Human Development

Human Development is a broad concept with emphasis on the richness of human life. It is about enhancing the range of social, economic, cultural and political choices for individuals. Enlarging human choices, in turn, is linked with capabilities and functioning of the individuals and making available the opportunities to individuals to use those capabilities in the socio-cultural, economic and political spheres in their unique contexts.

Thus, Human development as a concept seeks to empower individuals to be at the center of all development efforts. In the contemporary human development discourse, the framework of human development serves as the principle intellectual and normative construct for achieving economic growth in combination with social justice and opportunities for all members of the society to participate in and equally benefit from the development taking place.

 In 1990, the Human Development Index (HDI) was created to emphasize the people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a county, and not economic growth. HDI measures and takes three key dimensions into consideration in its ranking of countries and territories. These dimensions are (1) A long and healthy life, (2) Access to knowledge, (3) Decent Standard of living. The premise is that improvements in these three dimensions will lead to a holistic progress in other areas of life for the communities and populations. Thus, human development is a holistic concept that takes into consideration all dimensions of human progress and prosperity.

Afghanistan has scored consistently low on the Human Development Index, since the creation of HDI in 1990.  In 2022, Afghanistan was ranked 170 among 191 countries, with its HDI score of 0.496 (2022), which constitutes a below average ranking in the low human development group. Despite the progress made in the two decades before the collapse of the republic in 2021, Afghanistan is still faced with a myriad of challenges in the areas of education, health, poverty eradication, livelihood creation, economic growth and governance.

The fact is Afghanistan has consistently struggled with achieving the benchmarks of MDGS and the subsequent SDGs in spite of massive international aid money pouring into the country in the previous two decades. With the change of the context in Afghanistan since August 2021, the pace of progress with achieving SDGs will certainly slow down for an unforeseeable future, especially considering the suspension of the development aid for Afghanistan. This will certainly have implications for the gains of the past two decades as well if the deadlock remains between the international community and the current authorities of the country.

The current context of the country is largely an emergency context, where large proportions of the Afghan populations are struggling with access to basic human needs. There is no denying the fact that the provision of emergency relief and humanitarian assistance services to the affected Afghan communities is of paramount importance in the existing context of the country. However, enlarging the current scale of the developmental activities in the country is equally important for putting the country back on track in terms of sustained socio-economic development through partnership with the Afghan communities.

We at ODIR have identified a number of areas for engagement in the current context for contributing to the socio-economic development and the overall human development agenda of the country. These areas include but are not limited to:

  • ▪ Early Recovery

  • ▪ Sustainable Livelihoods

  • ▪ Small & Medium Sized Enterprise Development

  • ▪ Education

  • ▪ Human Capital Development

  • ▪ Skills Development in Emerging Technologies (e.g Industry 4.0)

  • ▪ Mental Health & Psychological Support

  • ▪ Youth Capacity Building

  • ▪ Women Empowerment

  • ▪ CSOs & CBOs Capacity Building

  • ▪ Rule of Law & Governance

Our areas of engagement will continue to expand as we gain access to the necessary resources. We seek partnering with the public sector, international aid agencies, other non-profit and civil society organizations, private sector, academia and most importantly the Afghan communities (i.e. use collective impact models), for identifying adequate solutions for the pressing human development challenges facing Afghanistan.

Our team will make every effort to find the common grounds for all national and international actors, including the current authorities of the country, to work collaboratively for contributing to “Human Development” and “Positive Peace” in Afghanistan.

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