Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA)
Title: Support for the peaceful coexistence of refugees and the local population in refugee-affected and hosting areas
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office
Lead executing agency: Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), Government of Pakistan
Overall term: 2009 to 2015
Pakistan has been home to millions of Afghan refugees for the past 33 years. Despite the repatriation of approximately 3.7 million since 2002, today there are still around 1.7 million registered Afghan refugees living there. Roughly one million of them live in urban and rural communities, while the remaining 700,000 populate Afghan refugee settlements in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
The Governments of the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan as well as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), have embarked on a quadripartite consultation process, resulting in the development of the “Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees to Support Voluntary Repatriation, Sustainable Reintegration and Assistance to Host Countries” (SSAR) 2012 – 2015.
The community-based approach of SSAR-Pakistan complements existing national programmes, such as the ‘Refugee-affected and hosting areas’ (RAHA) programme. The Government of Pakistan and its humanitarian partners have made a commitment to implement the three pillars of the SSAR-Pakistan in the period 2012 to 2015, which are
- supporting and considering stay arrangements;
- expansion of the RAHA programme; and
- capacity building of the relevant government agencies, Afghan Refugee Organisations and communities.
The Strategy places substantial demands on the existing structures of the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON). At the same time, the proposed decentralisation of the RAHA programme will increase pressure at the provincial level. Thus, there is a need for advisory services and management support both in the ministry and in its provincial subsidiaries.
Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), through piloting transitional aid projects along the Afghan Frontier, is strengthened and contributes to the stabilization and social cohesion of those communities hosting large numbers of refugees for an extended period of time.
On behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office (AA), GIZ began supporting the RAHA programme in 2009. As RAHA is now an integral part of the SSAR-Pakistan, the scope of GIZ’s services was also broadened to include support for implementation of the SSAR as a whole. Since 2012, therefore, the programme has been providing advice and management support to the Government of Pakistan, as a direct contribution to the second and third pillars of the SSAR - Pakistan.
As the refugees have now been in the country for over three decades, humanitarian interventions alone are not sufficient. For this reason, GIZ has started in implementing pilot projects intended to showcase more strongly development-oriented measures in addition to the humanitarian refugee programmes along the Afghan frontier.
Since 2009, the programme has carried out 60 projects in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Through sustainable water management, enhanced agriculture and improved health facilities, these projects have improved the livelihoods of more than 550,000 people – at least 75,300 Afghan and Pakistani families.
GIZ’s partners in the RAHA programme have benefited from workshops and training courses, gaining new competences in areas such as management, monitoring and evaluation, and communications.
In 2012, GIZ moved into the Ministry of SAFRON itself to work directly on capacity development for the management of RAHA as a main pillar of the SSAR. In 2014, at the request of the Ministry of SAFRON, GIZ began implementing sustainable development pilot projects’, under the umbrella of the RAHA programme. Four projects have now been initiated close to the Afghan border. These are intended to support communities that have already been hosting large numbers of Afghan refugees for more than three decades, and which are major transit points for supply convoys of the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF).