Initiating Participatory Forestry in Support to Sustainable Livelihood in Afghanistan

Initiating Participatory Forestry in Support to Sustainable Livelihood in Afghanistan

Donor: Germany

Budget: $ 2,677, 546.

Duration: January 2009-Dec 2013

Location: Balkh, Baghlan, Nangrahar

Status: Ongoing

Objective:
The project Outcome is “to institutionalize appropriate participatory forest management practices that improve
rural livelihoods and food security and that support sustainable utilization and management of natural forest and agro-forestry systems.”

Components

  • Output 1: Relevant information collected for site selection, monitoring and planning purposes
  • Output 2: Possible participatory forest management practices identified, initial community management structures and agreements established and formalized
  • Output 3: Community level institutional capacity for participatory forest management is developed, consolidated and confirmed and institutional arrangements are developed and tested.
  • Output 4: Capacities of all implementing partners involved in piloting of participatory forest management practices, are enhanced
  • Output 5: Lessons learned from field experiences and action research are documented and disseminated
  • Output 6: Appropriate and supportive legal, policy and institutional framework developed

Progress/ Achievements

  • The three years (2009-2011) project of FAO Afghanistan “Initiating Participatory Forestry for Sustainable Livelihoods in Afghanistan” aims to improve the status of forest by demonstrating effective management mechanisms in a way that the forest resources could be a viable and sustainable income source for the people of Afghanistan. The project also intends to bring communities, government forest department and research institutions in a unique partnership for collaborative forest management
  • The project in consultation with project partners has selection three provinces, Balkh, Nangrahar and Baghlan
  • Provided support to all pilot site communities in establishment of male and female Forest Management Committees. In this process 12 male and 12 female forest management committees were established
  • More than 1224 male and 1221 female members of community organizations, project partners including department of forest (DoF) university students and lecturers have been provided training in participatory forestry techniques
  • The project provided technical and material input to community organizations in plantations over 148.5 hectares and established 1,400 home-based plantation producing 550,000 saplings in 2010 and 2011.
  • The females nursery growers have earned 90$ each during 2010 and expecting similar benefits in 2011
  • Over 3000 agro-forestry tools including spades, wheel barrows, pick axe, sprinklers, mash screens etc were handed over to the male and female FMCs of 12 pilot sites
  • The project supported the FMCs in developing 12 Participatory Forest Management Plan (PFMP) through training and technical assistance
  • On the front of policy support to MAIL the project contributed in reviewing the participatory forest law and mobilizing the relevant government departments and technical group of lower house in the parliament to ratify the participatory forestry law
  • Under action research 30 students of the Universities of Balkh, Baghlan and Nangarhar are engaged with the project in conducting research on components of participatory natural resources management
  • To raise awareness in masses about tree planting 8 events were organized during spring plantation in Kabul and the provincial headquarters of Balkh, Baghlan and Nangarhar. In 2011, the project has designed a countrywide mobilization program in connection with International Year of Forest (IYF-2011). A 40 second animated clip was developed and telecasted for 15 days through 2 national TV channels. The objective of this message was to mobilize general public for tree planting. Additionally, 1,000 stickers, 3,000 T-Shirts bearing slogans on tree planting were distributed among students during tree planting campaigns

Challenges
The forestry project with a five year life span is often not able to show tangible outcomes. However, the project
has accepted this challenge and is trying its best to demonstrate economic impacts of project interventions. The fastest growing tree in Afghanistan is the Poplar which reaches the age of maturity after 7-10 years the most productive fruiting tree is the Pistachio which starts fruiting at the age of 6-7. Trees being its main tangible output makes it more challenging when the other contributions of the project are overlooked like capacity building, application of participatory approach in the pilot areas, knowledge generated etc.

Recommendations
The five year forestry project has demonstrated community participation in social forestry, agro-forestry and
joint forest management and created the kind of livelihood opportunities which are associated with forestry
activities. The project has also initiated a process which needs to be carried out and tested in the other sectors of forestry like watershed management, sustainable use of natural forest and community based conservation of natural resources. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the project should be considered for a follow up or continuation round so that the knowledge, capacities and human resources of the project could be utilized in the follow up phase project.