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A Study of Poverty, Food Insecurity
and Resilience in Afghan Cities
Urban
Poverty
RepoRt
this publication was commissioned by the Danish Refugee Council
(DRC) and people in Need (pIN) and was prepared and conducted
solely by Samuel Hall. the views and analysis contained in the
publication therefore do not necessarily represent DRC and pIN’s
views.
this report should be cited using the following referencing style:
Samuel Hall 2014, “A Study of poverty, Food Security and
Resilience in Afghan Cities.” For DRC and pIN.
For permission to photocopy or reprint any part of this work,
please send your request to DRC and pIN.
Graphic design: Maiken Lyster thonke, www.lysth.dk
Samuel Hall is a leader in conducting quality field research and providing expert analysis and strategic
consultancy to public and private sector organisations operating in present and post conflict regions.
Covering Asia, Africa and the Middle East since 2009, Samuel Hall brings evidence-based and participatory research findings from the field to the tables of policy and decision makers. Our areas of expertise
include monitoring and evaluation; strategy and impact assessments; as well as economic, migration,
governance and rule of law, education and protection research. Our offices are located in Nairobi,
Jordan and Kabul. Contact us at info@samuelhall.org
Visit us at www.samuelhall.org
Urban
Poverty
RepoRt
A Study of Poverty, Food Insecurity
and Resilience in Afghan Cities
2 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 3
ACRONYMS
ACF ....................Action Contre la Faim
AREU ..................Afghanistan Research and evaluation Unit
ARTF ..................Afghanistan Reconstruction trust Fund
CS.......................Case Study
CSI......................Coping Strategy Index
CSO ....................Central Statistics organisation
DDS ....................Dietary Diversity Score
DRC ....................Danish Refugee Council
FAO ....................Food and Agriculture organisation
FCS ....................Food Consumption Score
FGD ....................Focus Group Discussion
HFIAS .................Household Food Insecurity Access Scale
IDLG ...................Independent Directorate for Local Governance
IDP ......................Internally Displaced person
IFPRI ..................International Food policy Research Institute
JICA ...................Japanese International Cooperation Agency
GDMA .................General Directorate for Municipal Affairs
GiZ ......................Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
KII .......................Key Informant Interview
KIS ......................Kabul Informal Settlement
KSP ....................Kabul Solidarity programme
KURP ..................Kabul Urban Reconstruction programme
LRRD ..................Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development
MICS ..................Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey
MOLSAMD .........Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled
MoPH .................Ministry of public Health
MoRR .................Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation
MRRD .................Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
MUDA .................Ministry of Urban Development Affairs
NGO ....................Non-Government organisation
NNS ....................National Nutrition Survey
NSP ....................National Solidarity programme
NRVA ..................National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment
PIN......................people in Need
PSU ....................primary Sampling Unit
UNHCR ...............United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees
UNODC ...............United Nation office on Drugs and Crime
VAM ....................Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping
WASH .................Water, Sanitation, Hygiene
WB ......................World Bank
WFP ....................World Food programme
WHH ...................Welt Hunger Hilfe
ExECUTIVE
SUmmary
this urban poverty study shows
alarmingly high levels of poverty and
food insecurity and low levels of
resilience in the main Afghan cities.
the urban poor are the first impacted
by the slowdown of the Afghan
economy and the political turmoil linked
to the presidential elections and are
now in distress.
4 Urban poverty Report
overview of key indicators per city
Table 1
Note (>60% of total HH expenditure) (poor) (moderate + severe)
Food Expenditure
(%)
Food Consumption
Score (%)
Food Insecurity
HFIAS (%)
Average
HDDS
Average Resilience
Index
Kabul >40 >20 >65 5.51 150
Herat >30 >30 >85 4.97 157
Jalalabad >25 >10 >85 5.97 160
mazar-e-Sharif >55 >25 >80 4.82 159
Kandahar >35 >20 >95 5.44 162
Only 54% of mothers
breastfed their infants
within the first hour
after birth
Household Food Insecurity access Scale by City
FIGURe 1
The numbers represents the amount of people in the survey.
Poor Food consumption
Poor Food consumption in different households based on the FCS.
The urban poor are becoming
poorer: 78.2% of urban households
were found to fall below the poverty
line, a sign that the economic situation of urban households has deteriorated significantly over the past
3 years. Urban poverty is pervasive
across the board and there is little
stratification within urban populations
or across cities, although Kabul fares
slightly better than the other cities.
Urban areas are characterised by
high levels of food insecurity and
poor diets
Looking at the Food Consumption
Score (FCS) shows that 20% of urban
Afghans suffer from poor food consumption, while a further third show
borderline food consumption, leaving
less than half with acceptable levels
of consumption. Mazar-e-Sharif and
Herat show particularly poor levels of
food consumption. Dietary diversity is
low across the board with poor diets
based on cereals and vegetables.
Sources of protein are largely missing
from urban diets. There are marked
differences between the cities when
it comes to dietary diversity, with
households in Kandahar reporting a
more diversified diet especially compared to Mazar-e-Sharif, which has a
significantly poorer profile in terms of
dietary diversity.
Measuring food insecurity through the
Household Food Insecurity
Access Sale (HFIAS) shows that
anxiety about food access and
making negative adjustments to daily
food consumption are a common
feature of urban life, as more than
half the households are severely food
insecure on this scale. Kandahar and
Jalalabad reported particularly high
levels of food insecurity.
Finally, early child development is
also at risk in the cities: the survey
showed poor breastfeeding practices
as only 54% of mothers breastfed
their infants within the first hour after
birth. Additionally, the majority of
mothers extended exclusive breastfeeding beyond 6 months, failing to
introduce complementary foods appropriately.
Looking at resilience scores shows
only tenuous differences between
cities and a generally low level of
resilience. Kabul fares slightly better
than other cities while Kandahar fares
worse as the resilience of its households is negatively impacted by poor
access to basic services.
Who are the urban poor? Poverty
and food insecurity characterise a
majority of urban households in all
five cities surveyed by this study.
Yet, certain sub-groups stand out as
particularly vulnerable:
IDPs – especially recently-displaced
– are at a clear disadvantage. IDP
households, especially if they were
displaced recently, are at a particular disadvantage compared to other
migration groups. 36% of IDPs have
poor food consumption based on the
FCS, compared to 26-27% for economic migrants and only 16 to 18%
of returnee households. 68 (±3%) of
IDPs are categorized as “severely
food insecure”, while returnees match
residents at 58-59%, with economic
migrants faring best at 49 (±3%).
While returnees can benefit from
social networks and assistance upon
return, and economic migrants are
often able to prepare for their migration in advance, IDPs are swept
away from their place of origin by
conflict and natural-disaster. Adjustment to life in the city is particularly
steep. Displacement to urban areas
is fuelled by conflict, not assistance:
80.9% of IDPs moved to the city
because of conflict, although Mazare-Sharif shows a higher proportion
of natural-disaster induced IDPs
(13.3%). 93% of urban households
report having no intention to move
again. Only 10% of IDP households
would like to go back to their place of
origin. This points to the necessity of
facilitating local integration as a durable solution for IDPs in the city.
IDPs living in the informal settlements
that have been identified by humanitarian actors as areas of particular
78,2% of urban households were found to fall
below the poverty line
6 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 7
Only a marginal proportion of households own
livestock (13%) or grow
produce (7%).
Winterization is
a failure. Donors
are not interested.
Even the IDPs are
fed up. People
themselves are
asking for durable
solutions
KII – HLP Task Force
Households’ sanitation facilities
Sanitation Facilities
FIGURe 2
vulnerability show lower levels of
resilience than other groups, but
living in a KIS is not nearly as strong
a determinant of vulnerability as
other criteria such as having addicted
members of households or being a
female-headed household. The main
difference comes from access to
basic services, for which IDPs living
in the KIS are disadvantaged.
Statistical evidence proves the impact of specific social vulnerabilities
on food security and poverty. The
absence of male income-earners,
the presence of addicted member(s)
of household and the reliance on
a single source of income, usually
a daily labourer, put urban households at great risk and significantly
lower their resilience. Low levels of
education also put households at
greater risks of food insecurity and
lack of access to robust basic services further decreases households’
resilience. The study showed that
disability was a counter-indication
for food insecurity, a fact that can be
explained by the social protection
mechanisms that effectively reach
households with a disabled member
or a victim of mines. This illustrates
the relevance and potential efficiency
of social protection mechanisms in a
context of general vulnerability and
food insecurity.
What are the determinants
of food security?
Accessing food is the main challenge that urban households face
on a daily basis. Food security in
the city is a question of income and
access to stable employment, both
particularly challenging for households with addicts, female-headed
households, and households with
low levels of education. Low and
unreliable income often necessitates
reducing the quantity of food in the
household on a regular basis. More
importantly, it means sacrificing food
diversity, as many food items become
unaffordable. It also causes high
levels of anxiety as the income each
day will determine both the nature
and amount of food the household
will consume.
Food availability is not a major determinant of food insecurity within
the targeted Afghan cities, none of
which suffers from food shortages.
Little price volatility exists based
on seasonality but food prices have
increased over the past 5 years. In
contrast to rural areas, seasonality
only contributes to food insecurity
through casual labour in the five
Afghan cities studied: seasonality of
casual labour makes winter a particularly difficult season for urban poor,
except in Jalalabad where seasonality
has less impact. Urban households
cannot rely on self-production to
complement their food intake as only
a marginal proportion of households
own livestock (13%) or grow produce
(7%), further reducing their ability to
absorb income shocks.
Poor sanitation facilities and low
awareness about basic hygiene
practices mean that food is often
unsafe, raising the risk of diarrheal
disease and poor nutritional status,
especially for under-five-year-old
children. Poor breastfeeding practices further increase the problem with
infants who lack nutrients and often
face long-term consequences on their
development.
How resilient are the urban poor?
A decade of international assistance
and state reconstruction has done
little to build the resilience of urban
households, who still fare very poorly
on some of the key dimensions of
resilience: literacy, education and
qualified employment. The adaptive capacities of urban households
are further limited by their inability to
save money and the necessity to rely
on informal credit, as the only safety
net accessible to them. The loss of
households’ productive abilities upon
their arrival in the city – evidenced
by very little livestock or agricultural production in the cities – further
reduces households’ ability to adapt
to income shocks or to diversify their
food intake. Family networks are not
strong enough to support households’ resilience as remittances in
cash from abroad or in-kind from rural
areas are residual. Better access to
basic services in the cities is the only
way that urban households can build
resilience in the long-term.
Low levels of resilience put urban
population at particular risk in a context of economic drawdown: 60% of
households have reported a deterioration of their economic situations
over the past 12 months, particularly
in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif. 74.5%
noted high food prices as one of the
key economic issues they have had
to struggle with over the past 12
months. The World Food Programme
(WFP) confirmed an increase in the
prices of key food items and a deterioration of urban households’ purchasing power, a combination that
put urban households in distress.
In the absence of robust resilience
mechanisms at the household level,
the main coping strategy available to
households is to reduce the quality
and the quantity of food consumed.
Some safety nets exist at the community level though and urban
households can rely on a tight
system of informal credit and
loans. 76% of households are
in debt, a majority of whom to
relatives, friends and shopkeepers. Intra-community forms of
charity also exist, although they
are reportedly in decline. Yet, informal credit and charity systems can
be exclusionary, especially for newlyarrived households, putting IDPs in
more difficult situations.
Urban poverty and food insecurity
remains largely unaddressed by
national and international actors,
as funding and programming
largely focus on rural issues.
Additionally, there are several
gaps in the current approaches:
• Beyond emergency assistance –
a “no man’s land” for IDPs? No
mechanisms exist for a follow-up
on the assistance to recentlydisplaced populations after the
three-month limit of emergency
assistance. The present study
provides more evidence that these
groups are particularly at risk but
a robust framework to implement
durable solutions for IDPs in the
cities is slow to emerge.
• Between humanitarian assistance
and large-scale development/infrastructure projects – a missing
link: This study shows that urban
livelihoods remain scarce and
instable and that the overall level
of resilience of poor urban
households has not improved
enough over the past decade, except for improved access to basic
services in some parts of major
Afghan cities. Initiatives to build
8 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 9
resilience remain scarce in the city.
The main interventions working on
livelihoods are small-scale, shortterm vocational training, of which
impact remains limited given the
poor level of skills that beneficiaries usually reach, the lack of
links to the market and the overall
saturated urban labour markets.
Although a small number of actors
try to address issues of food security and households’ resilience
in the city, the study showed that
building resilience of urban households needs long-term programming on key issues that can bring
actual transformation: education
(especially for women), structural
improvement of the business and
productive sectors, and social protection mechanisms in particular.
• Beyond the informal settlements,
addressing widespread urban
poverty – This study proved that
urban poverty is widespread – and
increasing – beyond the limits of
the few areas identified by national
and international actors. In particular, households with specific
profiles and pockets of poverty are
to be found everywhere in the city
and cannot be easily type-case by
convenient indicators and descriptors. Yet most of the assistance
is concentrated on a few small
settlements: across the 5 cities,
12% of non-residents of the KIS
reported having received assistance, compared to 30% for KIS
residents.
Addressing the poverty and resilience gap in urban populations
should be a priority for national
and international stakeholders in a
context of growing urbanisation in
the country. This requires long-term
and sustained interventions from both
national and international actors.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ALL STAKEHOLDERS
Build the resilience of urban households through a long-term
commitment to:
access to basic services: Bridge the gap between cities in terms of access to basic services,
as they play a key role in building resilience in the
long run. Community-based programming, based
on community contribution in cash and labour
force, is a sustainable way of improving and
maintaining basic services in the city and should
be further supported. Donors should maintain
their focus on infrastructure investments, looking
at the gaps in other cities than Kabul, and especially focusing on Kandahar, where the situation is
considerably worse, especially when it comes to
access to electricity.
access to education and literacy: this study
showed that education is a determinant of household resilience. It is also a safeguard against
inter-generational transmission of poverty. Yet,
access to education is still unevenly distributed
across the 5 major cities and by gender: living in
the city does not guarantee access to education.
Long-term commitment to education projects –
especially those aimed at increasing girls’ access
to high school and higher education – should still
be at the top of the agenda.
Workforce qualification: Vulnerability and food
insecurity in the cities are first and foremost a
problem of access to stable livelihoods. Structural
changes are required for the urban workforce to
diversify their skills and step away from casual
labour that keeps households in a circle of debt
and poverty. Designing long-term programmes
of qualification for urban skills – specialising in
services and business management in particular –
would help reduce the increasing gap between the
urban labour supply and demand.
Address urban households’ difficulties in accessing food by:
building on existing female livelihood
strategies: this study did observe forms of
livelihood accessible to women (albeit in a limited
scale). Usually home-based, they include tailoring, sewing, pistachio shelling, cleaning chickpeas,
cleaning wool etc. these represent interesting
opportunities for women to be economically active.
Yet, the study shows that women’s weak position
in the labour market means that they work for extremely low salaries. organisations could work on
building the bargaining power of these women by
setting up cooperatives of production and playing
an intermediary role in salary negotiations.
Developing specific protection and livelihood
programmes for households with addicted
members: the study shows that these households
are at particular risk, as addicts often use any
income or asset available to purchase drugs. Drug
addiction being stigmatised, these households lose
the support of their communities, leaving children
and women in a situation of high vulnerability. Addiction was also a significant predictor for food
insecurity. While drug addiction is increasing in
Afghan cities, the response of national and international actors should be built up to prevent situations of extreme vulnerability. organisations like
DRC with a specific focus on displaced populations
should also take addiction into account in their
programming as drug use and associated risks
are particularly high – and increasing – among
returnees. the issue of addiction among returnee
households from pakistan and Iran is a question
that DRC should approach through a regional
strategy, as drug use often starts in exile.
building long-term mechanisms of social
protection: Urban households suffer from a lack
of safety nets and the dissolution of communitybased protection mechanisms. Yet, this study
showed that mechanisms of social protection –
such as the pension distributed to the disabled
and victims of mines – could have a real impact on
food security. Investing in sustainable systems of
social protection should therefore be a priority to
fill the gap left by receding systems of community
and religious charity. In particular, the training
of social workers embedded in the communities
should be a priority to identify households at particular risk and improve the referral mechanisms
– within and outside communities.
Recognize an urban geography of poverty by adjusting
targeting to the profiles of poverty in the cities:
at the community level: the study has shown
that IDp households were particularly vulnerable but that poverty and lack of resilience were
widespread beyond the limit of the informal settlements identified by the KIS task Force, as people
other than IDps and IDps living outside the KIS are
also vulnerable. the geographic scope of interventions should therefore increase beyond the KIS.
Communities with a concentration of IDp households, especially those who have been recentlydisplaced, should be targeted as a priority, but
programming should also focus on other vulnerable households whether from the host community
or with different migratory profiles.
at the household level: Use fine targeting methodologies: the Resilience Index: the study shows that
there was little stratification amongst urban
poor. targeting is highly challenging and should be
based on a solid combination of indicators to avoid
arbitrary delineation between poor groups. one
option is to opt for blanket targeting of hot spots
of poverty and food insecurity in urban areas.
Another option – especially if resources are
limited – is to base targeting on a refined grid of
selection criteria. the study points at key variables to identify the most vulnerable households
in the city. A simplified resilience index (detailed
in the recommendation section below) based on
proxy means allows for a robust identification of
the poorest. this system can be explained to communities to avoid resentment.
10 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 11
target male members of households with
training on food literacy: the study showed
that male members of households are in charge
of purchasing food in a large majority of urban
households. the poor diets of urban households
also show a low level of awareness about the
benefits of diversified diets. Men should therefore
be targeted as a priority by awareness-raising
campaigns surrounding food. the study found that
food budget was often the key determinant of food
choices, meaning that training on food literacy
should include components on budget-management and take into account the constraint of low
budgets.
Increase awareness raising about hygiene
practices surrounding food, especially for
women: the survey shows that levels of awareness about appropriate hygiene practices are still
low amongst the urban poor, leading to increased
risks of diarrhoea, especially for children. Specific
training on hygiene requirements for food preparation should be provided. this could be incorporated into entrepreneurial or social activities
offered for women – a class on food safety in meal
preparation for example. Community kitchens are
a good model to follow for this type of interventions in urban settings.
raise awareness about the impact of tea
consumption during meal on iron absorption:
tea consumption during meal inhibit the absorption of iron, an issue particularly problematic
when no enhancing factors (fish, meat etc.) are
consumed as is the case for most Afghan households. Advocate for tea to be consumed between
meals instead of during the meal to address the
problem of iron deficiency, particularly for pregnant women, women and children.
Significantly build up awareness raising on
adequate breastfeeding practices: Breastfeeding practices were found to be highly inadequate to provide for infants’ nutrition needs in the
cities. A large effort of awareness-raising should
target mothers but also female health workers
working on deliveries in public clinics for them
to provide adequate information and care after
the birth. At the community level, women centres
combined with eDC centres could be established
within the communities as places where care
and development services for young children are
easily available, along with training focusing on
breastfeeding.
Tailor awareness raising campaigns and training to the gap
identified within households to increase food security and
improve nutrition
TABLE OF CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ........................................................................................................................... 5
INTRODUCTION .....................................................................................................................................15
Background And objectives of the Study ................................................................................ 15
Research objectives .................................................................................................................... 17
Research Framework .................................................................................................................. 17
Structure of the Report ............................................................................................................. 21
METHODOLOGY .....................................................................................................................................22
Building A Resilience Score ........................................................................................................ 22
Geographic Scope ........................................................................................................................ 23
Quantitative Data ......................................................................................................................... 23
Qualitative Data ............................................................................................................................ 25
Constraints And Limitations ....................................................................................................... 27
2. VULNERABILITY AND FOOD INSECURITY: THE PLIGHT OF AFGHAN CITIES ...............................29
A. Urban profiling: Key Migratory patterns ............................................................................. 31
B. High Levels of Vulnerability And Food Insecurity In the Cities......................................... 35
C. Satisfying Levels of Access to Basic Services .................................................................. 47
3. DETERMINANTS OF FOOD INSECURITY AND LACK OF RESILIENCE ................................ 52
A. the Impact of Migration & Displacement on Food Insecurity And Vulnerability............ 56
B. Social Vulnerabilities: Key Drivers of Food Insecurity And Lack of Resilience ............. 61
C. education And Access to Services Limit Vulnerability ...................................................... 71
D. Food Availability: High At the Community Level, Low At the Household Level ............... 73
e. Food Utilisation: problematic Hygiene practices ................................................................ 74
4. RESISTING TO SHOCKS: URBAN MECHANISMS OF RESILIENCE ............................................81
A. Which Shocks Impact Urban Households? ........................................................................... 83
B. How Do the Urban poor Resist economic Shocks? ........................................................... 85
5. CONCLUSION - PROGRAMMING FOR THE URBAN POOR...........................................................92
Gaps In existing Urban programming ....................................................................................... 94
Recommendations ......................................................................................................................101
ANNEXES .............................................................................................................................................114
REFERENCES ......................................................................................................................................124
12 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 13
1
IntroDUCtIon
BACKGROUND AND OBjECTIVES
OF THE STUDY
A new urbanity – defined
as an urban lifestyle, with
urban characteristics
and traits – is blooming in
Afghanistan, supported by
an estimated 5.7% annual
urban growth rate since
20011. Still in majority
rural, the country is joining
the global trend of urbanisation with at least 30% of
the population now living
in cities, 50% of which in
Kabul2. According to the
World Bank, the urban
population should represent 40% of the Afghan
population by 20503. When
insecurity plagues the rest
of the country, Afghan
urban areas are often
perceived as rare safe
havens. Much of the country’s stability rests now
in the capacity of urban
centres to remain strong
economic and social hubs.
Pic. 1.1 Photo credit: Lalage Snow
“Even if the diversity of food available is
higher in urban areas, the rate of food
insecurity is also higher. Because in the city,
you have to pay for a lot of other things, not
only food items. Households have to pay for
their rent, for electricity… So in terms of the
quantity of food that households are able to
access in the city, urban households are
actually worse-off.”
14 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 15
Afghanistan’s rapid urbanization is the
result of migration and displacement dynamics: rural to urban migration, economic
migration, significant conflict-induced internal displacement fuelled by high levels of
insecurity, especially in the remote districts,
and sudden displacements of population
due to natural disasters such as drought,
landslides and floods. Displacement trends
are on the rise as Afghanistan completes
a full security and political transition, with
visible signs of instability and heightened
conflict directly impacting civilians. Afghan cities are often perceived as better-off than rural
areas as they benefit from:
• Security from conflict, which is on the
rise in most rural districts;
• Prosperity in a country where poverty,
un- and under-employment are prevalent;
• Availability of basic services where access to water, electricity and health is
still an everyday challenge in the majority of provinces and many rural areas.
A few urban centres are the recipients of
most displacement patterns: Kabul first
and foremost, and the four other important
regional capitals: Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif
for their booming economy; Kandahar and
Jalalabad as bastions of relative security
in provinces where insecurity in rural areas
is increasing. Afghanistan counts today
over 6 million Afghan refugee returnees and
approximately 1 million internally displaced
persons – the majority of whom migrate
to urban areas with little or no intention
to return home4. At a time of decreasing
voluntary returns to Afghanistan – 11,000
refugees returning as of July 2014 (UNHCR) – economic migrants and internally
displaced persons (IDPs) now compose
most of the influx of populations towards
the cities today. The urban population profile is changing as a result.
Afghan cities are at the intersection of two
major dynamics: multiform migration to
urban areas and economic drawdown that
point to urban poverty as one of the acute
challenges for Afghanistan in the coming
years. The urban challenge in 2014
Afghanistan is three-fold:
1. National and municipal authorities lack
the financial and technical capacities
to manage displacement. The question
of unregulated urbanisation is increasingly turning into a heated political issue
in spite of recent legislative improvements. In particular, the IDP Policy supported by the Ministry of Refugees and
Repatriation (MoRR) and UNHCR, the
Informal Settlement Upgrading policy,
which should soon be finalised, and the
National Food Security Policy open the
way for a more solid legal framework for
national authorities and international actors to operate. Yet, urban poverty is still
a ‘black box’ for many actors operating in Afghanistan5. In 2014, necessary
services and infrastructure, social and
legal frameworks and non-governmental
support are not in place to tackle this
challenge.
2. Informal settlements are burgeoning
with new groups settling in areas falling
outside of out-dated municipal plans,
making it difficult for municipalities to
provide adequate levels of services to
people living there. These informal settlements are now a common feature of
Afghan cities and represent an estimated 80% of the Kabul population and
69% of its residential land6. While populations have invested in these areas
and develop them in some ways, these
increasingly represent pockets of urban
poverty. Strikingly, the latest 2011-2012
National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA) noted an increase in food
insecurity between 2007 and 2011 in
urban areas, reporting an augmentation
from 28.3% of the urban population to
34.4% in 2011-127.
3. Urban poverty is on the rise with worrying signs of economic collapse in
Afghanistan: national economic growth
has slowed down significantly under the
cumulative effect of the withdrawal of
international military forces, reduction
of international funding and reduction of
private investments due to the current
instable political context8. Construction,
transportation and services sectors that
had benefited from the international
presence are now in decline, discombobulating the dynamism of the urban
economy.
Where is the data to inform policy
makers?
In the absence of a census, data are lacking to inform policies and programmes in
urban areas. In a city like Kabul, assistance
and knowledge are concentrated on the
main group that has been identified as
needing humanitarian assistance: Internally
Displaced People (IDPs) within the Kabul
Informal Settlements (KIS)9. Outside these
little is known about urban poverty. This is
even truer for many international organisations and donors, which have focused efforts on rural areas for the past decade and
have only recently turned their attention to
the challenges faced by Afghan cities.
Precise data on levels of poverty,
vulnerability or food security in the cities
are lacking, as is a precise identification of
vulnerable sub-groups, across gender, age
or migration history.
On the other hand, a precise knowledge of
the nature of resilience in the Afghan urban
population is also lacking: what mechanisms prevent households and communities from starvation? What factors make
some households more resilient to shocks
and instability than others? What strategies, if any, do individuals, households
and communities build up to survive and
develop in difficult environments?
The present research was commissioned
by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and
People in Need (PIN) to fill this knowledge
gap and uncover the nature, level and
complexity of poverty, food security and resilience amongst Afghan urban households
and communities. DRC and PIN commissioned this study in the framework of a
two-year project funded by the European
Union under its ‘Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development’ (LRRD) programme.
4. See Samuel Hall-NRC-IDMC-JIPS (2012), Challenges of IDP Protection – Research Study on the protection of internally displaced persons in Afghanistan. 5. Quote from a
Key Informant Interview (KII) with an NGO-worker in Kabul. 6. World Bank (2005), ‘Why and how should Kabul upgrade its informal settlements’ in Kabul Urban Policy Notes,
Series n.2, p.1. 7. Central Statistics Organisation, (2014), National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment 2011-12, Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey. Kabul, CSO, p. 51.
Research objectives
The objectives of the study are three-fold:
building Knowledge
the research provides
evidence-based analysis on
the levels of food security,
vulnerability and resilience of
the Afghan urban population. In
particular, it compares migration groups (host community,
Internally Displaced persons
(IDps), returnees and economic migrant), across the five
major Afghan cities – Kabul,
Herat, Jalalabad, Mazar-eSharif and Kandahar – and
across gender.
Informing Programming
the study provides actionable
recommendations for pIN and
DRC to develop their urban
programming. In particular,
both organisations plan on
developing urban livelihood
projects, including urban agriculture projects, and will use
recommendations to inform
targeting and implementation for pilot programmes in
Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat and
Jalalabad.
advocacy
this research unlocks solutions to the challenges of
urban poverty. It provides evidence and recommendations
for national and international
actors on the strategic and
programmatic adjustments
needed to better apprehend
urban poverty and food insecurity.
8. World Bank (2013), Afghanistan Economic Update, p.3. Available at https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/16656/820120WP0WB0Af0Box037985
5B00PUBLIC0.pdf 9. Kabul Informal Settlements (KIS) are 50 locations identified by the humanitarian community and the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) for the
distribution of humanitarian assistance, especially in the winter. An official list is kept and updated by the KIS task force, gathering the main organisations working in these areas.
16 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 17
1. Ecker, O & Breisinger, C (2012): The Food Security System, A new Conceptual Framework. IFPRI Discussion Paper.
Key reSearCH QUeStIonS 4 PILLarS oF FooD SeCUrIty11
avaILabILIty access use - utilisation stabilityWhat are the determinants of food insecurity
and vulnerability in urban
areas?
How resilient are the
urban poor and based on
which mechanisms?
How can programming best
address urban food insecurity and vulnerability?
Sufficient quantities of food
available on a consistent
basis
The ability for household to
produce and or purchase the
food needed by all household
members to meet their dietary requirements and food
preferences as well as the assets and services necessary
to achieve and maintain an
optimal nutritional status.
Based on knowledge of
basic nutrition and care, as
well as adequate water and
sanitation, each member of
the household is able to get
an intake of sufficient and
safe food adequate to each
individual’s physiological
requirements. Additionally,
an individual’s health status
can affect her/his ability to
absorb or utilize nutrients
from food.
Food security can be a temporary state as it depends on
the stability of supply and access to food. This can be impacted by prices and weather
variability as well as political
and economic shocks.
Who are the urban poor? What is the impact of displacement,
migration and return on poverty and food insecurity?
poverty Line
proportion of food in total household expenditure
Food Consumption Score
Household Food Insecurity Access Scale
Coping Strategy Index
Sources of income and type of employment
What is the level of access to basic services?
Distance to nearest health facility and school
Water system
electricity
What are the determinants of food insecurity?
By migratory profiles
Regression analysis of factors impacting vulnerability
What is the level of resilience of the urban poor?
How does it vary across migratory groups and gender?
What specific shocks impact food security in urban areas?
What are the ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ coping strategies households rely on in urban areas?
Where are the gaps in the coverage of urban food insecurity?
Which type of interventions would help building up the resilience of urban poor?
Research Framework
Main Concepts and Definitions
10. FAO, Food Insecurity Information for Action, Practical Guides, 2008. 11. Ecker, O & Breisinger, C (2012): The Food Security System, A new Conceptual Framework. IFPRI
12. Nord, M., Andrews, M. & Carlson, S., 2005. Household Food Security in the United States, 2004, USDA Economic Research Service. Available at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/
Publications/ERR11/ 13. IPCC, (2001) 14. Adger (2000), ‘Social and ecological resilience: are they related?’ in Progress in Human Geography, 24:347. 15. EU-FAO, ‘Measuring Resilience : A Concept Note on the Resilience Tool’. in Food Security Information for Decision-Making – Concept Note
1. Themes and Indicators:
Food Security, Vulnerability
and Resilience
This research was designed with the
key concepts of food security, vulnerability and resilience. With the reduction
of poverty, hunger and malnutrition by
half by 2015 as the first of the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs), resilience
is attracting more and more attention in
the humanitarian and development community. Yet its definition – and perhaps
more importantly, its practical applications – remain flimsy. In a country where
robust mechanisms linking humanitarian
and development assistance are still being
developed, words like resilience provide a
conceptual transition beyond emergency
relief, care and maintenance, to longer
term solutions.
Key concepts used for this research are
defined as follows:
Food Security
‘Food Security exists when all people,
at all times, have physical, social and
economic access to sufficient, safe and
nutritious food for a healthy and active life’
(1996 World Food Summit). Food security
is necessary to maintain optimal nutritional status, in terms of both caloric intake
and sufficient quality (variety and micronutrient intake)10. Practitioners further
defined the components of food security
during the 2009 World Food Summit,
which pointed at four main pillars necessary to understand the factors underpinning food security at the household level.
Food insecurity, particularly in the longterm, has an impact on nutritional status
(micronutrient deficiencies, stunting,
wasting, etc.), which can in turn affect
both physical and mental health. Although
food insecurity largely stems from poverty
or income inequality, it is not a necessary
result of poverty. Additionally, food insecurity has been identified among households
classified as non-poor.12
Vulnerability and Resilience:
Both concepts of vulnerability and resilience are useful as they offer a dynamic
understanding of poverty. They propose
a multi-faceted concept of poverty that
goes beyond access to food and income
and takes into account dimensions such
as access to services or household’s
adaptability to shocks:
• Vulnerability is ‘the degree to which a
system is susceptible to and unable to
cope with adverse effects of specific
risks/hazards’13
• The concept of resilience is complementary to that of vulnerability: it is
‘the ability of groups or communities
to cope with external stresses and disturbances as a result of social, political
and environmental change14.
The concept of resilience provides a good
basis to analyse households’ and communities’ strategies to prevent and cope with
crises that may endanger their food security, as it draws a dynamic picture of food
security, whereby components other than
access to food are taken into account.
There is little consensus amongst stakeholders on how to measure resilience. The
present study used the FAO-EU resilience
tool, which takes into account a large
range of factors affecting resilience:
• Social Safety Nets
• Access to Basic Services
• Assets
• Income and Food Access
• Adaptive Capacity15
In order to collect comparable data, the
research was based on existing standard
indicators of food security, poverty and
vulnerability, using cut-off points adapted
18 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 19
Internally
displaced
persons
refugees
returnees
economic
migrants
Host
Community
“persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to
flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalised violence, violations of human rights
or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an
internationally recognised State border.” IDps are considered to be
in displacement until they are able to find a durable solution. the UN
recognises three main durable solutions: return to the place of origin,
local integration or re-settlement
Any person who “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for
reason of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social
group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and
is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such
events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it. ”
those who have gone through the process of return, “the act or
process of going back.” In this study, the term refers to returned
refugees. Returnees are considered as such until they are fully ‘reintegrated’ in their society of origin. Reintegration can be defined as
“a process that should result in the disappearance of differences in
legal rights and duties between returnees and their compatriots and
the equal access of returnees to services, and opportunities “
those who choose to move in order to improve their lives and living
conditions, internationally or within a country. economic migrants are
treated very differently under international law.
A community that has IDp, returnee or migrant households living
amongst non-migrant households
UN Guiding Principles on
Internal Displacement
(as cited in “Challenges
of IDP Protection”
1967 Protocol relating to
the Status of Refugees
2013 UNHCR Statistical Online Population
Database
2004 UNHCR Handbook
for Repatriation and Reintegration Activities, p.5
UNHCR Refugee Protection and Mixed Migration
Adapted from UNHCR:
IDPS in Host Families and
Host communities.
Concept Definition Source
• Chapter 1: Introduction and Methodology – introduces the research context, the objectives of the study and
the analytical framework it was based
upon. It gives a detailed overview of
the methodology used for the study.
• Chapter 2: Urban Profiling – focuses
on assessing levels of food insecurity
and vulnerability in the 5 targeted cities and across groups under scrutiny.
• Chapter 3: Determinants of Urban
Poverty – analyses the main determinants of vulnerability and food
insecurity and looks at the four pillars
detailed above.
• Chapter 4: Resilience of the Urban
Poor – looks at coping mechanisms
and analyse resilience amongst the
urban poor.
• Chapter 5: Recommendations for
Action – will analyse existing programming gaps and suggest recommendations for PIN and DRC as well as for
other stakeholders.
16. See Annex.2 for detailed breakdown of the resilience score per indicator. 17. Ibid, p.1.
to the Afghan context. A resilience score
was also calculated taking into account
the five main dimensions of resilience
mentioned above and using context-specific cut-off points for each indicators. The
research team developed the resilience
score based on the FAO-EU model and
drawing upon a similar system developed
by People in Need in Mazar-e-Sharif for
ease of comparison16.
Each component o f household resilience
is assessed through a series of indicators to generate a composite index of
household resilience. “This index gives an
overall quantitative “resilience score” that
clearly shows where investments needs to
be made to further build resilience”17
2. Target Groups:
Comparing Migration
Groups
The research is based on the comparison
of levels of resilience across four key migratory groups: returnees, IDPs, economic
migrants and host community, using
standard definitions for each of them:
Structure of the Report
The report will be structured as follows:
20 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 21
targeted Cities - Quantitative Survey
Quantitative Component of the research Qualitative Component of the research
Survey of 5,411 households
Survey of 149 communities
45 Focus Group Discussions
28 Case Studies
42 Key Informant Interviews
Key InDICatorS oF FooD SeCUrIty anD Poverty
Food Security
vulnerability
early Child Development
• Food Consumption Score (FCS): a proxy indicator measuring
caloric intake and diet quality at the household level based on
the past 7 days food consumption recall for the household.
• Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS)
• Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS), which is
based on the perception of households of their level of food
security and the usual responses that household would give
to a situation of food insecurity18.
• Coping Strategy Index (CSI)
• Per capita consumption to compare household based on the
2011-2012 official poverty line of 1,710 AFN per person per
month
• Monthly Income
• % of food in total household expenditure
• Dependency Ratio
• Household Asset
• Debt and Savings
• Access to basic services
• Access to assistance
• Literacy and Education
• Initiation of Breastfeeding
• Exclusive breastfeeding
18. Coates, J, Swindale, A and Bilinsky, P (2007), Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) for measurement of household food access: Indicator guide v3. Washington,
DC: FHI 360/FANTA.
Methodology
Building a Resilience Score
This research was designed to provide
representative data of both the urban
population of the five main Afghan cities
and the main migration groups living in
these cities. Based on a series of quantitative and qualitative tools, the methodology offers opportunities to triangulate
information through a household survey,
a community survey and qualitative data.
Quantitative tools were designed using
standard indicators in use in the country to
create a robust index of urban resilience.
These key variables were combined to
create a resilience score based on cut-off
points adapted to the Afghan context. The
detail of the resilience score is available in
Annex.
Geographic Scope
Research and data collection were conducted over the months of May and June
2014 in five major Afghan cities: Kabul,
Herat, Jalalabad, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kandahar. These cities were selected for the
study because they represent the main
urban hubs of the country and allow the
research to have a wide geographic span,
covering five of the main regions of the
country. These cities are also of special
interest for PIN and DRC’s programming
Quantitative Data
Household Survey (5,410)
Questionnaire – The household survey was based on a questionnaire of 94
closed questions. The questionnaire was
developed so as to comprise the migration profile of households, and the main
standard indicators to measure poverty
and food security of households, indicators of hygiene and breastfeeding
practices as well as key socio-economic
indicators. A rapid overview of the key
food security and poverty indicators used
for the study is provided in annex.
Sampling – The household survey included four main categories of respondents in
each city: local residents, returnees, IDPs
and economic migrants. The sample size
aimed at capturing 270 respondents per
category for a total of 1,080 respondents
per city and 5,400 respondents in total.
This sample size gives us representative
data at the city level with a statistical rigor
of 5% of margin of error and 95% confidence level.
Within each city, the sampling was based
on a grid approach, to allow for a comprehensive coverage of the cities. In
order to include informal settlements in
the study, cities were not defined based
on their administrative boundaries but on
their physical characteristics: cities where
defined as spaces with a continuum of
dense residential areas. Each city was divided into Primary Sampling Units (PSUs)
based on a grid approach. A total of 30
to 34 PSUs were defined per city so as to
ensure a geographic mapping that covers
various socio-economic categories across
each part of the cities, including informal
settlements. The field teams cover 30 to
34 PSUs in 10 days in each city based on
the following sampling strategy:
22 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 23
break down of area observations
Table 1.2
20. Population by city: In 2012-2013. Based on official estimations of the Central Statistics Organisation (CSO) in its 2012-2013 Estimated Population of Afghanistan.
USe oF ranDom anD QUota-baSeD SamPLeS
the survey was conducted with 5410 respondents, 2511
of whom were selected at random from a selected set of
neighbourhoods in the five cities. the remaining 2899 were
filtered to provide an equal representation of the four migration profiles tracked by the study. examination of cross
sections other than migration profile were performed on
the initial random sample, eliminating sampling bias, while
comparisons of the various migration profiles were performed on the entire sample, ensuring adequate representation of each migration history. error margins reported
are based on a 95% confidence interval.
1. Phase 1: Random Sampling (5 days):
the first half of respondents in each
city are to be randomly selected, with
the two field team surveying 12 PSUs
in 5 days.
2. Phase 2: Quota/Purposive Sampling
(5 days): a quota system is then used
mid-way to adjust and ensure that sufficient targets are reached within each
of the sub-groups throughout the 12
remaining PSUs19.
The first phase provided a snapshot of
the natural composition of the city and
representative findings at the city level.
The second phase simply added a quota
system for migration categories. Respondents
are to be interviewed in full privacy and
away from other household members to
ensure confidentiality.
Within each PSU, the field teams first reported to the local community leader, usually the wakil. After an initial introduction
to the study and getting the authorization
to proceed, the team used a fixed-point
and fixed-interval random technique involving the following steps:
Divide enumerators across the PSU
• Start from a landmark in the area:
generally a mosque or a school
• Select every other 3rd home, shops or
office location.
• Ask to speak to the head of household
or their spouse. (Above the age of 18).
• No gender breakdown is to be imposed but the teams were composed
of an equal number of male and female
enumerators to aim at an equal genderbreakdown amongst respondents.
The final sample is detailed in the following table. Some respondents qualify
as both returnees and IDPs, explaining
that the total number of respondents is
not equal to the sum of each category of
respondents.
19. Except for Kabul, where the survey was conducted over 12 days and Kandahar, over 11 days.
Area Observations (149)
In order to get contextualised and location-specific data on each of the communities visited, the research team collected
information about the community composition, access to basic services and key
socio-economic features, including main
sources of livelihoods, access to land and
housing and food security status.
The area observations were based on a
semi-structured questionnaire, combining
quantitative and qualitative information.
Team leaders were asked to fill in these
questionnaires based on the interviews of
key community members: head of CDC,
wakil, mullah and elders in particular.
Area observation questionnaires were
filled in each of the PSUs surveyed for this
research, except when no relevant stakeholder was available to be interviewed or
conditions of survey were too difficult, especially in Kandahar. The final breakdown
is detailed in the table abowe.
Qualitative Data
A series of qualitative tools were designed
to get an in-depth understanding of various dynamics at the household and community levels, including practices related
to food, coping strategies and genderspecific features of poverty and resilience.
The study relied on the following tools:
• Focus Group Discussions (45) – In
each city, 8 to 10 focus group discussions were organised to get the
perception of communities on their
living conditions, main challenges to
food security and needs, for a total of
45 FGDs across the board. In order
# of PSUs Local Residents Returnees Average
HDDS
Economic
Migrants
Total
Kabul 34 144 372 476 265 1,091
Herat 30 259 210 253 370 1,072
Jalalabad 30 253 411 279 213 1,066
mazar-e-Sharif 30 372 160 295 310 1,081
Kandahar 33 428 317 259 149 1,100
Total 157 1,456 1,470 1,562 1,307 5,410
Local Residents Returnees IDPs Economic Migrants Total
Kabul
Herat
Jalalabad
mazar-e-Sharif
Kandahar
Total
Final Sample
Table 1.1
M
71
107
92
151
237
526
F
73
152
161
211
191
798
M
208
117
211
94
147
778
F
163
93
200
66
170
692
M
256
113
166
143
92
770
F
220
140
113
152
167
792
M
132
103
75
174
64
526
F
133
174
76
136
85
604
M
539
525
528
533
526
2651
F
552
547
538
548
574
2759
24 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 25
Qualitative Data Collection
Table 1.3
• to avoid bias and to respect cultural
conventions, FGDs were conducted
with groups of male and groups of female respondents separately. Groups
of 5 to 7 respondents were gathered
for each FGD. In each city, to the
extent possible, a same number of
FGDs were conducted with men and
with women. FGD were moderated
by national consultants and based on
structured guidelines covering various
aspects of intra-households issues
related to poverty and food security, including access to livelihoods,
seasonality, purchasing habits and
hygiene practices.
• Case Studies (25) – Case studies
aimed at capturing the experience and
specific challenges faced by vulnerable members of the communities,
including female-headed households,
widows, elderly heading households
and families with disabled or addicted
members. Case studies were conducted through a one-to-one in-depth
interview based on a series of open
questions.
• Key Informant Interviews (42) – A
series of KIIs was conducted at the
national and city level in order to get
perspective from practitioners and key
stakeholders on the issue of food security and urban poverty. KIIs targeted
donors, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) operating in urban
environment, UN agencies working
on related issues and governmental
actors (at the ministerial and municipal
level). Key informant interviews lasted
approximately one hour and were
conducted based on semi-structured
guidelines and adjusted to each kind
of respondents, based on their area of
expertise to collect the most relevant
data from each of them.
The following table summarises qualitative
data collected for this research:
Constraints and Limitations
Impact of Afghan Presidential Elections
– Most of the fieldwork for this study was
conducted during the presidential elections in Afghanistan. This had an effect on
both:
• The sample, as teams were not able
to reach their targets in Jalalabad and
Herat because of the second round
and as a tense security context forced
teams to be cautious and avoid certain areas in the city;
• The findings, as elections have had a
brutal effect on the Afghan economy,
stopping investments and reducing
demand for daily labour significantly
in the months before the elections.
The elections have had a negative
impact on the livelihoods, income and
food security of the urban poor. The
results of the present study are likely
to have been impacted by this difficult
economic environment and this study
represents a snapshot of the difficult
situation mid-2014.
Exclusion Bias of the wealthiest areas
– The wealthiest areas of cities are difficult to survey because it raises important
security issues for the field teams, as they
are composed of highly secured compounds, often protected by armed guards
and checkpoints. They have not been included in the sample20. There is therefore
an exclusion bias of the wealthiest areas
of the cities and a focus on middle class
and poor areas of each city. Yet, the grid
approach did allow for a large geographic
coverage of urban areas.
Complex identification of migration patterns – Most Afghan households are characterised by complex migration history,
a complexity that can hardly be captured
by a quantitative survey. In particular,
causes and motivations to move are more
complex that the dichotomy between
economic migrant and internally displaced
households, leading to difficulties in the
identification of these groups. Often,
households have moved in response to
a combination of intricate factors. For
the purpose of this research, team leaders with years of experience of working
on migration-related issues trained enumerators specifically for them to be able
to go round the problem of identification
through follow-up questions to respondents but categories of IDPs and economic
migrants must not be considered as
watertight, as they overlap very often in
practice.
Impact of seasonality on findings – The
survey was conducted in May and June,
i.e. is in the post-harvest period for all the
five cities. This is considered as the best
period in terms of food security. Yet, as
shown in the research below, the impact
of seasonality on urban markets and
access to food for urban households is
limited as households’ livelihoods are not
tied to agriculture and food supply in the
city is not largely reduced. The impact of
seasonality on the findings is therefore
limited.
Challenges with data collection in Kandahar – Kandahar appeared as an outlier
on some food security indicators, possibly
the result of a different understanding of
the question by enumerators using Pashto. A series of call backs was organised
to check and triangulate the data. This
triangulation showed a difference in the
results found for the Food Consumption
Score as the second round of data collection found a FCS more in line with the profile of the city and of other urban centres.
The findings from this triangulation were
integrated in section 2.
Overview of Qualitative Data Collection
26 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 27
Pic. 2.1: Jogi children playing in Zahiruddin Faryabi, an informal settlement in
Mazar-e Sharif
Photo credit: Ann-Katrina Bregovic
‘We don’t have particular relations with the
Pashtun of our community because we don’t
speak the same language. But they live their
lives, we live ours and we do not have any
problems with one another.’
2
VULNERABILITY AND
FooD InSeCUrIty:
THE PLIGHT OF AFGHAN CITIES
> Fleeing conflict, uprooted populations make up
the urban landscape and have no intention to leave
> the urban poor are becoming poorer
> Urban areas are characterised by high levels of
food insecurity and poor diets
28 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 29
migration status
FIGURe 2-1
Migration Profile per City (random sample)
A. Urban Profiling: Key Migratory Patterns
Migration Profiles
The displaced make up the urban landscape: local residents, a minority?
The populations of Kabul, Mazare-Sharif, Kandahar, Herat and Jalalabad
form a complex patchwork of uprooted
people and few consider themselves
as local residents. Only 24% (±2%) of
respondents have always lived where they
live now. Another quarter are economic
migrants, about 20% have returned from
exile in a foreign country, and almost 30%
have been internally displaced. Almost
half of the internally displaced have also
lived abroad, a reminder of the complex
migratory history that characterises each
household.
Figure 2.1 highlights specific migration
patterns that characterise each of the
cities: above
• Mazar-e-Sharif confirms its status as
the economic hub of the North, attracting important rural to urban economic migration, with 43% (± 4%) of
the sample being economic migrants.
The economic dynamism and the
relative safety of the city are important
factors explaining this trend.
• Jalalabad and Herat confirm their
status of high return areas, with high
proportions of returnees - 44% of
respondents in Jalalabad have lived
abroad and 33% in Herat, proportions that are unsurprising given the
border position of both provinces next
to respectively Pakistan and in Iran.
Many returnees could not go back
to their place of origin upon return to
Nangarhar province and chose to settle in Jalalabad, as shown by the high
number of IDP/returnees in the city.
• Both Kandahar and Herat still have a
strong basis of local residents who did
not leave during the conflicts, whilst
Kabul on the other hand presents a
very mixed profile with each migration
category represented.
The internally displaced (with or without
an additional returnee background) make
up close to half of Kabul respondents
(48% ± 5%) and around one third of the
inhabitants of Jalalabad and Mazar-eSharif (35% ± 4% respectively). The
Key findings - section 2
Fleeing conflict, uprooted populations make up the urban landscape
and have no intention to leave
• The displaced make up the urban
landscape with only a minority of local
residents in all 5 cities.
• Displacement is fuelled by conflict, not
assistance: 80.9% of IDPs moved to the
city because of conflict, although Mazare-Sharif shows a higher proportion of
natural-disaster induced IDPs (13.3%).
• All evidence points to a relatively
smooth integration into the social
structures of the cities and few intercommunity or inter- ethnic group
tensions. Economic integration is a
different story.
• 93% of urban households report having no intention to move again. Only
10% of IDP households would like to
go back to their place of origin.
The urban poor are becoming poorer
• 78.2% of urban households were
found to fall below the poverty line,
a sign of that the economic situation
of urban households has deteriorated
significantly over the past 3 years.
• Urban poverty is pervasive across
the board and there is little stratification within urban populations or across
cities, although Kabul and Kandahar fare
slightly better than the three other cities.
Urban areas are characterised by
high levels of food insecurity and
poor diets
• Findings from the FSC show that 20%
of urban Afghans suffer from poor
food consumption, while a further third
show borderline food consumption,
leaving less than half with acceptable
levels of consumption, despite the fact
that the survey was conducted postharvest.
• Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif show the
poorest levels of food consumption
while both Kandahar and Jalalabad
have the highest proportion of households who appear to enjoy relative
nutritional stability.
• Dietary diversity is low across the
board with poor diets based on cereals and vegetables. Sources of protein
are largely missing from the diet.
• Looking at dietary diversity unveils
differences between the cities, with
households in Kandahar reporting a
more diversified diet and Mazar-eSharif a significantly less satisfying
profile in terms of dietary diversity.
• Measuring food insecurity through
HFIAS shows that anxiety about food
access and making negative adjustments to daily food consumption are a
common feature of urban life, as more
than half the households are severely
food insecure on this scale. Kandahar
and Jalalabad fare particularly poorly
on this metric.
• The survey highlighted poor breastfeeding practices. Overall only 54% of
mothers breastfed their infants within
the first hour after birth. Additionally,
the majority of mothers extended
exclusive breastfeeding beyond 6
months, failing to introduce complementary foods appropriately. This fact
may contribute to the high level of
stunting among Afghan children.
• Urban households benefit from satisfying access to basic services, with
the exception of Kandahar, where this
is still highly problematic.
Only tenuous differences exist between
cities as poverty and food insecurity are
widespread, with the exception of the
population Kabul that fares slightly better.
30 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 31
Urban Assistance Programmes
are not a pull factor
It is important to note that the existence of assistance programme only
seems to play a very marginal role
in the decision-making of uprooted
populations. Given the scarcity of
assistance programme targeting
urban population as a whole, it is
unlikely that assistance is an important factor. This is an important
finding given the debate on urban
assistance fuelling more displacement, especially when it comes
to the Kabul Informal Settlements
(KIS). This study goes against this
common assumption that urban
programmes of assistance will encourage further displacement and
migration, as other much stronger
factors determine the choice of
households to move to the five
biggest Afghan cities.
Social integration in the city:
The importance of social
networks
Afghan urban centres are attractive hubs as they are perceived as
offering what remote rural areas
cannot – or cannot anymore – offer
rural populations: job opportunities, safety and basic services. Even
when urban labour markets are
saturated and basic services overstretched, it is the “myth of the city”
that bring people to the cities: figure
2.3 (below) shows that the existence
of work opportunities in the cities
(50.5%), security in urban areas
(39.7%) and the existence of existing networks (24.3%) are the three
main pull factors determining the
choice of destination for displaced
and returnee populations. The existence of social networks is fundamental in influencing the choice of
their destination, confirming past
research22. Indeed, as relatives are
one of the primary sources of support and potential assistance, their
presence in the city is crucial for
newly-arrived households. Qualitative data showed that most households were satisfied about their
move to the city and did not face
particular challenges integrating.
In particular, only very rarely intercommunity tensions were reported.
Patterns of residency varied significantly location by location and do
not allow to conclude on a certain
trend: certain areas see households
from different ethnic groups and
22. Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2009) Social Networks and Migration in Wartime Afghanistan. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. . i , i ti ( ) i l t i ti i ti f i t . i t : l il .
lower proportion of IDPs in Herat (13%) is
surprising given how heated the issue of
internal displacement is for the capital of
the Western region. This low result can be
explained by several factors, including the
fact that Herat counts important settlements of protracted IDPs outside the limit
of the city, such as Maslakh, and that the
IDP settlements inside the city (Minaret or
Kareezak for example were surveyed later
on during the data collection, hence not
included in the random sample on which
these results are based). Still, the lower
proportion of IDPs in Herat shows that the
proportion of IDPs spread out in the city is
perhaps lower than stakeholders considers it to be. In the mix of factors that lead
households to live their place of origin to
settle to the city of Herat, a lot of them
rank economic necessity first.
Displaced households moving to Afghanistan’s urban centres stem almost
exclusively from rural areas. While Mazare-Sharif and Kabul attract substantial
numbers of arrivals from other provinces,
apparently as hubs of work opportunities, migration to the other cities stems
in majority from rural areas in the same
province. Rural backgrounds mean that
displaced households settle in the city
unprepared to the specificities of life in
the city, in particular in terms of economic
opportunities, making integration in urban
socio-economic structures more difficult.
Conflict fuelling internal
displacement
Internal displacement is first and foremost a consequence of conflict and
persecution. Yet, Mazar-e-Sharif counts
a higher proportion of natural-disaster
induced IDPs, a fact that can be explained
by the recurring droughts that touch the
Northern and Central regions, pushing
people to abandon their place of origin to
move to Mazar-e-Sharif (figur 2-1).
The bulk of city inhabitants arrived in the
city they currently live in more than three
years ago as reported by 76% (±2%) of
randomly-selected respondents. Looking specifically at IDPs shows that a large
part of this population has now entered
protracted displacement with 28% of the
IDPs who set up more than three years
ago having moved to the city between 5
and 10 years ago and 37% between 11
and 20 years ago. The impact of the time
in displacement on poverty is analysed
further in section 3.
Why did you move to this city?
FIGURe 2-2
Pull Factors - Why did you move to this city?
‘We don’t have
particular relations with the
Pashtun of our
community because we don’t
speak the same
language. But
they live their
lives, we live ours
and we do not
have any problems with one
another.’
FGD Women, Herat, Naw Abad
Internal Displacement and its reasons
FIGURe 2-1
Internal Displacement and its reasons (n= 741)
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
150
98
157
132
63
32 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 33
Difficult adaptation upon return
Compared to pakistan and where we lived during our
migration, this area is quite bad.
We don’t have access to clean water and the streets
are unpaved. the Municipality disposes off the garbage
on the hill close to the place where we live, which has
created lots of problems for us.
Qala Ahmad Khan
FGD Men, Kabul
Displacement brings better life
Life is better in this community
because we have somewhat
access to medical services and
job opportunities.
We like our life here.
Chahar Asyab
FGD Women, Jalalabad
2011 World Bank-Samuel Hall Research
on IDPs in Urban Settings23.
These multiple studies show that any attempt at articulating durable solutions for
these populations will have to take this
into account.
This does not mean that intra-city movements are not common. On the contrary,
qualitative fieldwork shows that most
newly-arrived households – especially IDP
households – settle in several areas of the
city and often change locations. Two main
patterns can be identified here:
a) communities moving as a group, often
after being threatened by expulsion; b)
households moving individually when they
are no longer able to pay rent in their current locations.
23. See Samuel Hall-NRC-IDMC-JIPS (2012), Challenges of IDP Protection – Research Study on the protection of internally displaced persons in Afghanistan. p. 46. World
Bank-Samuel Hall (2011) Research Study on IDPs in Urban Settings – Afghanistan . 24. NRVA 2011-12, p. 45
area of origin mixed in the communities
while other areas see clear gathering of
households based on their areas of origin.
Still, in both cases, most respondents
reported certain indifference amongst
groups and no particular tensions.
Qualitative data showed a notable difference of perception of the change displacement brought to their lives between
returnees and IDPs. Returnees having
benefited of relatively higher living standards while abroad were more likely to
complain about the level of services and
quality of life that Afghan cities offered.
IDPs on the other hand would point at
access to services and security as major
improvements brought to their life by an
urban life. Women were particularly sensitive to the improvement an easier access
to services made to their life upon displacement.
Plans for the future: No intention
to leave
In a very large majority of cases, urban
residents, whether they were displaced,
returned from abroad or are from the city
have no intention to leave, as 93% of
households said that they had no intention
to leave. IDPs are the category with the
highest proportion of respondents reporting an intention to move again (10%) as
shown in figure 2-3.
These findings confirm with a striking absence of ambiguity that populations who
moved to the city, whether upon return,
to flee insecurity or for economic reasons,
have no intention to go back to their place
of origin nor to settle somewhere else.
This confirms the findings of several past
studies, including Samuel Hall/NRC IDP
Protection Study, which found 76.2% of
IDPs preferring local integration, and the
B. High Levels of Vulnerability and Food Insecurity in the Cities
The urban poor are becoming
poorer: Poverty indicators show
high levels of poverty across the
board and a deterioration of urban
purchasing power
A large majority of urban households
below the official poverty line
For the 2011-12 NRVA, the CSO calculated
a poverty line of 1,710 AFA per person per
month, allowing the organisation to
calculate ‘the percentage of the population whose monthly per capita expen
diture is below the poverty line’ or headcount index24. Using this cut-off point,
the present research finds high levels of
poverty across the board within Afghan
cities.
Intention to move
FIGURe 2-3
Do you intend to move again? If yes, where? (n=5422)
Poverty Line by City (expenditure) Poverty by city (Income)
FIGURe 2-5
% of households below the official poverty line
Income per person per day
< AFA 1710 > AFA 1710
34 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 35
25. The NRVA poverty headcount is calculated based on household monthly expenditure per person. 26. The recall period for income and expenditure in the survey referred
to the past 30 days. It should also be noted that numeric indicators such as income and expenditure are relatively soft, especially in households where those vary significantly
from one month to the other.
“The city is very
homogenous in
terms of poverty.
There is no real
stratification, no
sub-groups to
look for.
Poverty is simply
widespread.”
KII, Kabul, NGO
to secure 20 days of work per month and
a 7.4-member household27 – something
most households do not achieve – the
monthly income of the household (as a
proxy for expenditure) still falls significantly below the poverty line. The household
of a government employee in a ministry
– 9,110 AFA/month for employees below
directors in Kabul and 5,000 to 7,000 at
the provincial level – would also fall below
this poverty line28. The poverty line is not
satisfying and other, more astute, indicators must be looked at to complete the
analysis of poverty in Afghan cities, as
detailed above.
The high proportion of poor households is
directly linked to the size of urban households that remain very high, especially in
Kandahar and Jalalabad, which showed
an average size of households of 9.6 and
9.5 members respectively, while the three
other cities fared below the national average with 7.1 members.
Food expenditure in total household
expenditure
The proportion of food in the total household expenditure is considered as one
of the reliable indicators of poverty with
households spending over 60% of their
budget on food categorised as poor and
households spending between 40 and
60% of their budget on food as borderline,
based on the cut-off points established
by the Food Security Afghanistan Cluster
(FSAC)29. The survey found relatively high
levels of poverty across the board with
Mazar-e-Sharif standing out:
The present survey found urban households under scrutiny to be overwhelmingly poor and poverty in the cities to
be increasing, even based on Afghan
national standards. The 2011-12 NRVA
had found a proportion of ‘poor’ households in the cities of 28.9%, significantly
lower than the 78.2% found by the present survey25. The higher proportion of
poor households in the current study can
be linked to several phenomena and must
raise the attention of stakeholders to the
deterioration of urban poor purchasing
power as Afghanistan’s economy slows
down:
• The data for the NRVA was collected
in 2011, at a moment where the
Afghan economy was still benefiting
plainly from international and militaryrelated investment, especially in the
city. This artificial economic boom is
rapidly receding, leaving urban populations struggling for livelihoods. While
an exclusion bias of richest urban areas may account for an over-representation of poor households, the findings
of this study are clear evidence of the
impact of the economic slowdown on
the main Afghan cities and of the risk
of accelerated rates of poverty with
the completion of the political and
security transition.
• Qualitative data showed that the elections had a negative impact on the
economy of Afghan cities, as investments were frozen with the fear of
potential instability in the midst of the
elections. Therefore, day-labour employment opportunities in construction
and other key sectors became scarce
for poor urban households, which
explains the low purchasing power
recorded by this survey26. This is another clear indication of the potential
impact of political instability on urban
households, as the election process
is still ongoing. Although a snapshot,
the present survey highlights worrying
trends for urban populations.
• The NRVA is a national survey and
its urban areas cover also medium
and small cities, unlike this study. The
results of this study therefore confirm
the idea that the rapid urbanisation
of the largest Afghan cities over the
past 10 years had led to a significant
increase in urban poverty in these
cities. Informal settlements, increased
competition for access to labour and
basic services and higher living prices
are more common in the largest cities
of the country than in the middle-size
provincial capitals.
At the city level, the survey
found few differences between
cities, although Kabul and
Kandahar households fared
slightly better with respectively
77.6% and 76.6% of households surveyed falling under
the poverty line established by
the government and Jalalabad
and Herat at the bottom with
respectively 83.6% and 82.2%
of households surveyed below
the poverty line.
Qualitative fieldwork confirmed
the findings and the prevalence
of overwhelming poverty within
Afghan cities. These results suggest a
low level of socio-economic stratification
within the cities with the main cut-off point
being between the poor and the extremely
poor households.
These findings also raise questions in
regard to the official poverty line as an
adequate tool to analyse poverty in post2014 Afghanistan. Qualitative data shows
that daily income for workers relying on
daily labour in the cities is about 250 AFA.
Even in a good case scenario, assuming a
household with two income-earners able
27. Based on the national average. 28. This issue has been aknowledged by the government. The World Bank and GiROA have tried to address this
issue through the Capacity Building for Results (CBR) process that revise the salary grid of the government. 29 FSAC, (2013), Seasonal Food Security Assessment – Afghanistan (July-September 2013), p.15
average Size of Households per City
FIGURe 2-6
Average number. of household members
The significant differences across cities are not surprising and reflect the ethnic divide between Pashtun and non-Pashtun
provinces. Across the board, the fact that urban households still present high numbers of members on average can be linked
to the fact that one household may host extended families, given the high cost of housing in the cities.
Food expenditure scale
FIGURe 2-7
Food Expenditure Scale (by city)
36 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 37
Food consumption score (FSC)
FIGURe 2-8
Food Consumption Score (Random Sample)
(± 4%) of inhabitants enjoying acceptable
food consumption. Conversely, only 30%
to 50% of those surveyed in other cities
could claim this status. Mazar-e-Sharif
and Herat present the higher proportions
of households with poor food consumption with respectively 31% and 25% of
households reporting poor levels of food
consumption in both these cities.
Given the fact that Kandahar represented
an outlier on this indicator, a second
round of data collection was organised
to check and triangulate the data on food
consumption in the Southern city. The
second set of data was collected based
on a random selection of households from
the first survey. The data was collected
three months later and in different conditions, hence is not directly comparable,
but provides a robust basis to triangulate
the FCS in Kandahar33.
The second round of data collection in
Kandahar suggests a profile of the population’s food consumption more aligned
with the four other cities, as shown in
figure -2-10.
According to this smaller sample, 47%
of households enjoyed acceptable food
consumption, 29% of them were borderline and 24% had poor food consumption. This still puts Kandahar at the top
of the 5 cities in terms of the proportion
of households reaching acceptable food
consumption, alongside Jalalabad. On the
other hand, it does point at a significant
issue of food security in the city given the
proportion of households having poor or
borderline food consumption.
Given the high level of food insecurity
found by this study in Kandahar, and
given the profile of the four other cities in
terms of food consumption, policy makers
should not over-estimate Kandahar’s
33. 246 households were randomly selected from the first sample and were asked the same questions on food consumption than during the first survey.
On the food expenditure scale, Mazar-eSharif displays particularly alarming levels
with over half of its urban poor (55% ±
4%) dedicating more than 60% of their
total household spending to the purchase
of food. On the whole, two out of five of
the surveyed households fit this criterion. The Food Security and Agriculture
Cluster (FSAC), which conducted a food
security survey in 2013 with a large rural
component, had found 28% of households considered to have a poor access
to food)30. As the FSAC Assessment was
largely conducted in the post-harvest
season, it is likely that rural households
would spend less of their total expenditure
on food. Still, except in Mazar-e-Sharif, a
majority of urban households spend more
than half their budget on non-food items,
indicating a certain diversity of expenditures. Qualitative fieldwork suggests that
rent, electricity, transportation and health
expenses are also important in the budget
of urban households.
Uncertain food security in urban
areas
Findings on food security largely corroborate indicators of poverty, drawing
a rather bleak picture. Urban areas are
characterised by high levels of food insecurity across the board, despite notable
variations across cities. The following
section examines these variations in the
quality of urban diets and access to food
of households amongst the urban population.
Food Consumption Score
According to the Food Consumption
Score (FCS), which weighs the different
types of food consumed during the previous week, 20% (±2%) of urban Afghans
suffer from poor food consumption, while
a further third are borderline, leaving less
than half with acceptable levels of consumption, despite the fact that the survey
was conducted post-harvest.
Categories were defined based on the
classification established by the FSAC
with a FCS below 28 considered to be
poor, between 28.1 and 42 borderline and
above 42 acceptable31 as shown in figure 2-8.
While worrying, these figures indicate a
slightly higher level of food security in
the biggest Afghan cities than in the rest
of the country, if compared to the findings of the NRVA. The latter found 34.4%
of urban households to be food insecure
although NRVA’s calculation is based on
calorie intake32. If broken down by city, the
survey found significant differences: the
food consumption score which measures
caloric intake and the quality of diet at a
household level yields surprisingly positive
results for the city of Kandahar, with 80%
30. Ibid. 31. Ibid, p.36 32. NRVA 2011-12, p. 53.
Food consumption score by city
FIGURe 2-9
Food consumption score by city
FSC in Kandahar
FIGURe 2-10
FSC in Kandahar – Second data collection
38 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 39
Household Dietary Diversity per city
Table 2-2:
Household Dietary Diversity per city (24-hour recall)
Dietary Diversity per city
Table 2-1:
Dietary Diversity per city. Numbers represent the average number of days per week that each food group is consumed.
Dietary Diversity Score by City
FIGURe 2-11
Dietary Diversity per City – 7-day recall. Red (1 to 4): Poor; Yellow (5 to 7): borderline; Dark green (8-9): acceptable.
34. Household dietary diversity calculated with a 7-day recall period
positive results based on the FCS collected in the first survey. Kandahar’s inhabitants enjoy higher levels of dietary diversity
(see below) but poor food consumption is
still an issue for the city.
Looking at dietary diversity provides
another way to assess the quality of
urban diets based on the diversity of food
components that households consume34
and to qualify the results of the food consumption score to see if variations across
cities have to do with the diversity of food
available in each city.
Dietary diversity was also measured
through the household dietary diversity
score (HDDS) recording all the food consumed by a household over the past 24
hours per food groups.
These various indicators of dietary diversity show:
• The poverty of urban diets in
general, as cereals (usually bread)
remain the basis of urban poor’s
diets. Eating meat, fruit, or dairy
products remain relatively rare even
for urban households. This was
confirmed by the qualitative data,
which showed that meat was usually
consumed once a week in the best
cases to once a month in general.
Eggs were a more common source
of protein. Most households reported eating bread and vegetables,
accompanied by tea, for the three
meals of the day. Tea consumption
at mealtime inhibits iron absorption,
limiting utilization of nutrients, a key
aspect of food security. Fruits were
also often considered to be too expensive for households’ budgets.
• Compared to the national figures
found by the NRVA, the general dietary diversity has decreased among
urban households, a likely consequence of a decrease in purchasing
power since 2011. For example, the
NRVA found an average of 2.6 days
of protein consumption per week
nationally and 3.3 days per week in
urban areas35. This survey found a
maximum of 1.88 days of consumption of proteins per week identified
among the population in Kandahar.
While the consumption of sugar and
oil is equivalent to that found in the
NRVA, the consumption of tubers,
dairy products and fruit is less
important amongst the households
surveyed for this study. The only
positive finding is the fact that the
consumption of vegetables is significantly higher among urban households than recorded in the NRVA
ranging from 3.1 days on average in
Herat to 5.38 in Mazar-e-Sharif.
40 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 41
“Even if the diversity of food available is
higher in urban areas, the rate of food insecurity is also higher. Because in the city,
you have to pay for a lot of other things, not
only food items. Households have to pay for
their rent, for electricity… So in terms of the
quantity of food that households are able to
access in the city, urban households are actually worse-off.”
KII – WFP, Kabul
Food insecurity by city
FIGURe 2-12
HFIAS breakdown by city
Does you menu vary a lot?
No, not a lot. only with the season.
How often do you eat meat?
once every two weeks
How often do you eat vegetables? A few times a week
How often do you eat fruit?
It depends on seasons. once a week or so
Does you menu vary a lot? Sometimes we cook bolani!
How often do you eat meat?
We may be able to eat chicken once a month.
How often do you eat vegetables? We eat vegetables often
because they are one of the cheapest food we can get.
How often do you eat fruit?
We never eat fruit because they are expensive.
Does you menu vary a lot?
No, not much because we have to save money.
How often do you eat meat?
once every month
How often do you eat vegetables?
every day, usually for dinner.
How often do you eat fruit? Never.
Does you menu vary a lot?
No, not much because we have to save money.
How often do you eat meat?
once every month
How often do you eat vegetables?
every day, usually for dinner.
How often do you eat fruit? Never.
• Vegetables are seen as affordable,
especially compared to fruit or meat.
• Looking at dietary diversity unveils
significant differences between the
cities, with households in Kandahar
reporting a more diversified diet, with
the highest average number of days of
consumption of proteins, a significantly higher average of days of consumption of dairy products than the other
cities (4.98) and a higher average consumption of tubers. Mazar-e-Sharif on
the other hand shows a significantly
less satisfying profile in dietary diversity, with the worst averages on several
key food groups, in particular protein
(0.45). Vegetables are an exception,
as Mazar-e-Sharif scores high for the
average number of days of consumption of vegetables. These findings are
confirmed when looking at households’ food consumption over the past
24 hours: Kandahar shows the highest proportions of households having
consumed key food groups such as
protein, vegetables and dairy products, while Mazar-e-Sharif consistently shows low consumption of these
food groups. The higher consumption
of dairy products in Kandahar can
be linked to the higher proportion of
households owning livestock (23%),
compared to other cities. Overall, the
lowest household dietary diversity
score was recorded in Mazar-e-Sharif.
These differences in dietary diversity and
quality explain why Kandahar and Jalalabad scored higher on the Food
Consumption Score, as the consumption
of dairy products and proteins represent
the highest weights in the FCS compared
to other food groups. One explanation for
a better dietary diversity in Kandahar and
Jalalabad is the proximity with Pakistan,
from where food products are imported
for cheaper prices. This difference in food
prices also explains why Mazar-e-Sharif
fares poorly on the food expenditure ratio
indicator. Qualitative data showed that
households in Kandahar report frequently
eating eggs and dogh (traditional liquid
yogurt).
Household Food Insecurity Access Scale
The Household Food Insecurity Access
Scale (HFIAS) is based on the principle
that “the experience of food insecurity
causes predictable reactions and responses that can be captured and quantified”36.
It shows whether households experienced
anxiety related to accessing food in the
previous month and if they reduced the
quantity and quality of their food37. More
than half the residents of the covered
locations are characterised as “severely
food insecure” according to the Household Food Insecurity Access scale, and
that number rises to 84% (±1%) when the
“moderately food insecure” are included.
For example, nearly one household in five
reported at least one family member going
without food for a day at least once in the
previous four weeks.
This indicator also showed marked difference of levels of food security among the
cities, following roughly the same trend as
poverty, with the exception of Kandahar,
which stands out with the highest level of
food insecurity despite its moderate poverty level and relatively good profile based
on the food consumption score. (Figure
2-12)
It is also of some interest that the cities that enjoy the highest proportions of
households with acceptable food consumption – Jalalabad, Kandahar– also suffer from the highest proportions of severe
food insecurity. Because the measures
differ – with the FCS focusing on overall
adequacy of consumption and the HFIAS
36. Coates, J., Swindale, A., Bilinsky, P. (2007) Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) for Measurement of Household Food Access Indicator Guide (v.3). Washington,
DC : FHI 360/FANTA. p. 1 37. FAO (2008), Report on Use of the HFIAS and HDDS in two survey rounds in Manica and Sofala Provinces, Mozambique. p. 3.
42 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 43
the survey measured the breastfeeding practices of women who
had had a child in the past five
years, in order to get a picture
of early Child Development (eCD)
in the cities. In particular, the
survey measured how long after birth were infants
breastfed, based on mothers’ reports. As noted by
UNICeF: “early initiation of breastfeeding is important
for both mother and child. the first liquid secreted by
the breast, known as colostrum, is produced during
the first few days after delivery. Colostrum is highly
nutritious and contains antibodies that provide natural
immunity to the infant. It is recommended that children be fed colostrum immediately after birth (within
one hour).”39
The survey found overall that 54% of mothers would
breastfeed their children within the hour after their
birth. this result is in line with the Multiple Indicator
Cluster Survey (MICS) but is below UNICeF’s findings
in the nutrition survey conducted with the Ministry of
public Health (MopH). the latter found that 69.4% of
mothers had breastfed their new-born within the first
hour. In accordance with the national nutrition survey
though, the present survey found that 93% of infants
started breastfeeding within one day after birth (vs.
89.9% in the UNICeF/MopH survey). Yet, the present
study found stark differences across cities in terms
of breastfeeding practices, with mothers in Kabul,
Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, more likely to breastfeed
their infant rapidly: 69.3% of mothers in Kabul reported having breastfed their infant within an hour,
compared to 67% in Herat and 59% in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Jalalabad and Kandahar on the other hand presented
more worrying profiles with respectively 44.3% and
36% of mothers reporting having breastfed their child
within one hour. Various hypotheses may explain these
differences across cities. In particular, it can be explained by two main factors: different levels of awareness regarding adequate breastfeeding practices
across the cities on the one hand; different levels of
access to adequate assistance during delivery and
post-delivery, as women in pashtun areas may be less
likely to deliver in healthcare facilities, hence lacking the proper counselling and post-natal care that
women could receive in other cities.
Looking at exclusive breastfeeding post-6 months, the
survey found surprisingly high reports of exclusive
breastfeeding with an average of 14 months throughout the overall sample. While a long recall period (5
years) may lead to imprecise answers, this finding is
still telling as it points to the fact that women rely on
breastfeeding for periods that are too long for children to get the nutrients and vitamins that they need
for their early development. Breastfeeding is the
cheapest option for women, which may explain these
very long periods of breastfeeding to the detriment of
infants’ nutrition. the latest National Nutrition Survey
found that 40.9% of children were stunted, 20.9% of
whom severely40. Inadequate breastfeeding practises,
such as relying for too long on breastfeeding as the
main component of children’s diet, may be one of the
issues to consider to address the issue of stunting in
the country.
39. MoPH, UNICEF (2013), Afghanistan Nutrition Survey, p. 38. 40. MoPH-UNICEF
(2013), National Nutrition Survey (2013), p.29.
Early Child
Development:
Breastfeeding
Practices
focusing on perception of access to food
– these results may indicate a discrepancy between the actual quality and quantity of food consumed by a household
and the levels of anxiety and uncertainty
that households reach, when it comes to
accessing food, illustrating two different
facets of the problem of food insecurity.
The FCS is a crude measure of adequacy
of consumption, and has been found
to underestimate food insecurity at the
household level in some cases – though
it correlates well with dietary diversity, as
measured by the HDDS. The HFIAS, on
the other hand, “relies on subjective report
of food insecurity experiences,” with some
research suggesting that households at
different income levels may interpret the
questions in the scale differently38. In the
case of Kandahar, a particular sense of
fear about access to food, perhaps related
to high levels of conflict or previous disruptions in food supply, could be driving
the particularly severe levels of food insecurity identified. Furthermore, the fact that
households in Jalalabad and Kandahar are
significantly larger increases the difficulty
for households to secure access to food
for all members and the general feeling of
insecurity when it comes to food.
Finally, as developed below, Jalalabad
and Kandahar were the two cities with the
highest levels of addiction, a key predictor of severe food insecurity. Additionally,
Kandahar has the lowest levels of education compared to other cities; education
is protective against food insecurity. Both
factors could partly account for the high
levels of severe food insecurity food found
in these cities, alongside an adequate
food consumption score.
Coping Strategy Index
The coping strategy index confirms that
the difficulty of accessing food means that
urban households have to rely frequently
on negative coping strategies. The FSAC
considers that a score above 15 is severe
to extremely severe (above 30). A majority of urban households scored below 7,
meaning that they can be considered as
having a minimal reliance on detrimental
coping strategies, which was particularly
the case in Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul.
Kandahar and Jalalabad are characterised by larger proportions of moderate to
severe coping strategies.
The relatively good position of Mazar-eSharif with only 8% of households showing a very severe profile in terms of coping
strategies confirms the findings of the
HFIAS and further demonstrates the fact
that the main issue faced by Mazar-eSharif’s inhabitants has to do with being
reduced Coping Strategy index per city
FIGURe 2-13
38. Jones AD, Ngure FM, Pelto G, Young SL. What are we assessing when we measure food security? A compendium and review of current metrics.
Advances in Nutrition. 2013. 4:481-505.
able to afford a diversity of food items.
Herat on the other hand fares consistently poorly on a variety of food security
indicators, from the FSC to the HFIAS and
the CSI, as 14% of households surveyed
there presented very or extremely severe
profiles in terms of coping strategies. This
suggests that the high level of poverty in
Herat is not compensated for by cheaper
food items that could help the urban poor
in accessing food.
Reduced Coping Strategy Index (the higher the score the more households resort to negative coping strategies)
44 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 45
C. Satisfying Levels of Access to Basic Services
Comparing levels of poverty
between KIS and NON-KIS locations
One key aspect at the community level
is access to basic services, especially as
most urban poor live among informal settlements. Yet this section shows that living in a city makes a difference in terms
of access to basic services, with the
exception of Kandahar, where access to
basic services is still highly problematic.
Satisfying access to basic services,
except in Kandahar
“Migration, lack of planning, inability of
municipalities to adjust and the rise of
informal settlements are fuelling urban
poverty”. Informal settlements are considered to be the main recipients of the
urban poor, who suffer in particular from
a lack of access to basic services as well
as from a lack of security of tenure. Based
on the area observations, the following
tables provide an overview of the level of
access to basic services at the community
level per city. All findings are presented by
percent of total number of communities
surveyed per city.
Overall, the review of access to basic
services highlight Kandahar’s weaker
access for most of the services but also
shows that most urban communities now
have access to basic services – even if
their reliability and the quality of services
provided is not always guaranteed.
In Kabul city, organisations
gathered under the umbrella
of the Kabul Informal Settlements (KIS) task Force have
identified a list of priority areas of interventions.
In most cases, these are
recent informal settlements
where internally displaced
have established themselves
upon moving to the city. the
migratory profile of households living in the KIS is not
uniform though, as further
groups – including economic
migrants – have sometimes established within
the KIS. Usually residing on
land that they do not own,
these households also live
in precarious conditions,
and are sometimes in need
of emergency assistance,
especially during the winter.
Members of the KIS task
Force conducted several
assessments of the needs in
the 50+ KIS and provide for
various forms of assistance,
in particular food and nonfood emergency kits during
the winter to help families
survive harsh weather conditions. Following the same
model, additional informal
settlements have been identified in other of the main
Afghan cities, especially in
Herat, where Herat Informal
Settlements have also been
listed41.
the present study looked
at whether living in these
informal settlements was a
factor of vulnerability and on
which dimensions of poverty
that would play in particular.
the survey showed that if
there is a difference between the levels of poverty
within and outside the KIS,
it is perhaps more nuanced
than one would expect:
the resilience index shows
an 8-25 point difference
between the scores of KIS
residents and those nonresiding in the KIS, with KIS
residents exhibiting a higher
degree of vulnerability. Yet,
given the 40-point overall
standard deviation in the
KIS, the difference is not
dramatic.
In terms of resilience, a linear regression model shows
that living in a KIS affects
resilience but not nearly as
much as other criteria of
vulnerability reviewed below.
Residing in a KIS is a moderately negative factor of
resilience, especially when it
comes to the dimension ‘access to basic services’.
41. Note that large parts of urban informal
settlements are not included in these
areas, designated and identified by the
humanitarian community.
Resilience index
The resilience index (RI) provides a
more comprehensive understanding of
vulnerability, as it takes into account
the capacities and ways households
can cope with shocks and situations
of stress. It takes into account access
to basic services as one of the key
dimensions of resilience: easy access
to services reduces households’ diversion of resources to access those and
increases the capacity of households to
react rapidly to shocks. The resilience
index is compiled over several dimensions relevant to the vulnerability of a
household to structural changes (strife,
drought) or the vagaries of everyday life
(job loss, theft).
Dimensions include access to food,
access to basic services, social safety
nets, assets, and adaptive capacity
(multiple sources of income, debt levels,
levels of education etc.) Although the
theoretical range of the RI runs from
zero to 400, respondents scored between 40 and 295, with a median and
mean of 165: The higher the score, the
least resilient a household is.
Looking at the resilience index only
shows minor variations between cities,
with Kabul slightly better off than the
four other cities (table 2-2).
Breaking down the resilience index
by dimensions and by city shows that
Kabulfares slightly better on three of the
five dimensions of resilience: adaptive
capacity; food access and basic services. Inhabitants of Kandahar on the other
hand are worse off in terms of access to
basic services while Herat shows more
vulnerability in terms of food access in
figure 2-14.
Overall, the review of poverty and food
security indicators show that poverty
is prevalent across Afghan areas, while
food insecurity is high due to poor diets
and high levels of anxiety relative to
accessing food, painting a rather bleak
picture.
There is a gap between the income
accessible to most of the urban population and the level of resources they
need to guarantee adequate levels of
food security. Comparisons between
cities show only tenuous trends as poverty and food insecurity are widespread
across the board, with the exception of
Kabul that fares slightly better.
mean resilience score by city
Table 2-2
Food consumption score by city
Mean Resilience Score
HERAT 157
jALALABAD 160
KABUL 150
KANDAHAR 162
MAzAR-E-SHARIF 159
overall Sample 158
resilience dimensions by city
FIGURe 2-14
Resilience Dimensions per city
Urban poverty Report 47
In 94% of communities visited,
there was no public sewage
system. In general, people rely on
sceptic tanks within their own
compounds and organise at the
community
Area Observations - % of communities reporting access to piped water per city
access to piped water
FIGURe 2-15
accessing Health Facilities: easier in Kabul and Herat
Table 2-4
Access to Health Facility per city
Accessing Health Facilities: Easier in
Kabul and Herat
Area observations show clear patterns by
city in terms of access to basic services,
with Kabul and Herat benefiting from
easier access to health facilities, while
the average distance to a health facility
is significantly higher in Mazar-e-Sharif
and Kandahar, and to a lesser extent
Jalalabad, as highlighted in table 2.3. This
reflects the various levels of investments
in the public infrastructure of each city.
Public Electricity: widespread but not
equally reliable
A vast majority of communities (83.9%)
reported being connected to the public
grid, across the board, with only Kabul reporting a slightly lower proportion
(74.3%), a fact that can be linked to the
higher proportion of IDP settlements –
usually excluded from public basic services – than in the other cities. Within the
communities, and also to a large extent
90 to 100% of households were reported
to be benefiting from electricity, a fact that
confirms the findings of the households
survey where 79% of households reported
having access to public grid and an additional 4% to solar electricity. Overall,
the level of access to public electricity
is high across the 5 cities targeted and
confirm the impact of living in a city on
access to public services, as only 63.8%
of rural households reported having had
access to any source of electricity in the
past month for the NRVA42.
Yet, the main differences appear when it
comes to the reliability of access to electricity, as Kandahar appears to be significantly disadvantaged compared to the
4 other cities. This could even get worse
as electricity provision is expected to
deteriorate with the withdrawal of international troops. In 28% of communities
surveyed, electricity was considered to
be not reliable (several power cuts a day)
or not reliable at all (days without electricity). On the other hand 29% of communities had access to very reliable and
43% to reliable electricity (a few power
cuts per week). Here there are significant
differences between cities with Kandahar
by far in the worst situation as 48% of
communities said that access to electricity was not reliable and 32% said that it
was not reliable at all. On the other end of
the spectrum, Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat
fare much better. Kandahar’s poor access
to reliable electricity is also confirmed by
the household survey as households in
Kandahar were much more likely to report
long cuts of electricity (37% vs. 11% in
the overall sample) and much less likely to
report reliable access to electricity all day
(6% vs. 45% in the overall sample).
Piped Water: Inexistent in Kandahar
Stark difference also appears between
cities when looking at access to piped water
For piped water as well, Herat benefits from
a better provision of public services, while
Kandahar is significantly disadvantaged with
only 5% of communities reporting access to
piped water. To compensate for the absence
of piped water, a majority of communities
rely on wells dug inside households’ compounds, in Kandahar and in other cities alike.
Private wells are a reliable source of safe
water, as long as deep waters are not contaminated by pollution. As soon as water is
provided through a pipe system, communities have to pay through a system of meters
measuring their consumption.
Prices reported varied from 25 AFA per cubic
meter to 40-50 AFA depending on areas.
When households rely on wells for water,
they do not have to pay for their consumption.
In the absence of proper sewage system, the
risk of contamination of underground water
is increasing in Afghan cities. The topology of Kabul and the high rates of informal
settlements make it a challenge for basic
service provision to the increasing number of
households living on the slopes of the hills of
the city, especially when it comes to sewage
system and piped water schemes.
42. NRVA (2013), p. iv
48 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 49
Schooling by city
FIGURe 2-16
Schooling by City and Gender
access to education: Strong disparities across cities
By contrast, “only two in five rural households live within two kilometres of a
primary school“43. Differences between
cities were less acute than for other basic
services although children in Kandahar
do have to walk longer distance to reach
their schools than in the four other cities.
Accessibility of schools translates into
relatively low proportions of out-of-school
children in the 5 cities, albeit with strong
disparities across cities as shown above.
Overall, a majority of parents (63%) send
all their school-aged children to school
but with a strong difference between
Jalalabad and Kandahar on the one hand
(respectively 46 and 40%) and the three
other cities where 70% to 79% of households send all their school-aged children
to school. Children’s schooling is the
highest in Kabul (79% of households). The
divide between Pashtun and non-Pashtun
cities is clear as Jalalabad present the
higher proportions of households sending
only their boys to school but Kandahar
does show a worryingly proportion of
households where no child is attending
school. From a poverty and vulnerability
point of view, this means that inter-generational transmission of poverty is likely
to be much higher in Kandahar.
• This section confirms that households do find better access to basic
services when they move to the
city. This has a general impact on
their resilience as it allows in particular to a) reduce the potential risks
of health-related shocks; b) improve
their sanitation and hygiene levels; c)
allow for children to access education, one of the key determinants of
resilience. Kandahar fares worryingly
low on these parameters, compared
to the four other cities, as a result of
both a lack of services accessible and
cultural constraints limiting accessibility for women and girls.
Education is a key dimension of resilience. Being able to access schools
easily is a key component in preventing
vulnerability to pass on from one
generation to the other. It is particularly
important for girls as ‘safety’ on the
way to school plays a decisive role in
parents’ decisions to send their girls
to school. The survey of communities
showed that a large majority of them
had schools available for boys and girls
less than 30 minutes walking away.
43. NRVA (2013), p. xx
Urban poverty Report 51
3
DETERMINANTS OF
FooD InSeCUrIty
AND LACK OF RESILIENCE IN THE CITIES
>Current conditions of the urban poor vary dramatically based
on their migration history: IDps
– especially recently-displaced –
are at a clear disadvantage
>extreme vulnerability fuelled
by social vulnerabilities: femaleheaded households, addiction and
forms of employment as key
drivers of vulnerability
>Food Security in the city is
impacted by access to income
and nutrition security bt poor
hygiene practices
“For sure, when we lack food, the
adults eat less for the children to eat
more. But in general, we, the mothers
reduce our food shares first for our
husband and children to be able to
eat.”
Pic. 3.1: A girl from the informal settlement Badam Bagh in Mazar-e Sharif
Photo credit: Ann-Katrina Bregovic
52 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 53
54 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 55
Key findings - section 3
Current conditions of the urban
poor vary dramatically based
on their migration history: IDPs
– especially recently-displaced –
are at a clear disadvantage
• Economic migrants and returnees
tend to do as well or better than
those who never left, in terms of
precarity, while IDPs live under considerably starker conditions.
• 36% of IDPs have poor food
consumption based on the FSC,
compared to 26-27% for economic
migrants and only 16 to 18% of
returnee households.
• 68 (±3%) of IDPs are categorized
as “severely food insecure”, while
returnees matched residents at
58-59%, with economic migrants
faring best at 49 (±3%).
• Higher levels of vulnerability and
food insecurity translate into significantly lower levels of resilience
of IDP households. IDPs were at
a clear disadvantage in Herat and
Jalalabad, Kabul and Kandahar to a
lesser extent.
• The present study confirms that
newly-displaced fare significantly
worse than other IDPs and urban
poor more generally.
• Lack of access to adequate
housing and to land are two types
of vulnerability particularly prevalent amongst urban IDPs.
Extreme vulnerability fuelled by
social vulnerabilities: femaleheaded households, addiction
and forms of employment as key
drivers of vulnerability
• A regression analysis showed that
the main determinants of extreme
vulnerability were a) belonging to a
female-headed household; b) having a single source of income in the
household; c) addiction and d) to
a lesser extent casual labour as a
main source of income.
• Having a disabled member of
household (male adult) appeared
as a counter-indication for food
insecurity, although it did have an
impact on poverty. This suggests
that the pension received by disabled people has a positive impact
of households’ resilience.
• Seasonality of casual labour makes
winter a particularly difficult season
for urban poor, except in Jalalabad
where seasonality has a more limited impact.
• Education on the other hand is a
strong determinant of food security and of resilience for urban
households. A significant gap
remains between genders in terms
of literacy, reducing women’s
abi-lity to cope with shocks.
Food Security in the city is
impacted by access to income
and nutrition security bt poor
hygiene practices
• Food availability is not a major determinant of food insecurity within the
targeted Afghan cities, which do not
suffer from food shortages. Little price
volatility exists based on seasonality
but food prices have increased over
the past 5 years. In contrast to rural
areas, seasonality only contributes to
food insecurity through casual labour
in the five Afghan cities studied.
• Urban households cannot rely on selfproduction to complement their food
intake as only a marginal proportion
of households own livestock (13%) or
grow produce (7%), further reducing
their ability to absorb income shocks.
• Hygiene practices and awareness remain problematic in many households.
Only 33% of respondents reported
washing their hands before eating
and only 21% of female respondents
answered before preparing food. Poor
hygiene practices are a risk factor for
diarrheal disease and poor nutritional
status, especially for under-five-yearold children.
resilience index by migration status
FIGURe 3-2
Resilience Index and Resilience Dimensions by Migration Status
Food consumption score per migration status
FIGURe 3-1
Food Consumption Score by Migration Status - FCS below 28 (red) considered to be poor, between 28.1 and 42 (orange) borderline and above 42 acceptable (dark blue).
“We have no money to buy wheat, oil,
flour or beans. We try to borrow but
we have asked for credits so many times
to the shopkeepers that they will not let
us do that any more. there is no community support because everyone is poor
here; we can’t even help each other. We
just buy food when our men bring back
money.”
Bagh e Dawood
Focus Group, Women IDPs, Kabul City
56 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 57
A. The Impact of Migration & Displacement on Food
Insecurity and Vulnerability
The current conditions of the urban
poor vary dramatically by their
migration history.
On the whole, economic migrants and
returnees tend to do as well or better
than those who never left, in terms of
poverty. However, those who experienced internal displacement tended to
live under considerably starker conditions. IDPs fare worse than other migratory groups on a series of indicators,
confirming the impact of forced displacement on households’ well-being and
resilience.
The difference in food consumption,
based on the FSC, between the migrant
groups is also dramatic. Some 36 (±3%)
of IDPs who never lived abroad suffer
from “poor consumption” on the FCS,
while IDPs who lived abroad and economic migrants have poor consumption rates
around 26-27%, with returnee households
suffering poor consumption only 16-18%
of the time.
Considering the proportion of household
expenditures spent on food as an indicator of economic well being, the survey
finds that returnees, IDPs and residents
perform uniformly poorly, with around
two households in five dedicating more
than 60% of their expenditure to food, and
qualifying as “poor” on the food expenditure scale. However, when considering
secure access to food, the HFIAS tells a
very different story: 68 (±3%) of IDPs are
categorized as “severely food insecure”,
while returnees matched residents at 5859%, with economic migrants faring best
at 49 (±3%), showing that IDPs are much
more likely to experience the distress and
anxiety of lacking food for their families and to be forced into taking drastic
measures to deal with food shortages.
IDPs are also considerably more likely to
go hungry than other migrant groups, with
13 (±2%) suffering “severe hunger” on the
Household Hunger Scale, though notably
non-migrants scored poorly on this same
scale, with 10 (±1.5%) suffering “severe
hunger.” In contrast, only about 7% of
returnees and less than 5% of economic
migrants suffered severe hunger. Overall, these indicators point to high levels
of vulnerability and distress related to
securing enough food for the households
amongst IDP communities.
IDP Households - Significantly less
resilient than other groups44
Higher levels of vulnerability and food
insecurity translate into significantly
lower levels of resilience of IDP households. Although the internally displaced
(IDPs) made up just over a quarter of respondents, they accounted for some two
thirds of those scoring above 230 on the
resilience index (i.e, the top five percent).
The internally displaced are at a clear disadvantage, scoring the highest in four of five
resilience index dimensions .
However, this disproportion is not
constant from city to city. Although in
Herat, IDPs averaged a worrying 60 (±5)
points higher than other urban migration
groups, the difference was only around
ten in Jalalabad, Kabul and Kandahar,
while in Mazar-e-Sharif, the internally
displaced suffered no significant disadvantage. Based on the perception of
employment opportunities expressed
through pull factors, and the proportion
of economic migrants in Mazar-e-Sharif,
one might hypothesize that IDPs are also
benefitting from employment opportunities in the city.
44. Based on a two-tailed test for group means using a normal distribution; 95% degree of confidence.
mean resilience index by city and migration status
FIGURe 3-3
Mean Resilience Index by City and Migration Status
“People started arriving from Badghis, from Shindan, from pashtun Zargan,
from Guzarra (districts of Herat province) to settle here. Mostly, these families moved because they had no work
in their place of origin. there are only
2 IDp families in the community. Most
of the people own their house here. In
general, they bought their house here
before coming to the neighbourhood.
they bought the old houses, the empty
houses of the area. poor people settled
here because the land is very cheap: 3
beswa cost 500, 000 Afs.”
Darbi Iraq
Community Leader, Herat City
Recently displaces households
224 IDp respondents reported
having been displaced less than
one year ago in the entire sample,
168 of whom are in Herat city.
the main indicators show a sharp
difference in well-being between
this group and the means of all respondents and of protracted IDps:
• HFIAS: Recently displaced IDps
score a mean of 15.4 (±0.9)
compared to a general population mean of 10.0
• on the household hunger
score, recently displaced
households also score higher,
with 2.15 compared to a
general mean of 1.1. With a
margin of error of 0.2 and
scores ranging between 1 and
6, this is a significant gap.
• the mean consumption expenditure of recently displaced households is considerably lower than the entire
sample at 962 AFA against
1322 AFA for the entire sample.
• Finally, the mean resilience
score of recently displaced
households is significantly
higher than the general
population mean at 208.5 (± 5
points) against 157.9 for the
entire sample47.
>Both in terms of poverty and of
food security, recently displaced
households live in considerable
distress and enjoy significantly
worse living conditions than the
average urban households.
58 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 59
Notably, residents of Kabul who never left
have the lowest average resilience score
of all groups, with all migrants in Kabul
at a considerable disadvantage (20-40
points). Of further interest is that Herati
returnees, who overwhelmingly spent
time in Iran, are significantly more resilient
than even the residents who remained.
This indicates that Iranian returnees derived some advantage abroad that made
them more resilient than other groups
upon return. Literacy and education are
two of the benefits of having spent some
time in Iran. It must be noted that the
results in Herat are linked to the inclusion
in the sample of the recent caseloads of
IDPs who arrived from Badghis and Ghor
provinces at the end of 2013 and have
settled in Herat in the camps of Kareezak,
Pashtan, and Shahee Dayee checkpoint.
Given their recent arrival and dire living
conditions, these IDPs present very high
levels of vulnerability and food insecurity,
a reminder that integration in the city’s
socio-economic fabric is particularly
difficult to achieve for those who are
forcibly displaced.
Overall, this comparison of vulnerability
and food insecurity levels across migration groups show that forced displacement is a stronger determinant of
poverty and vulnerability than return.
Returnees come back to the country with
sets of skills and networks that increased
their resilience upon return. Furthermore,
returnees often had time to prepare for
their return and benefited from various
forms of assistance upon return, in particular UNHCR’s return package, which
includes a cash grant and shelter assistance for a large proportion of returnees45.
Some movements of returns had been
carefully planned ahead, like for example
the Hazara community of Jebrail in the
city of Herat, who had purchased land
before moving back to the city.
The internally displaced on the other hand
are usually forced to leave suddenly and
have little choice in the decision to leave.
In majority coming from rural areas (see
above), they lack the skill set, literacy
and urban habits that would facilitate
their arrival. Unlike economic migrants,
they also have to leave rapidly and with
little preparation, putting them at risk of
dire poverty, especially in the first years
of their displacement. The community of
economic migrants of Darbi Iraq in Herat
for example is a good example of how
communities and households prepare
their migration to mitigate the risks they
will face upon arrival:
Recently displaced households:
vulnerable among the vulnerable
The situation of IDPs in Herat suggests
that some stratification exists amongst
IDPs based on their time in displacement, a trend noted by NRC and UNHCR
during an IDP profiling in 2014 in Kabul
city46. The present study confirms that
the newly-arrived are amongst the most
vulnerable groups as the newly-arrived
IDPs fared significantly worse than the
average urban poor in this study:
45. See MGSoG-Samuel Hall(2013), Evaluation of UNHCR Shelter Assistance Programme. 46. KII with UNHCR and NRC 47. Two-tailed test for the means of the group; 95% confidence interval.
“raising chickens and growing
vegetable and potatoes
was very useful. It was for our own
consumption only. We cannot do this
this year, because they are kicking
us out of this area. We will have to
start our lives, everything again.”
Bagh e Dawood
Focus Group, Women IDPs
Kabul City
Housing arrangements
FIGURe 3-4
Housing Arrangements by Migratory Status
60 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 61
Housing and Land: two key factors in
IDPs’ vulnerability
A key factor in the vulnerability of IDPs is
linked to their situation in terms of housing, access to land and security of tenure
as shown above.
IDPs were less likely to own a house
than non-migrants, with economic
migrants faring somewhat better and
returnees owning their houses nearly as
often as residents. Of greater concern
is the proportion of IDPs living in tents
(13%) or temporary shelters (10%): 61%
(±6%) of urban poor living in tents were
IDPs, although they accounted for one
fourth of the total number of respondents.
Figure 3.4 illustrates the various housing arrangements IDPs and economic
migrants have access to upon arriving in
the city. IDPs are significantly more likely
to adopt a non-sustainable solution, such
as sharing houses or temporary shelters:
43% against 24% for returnees and local
residents, confirming the impact of sudden displacement on vulnerability, as
the absence of planning, preparation or
networks guiding the displacement means
that households settle in the city with very
little visibility and safety nets.
The security of land tenure is a heated
question in Afghan cities, as informal settlements have burgeoned throughout the
past decade, with recently arrived households settling on governmental, municipal
or private lands. Eviction and the fear of
being evicted plays a role in the communities’ ability to develop, invest and adjust
to the life in the city, something to which
IDPs and economic migrants are particularly vulnerable. Qualitative fieldwork
shows how vulnerability and food security
of households are increased by evictions –
and to a lesser extent the fear of eviction.
For example, the community of IDPs living
in Bagh e Dawood, in the surroundings of
Kabul city, has been struggling to secure
access to land tenure since their arrival
in the city more than 15 years ago. At the
beginning, they settled for 4 years in Deh
Mazang before being evicted and moving to another area near the Sanatorium
in Darulaman, where they could stay for
another 10 years. Upon a new round of
evictions, the community moved to this
area of Bagh e Dawood, where the land
is owned by the Ministry of Defence. The
small community is now being threatened
with eviction again, as a development
project is starting in the area, after the
land was bought off – or grabbed depending on the accounts - by a local powerful
figure. A direct consequence of this threat
of eviction for the community is the loss
of the additional sources of food that the
community had secured through backyard
gardening and poultry raising.
Overall, quantitative and qualitative data
both confirm the impact of forced displacement on poverty and food security
status, as lack of access to land, to housing and sudden disrupt of livelihoods put
IDPs in a vulnerable situation, especially
for the most recently displaced among
them.
B. Social Vulnerabilities: Key drivers of food insecurity
and lack of resilience
48. These categories were tested separately but they are not necessarily mutually exclusive as addicted heads of households often leads to the
woman trying to earn money to provide for her family for example.
Beyond migration status, and within an
urban population largely poor and vulnerable across the board, a few sub-groups
show sign of extreme poverty and call
for specific interventions. The research
team tested some of the assumptions
on vulnerability, including the specific
types of vulnerability that female-headed
households, elderly-headed households,
households with addicted members and
households with disabled members.
In order to test the strength of these
determinants on the level of poverty
and food security, a multinomial logistic
regression analysis was conducted on a
series of potentially determinant factors of
poverty.
This regression analysis provided evidence that the main determinants of
extreme vulnerability were a) femalehead of households; b) single source of
income in the household; c) addiction
and d) to a lesser extent casual labour as
a main source of income48.
InDICator most determinant factors
Severe food Insecurity based on Household Food
Insecurity (HFIAS)
1. Addiction
2. Female head of household
3. Low level of education
Severe Hunger (Household Hunger Scale) 1. Female head of household
% of food in total household expenditure > 60% 1. Casual labour
poverty (income < 1,710 AFA/person/month)
1. Male disabled adult
2. Addicted member of household
3. Casual labour as source of income
extreme poverty (income below median amongst
households with income < 1,710/ person /month)
1. Having 1 or less sources of income
2. Being disabled
3. Addiction
4. Having a female head of household
5. Casual labour as source of income
Lower Income
1. Addiction
2. 1 or less source of income
3. Female head of household
Overview of main factors for each indicator based on multinomial regression test
overview of main factors for each indicator
Table 3-1
Sparghai is a 45-year old widow. She
is originally from Ghazi Abad but her
household moved to Jalalabad for
economic reasons a long time ago. Her
husband died 15 years ago and Sparghai had to take care of 6 children. “It
was very difficult to adjust when he
died and my children were frequently
lacking food”. today Sparghai relies on
the support of her father and on the
income brought by her two sons who
are respectively 12 and 10-year old.
She is frequently worried about the
quantity of food that she will be able to
provide for her children, as the household constantly lacks money.
Bibi Hawa is 50 years old. originally
from Charkent district in Balkh province, she lived 3 years in Iran with her
husband before coming back to Mazare-Sharif City. Her husband was a
porter and passed away 10 years ago,
leaving Bibi Hawa alone with her 3 children. “I was in a critical economic situation when my husband passed away.
It was the case until my sons were old
enough to earn money themselves. We
didn’t have money to buy food and we
all had to be patient when food was
lacking on the table. Nowadays, my 16year old son is a carpenter and earns
money for the family. But I am still very
often unable to afford the kind of food
that my children would prefer eating.
Zamarud is originally from Karrukh
district, her family moved to Herat City
because of the repeated droughts and
the lack of economic activities there.
Mother of two sons and two daughters,
Zamarud lost her husband 12 years
ago. Upon the death of her husband,
she faced a difficult situation, as she
had to stand up against her family to
avoid being married to her husband’s
brother. She was also in a very difficult
economic situation. She refused the
forced marriage and decided to start
working for her children. the absence
of livelihood was very tough for the
family at the beginning but Zamarud
managed to find various incomegenerating activities. She is now
involved in cleaning wool, cleaning
and shelling pistachios and is a house
cleaner for various families in the
community. Life is still not easy but
Zamarud manages to put food on the
table for her children.
Zakia (55) is a widow. She is also the
eldest member of her family and head
of the household. Zakia is no stranger
to the tragedies of war. First, she lost
her husband in the conflict and later 2
of her children died in a rocket attack
while they were at university. She now
has 3 daughters and 1 son remaining.
1 of her daughters is married and has
3 children. She depends on the income
brought by the son-in-law who is a
casual labourer. Another of her daughters is married in pakistan and it has
been 2 years since she last saw her.
the remaining stays with her.
Money is very hard to come by. She
earns money by washing clothes in the
residential block close by. Her sonin-law’s income is split between his
own family and hers so she does not
get much of it. out of desperation the
13-year old son go out to the market
to work as daily labourer. He goes unsupervised to the market and spends
all day there before returning in the
evening. >Marital Status of Female Heads of Households
WHat IS tHe marItaL StatUS oF Female Heads of Households?
FIGURe 3-5
CaSe StUDy 1> Jalalabad
CaSe StUDy 3 > Herat
CaSe StUDy 4 > KabUL
CaSe StUDy 2 > mazar-e-Sharif
62 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 63
Female-headed Households/Widows
Female-headed households show signs
of extreme poverty, food insecurity and
vulnerability. In the general sample, 626
households reported being headed by
a woman, or 11.6% of the total number
of households. Having a female head of
household appeared to be a strong determinant of severe food insecurity, to be the
strongest determinant for the household
to experience severe hunger. Looking at
extreme poverty – i.e. households falling
below the median amongst households
below the poverty line – shows that a
female-headed household is a significant
determinant for extreme poverty.
Female heads of households and widows
have to adapt to difficult socio-economic
conditions in a society where a) the type
of jobs and salaries accessible to women
are scarce and low; and, b) the independency of a female head of household is
not guaranteed and they have to rely on
the generosity of relatives to survive. The
following cases studies illustrate these
difficulties:
A week back he came back home empty
handed and cried because he could not find
work that day.
Her kitchen was based in the corner of the
tent she was staying in. It consisted of 1 gas
stove, 1 cooker, 1 plate and 1 bowl. the only
food in the house was rice, which was cooking on the stove for the evening meal. there
was nothing else stored in the house. their
income was daily income so their food purchase was also daily. Whenever, her son/sonin-law came back they brought home some
rice or potatoes or something else for the
night meal. In addition the daily income was
spent on buying cooking oil, fuel, and water.
that was all they could do with the income.
the last time she had 2 food items in one meal
was a month ago. She couldn’t even remember the last time she had meat to cook. At
times when they have no food at home, they
boil flour in oil and water and eat that as it is.
everything she owned had been provided by
NGos. they had no other assets. 7 months
ago, her tent had caught fire because they
cook food indoors. ten other tents along with
hers were destroyed. Luckily no one was
injured in the fire but she lost some blankets and bedding. Hence she was now using
blankets given by NGos to cover the floor on
which they sleep. It was lucky that someone
came and provided her with a new tent otherwise she says she and her household would
have to sleep in open air.
Zakia says that it has been the same like this
for the last 11 years since they came back
from pakistan. their conditions as refugees
were much better. In some instances she
considers herself worse off now than when
she left pakistan. She has had to sell of everything she had owned in pakistan. She has
no answers as to how to increase her family’s income. She had hoped that she would
give her children education so that they could
earn a higher income and at least their lives
will be better. But right now she is unable to
do that as well and does not see any ray of
light in the near future.
“my husband is addicted; he takes
whatever he wants from the house to
sell it and buy drugs. Sometimes, he
even takes food from the house to sell
it while my children don’t even have
school uniforms and I’m not able to
pay for the school requirements. He is
addicted to opium, hashish and heroin.
His addiction has had such a negative
impact on my life, on the life of our
children, on our income, on our food
security!”
Adela, 38 years old
Herat, Baba Haji
Percentage of households reporting one of their members to be addicted (by city)
households with one addicted member
FIGURe 3-5
64 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 65
Household with addicted members
A total of 377 households – or almost
9% - reported having at least one of their
members being addicted, with the following breakdown per city above49.
As a comparison, UNODC estimates
the Southern and Northern regions to
have the highest prevalence rate (7.2%).
Eastern and Western regions follow with
respective prevalence rates of 6.3% and
5.9%50. The issue of addiction as a major determinant of vulnerability and food
insecurity in Afghan cities is important as
addiction is on the rise in most Afghan cities and as people surrounding an addict,
including children, get addicted rapidly,
thereby increasing the chances for poverty
to be transmitted between generations.
49. No data on addiction were collected for Kabul City as the indicator was added for the provincial capitals, after the end of the fieldwork in Kabul. The sample size is therefore of
4,320 respondents. 50. MCN-MoPH-UNODC (2009), Afghanistan Drug Use Survey, p.7-8.
51. MCN-MoPH-UNODC (2012), Afghanistan Drug Report – Executive Summary, p. 9 52. Ibid. p.18
All of the five cities studied here as in the
list of ‘hot spots’ for drug use identified by
UNODC51.
“Drug use is on the rise everywhere,
in every city. Drug is easily available
in the urban markets and people who
have no work, no income, easily get
into it, generally through peer pressure. It comes with many problems: addicts steal from their own family, from
the mosque. people disregard them.
It put a lot of pressure on women, on
children.”
KII UNODC Staff
Addiction to opiates is particularly high
among returnee households – one of
DRC’s groups of concern – as they have
been identified as a group with particularly
high prevalence of drug use and associated risks:
“there are an estimated 30,000 recent heroin users among the returnee
population. the prevalence of drug
use and associated risks amongst this
population is ever increasing and more
services need to be implemented to
address this need.”52
UNODC 2012 Drug Report
Addiction appears to be a very strong
determinant for household food insecurity, poverty and extreme poverty (being
below the median amongst households
below the poverty line). Having an addict
in the household is also one of the strongest overall negative drivers of household
income, which shows the very high level
of vulnerability that households with addicted member(s) are subjected to.
Drug addiction – especially addiction of
the head of household – is crippling for
households’ resilience in many ways as:
• Families lose one or more potential source(s) of income, especially
male sources of income;
• Drug addicts are likely to sell
household’s assets or to use most
of the household’s income to
finance addiction;
• Families with drug addicts gradually lose the support of their communities, as they are perceived as
threats to the community, making
it even more difficult for families to
access food.
Main Issues faced by households (per city)
main problems faced by households (by city)
FIGURe 3-7:
Mean Family size vs. number of income earners (by city).
mean family size and numbers of earners
FIGURe 3-8
66 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 67
The lack of job opportunities was
reported as particularly acute in
Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad
cities, suggesting that the economic slow-down takes a different
hit on cities’ economy. Figure 3.10
below suggests that construction
and transportation are particularly
important sectors in Herat, Mazare-Sharif and Jalalabad, while Kandahar and Kabul present relatively
more diversified economic profiles.
This would explain the particular
anxiety of households in these three
cities as investments slow down in
the construction sector.
Poor access to stable labour and
income contributes to the households’ vulnerability in various ways:
“In the past, when the foreigners were around, most people
would work in construction and
get daily labour as contractors.
But now everybody is unemployed. We all have difficulty
finding money. Most people try
to do street vending but the
police does not let us do that.”
Community leader, Kabul City, Wasilabad
High dependency ratio within
households
Urban households remain heavily
dependent on one or two sources
of income for entire families. Kabul
fares better than the four other cities under scrutiny with 1.82 average number of household member
earning an income. Across the
board the dependency ratio of
Afghan urban families is very high,
making them extremely vulnerable
to shocks.
The survey found that 13% of
Afghan urban poor have no family
income earners and 65% (±2%)
have only one income-earner,
meaning that a 78% of urban
households had one source of
income or less, a very high indicator of vulnerability. The ratio of
number of earners to family size is
worse in Kandahar and Jalalabad
with 26% and 24% of families,
respectively, having none or only
one family earner for every ten family members, in stark difference to
cities such as Mazar-e-Sharif (7%)
and Herat (9%). This is linked to the
higher size of households in these
two provinces, increasing the level
of vulnerability of households in
these two provinces
Sources of income and nature of
employment determining resilience
Across the board, access to employment and livelihood – especially stable
employment – is pointed at as the key
determinant of food insecurity and vulnerability for urban households. Access
to food is highly dependent on households securing enough daily income to
purchase food. As noted above, access
to employment and forms of employment
are particularly determinant in the level of
poverty of households. Lack of job opportunities was reported as the first of the
problems faced by urban households in
every city but Kandahar.
“Food Security
and poverty
are first and
foremost a
problem of livelihoods in the
cities. Households lack income, lack cash,
hence cannot
meet their food
needs. You need
to improve livelihood to improve
food security”.
KII NGO, Kabul
Main Sectors of Employment of Urban Households
main Sectors of employment
FIGURe 3-10
Main Sectors of activities accessible to women
activities accessible to women
FIGURe 3-9
68 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 69
Female Employment: Marginal,
even in the cities
In urban areas too, the main income earners are male adults and youth to a very
large extent. The findings of this study
confirm that the urban environment is
not particularly conducive to a higher
level of female participation in the labour
market the cities. Only 13% of households reported having at least one female
adult earning an income for the family.
Women participating in income-generating
activity remain a last resort for families
who have no other choices: widows (23%
of these households) or when the spouse
is disabled or unable to work (26% of
these households). Amongst the 1,274
female respondents randomly selected
for this survey, only 193 or 15% reported
earning an income for the family, confirming the low rate of participation of women
to the labour force in the cities. This low
participation of women in the workforce
reinforces the dependency of households
on a limited number of sources of households, further decreasing their level of
resilience.
Qualitative and quantitative data show
that the main forms of employment accessible to women are low qualified and
low-income jobs such as house workers
(cleaning) and home-based activities, in
particular tailoring, sewing and embroidery. Other home-based activities vary
and are specific to each city. In Herat for
example, women would sometimes bring
income to their households by shelling
pistachio during the pistachio season. In
other cities, women would for example
trim and clean wool at home. The public
sector, which is often considered to be
one of the main sectors accessible to
women, was still poorly represented in
our sample with only a marginal proportion of active women working in education, health or other sectors of the public
administration. The low levels of literacy
and education of urban women detailed
above partly explains this poor access to
public positions. Women are therefore not
in a position to access high wages: qualitative data showed that household workers would earn approximately 50 AFA per
day – or a maximum 1300 AFA per month
if they are able to work every working day
of the month – far below the average male
daily income, which varies between 200
and 300 AFA per day across city.
Overall, this shows that the urban environment is not particularly favourable to female employment, as cultural constraints
are still very present in the cities, which do
not offer the relative safety that village or
rural communities may offer. In rural areas,
women are often active in the agriculture
sector and in taking care of livestock,
activities that are inaccessible once in the
city53. Strong cultural constraints and low
levels of qualification make it difficult for
women to play an economic role in cities:
69% of female respondents reported having left their houses only 5 days or less in
the previous 31 days, a figure that goes up
to 81%, the maximum, in Kandahar54. This
may change significantly with the change
of generation and an increased proportion
of girls completing their education and accessing higher education in the cities. Yet,
this change is yet to impact urban market
labour.
Stability of Employment: a luxury for
most urban households
The main sectors of employment of urban
households are a) construction; b) retail;
and, c) transportation. The public sector is
also relatively important for urban households. Income earners are mainly working
in building construction, retail and in the
transport sector.
Figure 3.10 confirms the prevalence of
construction and transportation as key
economic sectors for Afghan cities across
the board, two sectors characterised by
high levels of instability in terms of access to labour and income. There are 527
households, which prime income-earner
work in construction, of which 451 are
daily labourers and 60 self-employed,
both representing highly instable sources
of cash. In the entire random sample,
only 392 households (15.5%) had salaried workers as their main income-earner.
Those were mostly working in the public
sector, a source of stable but low income.
The percentage of main income-earners
working all year round varies from 45%
(± 4%) in Mazar-e-Sharif to 67% (± 4%)
in Jalalabad, while approximately 30% of
main earners can only work on an irregular
basis. Mazar-e-Sharif again stands out
here with 45% of main income earners
making an irregular living only. Yet, all year
long does not mean every working day of
the year, as daily labourers struggle to secure work every day of the week. Irregular
employment remains a major tenant of
vulnerability for urban households, confirming past research on the topic55.
Income does vary with seasons in the
five cities covered although with a
slightly different pattern for Jalalabad
and Kandahar. Qualitative fieldwork
points without ambiguity at the winter
as the most difficult season for urban
households, as the cold weather makes
it impossible for people to work outside
and considerably impacts key sectors
for urban economy like construction and
transportation.
“my husband is a daily labourer. If there is work, he earns 300 Afs per day. But often
there is no work. these days, he goes to find work at 4 in the morning but it has been
several days in a row that he could not find work for the day.”
FGD Women, Mazar-e-Sharif, Wali Asr
53. ILO (2012), Afghanistan: Time to move to Sustainable Jobs. Study on the State of Employment in Afghanistan, Summary Report, p.4. 54. Based on random sample (n=1,274). 55. See Samuel Hall for ILO (2012), Time to Move to Sustainable Jobs : A Study of the State of Employment in Afghanistan.
Difficult Winter in Herat
Most of the people of our area are daily workers. Some of
them work in construction and other work on the market.
the work is good in the summer but people are completely
unemployed in the winter. there is not any construction or
daily work in the winter and living conditions are very tough
at that period of the year.
FGD Men – Herat (Babaii)
absence of work in the winter in Kandahar
our households’ earning decrease in the winter. My husband for example is a daily worker and uses his motorcycle
to earn money every day. But in the winter he cannot work,
there is too much rain and mud, transportations stop for the
most part.
FGD Women – Kandahar (Mulaya Naw)
Is this season (winter) usually a period of low/average/high income?
Is winter a period of LoW income?
Table 3-2
Level of education of respondents per city
level of education
FIGURe 3-12
70 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 71
Yet, the variation is not as acute in Jalalabad and Kandahar as it is in the other
cities, because of their different weather
patterns. Summers are also difficult
seasons for daily labour as extremely hot
temperatures also slow down construction
activities. Winters are milder and allow for
households to continue working during
the winter to a larger extent than in the
three other cities. This is especially the
case in Jalalabad.
Qualitative fieldwork confirmed that
Jalalabad enjoys more stable access to
income throughout the year, while on the
other hand, income in Herat and Mazare-Sharif-e-Sharif is particularly seasonsensitive with respectively 71% and 74%
of households who highlight winter as a
period of low income.
Household with disabled adult
members: A counter-indicator of
food insecurity
Disability is commonly seen as a key
determinant of poverty and vulnerability
in the country, especially if it affects male
adults, the main potential income-earners
within families. In these cases, disability
has a huge opportunity cost for families
as they lose their most reliable source of
income. It may also induce higher levels
of expenses on non-food items, especially health-related expenses, potentially
endangering food security. Yet, the multinomial regression test highlighted male
adult disability as a counter-indicator
for food insecurity. The statistical test
did show that disability was a factor in
poverty and extreme poverty. The impact
of disability on income and expenditure
is easily understandable but the fact that
these households are less food insecure is
counter-intuitive.
This surprising finding can be explained
by the fact that a) the disabled are eligible
for a cash grant distributed by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and
Disabled (MoLSAMD) every month, one of
the only components of a social protection policy actually in place and functioning in the country; and, b) the fact that
households with disabled members may
be priority recipients of community support and charity. Within an urban population characterised by extremely high vulnerability, receiving a regular cash transfer
is enough to push people away from the
category of the most vulnerable.
C. Education and Access to services limit vulnerability
Beyond the negative drivers of poverty
and food insecurity in the cities, the study
also identified some of the key factors
limiting vulnerability and poverty among
urban households.
Education and Access to Basic
Services impacting food security
Education stands out among Afghanistan’s urban poor because of the impact
it appears to have on food security. Mean
scores on HFIAS scale range from 6 to
11 between education levels, despite
an overall standard deviation of just 6
points. This suggests a strong doseresponse relationship of education to
HFIAS scores, with education showing a
protective effect against food insecurity.
As a result, those with no formal education have a 59±2% probability of suffering
“severe food insecurity,” those having attended only primary school had a 41±6%
probability, and those who attended high
school had only a 28±6% chance of suffering severe food insecurity.
In an environment where levels of education and literacy remain generally low,
education makes a significant difference
in offering access to different types of
jobs, in the public sector or in services,
allowing for more stable sources of livelihoods than non-educated households.
Higher levels of education also lead to
higher levels of awareness about the nutrition and food requirements of a households and higher ability to manage the
household’s finance and expenses in a
sustainable way. While the overall level of
education of the population is increasing,
the generation of heads of household has
been particularly disadvantaged in terms
of access to education, as it has to endure
decades of conflict and migration. For this
generation, a high level of education is still
rare enough to be an important factor decreasing the vulnerability of households,
even amongst urban populations.
Educational levels vary considerably by
city and by gender. While 80% (± 4%)
of Kandahar residents have no formal
education, this is only the case for 59%
(±5%) of Kabulis. At 6% (±2%), Kabul also
has the highest proportion of respondents with high school education and the
highest proportion of respondents with a
college-plus level of education. Head of
household literacy goes hand in hand with
respondent education, making it a good
approximation for the level of education of
the household.
Literacy of Respondents by gender
Who can read?
FIGURe 3-13
Agriculture and Livestock in the city
how many grow vegtables or have livestock?
FIGURe 3-14
72 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 73
A significant difference exists between
genders with 83% of female respondents
being illiterate compared to 53% of male
respondents. The proportion of illiterate
women is extremely high and shows that
being an urban dweller does not systematically mean access to education, at
least for the current adult generation. It
also explains the particular vulnerability of
female-headed households.
Migratory groups are also characterised
by different levels of literacy and education, with returnees faring slightly better
than displaced households or households
who were never forcibly displaced: 37%
of heads of households in returnee families were literate, as against 29% for IDPs
and 32% for households who were never
forcibly displaced. Having lived in Iran or
Pakistan made it easier for Afghan refugees to access education, while access to
education remained very difficult in rural
Afghanistan, especially for older generations.
• Food Security and resilience are
function of education and stability
of employment first and foremost.
Education entails access to better
forms of employment, while stable
employment and multiple sources
of income reduce the vulnerability
of households to shocks. Femaleheaded households, households with
addicted members and households
relying on casual labour remain
highly vulnerable.
D. Food Availability: High at the community level, low at
the household level
Urban Markets & Seasonality on food
availability
Food availability is not a major determinant of food insecurity within the targeted Afghan cities, which are all regional
centres of trade and business and do
not suffer from food shortages. Urban
households can benefit from a range of
food sources – from the local food carts
and street vendor to supermarkets – and
adjust their purchasing habits to their purchasing power and mobility within the city.
Mobility and knowledge of the city are two
important dimensions to get cheap food,
as central markets or wholesaler markets
offer more advantageous prices than
the food carts and small shops available
within communities. These two elements
are obviously not evenly distributed within
the population as female heads of households or disabled may lack the mobility.
On the other hand, recently arrived lack
the information necessary to navigate their
way in the city and find the best food purchasing strategies rapidly. These groups
are therefore at a disadvantage.
Prices volatility and seasonality have not
been noted by key informants as a major
obstacle to food security in the five cities
studied.
“there are variations of prices in
urban areas too but the line is somehow flat compared to rural areas. the
main variable is the availability of work,
not the seasonality of harvest and food
production.”
KII – WFP
Assessing self-production in the cities
With the movement to the city from rural
areas – whether forced or decided – usually comes a loss of households’ ability
to self-produce and to complement their
food intake through their own production.
While agricultural and gardening skills are
part of the traditional skill set of Afghan
households, conflict and displacement
have often weakened these abilities, especially within urban environment characterised by high pressure on land.
The present study assessed the level of
self-production within Afghan cities, as a
form of resilience for households, which
would be able to produce food complement and to diversify their caloric intake.
Main Source of Drinking Water per city
main Source of Drinking Water
Table 3-3
“The water from the wells
is not so clean but people
can’t always afford piped
water. Usually, we use piped
water to drink, for tea, to
cook or wash vegetables
and use the wells for other
purposes (cleaning etc). The
water is provided by the municipality. It costs 26 Afs per
makab (cubic meter).”
Darbi Iraq, Herat
74 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 75
The survey shows without ambiguity that
urban households have mostly given up
on rural forms of livelihoods: 93% of surveyed households reported not producing any sort of agricultural or horticultural
products, while 87% of households do not
own any sort of livestock. In that regard,
Jalalabad and Kandahar stand out, as
respectively 21% and 23% of households
in these cities owned livestock. Jalalabad
is also the city with the highest proportion
of households producing some products. The resilience of livestock in the
two Pashtun cities may be linked to the
important number of Kuchi families, traditionally raising livestock, although most
lost their animals either as a cause or a
consequence of their move to the cities.
Still, it shows that urban forms of agriculture exist in these two cities, while they
are practically absent from the three other
cities, especially Kabul and Herat.
Among the households producing agricultural products in the city, a majority reported cultivating vegetables (52%), followed
by wheat (32%); fruits (27%) and tubers
(18%). In many cases, these productions
were combined. To a very large extent,
these are cultivated for the own consumption of households (in 74% of cases),
although another 12% of households
reported earning an income through these
productions and 10% of households used
it both for consumption and income-generation. Among the households who own
livestock, the majority owns small poultry
(1 to 10 chickens). Only a very marginal
number of urban households own sheep
or goats in the city. For livestock as well,
a large majority of households prioritise
family consumption (72%) over incomegeneration (15%), although 10% of them
combine both.
Overall, urban households can only very
marginally rely on additional sources of
food that they would produce themselves.
Difficult access to land and to water, as
much as the lack of habit and tradition of
urban agriculture and receding gardens in
the cities, explain this absence. The study
confirms the quasi inexistence of urban
forms of agricultural productions, further
increasing the dependency of urban
households on income for food security.
The inability to increase access to food
through self-production further reduces
urban households’ resilience.
E. Food Utilisation: Problematic Hygiene Practices
FooD USe/UtILISatIon aS a DetermInant oF FooD SeCUrIty
“Based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation, each member of the household is able to get an intake of sufficient and safe food
adequate to each individual’s physiological requirements.”
56. Piped water, private pumps, public pumps and wells are improved sources of water. Surface water, pool or water tanks are unimproved. 57. MoPH-UNICEF, (2013), NNS, p. 56.
WASH indicators pointing at poor hygiene practices
of drinking water nationally and the NRVA
only 39.4% of households in rural areas.
The main difference comes from the access to piped water, more widespread in
the cities (35% of households surveyed,
compared to 14.4% nationally)57.
Among the households that do not have a
source of water directly accessible in their
house or compounds, 62% reported having a source of water accessible within 15
minutes walking (back and forth). Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif show the highest
proportions of households that have to
walk more than 30 minutes (respectively
20% and 18% of the households that
do not have a source of water in their
compound); 6% of households in Mazare-Sharif reported not having access to a
source of water, suggesting that this may
be a particular issue for Mazar-e-Sharif, a
finding confirmed by KIIs in the city.
Yet, the source of water is not the only
component to consider, as prices of water
vary quite significantly from one city to the
other, especially when household rely on
piped water. This leads to more refined
strategies in terms of use of water with
piped water being saved for consumption and sometimes food preparation,
while other sources are used for other
water needs (laundry and dish washing in
particular).
Satisfying access to Safe Water
Looking at water sources of urban households shows that most of them have access to improved water sources56:
Here the urban environment plays a clear
role in facilitating households’ access to
improved water, as the NNS found 62.9%
of households using improved sources
Households’ sanitation facilities
Sanitation Facilities
FIGURe 2 / 3-15
Out of the 63 women who participated in FGDs and had young children:
• 23 said that their children get diarrhoea at least once a month
• 18 at least once a week
• Only 14 said either never or a few
time a year.
76 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 77
not having soap. These divergences may
also come from the lower prices of products – soap in this case – accessible in
Jalalabad and Kandahar from Pakistan.
In order to test awareness about adequate hygiene practices, respondents
were asked to list when they should wash
their hands. The survey unveils low levels
of awareness, even amongst the urban
population, as the only situation frequently
cited by respondents was “after defecating” which was cited by 83% of respondents, with a significant difference between
gender (89% of male respondents against
76% of female respondents). This difference between genders is problematic
as women are the main care-givers and
are in charge of preparing food for the
households. Answers were not prompted,
leading to low proportions of spontaneous
answers. Worryingly, only 33% of respondents reported washing their hands
before eating. Only 21% of female respondents listed “before preparing food”
and 9.8% of female respondents “before
feeding children”.
Overall, this shows that levels of awareness on adequate hygiene practices
remain limited across the board, despite
the urban environment. Directly related to
these practices, qualitative fieldwork with
women showed that diarrhoea is frequent
amongst young children, especially during
summer. Both in Jalalabad and Kandahar,
women pointed at the summer as particularly problematic for their children.
Diarrheal disease is in turn a risk factor
for poor utilization of food, as Jones et al.
(2013) say: “Utilization reflects differences
in the allocation of food within households, the nutritional quality of that food,
and variation in the extent to which the
nutrients in food are able to be absorbed
and metabolized by individuals within the
households (e.g. because of differences
in health status or the bioavailability of
micronutrients).”59 Poor hygiene practices
may endanger the nutrition security of
urban households. Nutrition security is defined as ‘’a situation that exists when secure access to an appropriately nutritious
diet is coupled with a sanitary environment, adequate health services and care,
in order to ensure a healthy and active life
for all household members.”60
Overall, this shows that while having access to relatively safer facilities than their
rural counterparts, urban households still
display low levels of awareness about
hygiene.
Intra-household dynamics
regarding food
Purchasing Patterns of the Urban
Poor: Men are still in charge
Understanding intra-households dynamics surrounding food – both in terms of
purchasing habits and consumption – is
important to inform programming and
tailor interventions to the reality of Afghan
households.
Both qualitative and quantitative data confirmed that, while women of the households are in charge of food preparation,
it is in most cases male members of the
households who are charge of purchasing food. In 72% of urban households,
only male adults are responsible for food
purchases. In only 10% of households
female adults were responsible to buy
food. In 7% of cases, male and female
adults share responsibility, while in 4%
male children and adults are in charge of
purchasing food. Female responsibilities
differed between cities, depending on the
Poor Sanitation Facilities
A total of 34% of households used flushed
latrines, a result that is significantly higher
than the national average (9%), but still
low in absolute terms. Traditional pit
latrines remain the most common form
of sanitation, even in the city.
On that aspect as well, cities fared differently, with Kandahar being the worst
off (only 21% of flush latrines) and Herat
and Mazar-e-Sharif the most advanced
(49% and 42% respectively). This confirms a trend in terms of access to basic
services, by which residents of Herat fare
better than their counterparts in other
cities, while people living in Kandahar are
generally disadvantaged when it comes to
access to services and basic facilities.
An important indicator of households’
good hygiene is whether households have
to share latrines with other families or
not: 24% of urban households surveyed
reported sharing their latrines overall, a
figure slightly higher than the national
average found by the NNS (17%). The
difference can be accounted for by the
dwelling conditions in urban areas, more
crowded and therefore conducive to sharing latrines. The survey found a surprisingly high proportion of them sharing
latrines in Kabul (41%) compared to other
cities (between 26% in Mazar-e-Sharif and
11% in Kandahar). This can be explained
by the high pressure on land and housing
in Kabul that forces many families to share
compounds or houses. In these cases,
each family has its own room but may be
forced to share facilities such as latrines.
Indeed, Kabul presented the highest proportion of households sharing their housing facilities with Jalalabad (20 and 22%),
10 points higher than the three other
cities. Only 6% of Kandahari households
and 9% of Herati households reported
sharing their latrines.
Problematic Hygiene practices
Hygiene practices remain problematic
in many households, raising risk for
diarrheal disease and poor nutritional
status, especially for under-five-year-old
children. A vast majority of urban households reported having soap in their house
(82%), a figure based on self-reporting,
hence likely to overestimate the actual
proportion58. Yet, the NNS found similar
proportions based on direct observations
in certain provinces like Kabul (74.2%),
Nangarhar (80.3%) and significantly lower
results in other (Balkh: 30.8%; Herat:
13.7%). The present study does find
Mazar-e-Sharif-e-Sharif to be worse-off
with 34% households not reporting having
soap in their houses and Herat coming in
second position with 19% of households
58. Data on hygiene practices are self-reported, as a full in-site observations was beyond the scope of this study. Data on hygiene are therefore relatively soft as respondents may be ashamed to give honest answers to these questions
59. Jones AD, Ngure FM, Pelto G, Young SL. What are we assessing when we measure food security? A compendium and review of current metrics. Advances in Nutrition.
2013. 4:481-505 60. FAO (2012), The state of food insecurity in the world, Annex. 3
Infants and children eat more regularly during the day and the vast majority of adults eat three times a
day, with only a very low proportion of households reporting having had zero meals in the past 24 hours.
Consumption habits vary significantly based on the age of households members
Responsibility for Food Purchasing
Who is responsible for purchasing food?
FIGURe 3-16
“men decide what to purchase. But
we mostly purchase food based on
the budget available on that day. We
purchase groceries about every week
but we buy vegetables every day.”
FGD Men, Abdul Haq Mina, Jalalabad
“my sons buy rice, fuel and flour from
the city centre because it is cheaper.
We buy food based on the money we
have.”
“I buy food every day; some days, if I
don’t have enough money, I only buy
bread for the family”.
FGD Men, Babaji, Herat
78 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 79
strength of cultural constraints. Women
in Herat were in charge of groceries in
14% of households compared to 7% in
Jalalabad and 8% in Kandahar. In Mazare-Sharif and Herat, responsibilities are
also more often shared between male and
female adults (10-11% of households in
both cities), a situation that is almost nonexistent in Kandahar.
Decision-making when it comes to the
type of food items to purchase is slightly
less gendered, with women sometimes
reporting that they ask for the type of food
that they need to their husbands. Yet,
both men and women note that in most
cases there is no real decision to be made
as purchasing food items depends on the
budget available, usually on a daily basis.
The absence of proper storage facilities –
only 23% of households reported having
a fridge, a result skewed by Herat where
families would report having a fridge in
50% of cases, against 5% in Jalalabad,
14% in Kandahar and 18% in Mazar-eSharif– partly explains why urban households in majority purchase food on a daily
basis. In most cases though, it is the lack
of money that reduces households’ ability
to purchase food in advance or in large
quantity and keep stock at home. Storing
food is not a strategy accessible to most
urban households. This confirms observations on purchasing patterns amongst the
urban poor conducted in other countries
as the International Food Policy Research
Institute (IFPRI) noted that “households
purchasing patterns (such as whether
the family buys in bulk or in small quantities) (…) are among the most important
factors affecting the cost of food for the
urban households.”61 All this contributes
to urban households having to pay more
for their food, as they are forced to buy in
small quantities from small local shops or
street vendors.
Overall, decisions surrounding food purchases are hardly based on nutritional
requirements as a) they do not lay in the
hands of households main care-givers
(women); and, b) the margin of decision
on what to purchase is often limited for
urban households that are forced to purchase food on a daily basis based on the
income they could get from daily labour.
“For sure, when we lack food, the adults eat less for the
children to eat more. But in general, we, the mothers
reduce our food shares first for our husband and children
to be able to eat.”
FGD Women, Jalalabad
Problematic Consumption Habits in
situation of food shortage
Yet, in situations of economic stress and
food shortages, household members
do not receive food equally. Qualitative
fieldwork showed that parents would usually reduce their consumption for children
to be able to eat but also that women
would be the first to reduce their share of
food for their husbands to be able to eat
enough. While a mix of cultural and socioeconomic factors can explain this – male
adults being the main income-earners,
their productivity and physical health are
crucial for a household – it is worrying as
women are the first care-givers for infants and children. Their diet has a direct
impact on their ability to breastfeed and
the quality of the nutrients they provide to
their infants, another potential link to the
issue of stunting of children in the country.
Overall, this section has proven that food
security and resilience were functions
of households’ access to and utilisation of food. Internal displacement and
social vulnerability significantly impact
the ability of households to meet their
food needs and to resist to shocks, while
a poor sanitation facilities and lack of
awareness regarding adequate hygiene
practices may endanger their nutrition
security. Access to food and food use
are the key dimensions to address to
build food security in the cities, while
education and employment are the key
dimensions for resilience.
61. IFPRI (1998), Ç Urban Challenges to Food and Nutrition Security : A review of Food Security, Health, and Caregiving in the cities È in FCND Discussion Paper N° 51 », p. 11.
Pic. 4.1: Shopkeeper shows his notebook
where he keeps track of all the credits
of the community members – Kabul
“It is very common for me to give credit to
the people of the community. All the credits I
gave are written down here. But I give credit
to the persons I know only. I don’t give credit
to the returnees from Iran and Pakistan because I only want to give credit to the families I
really know.”
Shopkeeper, Kabul
4
RESISTING
SHoCKS:
URBAN MECHANISMS OF RESILIENCE
> Urban households struggle
to adjust to the current economic drawdown
> At the household level, very
little coping mechanisms are
available for urban households, who mostly rely on
negative strategies reducing
their food quality and quantity.
Yet, existing safety nets at
the community level – informal credit and charity – offer some protection to urban
households, a protection that
is lacking for recently-displaced IDp households.
80 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 81
eConomIC ProbLemS In tHe LaSt 12 montHS and eConomIC SItUatIon ComPareD to LaSt year
FIGURe 4-1
Evolution of the economic situation of urban households over the past 12 months
82 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 83
Key findings - section 4
A. Which shocks impact urban households?
The concept of resilience has been
articulated to look into households’
ability to resist to external shocks. It is
therefore important to analyse the nature
of the shocks that may threaten urban
households. The study shows that urban
households are in distress due to the
deterioration of the economic situation
and the election context.
Deterioration of Economic Situation
and Health: Main Shocks faced by
urban households
Urban households under higher economic
pressure over the past 12 months
Asked whether their households had encountered any social, economic or healthrelated shocks over the past 12 months,
urban households mostly reported economic and health-related challenges:
69% of urban households reported an
economic shock over the past 12 months,
50% a health-related shock, such as the
death or illness of a household member
(see below), and 31% a social problem.
It is striking to see that the same types of
shocks are reported across the 5 cities:
60% of urban household reported a deterioration of their economic situation. Herat
and Mazar-e-Sharif seemed to have been
Urban households struggle to
adjust to the current economic
drawdown
• 60% of households reported a deterioration of their economic situations over
the past 12 months. This is particularly
strong in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif.
• 74.5% noted high food prices as one
of the key economic issue they have
to struggle with.
• WFP confirmed an increase in the
prices of key food items and a deterioration of urban households’ purchasing power, a combination that put
urban households in distress, as the
Terms of Trade (ToT) for casual labourer had deteriorated of more than 26%
in one year.
• Health-related shocks are common
and difficult to adjust to for households that, in 98% of cases, have no
savings, making them in effect unable
to respond to health issues without
borrowing money.
At the household level, very little
coping mechanisms are available
for urban households, who mostly
rely on negative strategies
reducing their food quality and
quantity. Yet, existing safety nets
at the community level – informal
credit and charity – offer some
protection to urban households, a
protection that is lacking for
recently-displaced IDP households.
• The main coping strategy available
to households is to reduce the quality – and often the quantity – of food
consumed. Several strategies are
available in urban areas to reduce
food expenses, depending on timing
and location of purchase.
• Through micro home-based incomegenerating activities women can try to
resist shocks, although the low level of
salary they are able to access severely
limits the impact of such initiatives.
• Remittances and family networks play
a negligible role in the resilience of
urban households. In 83% of cases,
urban households never receive food
supplies or cash from their relatives in
rural areas.
• At the community level, urban households can rely on a tight system of
informal credit and loans. 76% of
households are in debt, a majority of
whom to relatives, friends and shopkeepers.
• Informal credit system can be exclusionary, especially for newly-arrived
households, putting IDPs in more difficult situations.
vam - aFGHanIStan marKet PrICe bULLetIn JUne 2014 - HIGHLIGHtS63
• Current average wheat price in main cities of Afghanistan is significantly higher than
the same time last year (June 2013): +19.2%
• Current average wheat price significantly higher than the last 5-year average price of
the same months: + 37%
• Average retail price of wheat flour has slightly increased compared to the same month
last year: + 6.4%
• Retail price of rice (low quality) has slightly decreased compared to the same time last
year: - 5.5%
• Retail price of rice has significantly increased compared to the last 5-year average
price of the same months: + 22.9%
• Considering the terms of trade (tot) – a proxy indicator of the purchasing capacity of
households relying on casual labour and wheat prices on the market – the tot significantly deteriorated due to an increase in the wheat price and a decrease in average
labour wage: -26.3%
Kind of health problems in the past 12 months by city
FIGURe 4-2
Health Problems over the past 12 months.
84 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 85
hit particularly strongly by the economic
slow down with respectively 75% and
69% of households reporting a deterioration of their economic situation over the
past 12 months.
Looking at the nature of the economic
shocks faced by urban households shows
that they suffered from the conjunction of
an increase in food prices and a decrease
in access to labour and labour wage. High
food prices were reported by 74.5% of
urban households as the key economic
challenge they faced over the past 12
months. The market price bulletin established by the World Food Programme
based on their monitoring system of food
prices allows us to compare the perception of urban households about food
prices against the actual fluctuations of
the market62:
Looking at the evolution of prices of key
food items for urban households confirms
that the high food prices they reported
is based on actual rise on the market,
or,more accurately, on a real deterioration
of the purchasing power of urban households, directly impacting their vulnerability
and food security.
Significantly, the three other economic
shocks reported frequently by urban
households were: a) loss of income source
(15%); b) loss of employment (14.7%);
and, c) reduced income (11.9%), confirming the tense labour conditions in Afghan
major cities. The conjunction of difficult
conditions on urban labour markets and
increase in food prices explains the high
level of anxiety of the urban poor.
This confirms that accessing food is one
of the key challenges and preoccupations of urban households. Worryingly,
several indicators point to a deterioration
of the situation of urban households on
that matter. This deterioration may be
explained by the conjunction of an economic slowdown in key urban sectors
and the impact of the elections.
Health-related issues: a recurring risk
for urban households
Contrarily to situations of economic
stress, which are highly dependent on
macro-economic dynamics, health-related
shocks are a recurring challenge for urban
and rural households alike.
62. WFP VAM (2014), Initial Market Price Bulletin for the Month of June 2014 (Reported in July 2014). http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/ena/
wfp267063.pdf. Comparison is based on the Market price bulletin for the month of June 2014 – allowing for comparisons with June 2013, which corresponds to the recall
period in the household survey. 63. Ibid.
Health problems may turn crippling for
urban households for various reasons:
• For the costs in medical treatment
they may incur. Even with access to
public health facilities, the cost of
medication is often too high for urban
households to follow the treatment
prescribed by doctors. For serious
illnesses, many urban households will
prefer travelling abroad to get treatment, in particular to Pakistan or India,
increasing the overall costs of treatment for households.
• Death and funerals also incur relatively
high costs for families.
• The serious illness or death of any
productive member of the households
can rapidly put households in dire situations, as detailed above in the case
of widows. In a context where most
households only rely on one source of
income, the immobilization or loss of
an income-earner can turn dramatic.
In the absence of strong social protection mechanisms, health-related events
are amongst the most problematic for
urban populations as they can rapidly
put urban households on the edge. As
noted above, urban households often do
not earn enough money to prepare for
unforeseen circumstances, something
visible in the absence of food stocks and
particularly striking when considering that
98% of urban households do not have
any savings. Even taking into account a
possible under-reporting of savings, this
finding highlights the blatant lack of safety
net at the household level and the inability
to face shocks, an important dimension of
households’ resilience.
B. How do the urban poor resist economic and social
shocks?
The findings of this study point to a general level of poverty within the five major
Afghan cities and show urban households
that are easily on the edge of severe
food insecurity in a general context of
deterioration of urban economies. In the
absence of savings, any shock may prove
dramatic. In this context, it is important
to understand how urban households
react to shocks, survive and the extent to
which strategies at the community and
household levels increase their level of
resilience.
maIn CoPInG StrateGIeS aDoPteD In tHe LaSt 12 montHS by CIty
FIGURe 4-3
Main Coping Strategies (by city)
86 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 87
Few Coping Mechanisms available at
the household Level
As illustrated by the reduced coping strategy index detailed above, urban households regularly have to rely on various
coping strategies to adapt to the economic hardship many of them are struggling
with.
The first conclusion to draw from the
review of coping strategies that urban
households rely on is the fact that most
of them are negative either because they
are likely to have a detrimental impact on
households’ food intake or because they
prioritise short-term subsistence over
long-term resilience of the households.
Positive coping strategies such as setting up an income-generating activity or
looking for additional jobs were extremely
marginal. These positive strategies are beyond the capacities of most urban households in situation of economic distress,
as they require either capital or additional
man force, both elements generally lacking for urban households.
Lowering the quality and quantity of
food consumed
Across the board, lowering the quality of
the food consumed by the household is
a very common strategy, albeit with large
differences between cities. Households
living in Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat were
particularly likely to have relied on this
coping strategy over the past 12 months
(see figure 4.14). This confirms previous
observations showing that in the current
context Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat do not
fare well, despite their previous economic
dynamism.
Lowering quality of food takes two main
forms: a) reducing the diversity of food
items consumed by the household, sometimes to a very drastic diet made of bread
and tea; b) reducing the quality of food
items purchased to limit expenses. Big
cities like the ones on review here offer
various tricks for households to purchase
less quality food items. Qualitative fieldwork allows us to give a more precise
picture of what these coping strategies
entail in practice:
• Meat, oil and sugar are the first food
items to be sacrificed in times of
hardship because they are expensive.
Fruits are generally rarely consumed
because of their price but their consumption would also reduce.
• Urban markets offer a variety of opportunities to buy food for various
prices. Changing the timing and location to purchase food allows households to save some money, often to
the detriment of quality. For example,
buying vegetables in the evening
instead of in the morning allows for
households to get vegetables cheaper.
Yet, this often means getting damaged
or rotten vegetables. Buying old bread
is also an option when nothing is left.
The following case study shows an example of the strategies surrounding food for
deprived households:
CaSe StUDy – elderly head of
household, Darbi Iraq, Herat
Abdul Rafoor is 73 years old and
has a family composed of 5 people:
himself, the head of household, his
wife, their 2 daughters and the
child of one of his daughters. the
husband of his daughter is addicted and has disappeared. For
a year, his daughter was alone
with her kid and he decided to take
them back in his house. the child is
4 or 5 years old. His daughters are
respectively 25 and 17 years old.
the younger one is not married
yet. they all live together.
Abdul Rafoor is from Darbi Iraq. He
was born in this neighbourhood.
He only went to Iran for 6 or 7
months for work but never moved
there full time with his family.
the main issue for the family is
that at this stage no one is able to
work to earn money. Abdul Rafoor
is the only man in the family and
he is too old to work. He cannot
stand properly and has pain in his
legs. Health issues have prevented
him from working for the past
9 years. Before that, he used to
own a bakery in the city centre
and to work there. He saved some
money, which he is now using to
pay for the family’s daily needs.
Unfortunately, Abdul Rafoor is
coming to the end of his savings
and this year, for the first time, he
had to accept the bag of flour that
someone gave him. the girls do no
work, they did not go to school either. they are not literate and can
barely write their own names. the
girls help out during the pistachio
season, when they help cracking
the pistachios.
the family shares a small house
with another household. they
bought a plot of land in the neighbourhood a long time ago. Six
years ago, they had to sell half of
the plot to another family to get
cash for the daily expenses of the
family. the entire family lives of
this money right now. And this is
coming to an end.
the family’s usual meal is composed of low quality white rice,
sometimes accompanied by potatoes. once a week, the family eats
meat. there are vegetables on the
table about twice a week, usually
squash or okra. the family never
had to skip meals because of a lack
of money but, when there is no
money left, they resort to buying
cracked old bread from the bazaar
as it is very cheap.
the family’s future is uncertain:
there is no one, no relatives to
help them. the husband of the first
daughter proved more of a burden
than a support and the second
daughter is not married yet. Abdul
Rafoor is not sure if he will be able
to provide for his family for much
longer.
How often do you receive food from relatives in rural areas?
FIGURe 4-4
Transfers from Rural Areas
88 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 89
Micro home-based initiatives
In spite of the fact that very few households reported setting up a new activity
to cope with lack of income and/or shortages, qualitative fieldwork showed that
women would sometimes try and participate through micro income-generating activities. As they require initial skills, these
activities are not accessible to all women
but confirm that women can participate
in economic activities more easily when
these are home-based, hence compatible
with conservative cultural norms. Here
are some of the examples mentioned by
female respondents:
• “In the winter, when we earn less money, we suffer a lot. I often try to get
involved in sewing blankets at home
in order for us to earn some money.”
Kacha Gray, Jalalabad
• “The poor women or women in poor
families sometimes clean and spin the
wool at home. But the earnings are not
good; women only earn 20 to 30 AFS
per day and it is not enough even to
buy bread” Hindu Suzan, Herat
• “In situation of food shortage, I try my
best to find some home-based jobs,
like tailoring for example, for us to earn
some money.” Chahar Rahi Marastoon, Jalalabad
As mentioned briefly above, women’s
participation in economic activities is
often born out dire necessity, something
confirmed by these examples. This clearly
puts them in very disadvantageous bargaining situations, partially explaining the
extremely low incomes they are able to
secure through these activities. The fact
that female employment is often negatively perceived and women’s inexperience
of the labour market may also explain
the poor terms of labour they are able to
secure.
Positive coping strategies – or the
lack thereof
Relying on migration for livelihood?
Mobility has always been one of the coping mechanisms of Afghan households,
when facing hardship. It is important to
assess the impact of urbanisation and
insecurity on this traditional strategy. The
quantitative survey suggests that internal
and external work migration are limited
and province-specific, at least for urban
households. Labour migration with Iran is
still an important dynamic in the Western
region of the country, despite the increasingly tough position of the Iranian state on
Afghan migrants. Yet, only a marginal proportion of households in Herat reported
resorting to this over the past 12 months,
suggesting that urbanisation may be
trumping international labour migration. In
Jalalabad on the other hand, households
noted that migration for livelihood within
Afghanistan was still a strategy for 8% of
households.
These figures suggest that mobility is
decreasing with urbanization, although a
certain under-estimation is likely, especially when the migration is linked to ‘illegal
activities’, such as poppy cultivation or
crossing illegally the border. The qualitative fieldwork showed that some of these
movements, perhaps not considered
as ‘migration’ by households, are still in
place. Male members of households from
Kabul would often go to Jalalabad during
the winter for labour. In Herat and Kandahar, the season of poppy harvest triggers
important movements:
“Families are settled now but there
are still important movements for
people to find labour. Male members
of households still go regularly to Iran.
Some never come back. Male members
of families would also go to Farah or
Helmand during the poppy harvest season, in May and June. there are also
some movements during the wheat
harvest and men go to the country side
to get daily labour.”
Community Leader, Herat
Relying on remittances and family networks for livelihood? Only a tiny fraction
of urban households reported international remittances as one of their sources of
cash, confirming the very low proportion
found by the 2011-12 NRVA (3%). Several factors may explain the low level of
remittances such as the increasing hardship faced by Afghan workers in Iran and
the global economic crisis. In any case,
international remittances do not seem to
be a reliable and stable resilience factor
for urban households.
The survey also aimed at measuring the
resilience of urban-rural networks upon
migration and displacement to assess
whether urban households could count
on their links with relatives and communities in their place of origin as an additional source of cash or in-kind products.
If that was the case, urban households
could then compensate the lack of selfproduction as a complementary source
of food. Yet, the survey shows that urban
households can only very rarely rely on
their place of origin and networks with
rural areas for subsistence. In 83% of
cases, households never received any
food supply from their relatives living in
rural areas. This mechanism was only
observed in Kandahar, which stood out
on that matter as 22.6% of households
there reported receiving often to regularly
food supplies from rural areas, far above
the proportion in other cities.
Overall, this shows that urban households,
regardless of their migratory profiles, can
only rarely rely on extra-urban networks
– whether international or with rural areas
– to complement their income and support their access to food. Whether forced
or not, displacement to the city does not
provide households with the safety net
that an access to additional sources of
food would represent, except in Kandahar
where the integration between rural and
urban areas is more solid.
Safety Nets at the Community Level
Tight system of informal credit
and loans
The second most common coping strategy is to purchase food on credit from
local shopkeepers and/or to get a loan
from relatives. Only 30% of households
reported having taken out credit from their
local shops over the past 12 months, but
qualitative fieldwork confirms how pervasive the system of local credit is in the
city.
Based on this system, households are
able to access food even when they are
out of cash and to repay shopkeepers
whenever they get money back. This
happens especially during the winter, the
most difficult season. Shopkeepers would
usually wait until the spring (around Nawruz) to be paid back, adjusting to the seasonality of urban income and illustrating
the endogenous capacities of communities to respond to urban poverty.
Is your household in debt?
FIGURe 4-5
Level of Debt
90 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 91
It is important to note that this system
of credit is based on trust and does not
come with any system of interest. Usually,
credit is taken on small quantities of food
items until the households’ main incomeearners receive their salary. As such,
it provides a rather efficient safety net
against dire situations of food shortage as
it comes with no additional cost and no
administrative delay.
“It is very common for me to give
credit to the people of the community.
All the credits I gave are written down
here. But I give credit to the persons
I know only. I don’t give credit to the
returnees from Iran and pakistan because I only want to give credit to the
families I really know.”
Shopkeeper, Kabul
Taking loan from relatives and members of
the community is also extremely frequent.
AREU 2006 study of urban livelihoods
already pointed at informal credit as a key
coping strategy for urban households.
Years later, the informal system of credit
remains a determinant feature of urban
life64, as illustrated by the very high proportion of households in debt found by
the survey.
Friends, relatives and shopkeepers represent the bulk of the creditors in every
city. Only in Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul,
a small proportions of households borrowed money from the bank or even from
a micro-finance institution in the case of
Mazar-e-Sharif.
Shopkeeper
This confirms the strength of the informal credit system in the city as the first
and often sole safety net accessible to
the urban poor. Because it links most
members of the community and it is not
based on interest, it represents a strong
resilience mechanism for households in
situation of crisis. Yet the fact that informal loan and credits are generally relied
on for households’ consumption means
that very little of these loans are used for
longer term investments that could increase the resilience of urban households.
Living on credit, households are not able
to make any savings as all surplus of
income is used to repay debts. The 2006
AREU study came to the same conclusion
eight years ago, suggesting that almost
a decade of international investment in
the country has hardly altered the forms
of urban poverty on the ground, nor it has
weakened traditional resilience mechanisms at the community level.
Yet, as illustrated by the quote, the
system of informal credit is not without
flaws, in particular as it comes with its
own exclusion mechanisms. Because
it relies on trust and community control,
new-comers and people from different
communities are less likely to be granted
credit, leaving these groups with very few
subsistence mechanisms to rely on in
period of food shortages. The IDPs – especially the most recently displaced – are
particularly at risk to be in this situation:
“In the previous area we lived in, in
Ghor province, we had enough water and
food. Most of us had jobs. We used to
consume the products of our animals. But
now we do not have anything. No one has
helped us. All of us have to borrow money
but it is very difficult for us to borrow
money because no one knows us in Herat.”
FGD IDP Men, Herat
Despite these difficulties, the lack of network that characterises IDP households
upon arrival seems to be compensated by
the number of shopkeepers and potential sources of credit accessible in the
city and IDPs reported having relied on
credit and loan in the same proportions
than other migratory groups over the past
12 months. This absence of significant
difference suggests that IDP households
are able to establish and activate these
informal networks relatively rapidly upon
their arrival. Yet, the situation of recently
arrived IDPs in Herat suggests that there
is a gap – a critical moment – between
IDPs’ establishment in a neighbourhood
and the moment they will be able to rely
on local networks, probably the window
of most blatant vulnerability for displaced
households moving to the city.
Community Charity: a resilient institution for the poorest of the poor?
Beyond the system of informal loan supporting poor communities, charity also
plays its role to assist households in dire
situation, usually on an ad-hoc basis. Both
community-based and faith-based mechanisms of charity exist at the community
level, at least in theory. Islam requires every wealthy Muslim to pay the zakat, a 10%
tax on their property, to be used as charity
for the community. The second, called
khairat, refers to the any “form of charity
in the form of cash, food, fruits, secondhand clothes, cooked dish, shared by the
richer members of the community with the
less fortunate” as defined by the interesting mapping of social protection mechanisms conducted by War Child UK and
the DoLSA in Herat65. In its mapping, War
Child concludes that both modes of charity are declining rapidly in urban areas,
as a result of a dissolution of traditional
structures and an urban way of life, where
households are less closely-knit to each
other than in rural communities.
Yet, the findings of the present study
would nuance this conclusion, as field
observations showed that communitybased charity was still active, at least for
the most ‘visibly’ destitute families, such
as female-headed households and households with disabled members. While the
zakat is not institutionalised through a
regular system of collection, as is the case
in some other Muslim countries66, the
richest members of the community are still
expected to distribute for the most vulnerable. Two main forms seem of charity are still
present, even if fading away, in urban areas:
• Ad hoc support to the families in critical situations, especially widows upon
the death of their husband. This would
usually be constituted of in-kind or
small cash-based donations directly to
the family in need.
• Yearly donations to the community:
usually taking place once a year,
around the month of Ramazan, and
made of in-kind distribution of food
(rice, bread etc) to the poorer households of the community.
Still, these forms of community protection have the tendency to fade away with
the dissolution of communal structures
in the city and the high levels of hardship
that most urban households experience
themselves. The dissolution of traditional
forms of safety nets is a huge risk for
the resilience of the urban poor, who, in
the absence of a solid system of social
protection established by the state, have
very few strategies to engage in to avoid
starvation.
64. SchŸtte, A (2006), Searching for Security : Urban livelihoods in Kabul. Case Study Series, p. 46. 65. DOLSA-War Child, Social Protection Mechanisms in Herat, Afghanistan : A mapping report. p. 11. 66. Pakistan has developed a state-based system of redistribution of
zakat for example.
5
ConCLUSIon
PROGRAMMING FOR
THE URBAN POOR
Looking at urban poverty in
the main Afghan cities in 2014
shows alarmingly high levels
of poverty and food insecurity
and low levels of resilience
amongst urban population
across the board. the urban
poor are the first impacted by
the economic slowdown and
the political turmoil linked to
the presidential elections and
are now in distress.
92 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 93
Who are the urban poor?
Poverty and food insecurity characterise
a majority of urban households in all five
cities surveyed by this study. Kabul was
the only city that fared consistently slightly
better than the four others, although it is
characterised by considerable hardship.
Urban populations show little socio-economic stratification, with an overwhelming
majority of poor households and still a
very thin urban middle class. Amongst the
poor, some sub-groups do stand out as
particularly vulnerable though:
• IDP households, especially if they
were displaced recently, are at a
particular disadvantage compared to
other migration groups. While returnees can benefit from social networks
and assistance upon return, and
economic migrants are often able to
prepare for their migration in advance,
IDPs are swept away from their place
of origin by conflict and natural-disaster. Adjustment to life in the city is
particularly steep.
• Statistical evidence proves the impact of specific social vulnerabilities
on food security and poverty. The
absence of male income-earners, the
presence of addicted member(s) of
household and the reliance on a single
source of income, usually a daily
labourer, put urban households at
great risk and significantly lower their
resilience.
• Inhabitants of the KIS show lower
levels of resilience, mostly due to their
lower of access to basic services.
What are the determinants of food
security?
Accessing food is the main challenge that
urban households face on a daily basis.
Food security in the city is a question of
income and access to stable employment.
Addiction, female-headed households,
and low levels of education are also key
determinants of food insecurity. In cities
with dynamic markets all types of food are
available and the impact of seasonality on
food availability is limited. Poor and unreliable income often necessitates reducing
the quantity of food in the household on a
regular basis. More importantly, it means
sacrificing food diversity, as many food
items become unaffordable. It also causes
high levels of anxiety as the income each
day will determine both the nature and
amount of food the household will consume. . Poor sanitation facilities and low
awareness about basic hygiene practices
mean that food is often unsafe, raising
the risk of diarrheal disease and poor
nutritional status, especially for under-five
children. Poor breastfeeding practices further increase the problem with infants who
lack nutrients and often face long-term
consequences on their development.
How resilient are the urban poor?
A decade of international assistance and
state reconstruction have done little to
build the resilience of urban households,
who still fare very poorly on some of the
key dimensions of resilience: literacy,
education and qualified employment. The
adaptive capacities of urban households
are further limited by their inability to
save money and the necessity to rely on
informal credit, as the only safety net accessible to them. The loss of households’
productive abilities upon their arrival in the
city – evidenced by very little livestock or
agricultural production in the cities – further reduces households’ ability to adapt
to income shocks or to diversify their food
intake. Family networks are not strong
enough to support households’ resilience
as remittances in cash from abroad or
in-kind from rural areas are residual. Better access to basic services in the cities
is way that urban households can build
resilience in the long-term.
94 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 95
Gaps in existing
Urban programming
The humanitarian and development intervention in Afghanistan has long been
‘rural-centred’, based on the demographic
profile of the country and the dire needs
for basic services and humanitarian assistance in remote areas. The urbanisation
trend and all the challenges it entails –
especially in terms of poverty and resilience – still have to attract the attention of
donors and international actors to support
national institutions that lack the financial
and technical capacities to respond adequately to these challenges. This section
will look at the existing programmes in the
cities and the main gaps of these interventions in order to shape the recommendation section.
Main streams of programming in
urban areas
Three main types of programming co-exist
in the cities: a) large-scale programmes
of infrastructures supported by a few
key donors; b) emergency assistance for
internally displaced people; c) small-scale
projects run by non-governmental organisations – national and international – focusing on specific target groups within the
city.
Support to urban infrastructures
Urban areas have attracted large-scale
infrastructure programmes supported by
a few key donors, such as the Japanese
International Cooperation Agency (JICA),
the German Cooperation agency (GiZ),
the World Bank and USAID. Focusing on
key urban infrastructures, such as road
pavement, water supply or municipal
planning, these programmes have allowed
for a real improvement in the life of urban
residents over the past decade. Pumping
in important sum of money – USAID Kabul
City Initiative alone had a budget of $120
million – these programmes have focused
on the main cities of the country first, with
Kabul, Herat or Mazar-e-Sharif or Kandahar attracting important funding.
These progammes were usually coupled
with huge investment in capacity-building
for municipal authorities and staff of key
line departments, the Independent Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG) and
the Ministry for Urban Development Affairs
(MUDA). Capacity-building was designed
to cover both procurement, planning and
monitoring on the one hand and the required technical capacities for urban planning on the other: GIS, technical surveys
etc.
Two different approaches can be identified
in the direct interventions of donors on
urban development:
• A top-down and technical approach
– with sometimes over-ambitious
programmes on the one hand;
• An increasing component of community-based programming focusing
on community participation and with
greater chances to be sustainable.
JICA’s Project for the Promotion of Kabul
Metropolitan Area Development illustrates
the first of these approaches, as the agency brought in important technical expertise and support to Kabul Municipality for
the development of a ‘Greater Kabul’ that
would include a ‘New City’ in the close
district of Deh Sabz. JICA also prepared
a master plan for the New City and a new
Masterplan for the existing Kabul. This
enormous project was broken down in
three phases, focusing for the first phase
on an initial development area close to
the city before extending further. Yet, the
development of the New City is on hold
due to the numerous land conflicts surrounding the development of Deh Sabz.
The project encountered a high level of
resistance from local communities to a
point where the situation turned violent.
JICA is also suspicious about the transparency and capacity of the Deh Sabz
New City Development Authority (DCDA)
they set up to overview the project in the
district. The project is halted until the land
conflicts are solved, security is deemed
satisfying and the DCDA has secured
additional funding to pay for the huge
infrastructure projects. Another example
is the World Bank-funded Kabul Urban
Reconstruction Programme for a total of
$31 million between 2005 and 2008 but
extended several times until completion
of some components of the programme,
which focused heavily on the upgrading
and development of urban services (water
supply, sanitation, solid waste management…) in Kabul.
On the other hand of the spectrum, UNHABITAT is implementing another type
of urban development programme, also
supported by JICA and based on communities’ participation. UN-Habitat supports
the establishment of a representative body
at the community level, an urban equivalent to the CDCs established in rural areas
by the National Solidarity Programme of
the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and
Development. These local bodies decide
the priorities of the community in terms
of development and overview the implementation of projects. In majority, urban
communities request the construction of
roads for their communities. Whichever
the project, communities are asked to
contribute for 30-40% of the investment
while JICA covers for the rest of the costs.
The community is also expected to provide labour and to improve the drainage
system and footpaths in their area. The
important community contribution means
that community members are invested in
the success of the project and its sustainability.
• Taking into account the fact that access to basic services is an important
dimension of poverty and resilience
and that poverty is fuelled by the lack
of access to basic services in the
informal settlements, these large-scale
programmes served an important
function to support urban development.
Emergency Assistance for internally
displaced persons
Another stream of assistance targeting
urban areas provides emergency humanitarian assistance to the IDPs living
in the informal settlements of the cities.
The emergency assistance for newlydisplaced is supposed to last for three
months maximum but the dire situation of
IDPs in some of the informal settlements
has called for further assistance to be
distributed to IDP households in needs.
This assistance distributed in the city is
born out of the conclusion that some IDP
children and adults still die of cold and
hunger in the harsh winter of the cities of
the North and West in particular (Kabul,
Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat). An important
component of the assistance provided
includes winter kits to help IDP families
survive winters. Still, most of the assistance is concentrated in the areas listed
by the Task Force in charge of coordinating emergency assistance for IDPs.
Kabul is the city where the assistance
efforts have been the most intense for
IDPs through the framework of the KIS.
SolidaritŽs Internationales, Welt Hunger
Hilfe (WHH), Action Contre la Faim (ACF)
or Ashiana, have been able to go beyond
emergency assistance and to provide
education services and vocational training, or to work on WASH projects within
the settlements.
Emergency assistance for IDPs in the cities raises increasing questions for organisations, donors and national authorities
alike. Repeated calls for emergency assistance for the winter is now considered
with increasing frustration by the donors,
who question the relevance of an intervention that has to be repeated every year.
Assistance to the KIS – also informally
called IDP camps – is an extremely heated
and politicised question for municipal and
national authorities who do not support
any type of mid- or long-term interventions with these populations.
Winterization is a failure. Donors are
not interested. Even the IDPs are fed
up. People themselves are asking for
durable solutions.
KII – HLP Task Force
assistance received by migration status
FIGURe 5-1
Assistance received by migration group
96 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 97
Ad-hoc and targeted interventions for
vulnerable groups
Even if it remains marginal, at a small and
local scale, some NGOs have also started
working on urban poverty, usually through
ad-hoc interventions designed to target
specific sub-groups. Initiatives with street
children, households combatting drug
addiction and small vocational trainings
have been developed. These initiatives are
disparate, non-systematic and characterised by their small-scale and localised
impact but they are often based on a fine
ground knowledge of urban populations
that can be of use for other actors entering this field of interventions. War Child
in Herat is a good example of an organisation targeting vulnerable women and
children in the city, in an effort to combat
poverty in urban areas. Save The Children
is also active in urban areas with specific
programmes targeting street children.
Interestingly, the WFP has recently started
paying more attention to urban areas and
developed an unconditional cash and
voucher programme for urban areas. The
programme will aim at targeting 32,000
households in Herat, Jalalabad, Kabul
and Mazar-e-Sharif for a total of approximately 244,000 individuals impacted. The
programme is designed like an urban
safety net with a cash distribution of 2000
AFA every 3 months for the most vulnerable families. The main selection criteria
include disability, elderly heads of households and female-headed households
living in the city. An e-voucher component
of this programme has been piloted in Kabul to test the feasibility of e-distribution
through mobile money in urban areas.
Main Gaps in interventions
identified
Urban poverty and food insecurity remain
largely unaddressed by national and international actors, as funding and programming largely focus on rural issues. Additionally, there are several gaps in current
approaches:
• Beyond emergency assistance – a
“no man’s land” for IDPs? The case
of recently displaced IDPs from Ghor
and Badghis in Herat raises a series
of questions on the ability of national
authorities and their international
partners to address the dire needs of
urban caseloads. These IDPs were
duly identified and assisted upon their
arrival in the city, especially during
the difficult winter they had to pass in
Herat. Yet, no mechanisms exist for a
follow-up on their assistance after the
three-month limit of emergency assistance and authorities in Herat have
failed to support adequately these
populations. The present assessment
provides more evidence that these
populations are particularly at risk
but a robust framework to implement
durable solutions for IDPs in the cities
is slow to emerge.
• Between humanitarian assistance and
large-scale development/infrastructure
projects – a missing link: This study
showed that urban livelihoods remained low and instable and that the
overall level of resilience of poor urban
households has not improved drastically over the past decade, except for
improved access to basic services
in some parts of major Afghan cities.
Initiatives to build resilience remain
scarce in the city. The main interventions working on livelihoods are smallscale, short-term vocational training,
of which impact remains limited given
the poor level of skills that beneficiaries usually reach, the lack of links to
the market and the overall saturated
urban labour markets. Although a
small number of actors have tried to
address issues of food security and
households’ resilience in the city, the
study showed that building resilience
of urban households needs long-term
programming on key issues that can
bring transformation: education –
especially for women – and structural
improvement of the business and
productive sectors in particular.
Beyond the informal settlements, addressing widespread urban poverty –
This study proved that urban poverty is
widespread – and increasing – far beyond
the limits of the few areas identified by
national and international actors. In particular, households with specific profiles
and pockets of poverty are to be found
everywhere in the city, and cannot be
easily type- cast by convenient indicators and descriptors. The urban poor are
everywhere in the 5 cities surveyed for
this study. Yet most of the assistance is
concentrated on a few small settlements:
across the 5 cities, 12% of non-residents
of the KIS reported having received
assistance, compared to 30% for KIS
residents.
Challenges with programming
in the city
Programming in the city is not easy and
requires a long-term engagement of actors to understand the dynamics they
are dealing with. Here are several of the
challenges that Afghan cities pose to the
successful implementation of projects:
• Opposition and reluctance of municipal authorities who consider the
issue of unregulated urbanisation as
a dynamic that can and should be
reversed, in spite the wealth of evidence showing the contrary. There
is therefore an important reluctance
– and sometimes an open opposition
– to humanitarian assistance being
delivered in urban areas, as they as
seen as fuelling rural to urban migration and increasing the problem of
urban poverty. This is especially the
case for recently-displaced IDPs, who
are unwelcome in most of the cities
surveyed for this study. This translates
into a constant battle between humanitarian actors and municipal authorities
over the type of projects that can or
cannot be implemented, especially in
the KIS.
• Targeting outside the pre-identified
informal settlements is a difficult
exercise as actors lack cohesive
community structures on which to
rely on for an accurate identification
of the most vulnerable. Plus the fact
PIN and DRC’s Programming - Under the LRRD
programme of the eU, pIN and DRC are looking into
developing programmes of urban agriculture, a
type of programming that pIN has already started
to develop with some success in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Urban agriculture can be defined as “the production in the home or plots in and around urban and
peri-urban areas. (…) It can include green rooftop
farming, backyard gardens, community gardens,
commercial farms and public institutional gardens
managed by schools and hospitals.”67 this type of
programming is appropriate for areas where land
is scarce as it only requires limited spaces.
Urban agriculture in afghan cities:
> Highly Relevant - the results of this study support the development of initiatives based on
urban agriculture in the cities. the relevance of
these is proven by a) the low level of resilience
of the urban poor; b) their inability of self-produce when moving to the city; c) the high levels
of inactivity of women in urban areas.
> Higher Interest amongst women - the interest for urban agriculture is much higher in
Jalalabad, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif than in
Kabul and Herat. this can be linked to the higher
proportions of households owning livestock in
these cities and, in the case of Kandahar, with
the stronger networks between rural areas and
the city. overall, this suggests that Herat and
Kabul – and to a large degree Mazar-e-Sharif
– may be increasingly turning towards urban
lifestyles that are seen as incompatible with agricultural activities. Yet, interestingly, the survey
found a higher level of interest amongst female
respondents, of whom 52% noted that they
would be interested in such training, compared
to 44% for their male counterparts. Furthermore, experience shows that most respondents
request training in sewing or tailoring, despite
the market saturation around these activities.
> Support of national authorities – overall,
governmental and municipal actors interviewed
for this study showed support and a certain
level of enthusiasm for potential programmes of
urban agriculture, as this type of programming
overlaps with some of the priorities they have
identified for urban development: a) small and
medium enterprises and livelihoods on the one
hand; b) greeneries and environmental concerns
on the other. they all noted the caveat that this
type of initiatives should be developed in close
cooperation with municipal authorities, which
could be of great support to address the question of land that may render any initiative of this
kind difficult.
67. Peprah, K. Amoah, S.T., Akongbangre J. (2014) : Ç Sack Farming : Innovation for Land Scarcity Farmers in Kenya and Ghana È in International Journal of Innovatives Research and Studies, vol.3, Issue 5, p.31.
HeLp implemented two projects of gardening and
small agriculture in Herat. In Jebrail, HeLp provided training on how to plant produces. the organisation helped communities finding two big plots
of land to rent and develop. An agreement was
found with landowners to share the production to
cover rent: 25% to the owner, 75% to the producers. HeLp organised beneficiaries in 2 groups of
30 people per plot, covering in total 60 families.
trainees were trained to work together and the
tool kits at the end were pooled to allow for the
purchase of more expensive equipment. A longterm approach was adopted to provide counselling
and technical support after the end of the training
and to identify all the technical hurdles that could
endanger the sustainability of the project: irrigation system, provision of seeds, provision and
maintenance of material etc. Agriculture engineers are in charge of following-up with targeted
communities.
the second project puts the emphasis on market
integration and is implemented in Shebeekan.
HeLp established a women training centre, where
women learn food processing and produce yogurt
and butter. HeLp identified potential groups who
could be responsible for transporting products
to Herat to increase the market opportunities of
women’s productions. HeLp also identified adequate selling points in the city where the products could be sold for a good price, increasing the
sustainability of the project. the whole system is
now in place and well-rooted in the community.
BEST PRACTICES:
HELP’S PROGRAMME OF URBAN AGRICULTURE IN HERAT
PROGRAMMING FOCUS:
DEVELOPING AGRICULTURE IN THE CITY?
98 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 99
that extremely vulnerable households
may be found within relatively well-off
communities make it difficult for actor
to catch households in need. Few
indicators allow for a robust targeting
strategy as the overall level of poverty
and vulnerability is high everywhere in
the city.
• Saturated labour markets in the city
make it difficult for livelihood interventions to succeed in having an impact,
at least when they are implemented
based on the current model of shortterm (3 or 6 months of training) training and little follow-up on the ability
of beneficiaries to enter the labour
market.
• Access to land is a heated issue for
urban populations, especially in Kabul, where informal settlements have
developed at a high pace over the
past decade. Urbanisation and large
movements of land grabbing have
contributed to increase the pressure
on land in Afghan major cities. Taking
reports of eviction and fear of eviction
as a proxy for the land pressure urban
households are subjected to shows
that Kabul, Kandahar and Jalalabad
have higher levels of pressure on land:
19%, 26% and 22% of households reported having faced these issues over
the past 12 years, as opposed to 14%
in Herat and 3% in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Programming in these three cities may
prove more challenging and requires
taking into account access to land
from the early stages of the project
design. The issue of land calls for two
kinds of approaches: a) considering
initiatives that are not land-intensive
(ex: sack agriculture); and, b) factoring
in programmes’ design and timeline
the skills and tine necessary to secure
land arrangements.
100 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 101
Recommendations
Addressing Urban Poverty and the Resilience Gap:
FOR ALL ACTORS
> Build the resilience of urban households through a long-term
commitment to:
• Access to basic services: Bridge the gap between cities in terms of access
to basic services, as they play a key role in building resilience in the long run.
Community-based programming, based on community contribution in cash and
labour force, is a sustainable way of improving and maintaining basic services
in the city and should be further supported. Donors should maintain their focus
on infrastructure investments, looking beyond Kabul at the gaps in other cities,
and especially at Kandahar, where the situation is considerably worse, especially
when it comes to access to electricity.
• Access to education and literacy: this study showed that education is a determinant of household resilience. It is also a safeguard against inter-generational
transmission of poverty. Yet, access to education is still unevenly distributed
across the 5 major cities and by gender: living in the city does not guarantee
access to education. Long-term commitment to education project – especially
those aimed at increasing girls’ access to high school and higher education –
should still be on the top of the agenda.
• Workforce qualification: Vulnerability and food insecurity in the cities are first
and foremost a problem of access to stable livelihoods. Structural changes
are required for the urban workforce to diversify their skills and step away from
casual labour that keeps households in a circle of debt and poverty. Designing
long-term programmes of qualification for urban skills – specialising in services
and business management in particular – would help reduce the increasing gap
between the urban labour supply and demand.
> Recognize an urban geography of poverty by adjusting targeting to the
profiles of poverty in the cities:
• At the city level – Kandahar showed high levels of food insecurity and poor access to basic services further reducing the resilience of households living in that
city. Mazar-e-Sharif also fared poorly on a number of food security indicators,
suggesting that these two cities may need more attention than cities like Kabul or
Herat and Jalalabad, located in areas of high return where a lot of urban interventions are concentrated.
• At the community level – the study has shown that IDP households were
particularly vulnerable but that poverty and lack of resilience was widespread
far beyond the limit of the informal settlements identified by the KIS Task Force,
as people other than IDPs and IDPs living outside the KIS are also vulnerable.
The geographic scope of interventions should therefore increase beyond the
KIS. Communities with a concentration of IDP households, especially those who
have been recently-displaced, should therefore still be targeted as a priority, but
programming should also focus on other vulnerable households whether from the
host community or with different migratory profiles.
• At the household level – Use fine targeting methodologies: the Resilience
Index: the study shows that there was little stratification amongst urban poor.
Targeting is highly challenging and should be based on a solid combination of
indicators to avoid arbitrary delineation between poor groups. One option is to
opt for blanket targeting of hot spots of poverty and food insecurity in urban
areas. Another option – especially if resources are limited – is to base targeting on
a refined grid of selection criteria. The study points at key variables to identify the
most vulnerable households in the city. A simplified resilience index (as detailed
below) based on proxy means allows for a robust identification of the poorest.
This system can be explained to communities to avoid resentment.
> Address urban households’ difficulties in accessing food by:
• Building on existing female livelihood strategies: This study did observe forms
of livelihood accessible to women (albeit in a limited scale). Usually home-based,
they include tailoring, sewing, pistachio shelling, cleaning chickpeas, cleaning
wool etc. These represent interesting opportunities for women to be economically
active. Yet, the study shows that their weak position in the labour market means
that they work for extremely low salaries. Organisations could work on building
the bargaining power of these women by setting up cooperatives of production
and intervening in salary negotiations.
• Developing specific protection and livelihood programmes for households
with addicted members: The study showed that these households were at
particular risk, as addicts often use any income or assets to purchase drugs.
Drug addiction being stigmatised, these households lose the support of their
communities, leaving children and women in a situation of high vulnerability. Addiction was also a significant predictor for food insecurity. While drug addiction
is increasing in Afghan cities, the response of national and international actors
should be significantly built up to prevent situations of extreme vulnerability.
Organisations like DRC with a specific focus on displaced populations should
also take addiction into account in their programming as drug use and associated risks are particularly high – and increasing – among returnees. The issue of
addiction among returnee households from Pakistan and Iran is a question that
DRC should approach through a regional strategy, as drug use often starts while
abroad.
• Building long-term mechanisms of social protection: Urban households suffer
from a lack of safety nets and the dissolution of community-based protection
mechanisms. Yet, this study showed that mechanisms of social protection – such
as the pension distributed to the disabled and victims of mines – could have a
real impact on food security. Investing in sustainable systems of social protection
should therefore be a priority to fill the gap left by receding systems of charity. In
102 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 103
particular, the training of social workers embedded in the communities should be
a priority to identify households at particular risk and improve the referral mechanisms – within and outside communities.
> Tailor awareness raising campaigns and training to the gap identified
within households to increase food security and improve nutrition:
• Target male members of households with training on food literacy: The study
showed that male members of households are in charge of purchasing food in
a large majority of urban households. The poor diets of urban households also
show a low level of awareness about the benefits of diversified diets. Men should
therefore be targeted as a priority by awareness-raising campaigns surrounding
food. The study found that food budget was often the key determinant of food
choices, meaning that training on food literacy should include components on
budget-management and take into account the constraint of low budgets.
• Increase awareness raising about hygiene practices surrounding food, especially for women: The survey showed that levels of awareness about appropriate hygiene practices were still low amongst the urban poor, leading to risks of
diarrhoea amongst children. Specific training on hygiene requirements for food
preparation should be provided. This could be incorporated into entrepreneurial
or social activities offered for women – a class on food safety in meal preparation
for example. Community kitchens are a good model here.
• Raise awareness about the impact of tea consumption during meal on iron absorption: Tea consumption during meal inhibit
the absorption of iron, an issue particularly problematic when no
enhancing factors (fish, meat etc.) are consumed as is the case
for most Afghan households. Advocate for tea to be consumed
between meals instead of during the meal to address the problem
of iron deficiency, particularly for pregnant women, women and
children.
• Significantly build up awareness raising on adequate breastfeeding practices: Breastfeeding practices were found to be highly inadequate to provide for
infants’ nutrition needs in the cities. A large effort of awareness-raising should
target mothers but also female health workers working on deliveries in public
clinics for them to provide adequate information and care after the birth. At the
community level, women centres combined with EDC centres could be established within the communities as places where care and development services for
young children are easily available, along with training focusing on breastfeeding.
> Work on capacity-building of key urban actors:
Urban poverty depends heavily on the capacities of urban authorities to respond
to the needs, an area where the gaps are still blatant in the country. Working
closely with relevant urban actors on projects can help staff from municipalities,
MUDA and IDLG, learn on the job and increase their capacity.
68. See http://www.fukuoka.unhabitat.org/projects/afghanistan/detail20_en.html for more detail.
> Learn from existing successful UN-Habitat programmes:
UN-HABITAT has developed successful programming in urban areas that is worth
replicating68, in coordination with the agency. In particular, the efforts to incrementally register properties, collect small municipal taxes and deliver services
to informal settlements are seen as particularly successful by communities and
municipal actors alike. Based on the principle of community contributions, they
show that urban households are ready to invest in their communities, if they are
supported through carefully-designed projects. UN-Habitat could partner with
other organisations interested in urban programming to increase the geographic
scope of their programme
FOR PIN AND DRC:
PROGRAMMING ON URBAN AGRICULTURE
PIN has started implementing a pilot project on urban agriculture addressing the issue
of food insecurity and lack of resilience in the cities, with the support of the EU. Some
of the modalities of implementation detailed below have already been tested by PIN,
which will be able to provide lessons learned for DRC. DRC is now also looking into
it and should learn from the lessons drawn by PIN during its pilot. Projects of urban
agriculture will typically include a training component and a start-up kit at the end of the
training for households to be able to develop their activity. The present study provides
several indications how to practically implement this type of programmes in urban environment:
TARGETING
>At the household level
> Disregard traditional poverty indicators:
The present study showed that indicators of poverty are not equally useful to
identify finer stratifications among the urban population, as poverty is widespread. Relatively soft data like income or expenses are relatively unreliable and
do not discriminate enough between sub-groups and types of vulnerabilities. The
poverty line – based on monthly expenditure per member of households – does
not provide an adequate frame to identify vulnerable households in the cities.
> Use a Simplified Index of Vulnerability:
A more robust and comprehensive method of targeting can be based on a userfriendly simplified index of resilience using the following indicators:
• The Food Consumption Score (FCS): this indicator is a good basis for a robust
profiling of the level of vulnerability of a household. It is also relatively easy to use
and analyse and provides a very handy tool for monitoring and evaluation of the
impact of the programme.
• The household dietary diversity score (HDDS): also important in urban areas
where one of the important threats to food security is poor diets.
SImPLIFIeD reSILIenCe InDeX
Food Access
Food Consumption
Score
< =28.0 30
28.1 – 42 15
> 42.0 0
Household Dietary
Diversity Score
< 5 20
5-8 10
> 8 0
Coping Strategy
Index
< 8 0
8.1 – 15 5
15-28 10
> 28 15
Income
# of source of income
< 1 20
1-2 10
> 2 eXCLUDe
type of income
Casual labour 20
Full-time job eXCLUDe
PSN Household profile
Female-headed household 20
Household with addicted members 15
Household with disabled male adult 15
Migration and
Displacement Migratory profile
IDp Household: recently-arrived 20
IDp Household:
arrived more than 3 years ago
10
Returnees, local resident
or economic migrants
0
Resilience
Level of education
of head of household
Higher education eXCLUDe
Secondary School and High school 0
primary School 5
None 20
104 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 105
• The Coping Strategy Index (CSI): There is a need to complement the FSC by
looking at the practices born out of food insecurity and the potential risks that
they raise for families. The CSI also provides a relatively handy tool to do so and
identify risky practices that may endanger the households’ resilience in the longer-run. Follow-up indicators can be used to refine the analysis of harmful coping
strategies and identify, in particular, households where women regularly limit their
own quantity of food for other household members to be able to eat. This can be
particularly problematic if the woman is taking care of a new-born and should be
therefore monitored.
• Number of sources of income: as detailed above, the number of sources of
income is a real determinant of vulnerability and lack of resilience amongst urban
households. It is also a solid and easily quantifiable indicator, as long as the age
and gender of the income-earners are duly recorded. In the current labour market, a male income-earner relying on casual labour is likely to earn around 5 times
the daily income of a female income-earner. The only exceptions to this are if female members of households were able to secure stable employment, especially
in the public sector. On the other hand, casual labour is also too widespread to
offer a robust selection criterion in and of itself.
• Households with specific types of vulnerabilities: the present study confirmed
based on robust statistical evidence the weigh certain factors play in households’
vulnerability, confirming that the ‘Persons with Specific Needs’ (PSN) typology
established by UNHCR and other organisations is an adequate tool to test vulnerability. In particular, households with addicted members; female-headed households/widows, elderly-headed households are particularly determinant criteria of
selection.
• IDP households: This study proved that IDP households are significantly more
vulnerable than other migratory groups, and that they need a longer period of
adjustment to the city than economic migrants or even returnees who received
specific support. IDP households should therefore be selected in priority. Yet,
this comes with the caveat that IDP households are often still quite mobile upon
arrival in the city and households would frequently move before finding a suitable
location. Urban agriculture requires time and investment from households. IDP
households should therefore have spent at least a year in the community to be
selected, in order to prevent the risk of households dropping out in the middle of
the project.
• Exclude from the selection: households whose heads of household have
received higher education; households with more than 2 income-earners; households with at least one income-earner having a full-time contract.
Conducting a thorough community assessment before starting a project is a necessary
but time-consuming and difficult exercise. The series of indicators detailed above can
help limiting the assessment to a few meaningful indicators to prevent organisations
from wasting time of data collection and analysis. If organisations have enough internal
capacities for a more in-depth assessment, the complete resilience index used for this
study, with detailed cut-off points is available in annex69.
69. As mentioned previously, this resilience index was designed based on the standard indicators and cut-off points used for Afghanistan and used as a basis the one PIN
developed for its programming in Mazar-e-Sharif
The following box gives an overview of the simplified index of vulnerability that can
guide beneficiary selection at the household level.
>At the individual level
> Building women’s resilience
Give responsibility to female members of households: the study showed that a)
women were more interested by this kind of initiatives; b) most women were inactive or unemployed, meaning that the opportunity cost of the time spent in training and following activities is likely to be limited for the household, hence more
affordable than for their male counterparts; and, c) women are in charge of food
preparation. Selecting female members of households in priority is also a way to
increase the impact of the project through a series of secondary effects:
• Strengthening women’s position in the households and decision-making
power: As highlighted above and observed in many past researches, women’s
role in decision-making remains limited, especially when they do not contribute to
the households’ income and well-being. Putting them in charge of a project that
106 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 107
opportunity to pool resources to fund the necessary equipment. For example,
instead of 15 or 20 tool kits, beneficiaries can receive one more expensive piece
of equipment that will allow for a better productivity. A collective approach also
limits the risk of funds being wasted on households giving up mid-way.
> Secure access to land: A key obstacle for urban households to rely on self-production is accessing land, especially in cities like Kabul where the pressure on
land is so high. Poor households usually do not have enough bargaining power
to negotiate access to a plot, as landowners will not trust them and they will not
have the ability to engage some collaterals. PIN and DRC should therefore work
on mechanisms for communities to access plots of land. This includes:
• Prioritise the allocation of a plot of land by the community as a form of contribution to the project. The more invested the community is in the project, the more
likely it is to be sustainable.
• In case no land is available, enter into directly negotiations to secure a lease
system with private landowners by guaranteeing the transaction. The intervention of a third party can help guarantee a fair relationship between the community and the land owners.
> Coordinate with municipal authorities from the outset of the project. Urban
agriculture projects represent interesting authorities for non-governmental actors
to link up and work closely with municipal authorities on non-controversial issues.
• Involving governmental authorities in the selection of target areas and in the negotiations to access land: MUDA noted that they had access to land more easily
than private or non-governmental actors and that they would be willing to establish leasing systems with landowners to develop urban agriculture or establish
greenhouses in the city.
• Coordinate with greenery projects supported by municipalities and IDLG for
the establishment of community gardens: greeneries is part of municipalities’
mandate and could represent a good incentive for urban authorities to support
initiatives relative to urban agriculture.
• Include a representative of the municipality (preferably a female staff in the
department overseeing greeneries) in the training.
> Assess access to water, price of water and potential tensions before implementation: the present study found that access to water and its price could vary
significantly for communities. In majority, water did not represent an issue or
a source of tension for urban households but a sudden initiative of urban agriculture can change these balances. The risk for conflict needs to be assessed
at the local level and questions of access to water discussed with households
and community leaders to prevent future tensions. In order for projects of urban
agriculture to be sustainable, it is preferable to select communities with relatively
easy access to water. The project must include an irrigation plan for households
and communities, to be discussed and approved by community representatives.
will ease family consumption is a good way to strengthen their position and responsibilities in
the family.
• Increase the opportunities for women to socialise around a common project: whether implemented at the community or at the household level, urban agriculture projects should foster
collective management and problem-solving mechanisms, offering for women a forum of discussion and socialisation that is often blatantly lacking.
• Additionally, a community kitchen project model could be used to increase women’s resilience. Such project could provide women with both a place to socialize, and training on small
business skills, food safety (building upon findings regarding hygiene), and nutrition. Such
projects have provided income-generating opportunities for women and improved participants’
nutritional intake and budgeting skills in similar settings.70
Community kitchens is a term used to “describe community-focused and –initiated cooking-type programmes. (…) Community kitchens are known as providing an opportunity for a small group of people
to meet regularly in order to prepare a meal. (…) Community kitchens focus on developing participant
resilience for those experiencing food insecurity and social isolation rather than creating and supporting a cycle of dependency and emergency food relief”71.
• Set-up self-help groups for female beneficiaries to discuss the difficulties they face and potentially use the structure for micro-loans when needed. As shown in recent studies conducted
for the Danish NGO Mission East in Northern Afghanistan, Self Help Groups not only have an
economic role to pay, but they also strongly contribute to community mobilisation, awareness
raising, and social cohesion – and especially among female members of the community. Considering that it is often more difficult for women to find a job in urban areas, setting up self-help
groups may be a pragmatic gender-inclusive instrument.
> Target male members of the community with training on technical services needed for
urban agriculture:
The project can be designed to associate both male and female members of the community,
hence increasing acceptance. Urban greenhouses, irrigation system or transportation and storage of produce require specific skills and support that can be left in the hands of male members
of the community, who can then find a source of livelihoods linked to the project. Training in
plumbing or maintenance of solar panels can be combined with the training women receive in
planting.
IMPLEMENTATION MODALITIES
Preliminary Steps
> Privilege projects of urban agriculture based on group work: Training groups of people to work
together present several advantages in terms of impact and sustainability of projects. Single
households often do not have the capital or labour force to cultivate a plot of land. Working with
groups of beneficiaries leads to a higher community involvement in the project and gives the
70. Iacovou M, Pattieson D, Truby H, Palermo C. Social health and nutrition impacts of community kitchens: a systematic review. Public Health Nutrition, 2011. 16(3): 535-543.
71. Ibid, p. 535.
TWO CASE STUDIES
ON SACK GARDENING IN KENYA & GHANA75
Sack agriculture allows for urban poor households
who could not afford more expensive f orms of urban farming to increase their access to food and
generate income from sale of the produce. the authors compare two initiatives of sack agriculture,
one in Kibera (Nairobi), one in Balawa in the Upper
West Region of Ghana.
Methods & Materials: “Sack gardening allows
farmer to grow food by planning 20 to 40 plants
inside and on top of a 50kg sack filled with soil and
using stones or pVC to create a vent in the middle
of the soil through which water is distributed to
the plants in the sack. the material used for the
vent is of importance because it determines how
efficient they system will be at providing water to
all part of the sack. Stones prove more efficient
at this than PVC vent.
Example of kale production in sacks: “once the
kales have reached a certain age (3-4weeks), they
are uprooted and planted in a sack garden. the
sack used was a manila sack filled with a combination of soil and compost manure. the sack was
filled initially to about 12 inches with the treated
soil, then a hollow tin was placed right at the
center and filled with ballast. Soil was thereafter
added surrounding the tin up to its top and the
tin was then pulled. once it was almost empty,
the tin was topped with more ballast and this was
repeated until the sack is full. this sack therefore
had soil mixed with manure and in its centre a pipe
made of stones to water the vegetation. once full,
20 liters of water is poured right at the centre
of the stone area; then the sides of the sack are
pierced with holes of 2 to 3 centimeters for the
seeds to be planted. the holes are made in such a
way that every line has eight holes and there are
five lines for a total of 40 holes in any given sack.
the kales are left to grow for 2 to 3 months to
reach maturity. A 50kg sack has enough manure to
be used for 3 years.
The authors note that using sacks, soil and
stones for the vent means a very limited financial
input for households. Composts made out of solid
waste can also be used for the soil.
Example of possible productions: kale and spinach
as leafy vegetables adapt well to sack agriculture.
Crops growing vertically – such as pepper or egg
plants – work also well, while tomatoes may be
more difficult.
Possible threats: Weather variations and humidity
may decrease the durability of the sacks.
Possible partners: Solidarités Internationales
supported this kind of project in Kenya and could
provide lessons learned.
75. Ibid.
108 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 109
> Establish production systems as autonomous as possible: Urban poor households have very little resources to sustain any productive system that requires important inputs. To the extent possible, households should be trained to establish
intra-households systems supporting their production. That may include for example rudimentary systems of rainwater collection and storage as well as watersaving irrigation systems such as drip irrigation. Additionally, a proper “compost
corner can be established to allow for composted material to age before being
used” for the production.72
> Plan for winter: Greenhouses can also be envisaged to extend as much as
possible the period of cultivation and counter the seasonality of urban income.
Inexpensive ways of heating can be prioritised: big rocks, cements and buckets
of water left in the greenhouse during the day can help maintain an acceptable
temperature at night when they radiate the heat back out73, a system that PIN has
piloted in Mazar-e-Sharif. More expensive but offering interesting opportunities,
solar greenhouses can also be considered. This solution requires more technical
equipment, including solar collector, water storage tank, piping systems and a
pump.
> Plan for winter 2: Aid and emergency actors may develop prepositioned stocks
to avoid predictable (seasonal) pipeline breaks, as there is a recurrent correlation
between food insecurity and natural hazards, with seasonal peaks between: 1)
December and March (= extreme cold according to OCHA’s hazards calendars),
and 2) March and June (= floods), indicating not only the importance of implementing short-term humanitarian relief, but also the necessity to anticipate predictable hazards through prepositioned stocks. In this regard, UN agencies and
NGOs operating on emergency situations in urban and peri-urban areas critically
need to engage more directly with agricultural seasonality if it is to address this
fundamental source of risk and vulnerability.
> In cases where access to land plots is impossible, consider other forms of urban
agriculture that do not require land plots, such as sack agriculture or rooftop
agriculture. This option can be particularly interesting for households living in areas with insecure land tenure and for the KIS, where municipal authorities do not
allow long-term development programmes. This option should also be privileged
when working with recently-displaced IDPs, as these may move again and as it
could be more difficult to secure access to land for them. “Sack gardening or vertical gardening are forms of urban agriculture where the cultivation of plants takes
place in large sacks filled with soil.”74 (See next page for details).
Selection of Products & Activities
> Prioritize a combination of urban productions to address the issue of food diversity. The present review of food security in urban areas showed that urban diets were poor and not diversified. In particular, dairy products, proteins and fruits
are lacking. Vegetables are easier to grow but are also more commonly integrated
into urban diets, usually the second food source after bread and rice. Combining
productions would allow for communities to benefit sooner from their productions
with the vegetables but also to work on the longer-term on food diversity by also
planting fruits. Initiatives of poultry raising and small livestock raising can also be
developed in areas where the shortage of protein and dairy products is particularly blatant.
> Select products based on local conditions, preferences and markets: Training
on urban agriculture must be specific and tailored to the communities where it is
implemented. Before selecting the products to grow, a rapid assessment must
show what communities want to eat and would be able to sell easily on the local
market.
72. True Consulting Group (2007), Best Practices in urban agriculture : a background report for the city of Kamloops to support development of a urban agricultural strategy. p. 42. 73. http://www.gardenandgreenhouse.net/index.php/past-issues-mainmenu-18/35-website-exclusives/819-winter-greenhouse-gardening-tips 74. Peprah,
K. Amoah, S.T., Akongbangre J. (2014) : Ç Sack Farming : Innovation for Land Scarcity Farmers in Kenya and Ghana È in International Journal of Innovatives Research and
Studies, vol.3, Issue 5.
110 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 111
> Choose types of products and species that are better suited for storage: The
study confirmed that seasonality had a strong impact on urban poor households,
which usually are short of income and see their food security deteriorating at
that time of the year. Root vegetables, potatoes or onions are for example much
easier to store than tomatoes or peppers which will not be stored easily. Growing products that can be harvested well into the winter can be a way to curve the
impact of seasonality on urban households.
Training and Tool Kits
> Include a component of food literacy, nutrition and WASH to the training in
order to cover various aspects of food security, including food utilisation, food
safety, diet diversity and adequate breastfeeding practices.
> Encourage community contribution: Community members, whether direct
beneficiaries or not, should be encouraged to contribute to the project in order
to reinforce ownership and acceptance within the community. Small contributions can include tools, sacks, seeds while richer community members should be
encouraged to lease small plots of land.
> Plan for flexible tool kits: Tool kits will have to be adjusted to the needs of the
targeted communities. In particular, groups of beneficiaries can be offer the opportunity to ‘pool’ their tool kits to purchase a more expensive piece of equipment that can be of higher benefit for the community. PIN and DRC’s technical
advisers should be closely involved in the discussions surrounding the request for
equipment and help communities identify their needs.
MONITORING AND FOLLOW-UP
> Plan for a long-term follow-up mechanism and post-completion training from
the beginning of the project: Urban agriculture are not short-term projects as
they require to build the trust of the community and to be available to follow-up
and help beneficiaries solve the many issues they will potentially face in their
activity. Regular on-site visits should be planned and beneficiaries should be able
to contact their trainers even after the end of the project for technical assistance.
> Setting up public monitoring and warning mechanisms: A comprehensive system to ensure the protection of vulnerable and poor households in emergencies
must include timely and reliable monitoring procedures, accompanied by a mechanism to ensure compliance at the field level. Such a system would establish
consistent standards and methodologies for identifying, documenting and verifying child rights violations and using this information to mobilize public opinion,
inform policymaking and resource allocation and guide program interventions.
In this regard, and considering the increasing politicization of socio-economic
issues in Afghanistan, it is important to identify objective monitoring and warning
procedures – such as source triangulation, through a multi-facetted monitoring
and evaluation approach (external independent evaluation, internal monitoring
from partnering NGOs, and community-based evaluation).
> Include research for potential market integration after pilot: Potential market
niches should be identified for future phases of projects to include a component
of transformation and processing (for example of dairy products), of transportation and commercialisation. In the mid- and long-term, the project should aim at
going beyond subsistence agriculture and at supporting beneficiaries entering the
market by helping them adding value to their production through processing.
> Regularly assess the income and indebtedness levels of urban and peri-urban
households and communities: As shown in this survey, there is evidence that the
poverty level of urban households is largely under-estimated. In this regard, it is
crucial to get an accurate sense of households’ income and indebtedness on a
continuous and frequent basis, to adequately measure their actual dependency
on informal or formal sources of credit loaners (banks, hawalas, local economic
predators, etc.)
FOR DONORS
> Endorse strategic shifts:
• From rural-centred interventions to urban programming: This study provides
ample evidence of the blatant economic crisis that Afghan cities face and the risk
it generates for urban population. The urban poor is increasingly poor and that
raises political, social and security risks for the stability of the country. In spite of
efforts and improved capacities, municipal authorities do not have the technical
and financial capacities to adjust to the movement of urbanisation. Donors’ attention must adjust and take on board the dynamics of urbanisation and internal
displacement.
• Creating “spaces of resilience”: Urban community centres:
Support programmes aiming at improving key infrastructures for food security in urban areas: An important proportion of food produces is lost because
of inefficient or inadequate infrastructures. That includes in particular storage facilities; transportation infrastructures and sanitation facilities to limit the
amount of waste throughout the food chain.
Creating community centres at local spaces for resilience: assistance
requires physical locations for stakeholders to reach the poorest and accompany them to practices that are fit with urban characteristics and an urban
lifestyle, especially for those displaced and new to such contexts. The set-up
of community centres is needed to reach out to the most vulnerable – including female-headed households who live within invisible physical and social
boundaries.
> Emphasize support to:
• Longer-term development projects best suited to building resilience amongst
the urban poor: Urban poverty is first and foremost a question of development
and resilience of households will be built through a better access to services,
higher levels of qualification and access to qualified jobs. This requires the commitment of donors for longer projects, as the one-year time span does not suit
either development projects or urban agriculture projects. For these to be sustainable, organisations must be able to build relations in the community and to
112 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 113
provide technical assistance long after the end of the training. This will only be
the case through a long-term commitment with the communities selected.
• Programmes inducing structural economic changes: Afghan labour markets
are saturated with under-paid and under-qualified workers and Afghan key
economic sectors suffer from the competition of Iran and Pakistan products,
with which they are not in a position to compete. Development programmes
should aim at counterbalancing the weaknesses of Afghan productive sectors (high costs of production in particular) with qualified labour that would
support local production and make it able to stand international competition.
Only structural changes will support the urban poor in the long term: labour
qualification; improve business models and companies’ cost efficiency and
performance. This type of programmes requires long-term support and commitment from donors.
• Mid-size cities to counter-balance urban growth: Most of the investment
targeting urban areas focuses on the five cities under study. This is logical as
they concentrate most of the urban population and are the main destination
of economic migrants and IDPs. Yet, Afghan national authorities are calling for
donors to acknowledge the needs of mid-size cities, such as Khost, Kunduz
or Ghazni for example. Investing in mid-size cities would be a way to counterbalance the unregulated growth of Afghan major cities by offering alternative
locations for economic migrants and IDPs to settle.
> Advocate with the new administration for:
• An early approval of the informal settlements upgrading policy: The policy
should help significantly the work of municipal authorities and support their
ability to tackle urban poverty at their level. The approval of the policy should
therefore be high on the agenda of the new administration, once the latter is
in place. Donors should keep a close watch on the process and advocate for
a rapid approval and follow-up process.
• The implementation of the IDP policy and the official recognition of other
durable solutions than return: As mentioned above, the IDP policy offers
interesting solutions to address the question of IDP caseloads in urban areas.
Its implementation will not be easy and may raise important opposition, in
particular from municipal authorities. Donors should also advocate for the
recognition by municipal authorities and by the new administration of the
necessity to envisage other durable solutions than return for IDPs, given the
overwhelming intention of IDPs to settle in the cities.
• Social protection mechanisms to be developed for female-headed households and elderly-headed households: Despite a social protection strategy
for 2008 to 2013, existing mechanisms of social protection are very scarce
and cover only families of martyrs and disabled (including the victims of mine
accidents). Yet, this study confirms that widows and households headed by
elderly are often in a situation of dire needs and have little means to access
livelihoods. These categories should be targeted in priority for future development of government-led social protection mechanisms.
FOR MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES AND URBAN ACTORS
> Following the National IDP Policy, acknowledge the need for durable solutions other than return
- such as local integration – for IDP caseloads living in the cities and coordinate
with humanitarian actors to identify opportunities for land distribution and relocation. This study, as others have in the past, confirm that IDPs are, in an overwhelming majority, not willing to go back to their place of origin. Taking on board
that reality as early as possible will help planning and prevent the establishment
of pockets of extreme poverty in the middle of Afghan key cities.
> Livelihoods - Actively support projects of urban agriculture in urban
areas:
This type of programming is well adapted to the needs of the urban poor and
should receive the support of municipal and governmental authorities. These
authorities can bring a valuable support in securing access to land through leasing system. Projects of urban agriculture can be articulated with the programmes
surrounding greenery led by municipalities.
> Infrastructure - Plan for the development of warehouses for storage in
urban areas:
The lack of such facilities induces an important spoilage of food and the inability
to keep seasonal produce and reduce the impact of seasonality.
> Social support - Establish social support community centres:
The study shows the dissolution of community-based protection mechanisms.
Establishing physical spaces where community members can meet and discuss
their issues, as well as receive counselling to solve these issues would help filling that gap directly at the community level. These social support community
centres could be established first for women first as way to exchange ideas, find
solutions and discuss best practices about the key social issues identified in the
study: breastfeeding practise, hygiene practices or anxiety relative to access to
food.
anneXeS
AND REFERENCES
Urban poverty Report 115
aNNeX. 1
Resilience Index
Category Question in Survey Answer Options Scoring Total Maximum Score
Food Access
FCS <=28.0 30
100
28.1 - 42 15
>42.0 0
HDD <5 20
5-8 10
>8 0
HFIAS Severely Food Insecure 30
Moderately Food insecure 20
Mildly Food Insecure 10
Food Secure 0
HHS Severely Hungry 20
Moderate Hunger 10
Little/No hunger 0
Access to Basic
Services
Can you Read and
Write
Yes 0
90
No 10
What is your level of
education
No Schooling 20
Primary 10
Secondary 10
High School 10
College Diploma 10
University 0
Post Grad 0
Madrassa 15
Other 10
Do you have electricity
in your house
No Electricity 5
Public Grid 0
Personal Generator 0
Solar Electricity 0
Other 0
What is the main
source for drinking
water
Spring Water/River/lake/Canal/Rain
water
5
Water Tank 5
Other 0
Is the water source for
drinking on your
compound?
No 5
Yes 0
How many minutes
does it take to bring
drinking water to the
house?
More than 30 minutes walking 10
Between 15 and 30 minutes walking 5
Less than 15 minutes walking 0
How clean is your
water?
We do not do anything to the water 0
I don’t know 5
Other 10
None/Open field 15
aNNeX. 1
Resilienc Index
Category Question in Survey Answer Options Scoring Total Maximum Score
Food Access
FCS <=28.0 30
100
28.1 - 42 15
>42.0 0
HDD <5 20
5-8 10
>8 0
HFIAS Severely Food Insecure 30
Moderately Food insecure 20
Mildly Food Insecure 10
Food Secure 0
HHS Severely Hungry 20
Moderate Hunger 10
Little/No hunger 0
Access to Ba ic
Services
Can you Read and
Write
Yes 0
90
No 10
What is your level of
education
N Scho ling 20
Primary 10
Secondary 10
High School 10
College Diploma 10
University 0
Post Grad 0
Madrass 15
Other 10
Do you have electricity
in your house
No Electricity 5
Public Grid 0
Personal Ge erator 0
Solar Electricity 0
Other 0
What is the main
source for drinking
water
Spring Water/River/lake/Canal R in
water
5
Water Tank 5
Other 0
Is the wa er source for
drinking on your
compound?
N 5
Yes 0
How many minutes
does it take to bring
drinking water to the
house?
More than 30 minutes walking 10
Between 15 and 30 minutes walking 5
Less than 15 minutes walking 0
How clean is your
water?
We do not do anything to the wa er 0
I don’t kn w 5
Other 10
None/Open field 15
aN eX. 1
Resilience Index
Category Question in Survey Answer Options Scoring Total M ximum Score
Food Access
FCS <=28.0 30
100
28.1 - 42 15
>42.0 0
HDD <5 20
5-8 10
>8 0
HFIAS Sever ly Food Insecur 30
Moderately F od insecur 20
Mildly Food Insecur 10
Food Secur 0
HHS Sever ly Hungry 20
Moderate Hung 10
Little/No hunger 0
Access to Basic
Servic s
Can you Read nd
Write
Yes 0
90
No 10
What is your level of
education
No Schooling 20
Prima y 10
Secondary 10
High School 10
College Diploma 10
Univers ty 0
Post Grad 0
Madrassa 15
Other 10
Do you have electricity
in your house
No Electricity 5
Public Gr d 0
Personal Generator 0
Solar E ectricity 0
Other 0
What is the main
source for d inking
water
Spring Water/River/lake Canal/Rain
water
5
Water Tank 5
Other 0
Is the water source for
drinking on your
comp und?
No 5
Yes 0
How many minutes
does it take to bring
drinking water to the
house?
More than 30 minutes walk g 10
Between 15 and 30 minutes walk g 5
Less than 15 minutes walk g 0
How clean is your
water?
We d not do anything to the water 0
I don’t k ow 5
Other 10
None/Open fi ld 15
ANNEX 1
116 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 117
Samuel Hall 2014: a Study of Pover ty, Food Security and Resilience in afghan cities - Final Report 104
What kind of latrines
do your household
members use?
Traditional pit latrine 10
Other 0
Are you sharing the
latrine with another
household?
No 0
Yes 5
Does adult male
member/elder have
Tazkira
No 5
Yes 0
Social Safety Nets
Have you ever
received any
assistance from any
organisation?
Yes 0
40
No 10
Have you received any
assistance for a job?
Yes, Job Placement/Business Start up
Grant
0
No 10
Have you received any
assistance from
personal network?
Yes 0
No 10
Have you received any
assistance from
International
Organisations?
Yes 0
No 10
Assets
What is your present
housing arrangement?
Temporary Shelter 30
80
Rented Family house/shared with
others
5
Others 0
Do you own land? Yes 0
No 10
Do you have a land
deed certificate
No 5
Yes 0
Livestock Ownership
Index
Cattle/Buffalo/Horse/Donkey/Mule 0
Poultry/Goat/Sheep/other 5
No Livestock 10
Durable Asset Index No Asset Ownership 25
Little Asset Ownership 15
Moderate Asset Ownership 10
High Asset Ownership 0
Adaptive
Capacity
Main Source of
household income?
Unemployed 10
90
Day Labourer/Unpaid Family
Worker/Domestic Worker/Apprentice
5
Other 0
Any other sources of
income?
Yes 0
No 5
Is there any school
aged child which is not
attending school?
No, there are some who don’t 10
All school aged children go to school 0
How much of your
household income is
spent on food?
All income 10
More than half 5
Other 0
How much of your
household income is
spent on fuel and
heating?
All income 10
More than half 5
Other 0
Samuel Hall 2014: a Study of Pover ty, Fo d Security and Resilience in afghan cities - Final Report 104
What kind of latrines
do your household
members use?
Tr ditional pit la rine 10
Other 0
Are you sharing the
latrine with another
household?
No 0
Yes 5
Does adult male
member/elder have
Tazkira
No 5
Yes 0
Social Safety Nets
Have you ever
received any
assistance from any
organisation?
Yes 0
40
No 10
Have you received any
assistance for a job?
Yes, Job Placement/Business Start up
Grant
0
No 10
Have you received any
assistance from
personal network?
Yes 0
No 10
Have you received any
assistance from
International
Organisations?
Yes 0
No 10
Assets
What is your pre ent
housing arrangement?
Temporary Shelter 30
80
R nted Family house/shared wit
others
5
Others 0
Do you own land? Yes 0
No 10
Do you have a land
deed certificate
No 5
Yes 0
Livestock Ownership
Index
Cattle/Buffalo/Horse/Donkey/Mule 0
Poultry/Goat/Sheep/ ther 5
No Livestock 10
Durable Asset Index No Asset Owner hip 25
Little Asset Owner hip 15
Moderate Asset Owner hip 10
High Asset Owner hip 0
Adaptive
Capacity
Main Source of
household income?
Unemployed 10
90
Day Labourer/Unpaid Family
Worker/Domestic Worker/Apprentice
5
Other 0
Any other sources of
income?
Yes 0
No 5
Is there any school
aged child which is not
at ending school?
No, there are som who d n’t 10
All sch ol aged ildren go to school 0
How much of your
household income is
spent on food?
All income 10
Mor than half 5
Other 0
How much of your
household income is
spent on fuel and
heating?
All income 10
Mor than half 5
Other 0
Samuel Hall 2014: a Study of Pover ty, Food Security and Resilience in afghan cities - Final Report 105
What does the HH
spend daily to go to
work?
<100 AFS 0
>100 AFS 5
How much is your
household able to save
per month?
>500 AFS 0
<500 AFS/I don’t know 2
None 5
How much is your
present debt in total?
<12,000 AFS 0
12,000-30,000 AFS 10
>30,000 AFS 15
Is a member of the
household addicted to
drugs?
Yes 10
No 0
Is a member of the
household disabled?
Yes 10
No 0
Samuel Hall 2014: a Study of Pover y, Food Security an R silience in afghan cities - Fin l Report 105
What does the HH
spend daily to go to
work?
<100 AFS 0
>100 AFS 5
How much is your
household able to ave
per month?
>500 AFS 0
<500 AFS/I don’t know 2
None 5
How much is your
present debt in total?
<12,000 AFS 0
12,000-30,000 AFS 10
>30,000 AFS 15
Is a member of the
household addicted to
drugs?
Y s 10
No 0
Is a member of the
household disabled?
Y s 10
No 0
118 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 119
Samuel Hall 2014: a Study of Pover ty, Food Security and Resilience in afghan cities - Final Report 106
aNNeX 2 – INDICaTORS
Food Consumption Score
The FCS is a “proxy indicators to measure caloric intake and diet quality at household level,
giving an indication of food security of the household. It is a composite score based on dietary
diversity, food frequency, and relative nutritional importance of different food groups.”76 The
FCS was calculated based on the food groups, weighting system and cut-off points used by
the Food Security and agriculture Cluster (FSaC) for their food security assessment conducted
in 2013. The weights applied for each food group were as follows:
To calculate the FCS, and based on the FSaC methodology, the research team:
1. Used standard 7-day food frequency data. as cereals and tubers were surveyed as
different food groups, the higher number of days either cereals or tubers were
consumed was chosen. This differs from the FSaC’s formula but only leading to
statistically insignificant variations in the results of the survey.
2. Multiplied the values obtained for each food group by its weight and created new
weighted food group scores.
3. Summed the weighed food group scores, thus, creating the food consumption score
(FCS). The most diversified and best consumption with maximal FCS at 112 means
that all food groups are eaten 7 days a week.
The research used the FSaC’s thresholds : a FCS below 28 means a poor food consumption,
a FCS between 28.1 and 42 a borderline food consumption, a FCS above 42 an acceptable
food consumption. These three categories were used to calculate the percentage of
households of poor, borderline and acceptable food consumption.
Food Consumption Indicator
Percentage of food expenditure in total household expenditure. The thresholds and categories
were based on the Food Security Cluster assessment. In afghanistan:
 Poor: Food expenditure is more than 60 percent of total household expenditure;
 average: food expenditure is at 40-60 percent of total household expenditure;
 Good: food expenditure is less than 40 percent of total household expenditure.
76 NRVa
Food Group Weight
Cereals and tubers 2
Pulses 3
Vegetables 1
Fruit 1
Meat, fish and eggs 4
Dairy products 4
Sugar, sweet 0.5
Oil, fat 0.5
Condiments, spices 0
Samuel Hall 2014: a Study of Pover ty, Food Security and Resilience in afghan cities - Final Report 107
Coping Strategy Index
The CSI used for the study was also based on the methodology developed by the FSaC, as
follows :
The CSI (more accurately, it is RCSI: Reduced Coping Strategy Index) is used to quantify the
severity of food-based coping strategies. a 7 days recall period is used. It is based on a number
of robust negative coping strategies and applies a standard weight depending on the severity
of the coping strategy. It is very useful for comparing across regions and countries, or across
income/livelihood groups, because it focuses on a set of behaviours. The maximal CSI is when
all strategies are applied every day. There are no universal thresholds for RCSI. The weighted
score is calculated by multiplying the frequency by the weight. but the higher the RCSI, the
more severely the coping is applied by a household, hence the more food insecure the
household is.
The weight are as follows :
Coping Strategy Weigh
Rely on less preferred and less expensive foods 1
borrow food or rely on help from friends or relatives 2
limit portio n size at mealtime 1
Restrict consumption by adults in order for small children to eat 3
Reduce number of meals eaten in a day 1
Household Dietary Diversity
24-hour recall period
For a greater precision, additional data was collected to measure the dietary diversity of
households over the past 24 hours. The score per household is calculated by coding either “1”
if the food has been consumed or “0” if it has not and adding up the result for each food group.
The HDDS indicator is the sum of all HDDS divided by the number of households.
7 days recall period
based on the NRVa, the research team calculated a household dietary diversity score based
on a 7-day recall period. This gives a) the average number of days per week each food group
is consumed by different sub-groups of the sample; b) a score between 0 and 10 calculated
for each household based on whether they consumed each of the various food groups over
the past seven days.
Poverty line
The NRVa calculated the poverty line in afghanistan based on pe r capita consumption. The
poverty line equals the typical cost of attaining 2,100 calories per person per day and of
meeting some basic non-food needs. The official average poverty line for afghanistan in 201112: afs 1,710 per person per month . a household is defined as poor if the total value of per
capita consumption is less than the poverty line77.
77 NRVa, p.177
ANNEX 2 - INDICAtoRS
120 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 121 Samuel Hall 2014: a Study of Pover ty, Food Security and Resilience in afghan cities - Final Report 108
Durable Asset Index
The durable asset ownership index is created by assigning weights to the various commodities
asked for in Q33 of the household questionnaire. The index scores the ownership level on a
scale of 0-100 where 0 being no assets in possession and 100 being all assets. The weights
are assigned based on the cost of the various items and their ability to support the family in
terms of livelihood or other comforts. The following weights are used for the commodities and
then summed across all commodities:
The categories were defined as follows:
1. Category 1-High assets Ownership: 50-100
2. Category 2-Moderate asset Ownership: 25-45
3. Category 3-low asset ownership: 5 -20
4. Category 4-No asset Ownership: 0
asset Weight
Fridge 10
Stove 10
TV 10
Radio 5
VCR 5
Mobile 5
Computer 10
Sewing 5
Iron 5
bicycle 5
Motorcycle 5
Car 10
Tractor 15
Samuel Hall 2014: a Study of Pover ty, Food Security and Resilience in afghan cities - Final Report 109
aNNeX 3
list of Informal Settlements identified by the Task Force and included in the sample for this
study:
City Name of Settlement
Kabul
Darulaman
Chahari Qamber
bagh-e-Dawood
Kabul Nindarai
bagrami Hussain Khil
Chaman-e-babrak
Sarake Do Karte Naw
Herat
Kareezak
Shayee Dahee checkpoint
Pashtoon
Munarat
ANNEX 3
122 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 123
Samuel Hall 2014: a Study of Pover ty, Food Security and Resilience in afghan cities - Final Report 110
aNNeX 4
Urban Governance: threats and opportunities
A complex institutional landscape
Several national institutions intervene in urban governance, often with overlapping scope of
responsibilities and agendas. The Ministry of Urban Development affairs (MUDa),
Independent Directorate for local Governance (IDlG) and municipalities are the key actors
when it comes to urban governance. The following graph traces the relations and hierarchies
between these actors:
While most of the planning – especially developing masterplan and detailed plan for cities –
should be in the hands of MUDa, IDlG and municipalities are fighting to get a stronger role in
planning. MUDa does not have the capacities to develop detailed plans for all the cities ,
making it difficult for municipalities to fulfil their own responsibilities, as they have to rely on
outdated plans. a recent agreement between municipalities, IDlG and MUDa led to an
agreement and a new delineation of responsibilities. Municipalities will be in charge of
developing detailed plans that will be signed off by the ministry in order to accelerate the
process. Kabul is on a different regime and works as an autonomous entity, leading to
overlapping responsibilities with the MUDa. Kabul Municipa lity (KM) has its own engineering
and planning departments, independent from MUDa.
Samuel Hall 2014: a Study of Pover ty, Food Security and Resilience in afghan cities - Final Report 111
This complex – and overlapping – institutional landscape has consequences on the response
of authorities to urban poverty. In particular, the inability of MUDa to develop n ew detailed
strategic plan for municipalities means that those are stuck with old detailed plans that do not
reflect neither the boundaries nor the population of afghan cities. In particular, it does not allow
for municipalities to intervene in informal settlements, which are not mapped and integrated in
the detailed plans, further fuelling urban poverty. Municipalities need legal basis to deliver
basic services to urban population and the plans are the key instrument in that regard.
Recent Improvements in the legal framework surrounding urban development
Informal Settlement Upgrading Policy
a dynamic of regularisation of informal settlements is ongoing in the 5 biggest afghan cities,
which should help authorities collecting municipal taxes and delivering services to the urban
poor. This process should be significantly easier when the cabinet approves the Informal
Settlement Upgrading Policy, formulated by the MUDa with the help of UN -HabITaT and the
World bank. Work on this policy started in 2008 with the establishment of a steering committee
gathering most of the important urban actors. This rather slow process finally gave way to a
draft of the policy, waiting to be passed by the cabinet. If approved, the policy will greatly
facilitate the work of municipal authorities by providing the legal grounds they need to intervene
in informal settlements, although a clear implementation plan will need to be articulated first.
“The main achievement of this policy is that municipalities will be allowed to legally intervene
in these informal settlements. It is a huge challenge at the moment, as they don’t have the right
and capacity to do so. When municipalities start working in the informal areas, those will be
integrated in the formal system.”
KII – UN Habitat
Stakeholders consider the policy as a great opportunity as it will allow organisations to work
more easily in the informal settlements and to implement longer-term programme there.
Still, it is important to note that a time criterion has been set in the policy to determine which
informal settlements will be included in the upgrading process. Only the informal settlements
existing for more than 20 to 30 years will be formalised through that process, leaving out the
newer IDP settlements78. It is very clear that, while accepting that their cities have grown
exponentially over the past decade, municipal and governmental authorities are still strongly
opposed to the additional growth that more recent arrivals of IDPs bring to the cities. Municipal
authorities still consider the return to their place of origin as the sole durable solution available
in their cities, although past studies and the present survey have shown repeatedly that most
of these populations had no intention to go back. It is important to note that the question is
particularly heated in Kabul and Herat, two of the cities attracting important movements of
internal displacement.
“The IDP camps will never be included in these areas because they are very temporary. It is
not possible to integrate them. It is not needed because they are not permanent structures.”
KII – MUDA
“We are not happy with the IDP Settlements. They are not the poor people of Kabul. They are
a burden to the city and taking space that we need for other purposes.”
KII – Kabul Municipality.
IDP Policy
The IDP Policy, articulated by the MoRR, also offers interesting opportunities for national
actors to address the problem of urban poverty for internally displaced. The options offered by
78 KII MUDa, Planning Department.
ANNEX 4
124 Urban poverty Report Urban poverty Report 125
Samuel Hall 2014: a Study of Pover ty, Food Security and Resilience in afghan cities - Final Report 112
the IDP Policy are ‘huge’79 to address the problem of assistance to IDPs, including complete
stop to forced evictions, social housing options and land distribution or relocation. The IDP
Policy also introduces significant protective measures to frame forced eviction of IDPs.
Stakeholders agree that the main challenge with the IDP Policy will come with implementation,
especially as it is supported by a ministry relatively weak to address the huge issues it raise,
especially surrounding access to land tenure and relocation of IDP settlements. The MoRR
has for example little traction to influence the position of Kabul Municipality on IDPs. To move
forward with the implementation, the IDP task force agreed on a road map. In 2015,
implementation road maps will be drafted for 9 pilot provinces, that should include balkh,
Jawzjan, Kunduz, baghlan, Nangahar, Herat, baghis, Kandahar, Wardak and Kabul although
the list is not finale.
Position of urban authorities on assistance in urban areas
The relationship between humanitarian actors and municipal authorities is often tense, in
particular on the question of assistance to IDPs. apart from this highly politicised issue,
governmental actors working on urban issues point at the following aspects of their
collaboration with international actors:
 Regret the lack of coordination on urban development priorities – While
governmental actors praise the support of some key donors on urban development
(JICa and the World bank in particular), they find regrettable the fact that some
important urban development programmes are designed and implemented with very
little coordination with the line ministries, in particular MUDa and IDlG -GDMa. The
urban programme of GIZ in Kunduz city or USaID Urban development programmes
are examples of this. This prevents national institutions to present the priorities of
development they have identified for each city.
 Regret the focus on short-term assistance – National authorities are pushing for a
stronger focus on development for urban areas. Most of them consider emergency
assistance as not having its place in afghan cities because they keep populations in
situations of dependence and do not guarantee any long-term impact for urban
populations.
“International NGOs sometimes work with urban poor but it is not effective. They are
just helping people on the short-term. They are neither generating any employment
nor resolving the issues. Food distribution is not the solution.”
KII – Municipality of Herat
 Support projects of urban agriculture – Overall, governmental and municipal actors
interviewed for this study showed support and a certain level of enthusiasm for potential
programmes of urban agriculture, as this type of programming overlaps with some of
the priorities they have identified for urban development: a) small and medium
enterprises and livelihoods on the one hand; b) greeneries and environmental concerns
on the other. They all noted the caveat that this type of initiatives should be developed
in close cooperation with municipal authorities, which could be of great support to
address the question of land that may render any initiative of this kind difficult.
79 KII – HlP Task Force
SAMUEL HALL’S RELEVANT REPORTS:
• 2009, Majidi, Returning refugees in urban areas,
for NRC
• 2011, Research Study on IDPs in urban settings –
Afghanistan, for the World Bank and UNHCR
• 2012, Challenges of IDP Protection in Afghanistan,
for NRC
• 2012, Sustaining the Working Poor in Kabul Informal
Settlements: an Evaluation of Solidarités International’s Vocational Training Programme,
for Solidarités International
• 2012, Time to Move to Sustainable Jobs : A Study of
the State of Employment in Afghanistan,
for ILo.
• 2013, Cost of Hunger Study,
for WFp
• 2013, Cash Programme Review for IDPs in the Kabul
Informal Settlements,
for DRC
• 2013, Afghanistan’s Future in Transition: A Participatory Assessment of the Afghan Youth,
for UNICeF, DMoYA, UNFpA and UNDp
• Forthcoming, Understanding Urban Displaced Youth.
• Forthcoming, Evaluation of Cash-Based Assistance
Programmes to Internally Displaced People in the
Kabul Informal Settlements,
for WHH and DRC
OTHER SOURCES
Adger W.N, (2000),
‘Social and ecological resilience: are they related?’ in
Progress in Human Geography, 24:347
Alinovi, L (2009),
‘Measuring Household Resilience to Food Insecurity:
Application to palestinian Households’,
Working paper for the eC-FAo Food Security programme.
Beall, j. & SchŸtte, S. (2006),
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