1. Home
  2. Asia
  3. Afghanistan

NGOs squeezed out of funding appeals - analysis

Children and women are more exposed to the adverse impacts of food insecurity.
(Masoud Popalzai/IRIN)

The Afghanistan Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP) 2009 launched on 3 February in Geneva by John Holmes, the UN under-secretary-general and emergency relief coordinator, requested US$625 million and is just under 70 percent funded, but little HAP funding has gone to NGOs.

Most of the funding has gone to projects proposed by UN agencies, according to NGOs and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Thirty-five local and international NGOs, which had proposed dozens of humanitarian projects under HAP, had received zero funding from donors by 22 June, according to OCHA’s Financial Tracking System (FTS).

Four major international NGOs - CARE International, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DACAAR) - have received funding for their projects.

DACAAR tops the list with 100 percent of its projects funded; CRS projects are 64.2 percent funded; NRC 20.90 percent; and CARE International 0.9 percent. The Czech-based People in Need (PIN) NGO’s requirements have been 69 percent covered, according to FTS

“Oxfam Great Britain has received no funding for its $8,328,000 [HAP] appeal,” Lynn Yoshikawa, Oxfam’s humanitarian policy and advocacy specialist in Kabul, told IRIN.

Shah Liton, acting country director of Save the Children UK (SC-UK), also said his organization had received no pledges/commitments from donors for the requested over $3.5 million under HAP.

HAP objectives
To provide relief to conflict-affected and disaster-affected (principally drought-affected) groups and individuals, including reintegration or resettlement support for IDPs, returnees, deportees and host communities
To monitor and advocate for the protection of civilians and for the respect of international humanitarian, human rights, and refugee law
To mitigate food insecurity and treat malnutrition
To improve preparedness for disasters and disease outbreaks, and related response
To improve overall humanitarian access and response, including through strengthened humanitarian coordination and capacity at national and regional levels.
Source: OCHA 
 Read more IRIN Afghanistan reports
 Read more IRIN aid policy reports

Aid plans scaled back

UN agencies, some international organizations and NGOs, which prepared the HAP, had planned to distribute food aid to about 8.7 million food insecure people; agriculture assistance to 290,000 vulnerable farming families; and water, sanitation, health, education and protection aid to hundreds of thousands of people across Afghanistan.

Oxfam International said it needed the requested funds to provide emergency food, water and sanitation aid to over 150,000 beneficiaries in Badakhshan, Daykundi and Kandahar provinces.

“The good harvest expected this year is not enough for communities to recover from high food prices and years of drought. Their needs will not be met without additional funding,” said Oxfam’s Yoshikawa.

SC-UK said it has had to reduce the number of child beneficiaries it wanted to reach and assist. “This will also impact on the current partnerships we have with national NGOs as it will be difficult to continue some of our ongoing interventions,” said SC-UK’s Liton.

Health, agriculture least funded

Whilst none of the six NGOs which have requested funds for educational projects have received funds, the education sector has been well funded thanks to generous donations to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF had requested $2,164,500 for its 2009 Winter Emergency Preparedness project, but FTS shows it received $24,902,582.

The food aid sector had received 92 percent of the appealed for aid by 22 June, while the agriculture sector was 10 percent funded.

The least funded sector has been health - only 4 percent funded.

The water and sanitation sector was 42 percent funded; shelter and non-food items 33 percent; mine action 67 percent; economic recovery and infrastructure 63 percent; and coordination and support 60 percent funded, according to FTS.

A boy drinks water from a common tap in Western Kabul, Afghanistan, June 2008.

Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
A boy drinks water from a common tap in Western Kabul, Afghanistan, June 2008.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
NGOs squeezed out of funding appeals - analysis
A boy drinks water from a common tap in Western Kabul, Afghanistan, June 2008.

Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
The water and sanitation sector was 42 percent funded

HAP versus CAP

Wael Haj-Ibrahim, head of OCHA in Afghanistan, explained in an email to IRIN the relationship between the 2009 HAP, the first in Afghanistan since 2002, and the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP).

“HAP is a framework for coordination and strategic programming; it analyses the context, identifies needs and suggests ways of covering gaps in services to people across the country. HAP includes a projects section which catalogues specific projects… and establishes the cost of delivering services.

“The HAP was produced in a relatively very short period (two months) as the need to support humanitarian activities was pressing. CAP, on the other hand, requires more in depth analyses, the development of baseline data sets, agreement on common indicators… Both initiatives are coordinated by OCHA in the country, and in Geneva by the CAP section.

“The humanitarian funding picture in Afghanistan is very complex as a great deal of funding is channelled through bilateral aid to government institutions, provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) and the UN. Some donors have indicated their clear preference to channel contributions through the UN as they feel the UN has greater ability to undertake large-scale programming, work closely with line ministries and work with NGOs on the implementation of their projects. Of course, many NGOs continue to receive direct funding from the donor community.”

Wael also noted some further complexities: “Some donors told us that they see education and agriculture as long-term issues (development) and would rather fund that through mechanisms other than the HAP. Some donors also told us that their approach (strategy) is to fund the UN and not NGOs directly.”

Wheat harvest in 2009 is expected to reduce food insecurity and stabilize food prices in Afghanistan

Wheat harvest in 2009 is expected to reduce food insecurity and stabilize food prices in Afghanistan
Mohammad Popal/IRIN
Wheat harvest in 2009 is expected to reduce food insecurity and stabilize food prices in Afghanistan
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Bumper wheat harvest to reduce food insecurity?
Wheat harvest in 2009 is expected to reduce food insecurity and stabilize food prices in Afghanistan

Photo: Masoud Popalzai/IRIN
Oxfam, which has received no funding from the HAP appeal thus far, said the good harvest expected this year is not enough for communities to recover from high food prices and years of drought

Other sources of funding for NGOs

“The fact that NGO projects included in the HAP are poorly funded is of obvious concern to us”, Robert Smith, head of OCHA’s Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP)  Section, told IRIN from Geneva. “Over the past years many donors requested the IASC [Inter-Agency Standing Committee] to enhance NGOs’ involvement in the CAPs, and in many appeals NGO projects are funded on a par with those of UN organizations. However, this is not the case yet in Afghanistan.”

There are other sources of funding for the NGO community. Funding amounted to about $47.5 million in Afghanistan this year, according to OCHA.

“We continue to advocate with the donors on the need for improved funding for NGOs participating in the Afghanistan HAP and some other appeals,” Smith said.


According to OCHA, over 45 percent of the funds received so far have come from carry-overs (funds not utilised in the past year and carried over to the next), where donors are unspecified.

Japan, the Netherlands and Canada are the top three donors with 16.7 percent, 13 percent and 4.6 percent of funding respectively.

The USA was the 11th biggest donor, providing $5,269,296, while Ireland - with $396,825 - was the smallest HAP donor. In total, 20 countries and six organisations, individuals and entities have responded to the 2009 HAP so far.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

Right now, we’re working with contributors on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries to tell the stories of people enduring and responding to a rapidly evolving humanitarian crisis.

We’re documenting the threats to humanitarian response in the country and providing a platform for those bearing the brunt of the invasion. Our goal is to bring you the truth at a time when disinformation is rampant. 

But while much of the world’s focus may be on Ukraine, we are continuing our reporting on myriad other humanitarian disasters – from Haiti to the Sahel to Afghanistan to Myanmar. We’ve been covering humanitarian crises for more than 25 years, and our journalism has always been free, accessible for all, and – most importantly – balanced. 

You can support our journalism from just $5 a month, and every contribution will go towards our mission. 

Support The New Humanitarian today.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.