Japan and UNDP launch a new project to empower Afghan women and strengthen community climate resilience

Women, Work and Water

December 7, 2023

“Water is life, and water is also a source of livelihood for many Afghans"

Photo: UNDP Afghanistan / Haroon Hamdard

Kabul, Afghanistan, 07 December 2023  – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Japan have initiated a new one-year project to enhance climate adaptation by restoring water resources and ecosystems in Afghanistan. The project, titled "Women, Work and Water (3Ws): Sustaining Basic Needs and Preserving Community Systems through Climate Resilience in Afghanistan", will also focus on protecting community livelihoods and vulnerable groups, particularly women and youth, from the impacts of climate-induced disasters and conflict.

Funded by the Government of Japan, this project is part of UNDP's ABADEI 2.0 programme that aims to create a resilient Afghan society capable of withstanding threats to climate change and socio-economic instability. The goal is to provide women with access to basic human needs, creating more economic opportunities, jobs, and sustainable livelihoods, and improving food production and natural resources management.

“Water is life, and water is also a source of livelihood for many Afghans. However, water scarcity, inefficient water management, and widespread contamination are posing serious challenges to the well-being and development of the Afghan people, especially in the face of climate change,” said Stephen Rodriques, UNDP Resident Representative in Afghanistan.

“This project will address these challenges by restoring and building water infrastructure, reducing risks of climate-related disasters, and managing increased water demand. It will also aim to reduce conflict and competition over scarce water resources, improve water governance, and help the country prepare for uncertainty with more data and conflict-sensitive approaches,” he added.

The Government of Japan has committed approximately US$14.5 million to this project, constituting a part of the total US$58.4 million aid package recently announced for Afghanistan. This project will directly and indirectly benefit a total of 250,000 Afghan women and youth in the Central Highlands, South, and Southeast regions. Assistance will be delivered through UN agencies and international organizations. The cumulative Japanese contributions to Afghanistan since August 2021, including the newly announced US$58.4 million, will amount to US$447 million.

Afghanistan faces numerous challenges in 2023, including natural disasters like flash floods and increased restrictions on women's rights. These factors have further worsened the humanitarian and economic situation, particularly for women.

To tackle these challenges, the project will focus on enhancing water resource infrastructure, promoting water resource management as a livelihood opportunity, and building capacities to protect ecosystems. It will improve access to drinking water and irrigation for communities, and provide support to women, youth, and community leaders in developing their skills in water resource management.

“Japan has been a long-standing partner of Afghanistan, and we are committed to continue our support for the Afghan people, especially in the areas of water, livelihoods, and women's rights,” said Japan Ambassador to Afghanistan, H.E Takayoshi Kuromiya. 

“We believe that this project will not only enhance the resilience of the Afghan people to climate change and conflict, but also foster social cohesion and peace in the country,” he added.

“We deeply appreciate Japan's new contribution and their continued strong partnership in supporting the people of Afghanistan and especially the women of this country,” Mr Rodriques emphasized.

He further highlighted, “Women play a crucial role in water resource management, as they have valuable insights based on their traditional roles in household and community water use. By empowering women and involving them in these processes, we can ensure more effective and equitable management of this vital resource.”

The project will be implemented from March 2024 to March 2025, empowering women and focusing on building and rehabilitating 60 water systems. It will promote green jobs and income generation through climate-smart water management practices and afforestation. Additionally, it will provide solar-powered greenhouses and establish community kitchen enterprises.

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