The Foundation Phase
The Australia Afghanistan Community Resilience Scheme (AACRS) is the Australian Government’s rural development program in Afghanistan. The budget is AUD$24 million over four years (2014-2018).
The AACRS is a partnership between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) and the Government of Australia acting through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and five non-governmental organisations (NGOs):
Action Aid Australia | Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan | CARE Australia | Oxfam Australia | and World Vision Australia (together the AACRS NGOs).
AACRS NGOs implement their projects in collaboration with civil society organisations (CSOs) based in Afghanistan, in ways relevant to the individual projects.
Scheme activities include a wide range of interventions:
The aim of the Scheme is to improve the livelihoods and resilience of rural Afghan communities. To support this aim, the Scheme has four high level outcomes:
Households are better able to address their own needs
Community decision making structures are more responsive and inclusive
Institutions are more responsive and inclusive
To build a strong basis for future rural civil society or NGO partnerships.
On 9 February 2015, GIRoA and DFAT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which committed both governments to support and cooperate in the implementation of the Scheme.This cooperation is determined through an Oversight Committee which includes representatives of DFAT, and the Ministries of: Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL); Economy (MEcon); and Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD). The Oversight Committee periodically reviews the implementation of the AACRS and ensures the Scheme is aligned with GIRoA priorities.The MoU also committed to review the Scheme on an annual basis to inform future development cooperation assistance between the two governments.The AACRS utilises a partnership approach with NGOs to increase access, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of development outcomes, and provide for mutual learning for the improvement of development work.The AACRS partnerships enhance the reach of Australian aid in Afghanistan – which is one of the most challenging aid delivery environments for DFAT. The partnership model also enables the Australian Government and AACRS NGOs to share lessons and experiences, jointly identifying the most effective ways to help people overcome poverty and make progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
The AACRS operates as a consortium of five NGOs (four of which are Australian NGOs) implementing five projects across ten provinces in 22 districts in north-western Afghanistan. See Figure below detailing project locations.
Badghis (World Vision Australia)
Baghlan (Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan)
Balkh (ActionAid Australia & CARE Australia)
Bamyan (Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan & ActionAid Australia)
Daikundi (Oxfam Australia)
Jawzjan (ActionAid Australia)
Kunduz (Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan)
Parwan (Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan)
Samangan (Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan)
Takhar (Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan)