World Bank and ARTF Approve Three Projects, Worth $793 Million for Afghanistan

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The World Bank and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) Management Committee have recently approved three projects totaling $793 million that will provide urgent and essential food, livelihood, and health services to the people of Afghanistan. All three projects will be implemented off-budget out of the interim Taliban administration’s control, through United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations. The activities are coordinated with other multilateral and bilateral funding pledges for Afghanistan.

These projects are designed to help women and girls benefit from project activities. Entry criteria, including the principles of equitable access for women, must be met and funds will be released in two tranches to provide the opportunity for ARTF donors to review progress on the ground and assess whether announced policies of the interim administration continue to allow the participation of women. All three projects also have internal fiduciary control and independent monitoring arrangements to ensure that funds are utilized for their intended purposes.

The Afghanistan Emergency Food Security Project will help in the production of food crops for smallholder Afghan farmers and prevent the further deterioration of food security. The project will focus on wheat production, supporting about 300,000 households in the November 2022 planting season and another 300,000 households in the March-November 2023 planting season. The project will support the nutritional needs of children, people with disabilities or chronic illness, and households headed by women by providing seeds and basic tools for backyard kitchen gardening and technical training on improved nutrition and climate-smart production practices. About 150,000 women will receive training in cultivation and nutrition. The project will enhance linkages for both farmers and women involved in gardening with local markets to facilitate the sale of marketable surpluses of wheat, vegetables, and legumes. The project will also increase access to irrigation water, improve soil and water conservation, and build climate resilience by supporting the rehabilitation and improvement of selected irrigation and watershed management systems over 137,000 hectares of land. A total amount of $195 million will be released in two tranches: $150 million and $45 million.

The Afghanistan Community Resilience and Livelihoods Project will help provide short-term livelihood opportunities and deliver urgent essential services in rural and urban areas. The project aims to provide livelihood and income opportunities for one million households in 6,450 rural communities across Afghanistan and the cities of Bamyan, Herat, Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar, Khost, Kunduz, and Mazar-e-Sharif. In addition, an estimated 9.3 million Afghans in the same areas will benefit from basic utilities and services such as clean water, sanitation, and road rehabilitation. Women and vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities and internally displaced people, will receive special assistance. The project will utilize a bottom-up approach through the Community Development Councils (CDCs) that have provided services to communities for over 18 years. In addition, by engaging local private sector contractors in the cities, the project will help preserve the local civil works implementation capacity that has been gradually developed over the past two decades. Activities are coordinated with the United Nations’ ‘ABADEI’ Programme. A total amount of $265 million will be released in two tranches: $100 million and $165 million.

The Afghanistan Health Emergency Response Project will increase the utilization and quality of essential health services in Afghanistan. The project aims to deliver basic health, nutrition, and COVID-19 services in partnership with national and international service providers, in more than 2,300 health facilities nationwide. Among the other expected results, the project will help two million children to be fully immunized and more than 1.2 million women will give birth at the health facilities. The project will further enhance nutrition services at both community and health facilities. It is also expected that the project will help strengthen the capacity of the health system to prevent and respond to infectious disease outbreaks and to contribute to the Global Initiative Polio Eradication efforts in the country. Overall, the project aims to support women’s and children’s continued access to basic health services. A total amount of $333 million will be released in two tranches: $169 million, which includes $150 million from ARTF and $19 million from the Global Financing Facility (GFF), and $164 million from ARTF.

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