Grassroots Human Security Grant Aid to Afghanistan
December 22, 2004
- The Government of Japan has decided to extend a grassroots human security grant aid of up to a total of 3,306,259 U.S. dollars (363,688,490 yen) for the projects to construct vocational training centers for former combatants in various regions in Afghanistan (ten projects in total). The signing of grant contracts took place on December 22 (Wed) at the Japanese Embassy in Afghanistan between Mr. Motohiko Kato, Japanese Charge d'Affaires ad interim to Afghanistan, and ten recipient organizations in total to receive the aid.
- In Afghanistan, a peace process began to develop from 2002 when the internal conflict that had lasted more than 20 years ended, and on October 9 this year, a presidential election was held after the adoption of a new constitution in accordance with the Constitution Loya Jirga. At a time when the peace process is developing, it is necessary to improve the environment to a point where people do not need to take up arms and to prevent recurrence of conflicts, as well as to maintain public order. Based on the recognition that it is extremely important to proceed with the demobilization of the ex-national army and armed factions by Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) to consolidate peace in Afghanistan, Japan, as the leading country for the DDR of 100,000 ex-national army combatants has proactively provided assistance for that purpose. In light of the importance of supporting the DDR, in particular, Japan is conducting specific measures in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
- The Pilot Phase of the DDR was implemented in October 2003, and the Main Phase was started from May this year in various regions of Afghanistan. For former combatants who have not been receiving sufficient education, however, it is quite difficult for them to reintegrate into society, and there are concerns that these former combatants, should they be forced into unstable lives, could become a cause of public disorder.
At the same time, in a country where the existing infrastructure was destroyed during the long-lasting internal conflict, demand for such skilled workers as mechanics, welders and sheet metal workers is very much increasing, mainly in major cities where reconstruction assistance is under way. Because the technical level of skilled workers is low in the country where the internal conflict continued, only a few are able to get such jobs. It is therefore expected that former combatants will be able to have more employment opportunities if they acquire professional skills.
- As part of assistance to promote the social reintegration of disarmed and demobilized soldiers across Afghanistan, these projects are intended to construct vocational training centers to give them opportunities to acquire technical skills. As a result, trainers from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs who were trained by JICA experts will teach former combatants mechanical, welding, metal and carpentry techniques. It is expected that these former combatants will acquire necessary techniques and engage in economic activities so that the local society will be rehabilitated and stabilized, the DDR process will be accelerated and the consolidation of peace in Afghanistan will be further promoted.
These projects reflect the philosophy of human security as they try to achieve the consolidation of peace in Afghanistan while restoring the community and to create peace through raising the capacity building of human resources.
- The present assistance will be carried out as part of the humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance which the Government of Japan pledged to extend at the International Conference on Afghanistan held in March 2004.
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