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New beginnings: Afghan people to Afghan people

This project will support integration and employment of internally displaced people by host communities in Guzara city in Afghanistan.

Photo of Nikola Boratkova
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

The final direct beneficiaries are an estimated number of 15 families that were forced to flee from Badghis province, a province in Western Afghanistan where droughts led to an alarming state of emergency. Many of the IDPs from Badghis tried to find a refuge in the neighboring Herat province but found themselves living in horrid conditions after losing most of their belongings. Our idea is to support a community-driven help to these IDPs. Afghan people are, in general, very hospitable and compassionate to hardships of other people but feel helpless face to the number of IDPs that arrive every day. For this reason, we will select volunteer families in Guzara district of Herat province that will welcome one IDP family each under their roof for a symbolic amount of $20 per month and per person. It is important that the IDPs feel welcome in their host province and share everyday joys and sorrows with their host families. We want to break the prejudices that the whole of the society may hold against the IDPs by organizing cultural events in which the IDPs will present their provincial specialities, do traditional dances and play games with the host community people. We are convinced that enjoying moments together will bring the two communities closer and learn from one another. In the same way, the host community will provide trainers to enhance specific skills of the IDPs in order to make them valuable members of the society and facilitate their employment so that they become independent and contribute in a positive way to the life of their host community.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Our focus will be on Herat province since most of the IDPs from Badghis province find their refuge here. We have chosen to focus more particularly on Guzara city in Guzara district as it is an average-size city (142,000 inhabitants) where Badghis families can be in contact with each other and build ties with the local community. Thanks to its proximity to the airport of the province, it will also be easily accessible for monitoring.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

This project wants to set an example of how, with the contribution of the local community, internally displaced people are no longer considered as an unsustainable burden and become active members of the society that are self-sufficient thanks to their skills that they were able to sharpen. It fights any prejudices that people of Guzara city might have had about people from Badghis province and IDPs in general and shows how these IDPs can actually be a meaningful contribution for the community.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

This project does not represent a one-time investment where the IDPs are temporarily provided with food, shelter and security. It returns to them their value as meaningful members of the society that they lost when they had to flee from their province of origin. It gives them an opportunity to transform themselves from beggars to active individuals that can provide for their families in an autonomous and independent way. This component is essential in the Afghan culture and most IDPs suffer greatly from the impossibility to take care of their families without asking for help. Thus, the project offers a sustainable long-term solution for as many IDP families as it will be able to include given the project's budget. We expect to include cca. 15 families with 6-7 members.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

When implementing our projects, opinions and preferences of our participants are very important to us as they indicate the way in which we should direct our activities. Therefore, we will conduct monthly interviews with the guest and host communities and adapt the activities of the project accordingly. The best indicator of success to us at the end of the project will be the number of families that got integrated to the society and became financially independent. Should this project be successful, we expect at least 90% of the families to acquire financial independent before or by the end of the project. We will provide a detailed analysis of what should be improved or done otherwise in case other families fail to attain this objective of ours and plan next steps for them.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Our organization has implemented various projects for IDPs in the past to help them both in terms of emergency aid and through vocational trainings meant to increase their chances at the job market. During our actions, at many occasions we observed regrets of the host community not to be able to provide a more significant help to these IDPs as it is their cultural and religious duty in Afghanistan but also a certain degree of distrust towards them. Therefore, we got highly motivated to apply for this call for ideas that seeks proposals combining exactly these two aspects: community solidarity and enhancement of quality of life of the IDPs.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

IDPs from Badghis province are particularly vulnerable as agriculture was their primary sector of income and severe droughts in this region made them lose first their harvest, then their livestock, forcing them to leave their homes and start from zero in a new place. They fled mostly to the neighboring Herat province and live in refugee camps with poor sanitation conditions and lack of (drinking) water. As winter is approaching, their health is supposed to further deteriorate and child mortality raise. Most of the IDPs expressed no intention to return to their province of origin but are ready to move again if the conditions become too harsh for them in the refugee camps. For the sustainability of our project, we expect our participants not to plan to return within next 2 years during the initial assessment.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Host families as well as other influential community members and Project Manager will create a committee that will hold regular meetings that will be meant to share experiences and best practices and find a solution to potential conflicts that may arise. The committee will also identify trainers that will train the head of the family improve his or her skills and connect him or her with potential employers. The project will also cover short-term "internships" that will provide the IDPs with a first work experience in their host community and help them find next employment. The committee will also discuss the children of the IDPs that are expected not to have attended school before. A social worker will do a follow-up with them and assign them to a public school to a class corresponding to their level. We are convinced that by giving means to the host communities they can fully show their good will to improve lives of other fellow Afghans in need.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

We will work with local governmental agencies and institutions to obtain permission for the project's implementation and also to provide us with guidance in the identification process of the guest families. Our organization has a good network with community people in Herat province who will help us with the project implementation and choice of the host families.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

Mhair Educational, Health and Human Rights Organization (MEHHRO)

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

MEHHRO is a legally registered non-profit, non-sectarian and non-political organization that was founded in 2002 in Kabul, Afghanistan in order to help Afghan people recover and build resilience after three decades of armed conflict. We strive to contribute to a creation of a society in which all people can enjoy equal rights and chances regardless of their gender or ethnic origin. In the past, MEHHRO has supported disadvantaged groups in Afghanistan, including youth, girls and women and IDPs to increase their chances at the labor market and get access to justice and organized awareness-raising campaigns and advocacy activities with governmental institutions regarding their respective issues. Since its establishment, MEHHRO was capable of developing outreach and partnerships with community people and local government in most provinces of Afghanistan, including Herat province in which the project will take place.

Website URL:

https://mehro.org/

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country

Afghanistan

Organization Headquarters: City / State

Kabul

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Photo of Sevde Şengün
Team

Hello Nikola Boratkova  great to have your idea on the platform for the challenge. It's exciting and I really like your idea's touchpoints. As the ideas phase comes to an end today the 17th of August, we would encourage you to again have a last look at the evaluation criteria here https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/5a147545b687370001bfd10c/5d1a434848ffdc223d8d9bfd_2019%20BridgeBuilder%20Challenge_%20Evaluation%20Criteria%20(2).pdf

Also, it will be exciting for your to check out other ideas on the platform, provide some feedback and explore potential areas of collaboration with them. For example check out the Bridge to a Better Life : https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/2019-bridgebuilder-challenge/ideas/bridge-to-a-better-life-empowering-refugees-to-become-independent-and-productive-members-of-society

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