Decades of war and violent conflict compounded by economic problems and natural disasters have turned one million Afghans into refugees. While some of them fled the country, others became refugees within their own borders. Since 2004, more than one and a half million Afghans have become internally displaced. In addition, many of those forced to leave their homes due to economic factors or flee from natural disasters are now returning. In 2016 alone, more than one million people returned from Pakistan and Iran.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returning migrants mainly settle on the outskirts of larger cities where land is still affordable, but where necessities are often unavailable. Their arrival increases the pressure on the local job market and the strain on infrastructure, creating a tinderbox that frequently ignites conflict with the local population.
In four of Afghanistan’s northern provinces, the German Federal Foreign Office has commissioned GIZ to help integrate IDPs into their host communities. Besides building drinking water wells, sanitary facilities and two junior schools, GIZ and its partner, the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, have supported 725 families by setting up temporary housing and providing materials for people to build their own homes. It is planned that a further 500 families will receive support in 2017 and 2018. In all, some 8,000 homes have been built, putting a roof over the heads of around 40,000 people. In addition to improving the local infrastructure, GIZ is offering training courses on basic literacy, health and hygiene, and peaceful conflict resolution. Upskilling in loam construction, spinning and weaving is designed to enable men and women to earn a living for themselves. Altogether, the measures carried out to date have benefited around 40,000 people.