First SWITCH-Asia project in Afghanistan officially launched
Despite its high solar energy potential, Afghanistan still relies on traditional solid fuels, especially for cooking and heating. Passive solar buildings that tap abundant solar energy and minimise heat loss through insulation as well as improved, more efficient traditional stoves could reduce consumption of fuel from 20% to 50%, according to the French NGO Geres which has been working in the country since 2002.
Geres is now leading the implementation of the first SWITCH-Asia project in Afghanistan. The Kabul Green Homes project was officially launched in 2016. On November 5, the Kabul Municipality held a press conference to officialise the signing of the partnership agreement with GERES at the presence of media representatives and government officials from concerned line ministries and departments such as the Ministry of Energy and Water, National Environmental Protection Agency and district governors. The event was broadly reported on the radio, on the web and TV channels, both at national and international levels.
Kabul Green Homes is going to be implemented in 15 districts of Kabul in partnership with the Afghanistan Microfinance Association (AMA) and Rural Movement Organisation (RMO). It aims to contribute to the Afghanistan National Development Strategy's main pillars, particularly poverty reduction through a private sector, market-led approach.
Poor communities living in cold regions like much of Afghanistan spend a big part of their incomes on buying fuel for heating and cooking, especially during the long winter months. Reducing the expenditure on fuel would free up some part of the family budget for meeting other basic needs. In the rural areas, women and children spend a lot of their time in collecting fuel wood from the mountains.
The project also intends to tackle the lack of access to finance for green consumption by improving the access to tailored green loans for house improvement for poor people, by working closely with Micro Finance Institutions through AMA.
Similarly it seeks to strengthen the SMEs of craftsmen who provide services in building passive solar houses by giving them trainings and organising them in a Solar House Technicians' Association (SHTA).
Next, the project will select target areas within each district with the support of local authorities and community representatives and start organising its first trainings for SMEs and craftsmen and awareness raising events to promote green homes.
Written by SWITCH-Asia project
Edited by Silvia Sartori (SWITCH-Asia Network Facility)