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International Partnerships

Waqar: Strengthening livelihoods and health services for displaced people in Afghanistan and Pakistan

This project will build the capacity of health workers to provide maternal and child healthcare © United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
This project will build the capacity of health workers to provide maternal and child healthcare © United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Waqar means dignity in the Urdu, Pashtu and Dari languages, and this project has been designed to prioritise the dignity of displacement-affected people in cross-border regions in Afghanistan and Pakistan by ensuring their strong participation throughout the project cycle. Fostering the agency and self-reliance of displaced people, this project will take a humanitarian-development-peace nexus approach to strengthen social cohesion and bolster impact by meeting both the immediate and longer-term needs of displacement-affected people. The project includes two public-private partnership opportunities for entrepreneurs and a range of strategies for sustainable income generation. It is being implemented through European Union funding provided by the Lives in Dignity (LiD) Grant Facility.

Scope and objectives

Waqar aims to reach more than 280 000 displacement-affected people in Pakistan and Afghanistan through income-generation and service provision activities, which will be chosen with the help of community-led selection committees.

Enhancing ability to earn

Young people and women will enroll in vocational training centres, supporting them to access apprenticeships, life skills training and employment opportunities. Participants will also receive training on farming practices and food processing, and support for existing agriculture businesses, which will boost household incomes.

The project will establish Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) to help shift gender norms and improve access to microcredit, which will feed into a body of learning around how the lives of women impacted by conflict can be supported. Project participants will benefit from business development support, the creation of trade associations, government department-provided agricultural training and being connected to financial service providers.

Improving basic services

The project will also select and build the capacity of existing frontline health workers and establish home-based health posts and midwife-led community health centres. Health workers will deliver integrated services, focusing on sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, nutrition, primary health care, front- line support and referrals to gender-based violence (GBV) services A health entrepreneur model will increase access to low-cost medical commodities by communities, provide income generation for health workers and increase the sustainability of the project activities. This will be combined with health information campaigns, including on the prevention of COVID-19. Community advocacy groups will be supported to strengthen their skills to lobby for displaced people’s access to services and to support communities to advance local accountability.

Waqar will rehabilitate or install water supply systems in communities and health facilities, including solar-powered tube wells, which will be managed by existing village committees, sustained through a VSLA Social and Community Investment Fund, and supported by water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) entrepreneurs that will provide services to communities.

Expected results

Increased income generation and livelihood opportunities

  • Vulnerable women and youth have improved access to employment through technical and vocational training, life skills training and facilitated livelihood opportunities
  • Vulnerable project participants provided with the means to improve their poultry and livestock rearing and small-scale businesses
  • Vulnerable project participants provided with the means to improve their food production and small-scale food processing businesses
  • Women have increased income and access to community-based microfinance through VSLA
  • Women and girls benefit from enhanced business development skills, stronger enterprise associations and greater access to financial services and markets

Increased access to integrated basic services (education, health, water, sanitation and energy)

  • Health systems and staff have an increased ability to provide improved basic health services, GBV support, WASH and COVID-19 information
  • Women, young children and community members have improved access to comprehensive health and hygiene information and services, and GBV at-risk and GBV survivor support
  • Women have improved access to sexual and reproductive health services in their communities and to livelihood opportunities through a public-private partnership model
  • Pregnant and lactating women and young children have improved access to feeding assessments and referrals for malnutrition support
  • Displacement-affected populations have improved health and economic rights and services that are more accountable to their needs
  • Health facilities that have been rehabilitated with handwashing stations, latrines and drinking water sources are now easier to access
  • Displacement-affected people have improved access to drinking water and sanitation services in their villages


The EU-UNOPS Lives in Dignity Grant Facility was founded in 2020. The facility aims to promote development-oriented approaches and solutions to new, recurrent and protracted displacement crises. It funds innovative projects that support the resilience of communities and empower their members through livelihoods and basic services, making a concrete difference in the lives of displaced people.

This project will be jointly undertaken by two organisations with a long history of working in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the international NGO, CARE International (USA) via CARE Afghanistan and CARE Pakistan, and the locally-run Afghan Women’s Resource Centre. The project proposes a multi-country approach with the strong participation of displacement-affected persons and focuses on innovation in service delivery, the development of public-private partnership models and the support of local health and WASH entrepreneurs in line with  the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees. It’s an ambitious and innovative project, characteristic of those funded by the Lives in Dignity Grant Facility.

Implementing organisations

CARE International (USA) via CARE Afghanistan and CARE Pakistan and the Afghan Women’s Resource Centre (AWRC)