Promoting rural development and job creation through mine action – A case study on integrated programming – Afghanistan

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Integrated mine action and recovery

Afghanistan has one of the highest levels of explosives contamination in the world, with a legacy of conflict that continues to claim innocent lives and disrupt local livelihoods. In a context where more than 70% of the population lives in rural areas and where 80% of livelihoods depend directly or indirectly on agriculture, the presence of explosive ordnance (EO) hazards cripples the prospects of Afghan communities. to recover and achieve independence. Numerous studies conducted in conflict situations have confirmed that EO contamination is a significant obstacle to long-term development. For example, affected communities are often considered too dangerous for development programs, especially for initiatives such as road building or infrastructure rehabilitation. Conversely, the clearing and removal of EOs has created space for NGOs and authorities to become more involved in local development and recovery efforts in cleared areas.

Following the relative cessation of conflict following the political takeover of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) in August 2021, the DRC now has greater access than ever to communities and sites contaminated by the EO, which represents a unique window of opportunity to expand demining. quickly and meaningfully – also in areas that have experienced little or no Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) response in the past. The DRC is the only actor in Afghanistan capable of delivering integrated EMH and recovery programs, with the potential to contribute to socio-economic development and stability through the clearing of otherwise inaccessible land, followed by rehabilitation initiatives. livelihoods and infrastructure for the sustainable and productive use of cleared land to enable Afghan populations trapped in post-conflict phases to recover and rebuild their communities. Through this carefully phased approach, the DRC is addressing the multi-faceted issues arising from EO contamination, including the inability of many farming communities to practice traditional livelihoods or access natural resources and markets. At the same time, the DRC creates employment opportunities by training and financially supporting (through salaries) a workforce of locally-sourced deminers, thus transferring skills and knowledge beneficial for a commitment sustainability in the HMA labor market. A typical deminer often comes from rural communities and an environment characterized by little or no formal education, high levels of illiteracy, limited economic resources and tends to be the primary breadwinner of large households. As such, deminers largely align with the beneficiary profile that most aid actors aim to target.

DRC approach:

Step 1: Integrated assessments

Joint teams of MEAL, HMA and Economic Recovery members conduct a series of assessments to identify hazards and establish a baseline for prioritization of clearance in accordance with community perspectives and development potential of land and productive assets .

Step 2: Humanitarian mine action

HMA staff initiate operations by conducting a further detailed survey of hazardous areas to clearly define the boundaries of safe and unsafe areas. Subsequently, demining teams are deployed based on detailed task implementation plans to clear and clear hazardous areas. To complement these activities, a localized and targeted approach to explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) is implemented.

Step 3: Recovery interventions

Economic recovery teams conduct post-demining rehabilitation focusing on early recovery and development interventions, such as distribution of agricultural starter kits, rehabilitation of agricultural infrastructure and land through counter work programs. remuneration, and the provision of equipment necessary to resume agricultural activities.

Step 4: Impact assessment

MEAL teams conduct a multi-sector assessment to measure the joint impact of EMH and recovery interventions to assess the effectiveness of the response and inform future programming.

About Keneth T. Graves

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