Supporting refugees from Afghanistan and host communities in Pakistan

Project description

Title: Social Support for Vulnerable Afghan Refugees and Host Communities (SSARC)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Pakistan
Lead executing agency: Pakistan Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) / Pakistan Chief Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees (CCAR)
Overall term: 2019 to 2025

Young men taking part in a robotics course. Copyright: GIZ


Pakistan is hosting over two million Afghan refugees, of whom 1.3 million are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The economic infrastructure and social protection systems in the host cities and communities in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are overstretched due to the large number of people. This leads to tensions between the refugees and the host communities.

The threats and acts of violence experienced, trauma, as well as existential and financial concerns create a situation that can cause fear and stress, culminating in depression. Children, adolescents, women and other disadvantaged groups are particularly affected.


The Government of Pakistan creates gender-sensitive and easily accessible psychosocial support services for Afghan refugees and host communities, and in this way promotes peaceful coexistence.

Young women taking part in a workshop on gender-based violence. Copyright: GIZ


The project is creating low-threshold psychosocial support services for individuals, families and communities. In this way, it promotes social cohesion between individual groups in the communities. There is a particular focus on services for women and for adolescent girls and boys.

The approach has three stages:

  1. The project trains professionals and laypeople with the aim of being able to take a more needs-based approach to addressing the population’s psychosocial needs. The key people in this context include government employees, health professionals, staff of non-governmental organisations, and influential community figures.
  2. The project creates ‘safe spaces’ where affected persons can meet and exchange views. Girls and women, in particular, are made aware of certain psychosocial issues, such as domestic violence, gender-based violence, depression or stress management.
  3. The project implements measures that help to enhance young people’s resilience and foster their psychological well-being. Young people are advised and guided in taking control of their lives and in engaging in their communities so that they are recognised as full-fledged members.

Last update: May 2023

Additional information