The Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund (AHTF) signs seven Agreements to address basic services to support the Afghan People

Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 27 December 2023, Under the patronage of His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Jasser, President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), with the participation of Senior Officials from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, King Salman Humanitarian Relief and Aid Centre (KSRelief), Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), and Kuwait Society for Relief (KSR), Eng. Mohammad Jamal Alsaati, Special Advisor to the President IsDB and Coordinator of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund (AHTF), signed seven Implementing Partners (IP) Agreements with the  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization and the Norwegian Committee for Afghanistan (NAC) for projects aimed at supporting the crisis affected Afghanistan communities.

These Agreements relate to projects covering several basic sectors and needs including health, education, WASH, agriculture, food security, livelihoods, women and youth empowerment, and job creation. The total cost of these seven projects amounts to US$ 24.98 million, out of which the AHTF contributes US$ 16.05 million, while the Implementing Partners contribute US$ 8.93 million.

Three IP Agreements were signed with UNHCR for three projects aiming to benefit over 240,000 individuals. They mark a significant milestone in the partnership between IsDB, as a Trustee of AHTF, and UNHCR, and showcasing a strong commitment to improving access to education, health services and livelihood opportunities in Afghanistan.

The first project will improve access to education through Smart Hubs for enhanced education in Afghanistan, with a total cost of US$ 7.52 million and jointly funded through an AHTF grant of US$ 5.88 million as a contribution of Saudi Fund for Development to AHTF and US$ 1.64 million from UNHCR. This project, which aims to construct and operationalize essential education facilities, including SMART hubs, and enhance the access to quality education to children from vulnerable communities living in Priority Area of Return and Reintegration (PARRs), and will be operated in 16 Districts in 13 different Provinces of Afghanistan for a period of 18 months.

The second project focuses on improving access to health services for vulnerable communities, with a total cost of US$ 5.44 million, is financed by an AHTF grant of US$ 3.21 million from the contribution of Saudi Fund for Development to AHTF, while UNHCR will contribute US$ 2.23 million. Under this project, health facilities will be constructed and operationalized in targeted Priority Area of Return and Reintegration (PARRs) to provide essential healthcare services to the vulnerable groups of population, especially IDPs, and returnees. The project will be implemented in 18 months in 8 Districts in 6 Provinces of Afghanistan.

The third project will provide livelihoods opportunities and promoting women empowerment through integrated livelihood approach, with a total cost of US$ 1.37 million, to be funded by an AHTF grant of US$ 0.91 million from the contribution of Saudi Fund for Development to AHTF and UNHCR for US$ 0.46 million.  It will be implemented for a period of 18 months in the provinces of Herat, Kabul, and Lagman. The project aims to promote livelihood opportunities for internally displaced or returning refugee households, with a specific focus on creating income generation for women and girls through supporting carpet weaving and beekeeping activities. Under this project: 330 women will be trained in carpet weaving skills, wool spinning, and yarn dying, and provided with business development training and microgrants; 70 men will be trained in carpet processing and will work in the center that will be created; 300 beekeepers will be trained in modern techniques and will have access to microgrants to procure start-up and enhance their honey production; and work with the MADE51 UNHCR platform for selling products produced by refugees and IDPs to explore market opportunities and create a Made in Afghanistan brand for the carpet industry.

Similarly, two IP Agreements were signed with UNICEF for two projects aiming at increasing access to safe and sustainable clean water and providing the infrastructure for the delivery of essential health service to remote rural communities in Afghanistan. These projects, set to benefit over 200,000 individuals in total, represent an important step in the partnership between IsDB, as a Trustee of AHTF, and UNICEF, and reflects a strong commitment to humanitarian assistance and sustainable development in Afghanistan.

The first project is titled "Climate Resilient and Sustainable Water Supply Services for Remote Rural Communities in Afghanistan," The total cost is estimated at US$ 4.00 million, funded by an AHTF grant of US$ 2.00 million, jointly shared by the Saudi Fund for Development and Kuwait Society for Relief (US$ 1.00 million each), while UNICEF contributes US$ 2.00 million. This 12-month project aims to ensure that 64,000 people across 32 remote villages have access to sustainable water supply services. Afghanistan is listed among the top ten most climate-vulnerable countries on the planet. More than two decades’ worth of record droughts have depleted vital water sources and forced families from their homes by the tens of thousands.

The second project focuses on "Provision of Essential Health Services to Vulnerable Women and Children in Remote Communities in Afghanistan." Its total cost amounts to US$ 4.00 million, covered by an AHTF grant through US$ 1.00 million by Saudi Fund for Development and US$ 1.00 million by Kuwait Society for Relief, and co-financed with US$ 2.00 million from UNICEF. This project will support the construction of 8 health facilities in remote areas, as well as the operation and maintenance of these newly constructed health facilities, targeting around 141,000 beneficiaries, including 81,600 women and girls and 28,200 children under the age of five. This initiative extends over 24 months.

  As for the IP Agreement signed with the Norwegian Committee for Afghanistan (NAC), for a project aiming at improving Food Security and Sustaining Rural Livelihood in Afghanistan, its total cost is US$ 1.14 million and will be funded through an AHTF grant of US$ 0.94 million from the contribution of Saudi Fund for Development to AHTF and  NAC for US$ 0.20 million.


This project will be implemented in Badakhshan, Faryab, and Ghazni Provinces and will support the construction of agriculture infrastructure to allow vulnerable households in rural communities to have improved food security, sustainable livelihoods, and resilience.

It will address the needs of 6,250 households, including female smallholder farmers and their households, in rural and hard-to-reach areas, and will have improved food security by introducing agriculture best practices and implementing agriculture infrastructure projects, while 59,250 smallholder farming household members will benefit from the improved livelihoods of the farmers, and 45 villages will see the establishment of the agriculture small-scale infrastructure projects.

 The last IP Agreement was signed with WHO to improve the Quality of Maternal and Childcare in Rural Areas of Afghanistan, which has one of the world's highest infant mortality rates according to UNFPA, and thousands of Afghan women die every year from preventable pregnancy and childbirth-related complication.

This critical project will address services in 3 targeted District Hospitals (DHs) in Bamyan Province, which has one of the highest maternal and child mortality rates in Afghanistan, by providing essential medical equipment, supplies and commodities in addition to female obstetricians. It will also build the capacity of healthcare providers in comprehensive Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) clinical skills, strengthen monitoring systems and increase awareness and advocacy on MNCH.

The total cost of the project is estimated at US$ 1.51 million and will be funded through an AHTF grant of US$ 1.11 million from King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief)’s contribution to AHTF, and US$ 0.40 million from WHO. The project will focus on population, estimated at 134,876 individuals, including 52,870 Pregnant and postpartum women and 63,282 Children under 5 years in addition to focusing on women at reproductive age and children. It will also work on reducing maternal and child mortalities in target DHs, increasing availability of essential MNCH commodities, and improving access to and quality of essential MNCH services in target 3 DHs in addition on raising public awareness and advocacy on MNCH.

The project aligns with the Global Agenda 2030 as it directly contributes to the progressive achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It targets women of reproductive age (15-49 years), adolescent girls, pregnant women, post-delivery women, and newborns. In addition, the FHHs will benefit the general population, including children (under the age of 5), other women, men, adolescent boys, and the elderly.

At the end of the Signing Ceremony, His Excellency Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, President of IsDB thanked the OIC for its prominent role in mobilizing resources and reaching out to the member states and the international community. He extended his special thanks to the Government of Saudi Arabia for taking the lead and generously contributing US$ 30 million to the AHTF through KSRelief and SFD, representing 93% of total paid pledges to the AHTF. He also expressed his sincere thanks to KSR for its generous contribution to the Fund. He thanked the Implementing Partners, UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, and NAC, for formulating and customizing the projects to focus on the key priorities of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund (AHTF).

From his side, Eng. Mohammad J. Alsaati, Special Advisor to the President IsDB and Coordinator of AHTF expressed his great pleasure and honor and sincerely thank, on behalf of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund (AHTF), all partner organizations for gracing the memorable event, where Implementing Partners Agreements for seven new AHTF projects, covering important sectors and addressing basic needs for the people of Afghanistan were signed. He stated his hope for the fast implementation of these projects to achieve the desired objectives and witness the impacts on the ground. “This group of new projects complements the first group of AHTF projects currently under implementation and some will be completed soon. We are thankful to Allah Almighty first and always. We are thankful for the partnership and cooperation with all the esteemed organizations present here and with the international community. Today, we are pleased to state that fourteen (14) projects under AHTF have materialized with a total cost of US$ 36.35 million, out of which US$ 24.14 million are contributions from AHTF, and US$ 12.21 million are contributions from the implementing partners and other organizations. The AHTF grant funding is coming from the generous contributions from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) and Saudi Fund for Development and from the contribution from Kuwait Society for Relief. We thank the OIC for the continuous efforts in promoting the Fund and in resource mobilization and thank those member countries who pledged to the AHTF, and we look forward for more generous funding that will help us to formulate and implement more projects in Afghanistan. Thanks to the implementing organizations for their partnerships and cooperation”, he declared. 

Eng Alsaati also thanked the IsDB Management for the guidance and support, the AHTF Core Team and all IsDB business units who continuously supported the AHTF team. “I want to highlight the great work by the IsDB Regional Hub in Ankara for leading the technical work for formulation of the projects; the Branding and Logo of AHTF, with the moto (Towards Self Reliance), which was  initiated and produced in-house by the Office of the AHTF Coordinator; the Visibility and Communications Plan and the excellent Visibility Report produced by the Communications and Outreach Department;  and the work on preparation  and finalization of  the IP Agreements by the Legal Division.  Insha'Allah we will continue processing more AHTF projects under the remaining available funds and with any additional funding,” he reiterated.

It is worth highlighting that the AHTF serves as a vehicle to channel humanitarian assistance, address basic needs, and promote self-reliance and development in Afghanistan, following the decision of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC at its 17th Extraordinary Session held on 19 December 2021 in Islamabad, Pakistan.