(Total contributions: 7.013 billion JPY).
The E/Ns were signed between Mr. Hiroshi Takahashi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Afghanistan on the one hand, and Mr. Yoshinobu Fukazawa, Senior Human Settlements Officer of UN-Habitat, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific – Fukuoka for project (1), Dr. Ousmane Guindo, FAO Representative in Afghanistan for project (2), and Ms. Vidhya Ganesh, Deputy Representative, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Afghanistan Country Office for projects (3) and (4) on the other.
2. Projects summaries:
(1)“The Community-Based Municipal Support Programme” through UN-Habitat (total contribution: 2.187 billion JPY)
This programme is intended to strengthen the function of municipalities and to install infrastructure, including roads and drainage systems, using a community-based approach in 5 cities (Kabul, Herat, Mazar-e Sharif, Kandahar, and Jalalabad), all of which are centers for political and economic activity in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has been undergoing rapid urbanization, and it is estimated that half of the population will live in urban areas by 2050. Rapid urbanization brings with it problems such as deterioration of living standards, increased pollution and a high rate of unemployment. Under such circumstances, the Government of Afghanistan is now planning to strengthen the function of municipalities, which play central roles in installing and administering infrastructure, with the assistance of international organizations, in order to support the continued stability and development of urban areas. Japan is contributing to this plan in cooperation with UN-Habitat.
Through this project, the function of municipalities to support municipal development will be strengthened, and the stability and development of urban areas will be promoted through the installation of infrastructure in cities where the population is increasing rapidly. These are expected to contribute to the peace and stability of Afghanistan.
(2)“The Programme for Improvement of Irrigation Systems in Kabul, Bamiyan and Kapisa Provinces” through FAO (total contribution: 2.137 billion JPY)
This programme is intended to improve irrigation systems, provide farmers with new technology and education for water management and cultivation, and implement training programmes to strengthen the planning, implementation and management capacities of the Ministry of Energy and Water, which plays an important role in the development of agricultural and farming villages, in Kabul, Bamiyan and Kapisa provinces.
In Afghanistan, 80% of the population lives in rural areas. About 30% of GDP is comprised of agriculture, which is a main industry in the country.
Because of the many years of ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, social and economic infrastructure has been devastated, and therefore continuous support from international society is indispensable. In recent years, the increase of the population of the capital region of Kabul, fueled mainly by the return of refugees, and the development of the capital, has been remarkable. Because of this rapid increase, the securing of its food supply systems is of utmost importance.
This project is expected to improve food security and to contribute to the continuous and independent development of Afghanistan by promoting increased productivity in about 25,000 ha of farmland; increasing income for about 420,000 of farmers, thereby improving living standards; and strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Energy and Water to develop and manage water resources.
(3)“The Project for Improvement of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health” through UNICEF (total contribution: 1.398 billion JPY)
This project is intended to promote community level education and awareness-raising, improve transportation to medical institutions, such as ambulances, and improve the environment of maternal health in 5 provinces (Bamiyan, Badghis, Uruzgan, Helmand, and Kandahar).
In Afghanistan, more than 300 women die every year from pregnancy related causes such as pregnancy at an early age, poor maternal health, lack of prenatal exams, deliveries without attendance, and lack of transportation or access to medical services in emergencies. In particular, the mortality of pregnant women and new mothers in rural areas is 5 times that in urban areas. Furthermore, though child mortality under the age of 5 years is 57 of 1,000 children in urban areas, it is 91 of 1,000 children in the rural areas. In this regard, it is urgently necessary to reduce the disparities in access to medical services between the rural and urban areas of the country in order to improve the environment of maternal health in Afghanistan.
Through this project, we expect to install an environment where women can deliver safely, and thereby decrease the mortality and increase the survival rate of mothers and their infants in the relevant areas.
(4)“The Project for Improvement of Quality of Basic Education through Application of Child Friendly Schools Approach” through UNICEF (total contribution: 1.291 billion JPY)
This project is intended to train school staff, including teachers, based on the concept of the “Child Friendly Schools (CFS)” approach, to install infrastructure, and to encourage teachers and administrators to incorporate the CFS approach into the curriculum and materials of its training schools in 11 provinces (Kabul, Bamiyan, Daykundi, Paktika, Paktiya, Ghor, Badghis, Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul, and Uruzgan) in order to improve the environment of basic education in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has been trying to improve the quality of its education recently, and international assistance focused on the quality of education has become increasingly central to education-assistance in the country. The concept of CFS, which UNICEF has been advocating, seeks the full installment to every school of (1) an environment which is safe and healthy and can protect children, (2) well-trained teachers, and (3) conditions fulfilling the appropriate physical, mental and social conditions necessary and sufficient to maximize children's learning and cultivation of their abilities. Through realizing this approach, Afghanistan is expected to lead the improvement of the quality of education and increase school attendance.
Through this project, we expect to improve the educational environment for about 945,000 children and increase the degree of learning achievement and school attendance by improving the quality of teachers and installing infrastructure.
(Reference) The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan covers a land area of 652,000 square kilometers (about 1.7 times of that of Japan) and has a population of approximately 35.32 million people (World Bank, 2011).
(*This is a provisional translation. The above date denotes the date of the issue of the original press release in Japanese.)