The Green Afghanistan Initiative (GAIN) which is run by six UN agencies, led by the World Food Programme (WFP) is a gardening and literacy project for Afghan women and ex-combatants. GAIN seeks to pave the way to peace and prosperity in the war-torn nation.
The UN press release
says that the project is aimed at reversing environmental damage wrought by decades of conflict, uncontrolled grazing and illegal logging and will give participants the chance to make a fresh start through literacy classes and setting up their own nurseries to generate an income.
“These nurseries are making a huge difference to the lives of ordinary Afghan people and also to our environment,” said Obaidulla Ghafouri, the programme’s coordinator, at the GAIN's Heart centre, noting that rural communities and farmers’ livelihoods have been impacted by deforestation.
The nurseries provide regular jobs for ex-combatants and also for women, who can support their families with income earned while attending literacy classes.
Since 2005 more than 500 GAIN nurseries have been set up throughout Afghanistan and by the end of this year, more than 5 million plant saplings will have been grown and over 1 million trees planted.
The country is prone to desertification which has been exacerbated by limited rainfall, mismanagement, and abuse of natural resources, droughts, floods and population growth.
GAIN-backed provincial re-forestation centres – seeking to boost public awareness on the issue – will be established, serving as both agricultural knowledge centres and high-yield nurseries.