CSFO operates in five provinces of eastern, Southern and northern Afghanistan: Afghanistan has been the scene of heavy fight and conflict with much infrastructure destroyed and large internal displacement and out-migrations. The project target group is the entire rural population with special focus on the poor, which accounts for 70% of the rural population. The main characteristics of the households are;
- Social stratification is marked and the most relevant factor in this regard is access to agriculture land and irrigation. Competition on natural resources is often a reason for conflict.
- Farming systems are generally mixed, with the vast majority of farming households owning livestock. Livestock’s plays an important role as a source of food and livelihoods, serves as a valuable source of farm power and constitute the farmers bank.
- The majority of households, rich and poor, have diversified income sources, with many earning from farm and non-farm activities. For the majority of poor households, often landless and land poor, labor is the most important source of income. Labor, migration, both inside and outside Afghanistan, is a critical strategy in obtaining additional income.
- In the absence of small medium size enterprises, it is not production but trade that is the main home-grown alternative to on-farm generated livelihoods.
- Many households are indebted, rich and poor alike and indebtedness is a factor in both the creation and perpetuation of poverty. Dependencies created and continued through the provision of credit are the important characteristics of social relationships and often limit autonomous decision on the use of farm resources.
- Structural gender inequity in rural Afghanistan is sever and marked by limited access of women and decision making, access to education and ownership of resources such as land and livestock. Women are involved in many production and income generation activities that contribute to the overall household income.
- For the majority of HH, health care is the second largest area of expenditure and major factor in creating indebtedness, which leads to depletion of assets, as HH sell those assets to pay for care and treatment