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DACAAR providing safe drinking water to 7,000 families in Farah and Herat provinces

August 22, 2007 (Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees –DACAAR): DACAAR's Water & Sanitation Programme began implementing two projects in the drought ridden provinces of Farah and Herat in Western Afghanistan this summer – projects that will provide safe water and hygiene education to a total of 7,000 families, about 42,000 individuals. In addition, DACAAR activities will also ensure that 300 returnee families in Farah province are provided with shelters. The two projects are funded by ECHO, the Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission.

The project sites – Shindand and Ghoryan districts of Herat province and Farah Center, Pusht-e-Rud and Qala-e-Kah districts of Farah province – are all underserved areas that have not benefited from the development taking place elsewhere in Afghanistan, mainly due to volatile security. The project areas are characterized by insufficient amounts of clean water, a situation that has worsened with the return of refugees that fled during the many years of war. DACAAR will therefore place a special focus on vulnerable groups during implementation, in particular returnees. Surveys have been carried out in the districts in order to get an exact measure of the problem.

As always when DACAAR implements water and sanitation projects, local communities play an active role in both the planning and the implementation phases. Beneficiaries (both men and women) will take part in locating appropriate sites for water points and will contribute to the construction of wells with locally available materials and unskilled labourers. Hygiene education couples will be recruited from the local communities and trained to educate their fellow community members in order to ensure the clean water has the optimum impact. The overall aim is to secure local ownership and long term sustainability.

The ECHO funding amounts to EUR 619,029 for the project in Farah province, and EUR 514,489 for the project in Herat province. The projects in Herat and Farah provinces were initiated in May and June 2007 respectively, and will be completed during 2008, each with a duration of 12 months.