEF requires US$ 107.6 million as part of the Transitional Assistance Programme for Afghanistan (TAPA). To date, UNICEF has received US$ 11 million from the Governments (Japan, Canada and New Zealand) and National Committees for UNICEF (Japan, France, Canada and UK) and has a carry-over of close to US$ 29.9 million from ITAP 2002. Consequently, there is a funding gap of US$ 66.7 million.

Table 1: 2003 TAPA Funding Requirements and Fund as of 16 March 2003*
Target (US$)
Funded (US$)
% Funded
Access to Education
Quality of Education
Mine Risk Education
Disarmament/ Reintegration of Child soldiers/ War Affected Youth
Juvenile Justice
Social and Community Based Protection
Safe Drinking Water
Sanitation and Hygiene

* During the final TAPA review process, it was agreed not to include the Emergency Relief project of US$ 4.1 million. Other projects have been revised based on the latest needs assessment and cost estimates. Thus, the total TAPA funding requirement was reduced as compared to figure reported in the Humanitarian Assistance Report 2003.

During January - March 2003, UNICEF has received some US$ 11 million in support of TAPA. The table below gives a detailed summary of the contributions received, by donor:

AS OF 11 MARCH 2003
Government & others: National Committee for UNICEF:
New Zealand
United Kingdom
Other: Canada
- Kuroyanagi Fund (Japan)

Note: These contribution figures are not necessarily an extract of the UNICEF financial records.

In addition to TAPA, UNICEF's Country Programme of Cooperation will contribute toward achieving the above-mentioned targets during 2003. The activities planned under the Country Programme complement the TAPA in order to deliver most essential services and assistance to the Afghan women and children. The Country Programme requires a total of US$ 39.5 million, of which US$ 10.7 million has been secured from the regular resources and the carry-over funds from multiple year contributions.


Current programme priorities for UNICEF Afghanistan Programme are given below:

AS OF 5 MARCH 2003
Amount Required (US$)
1. Safe Motherhood 5 million women of childbearing age
2. Water and Sanitation 4,000 schools with water points, 1,500 schools with sanitary latrines, and 2 million people affected by drought, IDP and returnees
3. Girls Education 450,000 girls enrolled in school
4. Social and community based protection Children deprived/at risk of being deprived of parental care; 11,000 school teachers and 1,000 health workers

Details of the UNICEF Afghanistan Programme can be obtained from:

Sharad Sapra
UNICEF Afghanistan
Tel: 00873761924994
Fax: 00873761924996

Olivier Degreef
Tel.: +41 22 909 5546
Fax: +41 22 909 5902

Dan Rohrmann
New York
Tel: +1 212 326 7009
Fax: +1 212 326 7165