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ACBAR Newsletter December -2015

posted: 2016-02-02
ACBAR Hosts Donor Workshop for NGO Coordinating Bodies and Civil Society
The workshop provided a forum for donors to present their funding opportunities for 2016 and engage with NGOs and civil society representatives.

On the 17th December 2015, ACBAR and the EU hosted a donor workshop for ACBAR and fellow coordination bodies (ANCB, ASCF, AWN and SWABAC). The workshop provided a forum for donors to present their funding opportunities and engage with NGOs and civil society representatives. The workshop was divided into two sessions: the first session included a presentation by ACBAR and other Coordination Bodies, followed by presentations by different donors that support Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and questions and answers. The second session consisted of a presentation by the Civil Society Joint Working Group (CSJWG) on its activities and the Mutual Cooperation Mechanism (MCM) agreement signed between the government and CSJWG. This was followed by a panel discussion with CSJWG members and a representative from the President’s Office.

During a welcome and introduction by the Head of Cooperation of European Union (EU), Maurizio Cian stated the EU remains a strong supporter of civil society and a substantial part of their cooperation is implemented by NGOs/CSOs. The EU will be hosting the next Ministerial Conference in Brussels 4-5th October 2016. The Brussels Ministerial Conference will be the point at which the international community pledges support to Afghanistan beyond 2016. Civil society will play an important role towards the preparation of the conference.

The NGO coordinating bodies discussed current issues which affect NGOs and CSOs. As Afghanistan experiences a decline in international aid and as more donor funds are channeled through the government as “on budget” donations, there is less direct funding to NGOs/CSOs and thus to greater competition for declining resources. NGO/CSOs need to align themselves more with the Government, which is sometimes problematic. Sometimes NGO/CSOs are expected to deliver projects without much consultation and there is less inclusion of NGOs/CSOs in providing ideas and planning new government initiatives. In this context NGOs/CSOs may need to redefine their roles. NGO Coordination Bodies have a special responsibility to represent the wider group. They also want to show examples of best practice to government and donors.

Presentations were then provided by the EU, DFID, Dutch Embassy, Canadian Embassy and German Embassy. In 2015, the EU has 67 grants managed by NGOs/CSOs, for a total amount of EUR 100 million managed in different areas of cooperation in Afghanistan. 80% of grants are managed by INGOs, while 19% by Afghan NGOs, although the figure is different if co-applicants are considered. Incentives are being introduced to see more funding going to Afghan NGOs. As of July this year the EU will move to online application system called Prospect. This will minimize human mistakes in application, as the system will not permit them and will block the application.

DFID provided information on UK support to civil society in Afghanistan. This includes Tawanmandi (2011-2017, £33.78m, UK contribution £19.96m), Humanitarian Program (2014-2018, £80m), Girls Education Challenge Fund (2013-2017, £49.5m), Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), Women’s Rights Programming, Human Rights Democracy Fund (Calls for proposals will be out this year) When discussing lessons for future support for civil society, DFID highlighted the need for CSOs to strengthen their organizational capacity and better and co-ordination within sectors for wider impact/advocacy.

The Dutch Embassy in Kabul has two sources of funding for civil society actors and NGOs. One is provided directly by the Ministry in the Hague (central funding- ) e.g. Reconstruction Program, FLOW and Addressing Root Causes Fund, and the other is provided and managed by the Dutch Embassy in Kabul. Current focus areas have been narrowed down in 2014 to the field of security and the rule of law, with special attention for women’s rights and gender.
Funding mechanisms for CSOs from the Canadian Embassy in Kabul includes Funding for International Development Projects – Global Affairs Canada, partnering with a Canadian organization through an unsolicited proposals mechanism, Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), Diploma in Development Leadership, Equitas and an annual International Human Rights Training Program. In addition funding is available for advocacy in the fields of health and the empowerment of women and girls.

The German Embassy in Kabul has two government institutions that provide funding for projects – one is the Ministry for Development and Cooperation and the other is the Federal Foreign Office. Funding opportunities include NGO funding from German Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation, Foreign Office Funds and Small Grants Fund of the German Embassy.

The Civil Society Joint working Group (CSJWG) provided a presentation on their new organizational structure, the signing of the Code of Conduct of the Mutual Cooperation Mechanism between government and CSJWG and their plans for monitoring the government and international community commitments under the SMAF.
For the full report please visit:

Da Pulay Poray has won a big place in the hearts of Afghans: you too can play your part in supporting it

ACBAR is sponsoring radio drama storylines covering the work of humanitarian organisations in order to promote understanding of humanitarian principles and the role of NGOs and the duty of the government to see humanitarian organisations as a source of assistance for needy sections of Afghan society as opposed to a source of corruption. These scenes will be broadcast in Kandahar and Jalalabad through PACT radio and other radio broadcasters in Afghanistan with whom PACT has agreements.

Da Pulay Poray means Across the Border and deals with the lives of Afghans living on the border of Pakistan in a radio soap opera. Da Pulay Poray is broadcast in Pashto on Arakozia Radio, the Pashto broadcasting arm of the Moby Media Group. It is produced by PACT Radio. Previously, the soap opera was produced in Peshawar. It has now been one year that it has been repatriated to Afghanistan, and found a home with Arakozia Radio.

In the two years that Da Pulay Poray has been on air at Arakozia Radio, it has built up a considerable audience in the East and South of Afghanistan. Not only is it being listened to, it is playing a constructive role for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. This was shown in audience research carried out by PACT in December 2014. The research found that of those who listen to Arakozia Radio, 96 per cent of women and 87 per cent of men said they were tuning into Da Pulay Poray radio drama, making it the most popular programme on Arakozia Radio. Listeners were asked why they like Da Pulay Poray. While many (33 per cent of men and 12 per cent of women) said they liked it for its educational content, even more (20 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women) said they liked it because it was a reflection of real life.

Da Pulay Poray covers a lot of issues: disaster preparedness and relief; the plight of widows; the struggle for rights; conflict and conflict resolution; humanitarian relief and humanitarian access and grassroots democracy. Which storylines had particularly stuck in listeners’ memory? When asked this question, there was just about equal support for three of the main storylines of the radio soap opera: when a flood descended on Kandao village, the fictional village in which Da Pulay Poray is set (26 per cent of men and 31 per cent of women);

the marriage of the young widow Kashmala to a school teacher, Kashmala having previously escaped from her in-laws, who were forcing her into marriage with the brother of her deceased husband (26 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women); and the choice of most respondents (32 per cent of men and 25 per cent of women) who said that the storyline that resonated with them most was when one returnee refugee, Mewa Gul, stood up for his rights, his land having been appropriated by the local malik or headman while he was a refugee across the border. One listener praised Mewa Gul because he was a mubariza kawunkay (struggler for his own and others’ rights).

Any good story has a moral and a radio drama, which is a collection of storylines, is no different: it contains educational messages. When respondents were asked which education message of Da Pulay Poray had for them been most powerful and memorable, the one most opted for (31 per cent of men and a colossal 57 per cent of women) was widows’ right to remarriage, according to her own choice. Incidentally, there was also relatively high support for two other educational messages: the humanitarian principles are laudable in themselves – 26 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women – and an organized community is in a better position to receive needed humanitarian assistance – 32 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women.

Da Pulay Poray is a powerful medium for communication with people in the outlying areas of the east and south of Afghanistan. These are some of the areas that are most difficult to access for humanitarian agencies. Da Pulay Poray is continuing to communicate messages regarding the humanitarian principles, and how important it is for humanitarian agencies to be seen to be implementing the humanitarian principles, in order to contribute to better humanitarian access.

Da Pulay Poray is also trying to address scruples some people have in the east and south of Afghanistan in accepting the polio vaccine. It is addressing important family issues, like women’s inheritance and the usefulness of having a marriage certificate. These are just some of the issues that are being woven into the storylines of Da Pulay Poray.

For more information please contact PACT at


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