Afghanistan

Switzerland's engagement in Afghanistan aims to reduce poverty, human suffering and the loss of life. Switzerland promotes the respect for human rights and the protection of vulnerable population groups. In addition, it contributes to the improvement of rural livelihoods and fosters access to quality basic education.

Map of Afghanistan
2014 Natural Earth

The long period of war has caused enormous human suffering. Institutions have been weakened and economic and social development hampered. Afghanistan is now one of the poorest and most fragile countries on Earth. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made since 2001 in the areas of education, health, rural development, justice and good governance. Further international support for the Afghan reform agenda is vital to maintain the results achieved so far and to ensure that all Afghans benefit equally from this progress.

Switzerland has distinguished itself in Afghanistan through its many years of experience and the high quality of the projects it has implemented there. Switzerland also enjoys a great deal of trust on the part of both the government and the population. The overarching objective of Switzerland's cooperation strategy for the 2019–22 period in Afghanistan is to reduce poverty, human suffering and the loss of life. It seeks to promote a peaceful society with effective, accountable and inclusive institutions based on the rule of law, geared towards meeting the needs of the population. Switzerland's activities focus on three interconnected areas: 1) rule of law and protection 2) agriculture and management of natural resources and 3) basic education.

Rule of law and protection

Switzerland contributes to the promotion and protection of human rights. It supports the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and civil society organisations in this area. Switzerland also helps to strengthen trust between the population and the Afghan government by improving access to legal services for women and men and supporting institutional reforms of the justice system. For example, Switzerland has contributed to the establishment of courts in 16 provinces that specialise in case law relating to violence against women.  Switzerland also contributes to life-saving aid through the country's most important humanitarian organisations. At the political level, Switzerland is committed to the protection and long-term reintegration of internally displaced persons and returnees, as well as to improved access to humanitarian aid for people in need of assistance.

Agriculture and management of natural resources

Switzerland assists smallholder farmers and their families in remote and mountainous areas to increase their productivity and manage their natural resources sustainably. Women are included in the activities to the extent that circumstances allow in what is sometimes a very conservative environment.  Possible impacts of natural hazards and climate change are also taken into account and mitigated through appropriate measures. Switzerland intervenes mainly indirectly, by strengthening the public services provided by the Afghan state for smallholders. Switzerland also supports the World Food Programme, which provides food assistance and promotes asset creation.

Agriculture and food security

Basic education 

Basic education plays a key role in the economic development and social cohesion of the community. Switzerland is committed to increasing access to high-quality basic education for all. To this end, communities are closely involved in the running of their schools. In dialogue with parents, teachers and village communities, the local government implements measures for safe and conducive learning environments. Switzerland is also strengthening the academic supervision system, providing advice and support to schools and teaching staff in order to improve the quality of basic education. Thanks to targeted humanitarian measures, vulnerable and conflict-affected children have access to education in a safe environment.

Basic education and vocational skills development

Approach and partners

Switzerland's development cooperation and humanitarian aid in Afghanistan complement each other. In development cooperation, the focus is on structural challenges, while humanitarian aid is provided in crisis situations. Implementing partners include UN institutions as well as Afghan, Swiss and international NGOs.

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 25

Planned project

Retain Access in Afghanistan (RAA)

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2030

The security situation in Afghanistan remains a major concern for humanitarian and development actors. To continue their vital work in favour of the poor and vulnerable, they depend on reliable security reports and advisory services, on independent analyses of political events and trends, and on physical access to remote and conflict-affected areas. Through the Retain Access in Afghanistan Programme, the SDC will continue its support to three organisations that provide these essential services under a programmatic approach, strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus.


Agricultural Services and Livelihood Improvement (ASLI)

01.10.2020 - 31.07.2028

Farming households in the Central Highlands of Afghanistan suffer from high levels of poverty and food insecurity. Their agricultural productivity remains low due to insufficient access to inputs and information. The Agricultural Services and Livelihood Improvement (ASLI) project aims to improve the livelihoods of poor rural families by strengthening the public extension system at subnational level to enable targeted, demand-driven agricultural service delivery.


Planned project

Sustainable Livelihoods and Social Development (SLSD)

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

Widespread poverty, weak institutions, and scarce public services characterize the environment in the South East of Afghanistan. The project aims to improve the livelihood and resilience of resource-poor and smallholder farmers in the provinces of Paktia and Khost, through improvement of agricultural production, natural resource management, market linkages and through strengthening agricultural service delivery. The project covers a region, which has been deprived of other donor support.


Planned project

FarhangSara - Promotion of Cultural and Artistic Expressions to Strengthen Shared and Diverse Values as well as Peaceful Interactions

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2025

The project aims to strengthen shared and diverse values as well as peaceful interaction among people through cultural and artistic expressions. The project will particularly promote cultural and artistic forms that have been neglected. It will work with female and male artists as well as cultural and art organizations/institutions (public and private). It will promote the active participation of the society at large in cultural activities.


FarhangSara - Promotion of Cultural and Artistic Expressions

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2022

The project fosters peaceful interactions within a divided Afghan society marked by decades of conflict. The unifying potential of cultural heritage and the promotion of artistic expression contribute to refocus on common ground. To ensure the protection and promotion of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, the project supports conducive cultural policies, strengthens partnerships with public institutions, private sector, civil society, media and individual artists all over the country.


Planned project

Afghanistan Quality Learning (AQL)

01.03.2019 - 28.02.2029

The project will improve the quality of education in Afghanistan. Though it remains low, access to education has improved significantly over the past decade, but the low quality of education is increasingly recognized as a problem. Working through the competent directorates of the Ministry of Education, the project will strengthen methodology and subject-specific knowledge and promote community involvement for school improvements. Girls and boys will benefit from better learning in a conducive environment.


Afghanistan Quality Learning (AQL)

01.03.2019 - 31.03.2023

Though it remains low, access to education in Afghanistan has improved significantly over the past decade. The low standard of education however is a serious problem and impedes the development of the country. Working through the competent directorates of the Ministry of Education, the project therefore aims at improving the quality of education. This, by strengthening methodology and subject specific knowledge and promoting community involvement for school improvements.


Afghanistan: IOM Undocumented Afghan Returnees

15.02.2019 - 31.12.2022

In 2016, over a million Afghans who previously sought refuge in Pakistan and Iran returned to Afghanistan. Since the beginning of 2018, 700,056 undocumented Afghans have returned from both countries, due to diverse push factors including deteriorating protection space. The projecting for the year 2019 of undocumented Afghan returnees will be approx. 49,000 from Pakistan and 570,000 from Iran. The vast majority of them have lived outside of Afghanistan for decades, and are in dire need for humanitarian assistance, which they will receive through this project.


National Human Rights Program for Afghanistan (Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission)

01.02.2019 - 31.12.2023

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has a constitutional mandate to promote and protect human rights in Afghanistan. The Commission continues the journey of building an Afghan society free of fear and discrimination. It lobbies with the government and other actors and contributes significantly to enhance human rights awareness, education, monitoring and reporting, and to empower Afghan citizens to defend their human rights. Switzerland together with other donors provides financial and when required technical support.


Stay, Deliver and Protect (SDP)

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

Afghanistan continues to face a protracted humanitarian crisis. Armed conflict results in large-scale population displacements and a high number of civilian casualties. Insecurity causes significant challenges to humanitarian access and responses, especially where they are needed most. "Stay, Deliver and Protect" aims to facilitate humanitarian access and to promote protection of education, protection of civilians, psychosocial support and humanitarian coordination in conflict-affected communities.


Allocation of SDC Funding to ICRC Operations in 2019

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2019

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to ICRC operations allows the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to respond proactively and to provide immediate protection and assistance for people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence.

Object 1 – 12 of 25