New Common Humanitarian Fund to respond to urgent health and nutrition needs in Afghanistan
KABUL - Around one million people in Afghanistan are expected to benefit from emergency health and nutrition projects, thanks to the first grant allocations from the newly-established Common Humanitarian Fund.
The Common Humanitarian Fund was created in 2014. Its purpose is to enable a rapid and coordinated response to emergencies and to improve the targeting of relief efforts to the most urgent humanitarian needs. The biggest donors to date are the UK’s Department for International Development and Sweden’s International Development Cooperation. Other donations and commitments have come from Norway, the Republic of Korea, Australia and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
This is the first time that Afghanistan’s Common Humanitarian Fund has gone through the process of reviewing proposals and disbursing money. In total, $19.2 million have been awarded in this first round, with $8.7 million allocated to eight nutrition projects and $8.6 million to be spent on seven health-related projects. Another $1.5 million from the Common Humanitarian Fund will be used to support the Humanitarian Financing Unit set up by UNOCHA, which is helping, for example, to coordinate the response to the flooding in the north of the country. Direct relief in response to the flooding is being provided by UNOCHA’s Emergency Response Fund.
Plans for a second round of allocations from the Common Humanitarian Fund are already underway, and humanitarian NGOs who wish to participate in relief efforts are encouraged to apply.
Collectively, these first health and nutrition projects will operate in nearly 80 underserved districts in Afghanistan, most of which are located in the south, southeast and east of the country. These areas have been severely affected by years of conflict, leaving thousands of children acutely malnourished and access to health services limited. In total, around one million people are expected to benefit from the projects, which will be delivered through a number of national and international NGOs and UN agencies.
Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, said:
“The opening of the Common Humanitarian Fund in Afghanistan is an important result in our efforts to prioritize our response to needs where human suffering is greatest. This fund is part of our work to make humanitarian financing both more effective and more accountable; improving humanitarian financing is one of the key areas to improve the humanitarian system. I am pleased to see that the focus of the first round of funding has been responding to the lifesaving needs of the underserved conflict affected people and young children in the south and south east of Afghanistan."
Mark Mallalieu, the Head of the UK’s Department for International Development in Afghanistan, said:
“It is vitally important that the international community is able to respond rapidly to the most urgent humanitarian needs in Afghanistan. The Common Humanitarian Fund enables us to do just that. I am proud that the UK’s Department for International Development has been one of the early champions and supporters of the Common Humanitarian Fund, and I am confident that these first projects will help to alleviate suffering and provide the medicines and nutrients that people so desperately need.”