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As part of school safety in Afghanistan, AKAH retrofits schools to withstand the tremors of potential …


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A water pump constructed by AKDN agencies to provide villagers in Gazar, Doshi District, Afghanistan with …

AKDN / Jean-Luc Ray

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Ishkashim gabion weaving centre in Badakhshan, Afghanistan.


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Afghanistan | Habitat


Our water and sanitation interventions helped to reduce child mortality and morbidity by 50 percent

In Shuter Ganjal, Doshi District, Baghlan Province, Afghanistan, the AKDN has reconstructed the primary school and a water pump outside the school grounds. AKDN
In Shuter Ganjal, Doshi District, Baghlan Province, Afghanistan, the AKDN has reconstructed the primary school and a water pump outside the school grounds.


Water and Sanitation

To address one of the most important health issues in Afghanistan – water and sanitation – AKDN has constructed more than 1,000 wells and built or reconstructed more than 30 drinking water supply systems.

Our initial aim was to decrease the incidence of diarrhoeal disease, especially for children under five. The longer-term objectives include ensuring regular supplies of safe drinking water through the construction of reservoirs, small pumping stations and piped water systems.

This objective is especially important to women, many of whom walk several kilometres to fetch water. By creating systems that are simple to maintain, the programme enables communities to manage the supply infrastructure. Other objectives include proper sanitation, hygienic waste disposal and improved health practices.

Programmes start only after discussion with village communities. We provide the initial materials and technical advice. The community contributes labour for construction and signs an undertaking for maintenance, for which training is also provided. Pre- and post-implementation surveys have shown that our water and sanitation interventions helped reduce child mortality and morbidity by 50 percent in a one-year period.

Ners is a very vulnerable village; every year we witness floods, avalanches and other natural disasters. In addition to these natural disasters, the shortage of potable drinking water was also a huge challenge for our people. Women and children would spend most of their days ferrying water from the river even though it is not safe to drink. We are very eager to work hard on the project and cooperate in its implementation.

Ali, Ners Village

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Habitat Planning

We work with communities to plan how to make their neighbourhoods, villages and towns safer and resilient and create opportunities for future generations. Our Habitat Planning Framework integrates rural and urban planning best practices; national, regional and local plans and policies; community level plans and knowledge; and hazard, land-use, socio-economic and demographic data.

We also use a Habitat Assessment Tool to assess site vulnerability and risk to multiple natural hazards; access to infrastructure; land use patterns; land suitability; environmental, demographic and socio-economic data; and housing and building stock footprints and design. Together, we then put this information into practice, creating, implementing and monitoring the designs.

Pul e Khumri

In early 2021 we conducted an urban habitat assessment looking at seismic and other natural hazard risks, building stock vulnerability and land use and zoning in Pul e Khumri, the capital and largest city of Baghlan Province, Afghanistan. Using these assessments, we have developed a risk-sensitive land use plan for the city, accounting for seismic hazards, water resources, drought sensitivity and other geological, hydrological and climate hazards. The plan categorises land use for residential, mixed-use, services and green and conservation zones based on hazard, climatic and socio-economic data. Building on this land use plan through a participatory process engaging key stakeholders, we developed a set of policies, recommendations and action plans to strengthen the city's resilience to multiple natural disasters and human crises.

Together these measures will inform a resilient master plan for risk-sensitive, low-carbon development. This is the first experience using risk-sensitive land use planning in urban areas in Afghanistan.


We are testing innovative approaches to bring world-class planning expertise to Ishkashim, Badakhshan. The town connects a trade corridor from China to Pakistan and has strong potential for tourism and economic growth. However, it is vulnerable to natural hazards such as landslides, avalanches, earthquakes and floods. Working virtually with Harvard University and Kabul University, we are planning how Ishkahim and its surrounding villages can develop inclusively and sustainably.


Dasht-e-Dehkhaw village in Afghan Badakhshan suffered a devastating flood in 2017, leaving many displaced and much of the village destroyed. To ensure the safety of the community, we have launched a habitat planning project and is working with the community to relocate to a safer place nearby in Darwaz, Badakhshan. The project aims to apply participatory and resilient planning approaches to create a liveable and safe place for rural life. In order to best maintain cultural autonomy, the entire village will be relocated through joint efforts by key stakeholders. The habitat planning process will look at current and future needs for the community for housing, essential services and critical access routes to develop locally adapted spatial plans and designs. During site planning, the district road has been relocated to reduce vehicle movement in newly designated residential neighbourhoods.

Faizabad City

With a population of roughly 80,000 people, Faizabad is the provincial capital and largest city in Badakhshan Province. It is the primary commercial and administrative centre of the Pamir Region, located in the northeast of Afghanistan on the Kokcha River. It is vulnerable to a variety of natural and man-made hazards, including geological, hydrological and meteorological ones.

In 2021, we conducted risk-sensitive and climate-resilient land use planning for Faizabad. This tool mitigates disaster risks by promoting sustainable land use and urban development practices. We will assess disaster vulnerability to integrate risk reduction into land use planning processes, identify the safest areas in the city and develop risk-sensitive zoning plans for future development.

New Kabul City

AKAH is also working with the Ministry of Urban Development and Land to introduce climate-smart and resilient habitat planning in New Kabul City for a population of 250,000 people. We will deliver a revised habitat plan building on the existing JICA-funded master plan.

We will complete a habitat assessment which will include natural and remote hazard assessments. Based on this data and drawing on international planning best practices, we will review and recommend revisions to the land use plans. We will provide alternative designs for major corridors which integrate hazard mitigation measures as well as climate-resilient and socially inclusive planning practices.

Green Building

AKAH is helping communities combat climate change by rethinking the ways buildings are designed, constructed and operated. We are putting green building principles at the heart of development and promoting low-carbon construction. We train local communities in safer, resilient construction techniques. These expand access to, and awareness of, climate- and disaster-resilient construction and habitat improvement for long-term sustainability. They also build skills for economic opportunities. We promote renewable energy and energy-efficient products through awareness raising and communications campaigns.

As part of the Dasht-e-Dehkhaw relocation project, we are developing affordable, green housing. Using hazard data, community consultations and local building styles, we have developed locally appropriate, carbon-neutral home designs. The houses will be built using passive design features, insulation and local materials. They will be powered by clean energy, are emission free and carbon neutral.

Site grading work preparing the site for housing construction is nearly complete. We are constructing a 252-metre long gabion wall to protect the site from rock falls and floods. We are also working with the community to produce concrete blocks locally; the blocks use local sand and gravel and have lower thermal conductivity for improved energy efficiency. Home designs have been developed using these blocks as well as stone masonry.

We are working with the Aga Khan Foundation on the USAID-funded Local Impact project. This integrates sustainable renewable energy solutions with robust disaster risk reduction technologies and strategies to equip communities to develop climate change resilience. We have identified six renewable energy and energy-efficient products that are adapted to the local context: household solar PV systems, solar cookers, solar water heaters, solar dryers, improved cookstoves and green construction materials. We are working with local communities to promote awareness and adoption of these solutions. We have trained 136 skilled local technicians on the implementation, maintenance and operation of these systems and have held awareness-raising sessions across target communities to promote uptake.