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Afghan Red Crescent staff and volunteers conduct field-based mission training on 07-12 July 2012 in Samangan province, Northern Afghanistan. Photo: IFRC.


NGOs and civil society in Afghanistan

This report provides a brief history of the development of NGOs and the linked development of CSOs in Afghanistan. It describes the current context and the more immediate challenges faced by these organisations, concluding with a set of recommendations for the Afghan government, donors and NGOs/CSOs themselves, and for the NGO–Taliban dialogue.

Published: 26 November 2020

Authors: Mark Bowden, Shirazuddin Siddiqi

About the authors

Mark Bowden

L4P Senior Expert Adviser

Mark is a Senior Research Associate with the Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI. He has recently retired as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan in UNAMA with responsibility on development coherence, governance, economic development, gender and rule of law. He was also the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in charge of coordination of the United Nations System activities, humanitarian disaster management and development coordination. He served in Afghanistan between November 2012 and March 2017. From April 2008 to November 2012, Mark was the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Designated Official and UNDP Resident Representative for Somalia, and was previously assigned as the Director of Civil Affairs in the United Nations Mission in Sudan. From 2001 to 2005 he was extensively involved in the design of humanitarian reforms as the Chief of the Policy Development and Studies Branch in the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Shirazuddin Siddiqi

Consultant Researcher

Shirazuddin Siddiqi is is an independent consultant with experience in devising and managing developmental and informative programmes for radio and television. In 1994, he fled the civil war in Kabul to join BBC AEP in Peshawar. He was BBC Media Action’s Country Director for Afghanistan until June 2017. He has contributed to the news journalism of BBC News online and the Afghan Service of the BBC World Service. He retains a keen interest in the media, both in Afghanistan and internationally, with a particular focus on the development of sustainable strategies for socially-oriented media projects.