SDC’s projects and partnerships in the provinces where it works have shown positive results: increased enrolment of girls in schools, soil management designed to improve resistance to flooding, income growth for several thousand farming families.
Another success story is the creation of communal bakeries in the Bamyan district, thanks to which 1000 families have been able to reduce spending on fuel and wood. By reducing the smoke in homes, the project also brought with it a health benefit.
In an effort to reform the Afghan justice system and police force the SDC has been particularly active in the recruitment of women as police officers. In 2011 more than 1240 new female recruits joined the Afghan National Police. In the realm of human rights, the Afghanistan Civil Society Forum (ACSF) has become recognised as an influential platform in the field of civic education. The ACSF has been developed since 2001 by the Human Security Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Improving living conditions and strengthening local governance
Switzerland’s total financial commitment in Afghanistan for the 2012–2014 period amounts to CHF 70 million. This includes funding for the Hindu Kush regional programme focused on the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The main objectives are:
- to improve the living conditions of the population
- to promote conflict resolution
- to strengthen local governance
Switzerland’s cooperation efforts in Afghanistan will continue beyond 2014, if the security situation permits. The SDC constantly adapt its activities to prevent the successes achieved so far from being wiped out in this highly volatile environment.
Return from Afghanistan
“The determination of the women impressed me”
Elisabeth von Capeller, head of the Division South Asia of the SDC, was in Afghanistan from 6 to 11 June 2012.
“With Afghanistan we associate terror, war and women behind burkas without rights or opinions. On our trip we had the opportunity to speak to many women who have been strengthened not only economically but also socially by development projects. In a camp for internally displaced families, we visited a group of women who had been counselled by midwives about basic precautionary measures during child-birth. The midwives examined pregnant women and discussed their concerns with them. The active, determined and very lively participation of the women impressed us – even here humour and laughter had a place. Whenever we met women in a protected space, we were made aware of how deeply they yearn for knowledge, appreciation and participation in public life, and how determined they are to satisfy this need. The projects the SDC supports are helping them.”
A fresh look at Afghanistan
Featuring the work of young Afghan artists, the “New Afghanistan through Afghan Eyes” International Photography Exhibition shows the many facets of Afghanistan today. The images portray an Afghan reality that differs from that generally found in the media. This travelling photo exhibition, which has visited 10 provinces throughout the country, is due to arrive in Switzerland. The first stop will be the Kornhausforum in Bern, from 17 August to 15 September 2012.
Information on the exhibition