IsDB/AHTF and UNICEF sign agreements for nearly US$ 2 million to provide clean water and life-saving nutrition services for children in Afghanistan

JEDDAH, KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA, 12 MAY 2023 – Under the auspices of HE Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, President of the Islamic Development (IsDB), two agreements were signed between the IsDB, as the Trustee of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund (AHTF), and UNICEF for nearly US$ 2 million to provide clean water in rural Afghan communities and help treat children suffering from malnutrition. These AHTF grants come from King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) contributions.

The agreements were signed by Eng. Mohammad J. Alsaati, Special Adviser to the IsDB President and AHTF Coordinator, and Mr. Eltayeb Adam, the UNICEF Area Representative for the Gulf, during the 2023 IsDB Group Annual Meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The signing event was attended by senior representatives from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), IsDB member countries, implementing partners, and other stakeholders, as well as guests.

The two AHTF projects include:

  • US$ 1 million for climate-resilient and sustainable water supply in Paktia and Logar provinces, targeting 32,000 people in 16 villages.
  • US$ 953,301 for life-saving nutrition services in Kandahar Province, targeting 18,372 children under five suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

IsDB President HE Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser stated that food and water are essentials for the survival of any human being. “These two projects aim to reduce malnutrition among children under five and provide clean, sustainable water resources to remote communities in Afghanistan. This support is much needed by our sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters of Afghanistan, and I am thrilled that IsDB, through AHTF, will be working with UNICEF to relieve their suffering and save lives. Saving lives requires a collective effort, and now is the time to act as a team for the benefit of the people in Afghanistan, he said.

According to the 2022 Whole of Afghanistan Assessment, 27 percent of the population is without access to safe drinking water. With these funds from AHTF, UNICEF will provide safe drinking water to 32,000 people in 16 remote villages in Logar and Paktia provinces through solar-powered water supply systems. UNICEF will also help establish and train 16 water user committees – one in each targeted village – to help manage the water systems. In addition, two mechanics per community will also be trained in the operation and maintenance of the water supply systems.

In Kandahar, 13 percent of acute malnutrition among children and women is above the emergency threshold. In 2023, UNICEF and the Nutrition Cluster will treat 35,075 severely, acutely malnourished children in Kandahar Province alone. These funds from AHTF will allow UNICEF to purchase ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to treat 18,372 children for severe acute malnutrition.

Eng. Mohammad J. Alsaati, Special Adviser to the IsDB President and AHTF Coordinator, said: “The lives of our Afghan brothers and sisters have been tragically impacted by the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Through these two projects, AHTF and its donor partners aim to increase access to clean water and combat child malnutrition, two key metrics which will improve the quality of life within the country’s vulnerable communities.”

“As the trustee of AHTF, IsDB remains committed to tackling humanitarian crises and supporting sustainable development alongside leading multinational organizations,” he added.

“These contributions will make a tangible impact on children in Afghanistan, as UNICEF expects 875,000 children to suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year yet faces a shortage of RUTF to treat them,” said Mr. Eltayeb Adam, UNICEF Area Representative for the Gulf.

“Clean water is also linked to health and nutrition; when a child does not have safe drinking water, it affects their hygiene and puts them at risk of diarrhea diseases and poor nutrition absorption. As Afghanistan is ranked fifth among countries most at-risk of climate-related disasters and other impacts of climate change worldwide, it is increasingly important we find sustainable ways to ensure children and their families have the water resources they need to thrive,” he added.

The two AHTF-supported projects will last for 12 months. They represent the first agreements UNICEF has ever signed with the AHTF.