The Foundation Phase

The AACRS

The Australia Afghanistan Community Resilience Scheme (AACRS) is the Australian Government’s rural development program in Afghanistan. The first phase (Foundation Phase) budget was AUD 25.5 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).

The Outcomes

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 ‘Foundation Phase’ was in 21 Districts across 10 provinces, benefiting 106,126 individuals in 336 villages.

The Extension Phase

The AACRS

The second phase (Extension Phase), the budget is AUD$13.8 million over 2 years and 2 months (2018-2020). 20 Districts across 9 northern Provinces, and 121,759 (35,000 new) individuals in 400 (136 new) villages.

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 four non-governmental organizations (NGOs):
Action Aid Australia | Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan | Oxfam Australia | and World Vision Australia.

The Outcomes

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.

During the Extension Phase work is focused on consolidating and deepening the achievements of AACRS.  Hence its geographic footprint remains largely unchanged.  However, Action Aid was asked to withdraw from Jawzjan due to security concerns, while AKF has asked to include one district in Badakhshan (Shukai). In addition, World Vision, Oxfam, and AKF have together added 136 villages within their current Districts.  Overall, then, the Extension Phase continues with 273 of the villages supported in the Foundation Phase, plus the 136 new villages, thus totaling 409 villages in 20 Districts within 10 northern Provinces.