A context that reflects the complexities of the humanitarian system and humanitarian practices
With a protracted crisis, and a complex and sensitive context, Afghanistan is a country where, depending on the region and the period, there is a mixture of emergency relief, reconstruction and development. Organisations with different mandates and ways of functioning work alongside each other (humanitarian, political, military, business, private security companies, etc.), highlighting the operational, ethical and structural difficulties and issues at stake of the international aid system.
To run the Observatory we established an office with its own staff in Kabul who were joined by specialists who carried out short missions.
Three major projects were carried out during the existence of the Afghan Observatory which involved a mixture of different activities and themes:
- The LRRD project (Linking relief, rehabilitation and development), 2005 – 2007: a mixture of research, evaluation and training, this project covered the different aspects of aid in the main operational sectors and analysed aid practices and their impact on the population.
- The KAIFIAT project, March 2007 – March 2008: Kaifiat, which means “Quality” in Dari, followed on from the LRRD project. It aimed to improve the quality of operations by international and national actors in order to contribute to improving the living conditions of the population.
- The PMIS project (Participatory Management of Irrigation Systems), 2005-2008: a research project carried out in partnership with the Agha Khan Foundation for Afghanistan (AKF), the overall objective being to improve social water management processes.
Following the closure of the office, Groupe URD continued a certain number of projects in the country.
For example, the French Development Agency asked us to conduct a critical analysis of strategies to combat the Afghan opiate industry, in order to understand all the strategies involved, their results and learn lessons from them.
From 2010 to 2013, a training programme was implemented by Groupe URD aimed at Afghan NGOs. It was conducted in partnership with ACBAR – the agency for the coordination of Afghan NGOs. These training modules were developed with funding from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs via the French Embassy in Afghanistan. They were developed after an analysis that aimed to improve understanding of the specific needs of the Afghan context and develop “made-to-measure” courses for local actors.