Finland supports the employment of returnees in Afghanistan
Finland supports a new project that aims to improve employment in Afghanistan among returnees and people displaced within the country. SALAM is a project of the United Nations Development Programme, or UNDP, that receives EUR 4.5 million in financing from Finland’s development cooperation funds.
Afghans are the world’s largest immigrant group. The weak security situation and lack of jobs are the main reasons why Afghans leave their home country. It is estimated that as many as one-fifth of Afghanistan’s population consists of returnees.
In addition, Afghanistan has about one million people who, for one reason or another, are displaced within the country.
The numbers of migrants are not expected to decline. Because of the poor security situation, it is impossible for many to return to their home district.
Aside from acute humanitarian assistance, the Government of Afghanistan needs support in the form of longer-term development cooperation so that the situation can be brought under control. SALAM, for its part, addresses this need.
The SALAM project (Support to Afghanistan Livelihoods and Alternatives to Migration) develops sustainable solutions to unemployment by providing training and creating private-sector jobs. Particular attention is given to the increasing employment opportunities for women. In addition, SALAM creates pathways for the safe employment-based migration of Afghans within the country.
One strength of the programme is that it is implemented in cooperation with ILO, the International Labour Organization of the UN, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, as well as the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of Afghanistan.
The target groups of the new project are Afghans returning from Europe, Iran and Pakistan, and people displaced within the country. The project will begin work first in Nangarhar, located in the eastern part of Afghanistan on the border with Pakistan.
The author works as Desk Officer for development cooperation at the Department for the Americas and Asia of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.