Working together to assist and empower the most vulnerable in Afghanistan: UN agencies live broadcast

Amplifying Afghan Voices: UN's Virtual Mission Bridges Vulnerable Communities with Global Donors

September 19, 2023

Empowered women of Afghanistan: Standing strong, fostering change, and lighting the path for future generations.

©UNDP Afghanistan

A live broadcast took place this week from Herat, western Afghanistan, giving Afghan girls, boys, women and men a voice with the donor community that fund essential UN activities.

The two-hour-long broadcast featured interviews with students, teachers and parents from a school in Herat, constructed by the UN refugee agency, as well as women who received livelihood support from FAO, UNDP and UNHCR, including cash grants for business expansion. The event provided an opportunity for those in capitals around the world to ask questions, in real-time, directly to Afghans, young and old, who need support, as well as for them to pass their messages to Core Group members from the donor community.

The Virtual Mission to Afghanistan, jointly organized by UNHCR, UNDP and FAO, was attended by Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR’s Bureau Director for the Asia and Pacific region; UNHCR Representative to Afghanistan, Leonard Zulu; FAO Deputy Representative to Afghanistan, Fabrizio Cesaretti, and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative (Programme) in Afghanistan, Surayo Buzurukova.

“Many embassies and donors do not have representative offices in Afghanistan, so this is an excellent opportunity to bring Afghanistan directly to them. It is a chance for them to see our humanitarian development, protection and solutions work on the ground for the most vulnerable and to connect live with some of those we assist, including women and girls”, said UNHCR Representative Leonard Zulu.

Besides the live streaming, the event also featured special video content from Nuristan Province – one of the most remote and undeveloped areas of Afghanistan where the UN agencies are working together to provide essential support for health, education and water services, livelihoods, agricultural, and livestock production. 

“UNDP is steadfast in its commitment to empower Afghan communities, with a special emphasis on women and vulnerable groups, to be the architects of their own development. We collaborate with donors to facilitate community initiatives that bolster small businesses and essential services, enabling communities to craft their own path towards lasting, sustainable solutions", said UNDP Deputy Representative for Programme, Surayo Buzurukova. 

"This virtual mission provides a significant platform for vulnerable Afghans to share their challenges and shed light on the impact of UN interventions”, stated Fabrizio Cesaretti, FAO’s Deputy Representative. “The UN remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring food security, livelihoods, and agricultural support, striving to foster positive transformations in the lives of Afghans.”

Dedicated hands at work: Women meticulously package agricultural products, ensuring quality and sustainability from farm to table.

©UNDP Afghanistan

UNHCR, UNDP and FAO, with local and international Partners, implement cross-cutting activities in the Priority Areas of Return and Reintegration (PARRs) and through the Area-based Approach to Development Emergency Initiative (ABADEI) across Afghanistan – delivering on the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) - as well as the CORE program (Community Resilience and Rehabilitation) which are aligned with the United Nations Strategic Framework for Afghanistan. 

The goal is to build community resilience and enhance their access to - and the availability of - basic services such as education and health while boosting food production, strengthening livelihoods and self-resilience, and helping create the conducive conditions for sustainable return and reintegration, and socio-economic recovery in Afghanistan. 

The broadcast heard strong messages from community members benefitting from UNDP, FAO and UNHCR programmes in Afghanistan. 

One woman who set up her own business said: “As a refugee returnee, I aspire not to be just a beneficiary of aid. I want to become an agent of change.  We can be role models for other women who have not yet started their businesses or who do not have a job.” She and other women urged donors to continue funding programmes in Afghanistan, especially those targeting women and girls. 

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