Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees
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DACAAR has worked side by side with the Afghan people since 1984
|Mr. John Morse (Director)|
|More than 800 (2015)|
Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DACAAR) (Danish: Den danske komité for hjælp til afghanske flygtninge) is a non-political, non-governmental, non-profit humanitarian/development organization working to improve the lives of the Afghan people since 1984.
DACAAR work in rural areas and aim at improving rural livelihoods through sustainable activities that engage Afghan communities to be agents of their own development process.
DACAAR employ a holistic approach to all rural development activities in order to ensure long-term viability of projects. Approximately 10 million Afghans across 29 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces have benefited from DACAARs humanitarian/developmental activities since the group was established in 1984.
The Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DACAAR) was formed in 1984 to support the more than 5 million Afghans, who had fled to Pakistan and Iran and the 2 million, who were displaced within Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. DACAAR was founded by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Danish People's Aid (DPA), Danish Association for International Co-operation (MS) and Caritas Denmark. In 2010 DACAAR had over 700 employees working in 14 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.
DACAAR started as a small sewing centre for Afghan women living as refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1984. Two years later DACAAR started its first water supply programme for Afghan refugees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan. Over the next three years the programme was expanded to most of the camps in NWFP and included maintenance of water supply and water distribution systems. In 1989 the Soviet withdrew its troops from Afghanistan and DACAAR returned to Afghanistan to start up programmes in the rural areas. The main office remained in Peshawar but over the coming years, field offices were gradually opened across Afghanistan.
In 1994 the Taliban took over control of most of Afghanistan and by 1996 all of DACAAR's activities were in Taliban controlled areas. DACAAR continued to work with the Afghan people, where it was possible. By the late 1990s DACAAR stopped its relief work to focus on development work in Afghan communities involving the local people in the projects.
In late 2001 the Taliban regime was overthrown by allied forces and a new government was formed in Kabul. In November 2002 DACAAR moved its main office from Peshawar to Kabul, and in 2006 DACAAR stopped working in Pakistan to focus on its work in Afghanistan.
In 2007, further deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan forced DACAAR to scale down and withdraw in some areas. Insecurity also created over 100,000 IDPs contributing to the large number of vulnerable people in need of support. Together with the recent waves of refugees returning to Afghanistan this had a substantial impact on DACAAR's work with increased activities in returnee and IDP settlements, particularly in the provision of safe water and basic sanitation.
In 2008, DACAAR continued to provide emergency assistance such as water tankering to returnee and IDP camps in addition to its ongoing projects in water supply and rural development. The introduction of a gender unit constitutes a significant development in DACAAR's efforts to promote gender mainstreaming both internally and externally. In addition, renewed emphasis was placed on project monitoring and evaluation to ensure the effectiveness, sustainability and long term impact of projects.
In 2009, solar-powered pipe schemes were introduced to enable water access in areas where hand pumps are unable to reach deep-seated aquifers. In places where surface water is the only option, or where ground water is contaminated by arsenic and heavy metals, DACAAR introduced bio-sand filters as a new household water treatment technology.
Despite a continually worsening security situation, DACAAR reached more than 2 million beneficiaries in 2010 with emphasis on vulnerable populations in rural areas. Capacity in natural resources management was strengthened among communities in semi-arid areas with the introduction of new techniques and approaches to increase agricultural production. To enhance rural livelihoods for the vulnerable landless DACAAR also prioritised small scale enterprise development and vocational training. DACAAR established a Water Expertise and Training Centre (WETC), as a hub for knowledge management and research as well as for training and technical support to government agencies, NGOs and the private sector. Through the WETC, DACAAR effectively used its extensive experience to accelerate capacity building. The WETC also includes a modern Drinking Water Quality Testing Laboratory that serves both DACAAR and the Afghan WASH sector as a whole.
Ongoing conflict and instability in 2011 continued to narrow the humanitarian space and hamper DACAAR's ability to deliver assistance to Afghanistan's most vulnerable and remote communities. Additionally, as with all conflict and post conflict nations, Afghanistan was still in the process of building necessary capacity to embark on a sustainable development process.
DACAAR continued to support these efforts as a facilitating partner in the NSP. In ten out of the 12 provinces where DACAAR was working this year, activities included capacity building of Community Development Councils (CDCs). Rural Afghan communities with more than half a million community members were empowered to manage their own development process through training in project implementation, accounting, procurement, participatory monitoring, CDC by-laws and good governance.
A new Strategic Programme Framework for 2013-2016 was finalised in 2012 to set DACAAR's strategic direction for the next four years. The merging of the two former programmeswas consolidated with a thematic focus in four areas: Water, Sanitation & Hygiene; Natural Resources Management; Women's Empowerment; and Small Scale Enterprise Development. The aim was to improve learning and synergies across sectors in order to increase programme quality.
DACAAR also implemented a new organisational structure that was fine-tuned throughout the year to raise the overall efficiency of the organisation. The Director became the only expatriate in a line management position and all four departments (Fundraising & Communications; Programme; Finance & Administration; and Human Resources) were headed by Afghans.
Activities in Afghanistan (2014)
DACAAR has worked closely with the Agency Co-ordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR), the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation & Development and the Ministry of Women Affairs (MoWA). DACAAR receives funding from a wide range of donors, including Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the Royal Norwegian Embassy, English Sida and the European Commission among others.
- "DACAAR: Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees". www.dacaar.org. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
- Kaplan, Soldiers of God (2001) (p.11)