Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees

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Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DACAAR)
DACAAR logo.png
DACAAR has worked side by side with the Afghan people since 1984
Founded 1984
Type NGO
Focus Humanitarian
Area served
Method Water & sanitation and rural development programs
Key people
Mr. Gerard Garvey (Director)
Approx. 700 (2010)
Website http://www.dacaar.org/

Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DACAAR) (Danish: Den danske komité for hjælp til afghanske flygtninge) is a non-governmental, non-profit, apolitical humanitarian organisation, which has been working in Afghanistan for the last 25 years. It currently employs around 700 people of which 98% are local Afghans. Its core activities are water and sanitation projects and rural development activities. DACAAR works on encouraging and enabling larger community participation in its projects and the involvement of both men and women in the decision making process. Gender mainstreaming is also being promoted through a newly established Gender Unit. Currently DACAAR is working in 12 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.[1]


The Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DACAAR) was formed in 1984 to support the more than 5 million Afghans, who had fled to Pakistan and Iran and the 2 million, who were displaced within Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion.[2] DACAAR was founded by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Danish People's Aid (DPA), Danish Association for International Co-operation (MS) and Caritas Denmark. In 2010 DACAAR had over 700 employees working in 14 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.

DACAAR started as a small sewing centre for Afghan women living as refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1984. Two years later DACAAR started its first water supply programme for Afghan refugees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan. Over the next three years the programme was expanded to most of the camps in NWFP and included maintenance of water supply and water distribution systems. In 1989 the Soviet withdrew its troops from Afghanistan and DACAAR returned to Afghanistan to start up programmes in the rural areas. The main office remained in Peshawar but over the coming years, field offices were gradually opened across Afghanistan. In 1994 the Taliban took over control of most of Afghanistan and by 1996 all of DACAAR's activities were in Taliban controlled areas. DACAAR continued to work with the Afghan people, where it was possible. By the late 1990s DACAAR stopped its relief work to focus on development work in Afghan communities involving the local people in the projects. In late 2001 the Taliban regime was overthrown by allied forces and a new government was formed in Kabul. In November 2002 DACAAR moved its main office from Peshawar to Kabul, and in 2006 DACAAR stopped working in Pakistan to focus on its work in Afghanistan.


Water supply and sanitation[edit]

DACAAR provides rural communities with access to safe water.[3] To date, over 40,000 water points have been installed across Afghanistan and provide clean and safe water for over 7 million Afghans. Water points are tested in DACAAR laboratories in Kabul to find out if it is of an acceptable quality. All of the projects involves men and women of local communities, and establishes community based maintenance systems.

Hygiene education[edit]

DACAAR teaches local Afghan population the importance of simple hygiene practices in reducing water borne diseases. Most of the hygiene educators are married couples, which makes it possible to reach men, women and children. DACAAR related hygiene educators make visits to families to deliver key hygiene messages and giving training in refreshing routines and how to overcome any hygienic problems.

Natural resource management[edit]

DACAAR assists farmers in managing their natural resources, in order to help them build a self-sufficient income for the household. Farmers receive technical training in how to design and manage more efficient irrigation systems. DACAAR also helps the farmers with saffron cultivation instead of poppy farming.

Women and development[edit]

Since 2005 DACAAR has been running the Women’s Resource Centers, which provides women with training skills in running small business. The first centre was introduced in Ghazni province, and since then 11 more centers have been established. The women can take literacy courses; learn about business planning, social organizing and community management. They also receive training in agricultural management and water supply. Through these skills women are enabled to contribute financially to the households. The centers also have women’s groups, where rural women can discuss the challenges they encounter in the local communities. DACAAR has provided technical training to 250 women, conducted field visits and provided facilities for saffron drying. All centers have nominated its own management committee and chair woman, who is responsible for the daily leadership of the centre. After two years, the centers are designated to become self-sustainable.

Capacity building[edit]

In 2003 the Afghan government introduced the Afghan National Solidarity Programme (NSP), which focuses on the needs of rural areas in Afghanistan. DACAAR is a facilitating partner and involved in democratically elected Community Development Councils (CDCs) of villages and has trained local people in accounting, community management, minute taking and chairing meetings.[4]

Emergency response[edit]

Since 2002 more than five million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan.[5] Many of them are living in refugee camps, while waiting to receive land from the government.[6] DACAAR is providing these camps with safe and clean water. DACAAR also helps with emergency humanitarian relief to rural communities such as providing food to starving families and clean water during floods and other natural disasters.

Provinces of operation[edit]

DACAAR works in the following provinces:

Water and sanitation activities[edit]

Rural development activities[edit]


DACAAR has worked closely with the Agency Co-ordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR), the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL), the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation & Development (MRRD) and the Ministry of Women Affairs. DACAAR receives funding from a wide range of donors, including Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), the European Commission, and the Royal Norwegian Embassy among others.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.dacaar.org
  2. ^ Kaplan, Soldiers of God (2001) (p.11)
  3. ^ "Latest News - The Embassy of Afghanistan, Tokyo". Afghanembassyjp.com. 2007-08-22. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  4. ^ "Through the DACAAR project "Provision of Relief and Assistance to Returnees and Vulnerable Host Communities in Afghanistan," beneficiaries complete vocational training in Nangarhar and Laghman provinces". Reliefweb.int. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  5. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2010). "Afghanistan". UNHCR. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  6. ^ "AFGHANISTAN: Ousted By Iran, Afghan Refugees Languish At Home". Ipsnews.net. 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 

External links[edit]