UNDP and Islamic Relief announce new US$22 million partnership to support local economy in Afghanistan – Afghanistan

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Islamic Relief Worldwide today announced a new partnership to boost food production, inject money into the local economy and support women entrepreneurs in some of the most poor in Afghanistan.

This US$22 million project will employ local communities to rehabilitate nearly 200 agricultural irrigation systems by the end of the year – providing more than 158,000 families with the cash they need to buy food and other essentials while stimulating local markets and improving long-term agriculture. productivity.

The project will also create value chain clusters by providing entrepreneurial skills, cash investments and creating business linkages for predominantly women-led businesses in the northern region.

Abdallah Al Dardari, UNDP Resident Representative, said:

“From the onset of the crisis, UNDP affirmed the importance of livelihoods as a community strategy to save lives and revitalize the local economy. This project is not just about injecting much-needed emergency cash and restoring liquidity to the markets. It is about opening the next steps towards access to larger markets, raw materials and energy to ensure that the project remains sustainable”.

Umair Hasan, country director for Afghanistan of Islamic Relief Worldwide, said:

“Millions of people in Afghanistan do not know how they will feed their children beyond today. They do everything they can to survive, but the economy is collapsing. This partnership will provide vulnerable people with money to buy food to keep their children alive and provide them with a brighter future for years to come. It will support long-term development so that farmers can have sustainable livelihoods and women entrepreneurs can thrive and access new markets.

In recent months, the Afghan economy has collapsed, causing a massive liquidity crisis. Nearly 23 million Afghans – more than half the population – are now suffering from severe food and cash shortages, and the situation is getting worse. Although food is available in local markets, most poor families do not have the money to buy it.

Agriculture is the main source of income in Afghanistan, but most community irrigation systems have been damaged or destroyed by years of conflict. Local communities therefore cannot farm productively, but they cannot afford to carry out essential repairs.

The new project will be deployed in at least nine provinces most affected by the current crisis, including Balkh, Bamyan, Faryab, Baghlan, Herat, Kandahar, Kunar, Kunduz and Nangarhar.

More than 158,000 local workers will receive money to work on the rehabilitation of irrigation systems. Unconditional cash payments will also be made to 5,000 other vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, widows and the elderly. The project will also support 1,200 micro, small or medium enterprises led or managed by women. It will provide them with cash grants of $1,000 to help them develop their products and access new markets, and train them in business skills such as marketing, accounting and value chain integration.

Funds for the project are being provided through UNDP’s ‘ABADEI’ flagship programme, which was launched in October 2021 and aims to complement life-saving emergency assistance by promoting community-level solutions that tackle poverty, rehabilitate vital infrastructure and promote long-term sustainable development. livelihoods.


The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has worked in Afghanistan for more than 50 years on challenges related to climate change and resilience, gender, governance, health, livelihoods and rule of law.

Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) has worked in Afghanistan since 1999, supporting livelihoods, healthcare and education in the country’s most vulnerable communities. IRW provides both emergency relief and long-term development.

More information on UNDP’s ‘ABADEI’ initiative can be found here

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