Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Dry Spell Assessment, June 2018
Context and Rationale
Winter in Afghanistan is a critical period for securing successful food production and agricultural inputs for the entire year, as well as for replenishing groundwater aquifers. Compared to national multi-year averages, the winter season for 2017/2018 has been uncharacteristically dry, with below average snowfall and a precipitation deficit of up to 70%. This dry spell has affected access to livelihoods, in particular for communities relying on agriculture, and availability of water in the following months, as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). As a result, the dry spell has compounded the vulnerability of large shares of the Afghan population, leading to a mobilisation of humanitarian actors to support the most affected population. However, limited information is available to identify vulnerable communities and areas most affected by the dry spell, especially with regards to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) concerns.
To address this information gap, REACH conducted a WASH Cluster assessment between 3 and 21 June 2018 aiming to inform the response of the Cluster for the ongoing dry spell in Afghanistan. In particular, this assessment sought to identify:
• How population groups have been affected differently by the dry spell. REACH specifically focused on urban and rural areas, Informal Settlements (ISETs) and Community Development Councils (CDCs).
• Which areas are most affected by the dry spell, to inform geographic prioritisation at the district level, beyond the initial provincial-level prioritisation method (see below).
• The main coping mechanisms used by households to mitigate the impact of the dry spell.
• The preferred modalities of response for different population groups.
The assessment focused on the 10 provinces prioritized by the WASH Cluster, where more than 25% of water sourcess have already dried or are drying as a result of the 2018 winter dry spell.
Within these provinces, vulnerable locations were purposively selected across all 67 districts. All identified ISETs were included in this assessment, as access to WASH resources are traditionally limited there, while only the most vulnerable CDCs, both urban and rural, were included following a profiling exercise by WASH partners.
One Key Informant (KI) was interviewed in each community (understood as either an ISET or a CDC), using a structured questionnaire designed in collaboration with the WASH Cluster.
KIs were knowledgeable community members, such as leaders, teachers and elders, identified by enumerators. Findings were then aggregated at the district and province level.
In addition, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted to supplement and triangulate findings from the KI interviews.
Two FGDs, one with female respondents and one with male respondents, were conducted in each province with six to eight participants in each. Participants were selected by approaching pre-existing networks of KIs and snowballing among their connections, aiming for a widespread of areas of origins.
Findings from the FGDs were not used in these factsheets but will be used in the Executive Summary (forthcoming).