As part of a collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), NRC has contextualised and applied the IOM/Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) protection assessment toolkit for the urban and out of camp displacement (UDOC) setting of eastern Afghanistan. This report outlines and analyses the findings of the assessment, and makes recommendations for further action and programme development to enhance women’s participation and protection in this context.
In Afghanistan, NRC is at the forefront of piloting new approaches in integrated protection programming through community-based approaches, including through adapted camp management methodologies to address the needs of displaced communities outside of camps, where the vast majority of displaced Afghans are situated (in both dispersed urban displacement and informal settlements). Specifically, its innovative UDOC approach aims to improve access to protection services, humanitarian assistance, and durable solutions for displacement-affected communities by establishing and supporting mechanisms to enhance communication with communities, community engagement and mobilization, and coordination of services. These mechanisms include community centres, neighbourhood committees, and outreach teams, and they are designed to promote the inclusion of marginalized groups in the management of their displacement situation and development of durable solutions.
Afghan women in general are a marginalised group, facing cultural discrimination; moreover, those in states of forced displacement are even further excluded from community management mechanisms and structures (with which NGOs and local authorities primarily engage). In addition, most NGO field staff tend to be males, which further hinders women and girls’– particularly female-headed households’- access to services due to communication challenges that are a result of cultural practices. Women themselves are generally excluded from labour and business opportunities due to a combination of restrictive culture and lack of education – particularly among refugee-returnee women, of whom 93% are illiterate.1 Additionally, women in Afghanistan are particularly vulnerable to GBV and forced marriage,2 where cultural constraints mean that such incidents are under-reported and referral pathways are lacking,3. It is assumed that women and girls are exposed to such threats at a greater level while in displacement.
The findings presented in this report are a result of an assessment that NRC has undertaken using the toolkit developed by IOM’s pilot initiative carried out in partnership with the WRC. The toolkit was designed for Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) agencies to identify impediments and challenges affecting women’s participation in camps and camp-like settings, opportunities to strengthen women and girls’ participation, including in camp governance structures, to enable them to voice their safety concerns, and support the identification of responses to strengthen participation and mitigate risks affecting them, including risks of being exposed to GBV. NRC piloted this toolkit in Iraq during 20174, and now through this partnership with IOM, NRC has adapted the toolkit for the out-of-camp context in Afghanistan. This report outlines the findings and recommendations from application of the toolkit.