Rethinking Rural Livelihoods in Afghanistan

How to promote sustainable rural livelihoods in Afghanistan?
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This report presents the finding of an 18 month long rural livelihoods monitoring and research project in Afghanistan. Afghanistan Evaluation and Research Unit conducted the project in partnership with seven other Non Governmental Organizations. The project involved 390 households spread over 21 villages in seven districts of seven provinces in Afghanistan.

The study was conducted to understand rural livelihoods in Afghanistan and it explored issues such as livelihood diversity, non-farm labor, gender, health, labor migration, indebtedness, and social protection of the poorest. The key findings of the study include:

  • Rural livelihood is much diversified;
  • Poorest identify non farm work as a chief source of income;
  • Labor migration is a key survival strategy for the poor;
  • Indebtedness creates and perpetuates poverty;
  • Women contribute in income generation but do not own assets;
  • Health is the second largest expenditure for all families;
  • Very poor are not targeted under any program.

Based on the above findings the paper recommends review of policy by aid agencies and the government:

  • Policy should support multiple income strategies;
  • Policy must recognize importance of non farm activities;
  • Migration should be viewed as a coping strategy for poor;
  • Focus should be on microfinance to help people recover assets;
  • Policy based support to women should be provided;
  • Sale of ineffective medicines should be controlled;
  • Greater understanding of traditional social support mechanisms should be encouraged.

About this Publication

By Grace, J. & Pain, A.