UN refugee agency, Islamic Development Bank sign agreements for Afghanistan aid

In response to the escalating humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Islamic Development Bank, as trustee of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund, have signed three agreements to enhance education, health care, and livelihood opportunities in the country, the UN agency announced.

The agreements, totaling $10 million, were signed at the IsDB’s headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday, Jan. 4, by Muhammad Jamal Al-Saati, Special Advisor to the President of IsDB and Coordinator of the AHTF, and Khaled Khalifa, Senior Advisor and Gulf Cooperation Council Representative for UNHCR.

These agreements will facilitate UNHCR-led projects such as constructing 16 integrated schools, establishing information points to improve education access for over 30,000 children, and expanding health-care services in 34 regions with eight new centers, benefiting over 500,000 people. Additionally, the projects include vocational training and livelihood programs, like beekeeping and wool spinning.

Khaled Khalifa expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia and highlighted the importance of the partnership with IsDB and AHTF. ‘The prolonged conflict in Afghanistan has significantly impacted the populace, with over two-thirds in dire need of assistance. This support from Saudi Arabia’s Fund for Development through AHTF enables us to provide vital health, education, and livelihood services,’ he stated.

Eng. Mohammad J. Alsaati emphasized the significance of the agreements: ‘These agreements with UNHCR demonstrate our commitment to supporting the Afghan population amid the crisis.’

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate due to ongoing conflict, natural disasters, climate change, and economic challenges, leaving about 28.3 million people in need of aid, the UN agency said in its statement. It added that the new initiatives aim to bolster the country’s service infrastructure, improving healthcare and education access and fostering sustainable livelihoods.