Danish NGO celebrates 30th anniversary

by DACAAR | Danish Refugee Council (DRC) - Denmark
Thursday, 13 November 2014 10:28 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The Danish NGO DACAAR (Danish Committee for Aid to Afghans Refugees) celebrates its 30th Anniversary for its work with development and relief in Afghanistan. This will be marked on Friday 14 November in Copenhagen at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. DACAAR is a consortium of Danish Refugee Council and Danish People’s Aid.

The anniversary is held at a time when international development assistance to Afghanistan is heavily needed. International forces are in the process of withdrawing and will soon leave the full responsibility for the security to Afghan security forces. The political situation is still fragile after the presidential elections and many areas of Afghanistan are still under the control of armed opposition groups.

”It is important that Afghanistan is not forgotten by the international community – even though the world currently faces a number of crises. We cannot leave Afghanistan alone and risk losing important progress. Afghanistan’s future stability will depend on the international community continuing to support the Afghan population and government,” says Andrea Karner, DACAAR programme coordinator.

At a moment in which the international engagement in Afghanistan is declining, there is a need to focus on locally anchored development work with a long-term perspective.

“Local Afghan ownership has been a core idea of DACAAR through 30 years. We believe that this is the only way to achieve results and long-term development. In the present security environment, the local approach is completely necessary. In many districts, we would not be able to implement projects if we did not have a solid local foundation,” says DACAAR Director, John Morse.

36 % of the Afghan population lives below the poverty line and 20% lives just above. Many Afghans do not have access to safe drinking water and proper sanitary facilities. This adversely affects public health and results in a low average life expectancy of 60 years. Food insecurity is a major problem, unemployment is widespread and there is still a long way to go in terms of securing women’s rights.

”At present there is a huge need for development in Afghanistan, including in some of our core areas of intervention: Women empowerment, strengthening local capacity, and support to retuned refugees. Through our activities in the areas of natural resource management and development of small scale enterprises we work to create growth and employment, especially in rural areas – something which is highly needed. Provision of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is still urgently needed, including among refugees and IDPs. This remains a key priority for DACAAR,” says Andrea Karner.


Anniversary Reception

DACAAR’s Anniversary Reception will be held Friday 14 November 2014 at 15.30-17.30 in Eigtveds Pakhus, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Key note speakers at the reception include: Danish Secretary of State Martin Bille Hermann; Journalist from Danish Broadcasting Corporation Kirsten Larsen and DACAAR’s Director John Morse. Journalists are welcome – please sign up by email to maj.roerdam.nielsen@drc.dk

In connection with the celebrations, a delegation from DACAAR Kabul is visiting Denmark until 16 November. The delegation consists of DACAAR’s Director John Morse and 6 senior Afghan employees

Journalists are welcome to schedule interviews. Please coordinate with Admin Desk Officer Maj Rørdam Nielsen, tel. +45 33 735044 / +45 28 448389 or maj.roerdam.nielsen@drc.dk