Green and clean culture promotion is a project for advocacy on decreasing deforestation, awareness on nonstandardized coal mining, and allocation of 5% revenue of natural resources to local people. this project was sponsored by The Liaison Office
The Influential Women and Youth Green Home Organization held the inaugural event to promote clean and green culture. The program was held in a completely different place with the participation of dozens of Green Home members, volunteers, environmentalists, civil activists, journalists, and locals in a wood and charcoal shop. At the beginning of the program, Ms. Zahra Yagana, an environmental activist and head of IWYGHO, introduced the program to promote clean and green culture and gave information about the next plans of the Green Home. She was followed by Engineer Ezatullah Siddiqui, Technical Deputy of the Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA). He spoke specifically about the effects of deforestation and coal use on the environment, as well as climate change, the effects of forests on the earth's climate and the environment, and encouraged participants to keep the environment clean. They also thanked the influential Women and Youth Green Home Organization for their effective and different programs. Subsequently, an environmental play showing the effects of deforestation on their environment was staged by the Green Home Theater volunteer team. Following the program, Mr. Ismail Qarizadeh, a representative of The Liaison Office, provided brief information about the three conducted researches on deforestation.
IWYGHO organized training on basic environmental topics in Kabul province. This workshop had over 2,000 school students from 20 Kabul schools. Environment Department of IWYGHO trained students about environmental pollution, environmental protection, renewable energy and practice of green and clean culture. At the end of this training, the “Clean and Green School Competition” were organized among schools. As a result, 3 best schools were chosen and appreciated by IWYGHO. This training was organized for 3 days. The main goal of this training was to upgrade the environmental knowledge of school students. IWYGHO believes that we can tackle environmental issues in cities and villages of Afghanistan if citizens have correct awareness about the environment and environmental issues.
Influential Women and Youths Green Home Organization (IWYGHO) organized the first Environmental Culture Night with the participation of tens of university students, poets, writers, and social activists in Kabul. IWYGHO organized this program in order to make environmental practices part of people’s culture. The event was celebrated with declamation, singing songs, presenting essays, debates, and discussions on the relation of the environment with culture. IWYGHO believes that protecting the environment and a clean city needs widespread sympathy among all citizens. Afghanistan needs to have a good and healthy culture more than technologies to reduce environmental pollutions. It is necessary to consider and put forward environmental concern as a crisis rather than just an issue.
Tens of IWYGHO members protested against severe air pollution in Kabul by wearing Black Masks and marched for two kilometers in Shahrak-e-Haji Nabi, West of Kabul. This protest aimed to get the attention of authorities toward air pollution. In this protest, protestors distributed new masks to other citizens as well to at least avoid the further spread of communicable diseases. Citizens of Kabul are facing many difficulties during most of the seasons of the year because of air pollution. According to statistics from the Ministry of Public Health, annually tens of Kabul citizens suffer from different diseases because of air pollution.
IWYGHO organized the first bicycle race under name of “Pedal for Environment” in Bamiyan province. In this competition, more than 50 cyclists from different clubs of Bamiyan had participated. The main goal of this competition was to get the attention of authorities and citizens toward environmental protection. Green Home is hopeful that such kinds of programs will bring positive changes to the perception of people toward environmental issues. Also, it attracts the attention of NGOs and INGOs toward environmental protection. In IWYGHO, the environment has been a priority.
To attract the attention of citizens toward environmental protection, IWYGHO organized a running competition under the name of “Run for Environment” in West of Kabul. Participants of this competition came from different parts of Kabul. Environmental pollution and concerns became a huge issue for the citizens of Kabul. Air pollution, water pollution, and disposal of waste in Kabul became one of the causes of mental health and public issues for citizens. IWYGHO believes that environmental issues such as air and water pollution cannot be solved by only taking action by authorities. Active and responsible participation of Kabul citizens is necessary to solve environmental issues.
On Wednesday October 28th, 2019 Influential Women and Youths Green Home Organization (IWYGHO) in collaboration with The Liaison Office (TLO) organized dissemination of researches and advocacy for research finding under the title of “The Main Reasons of Deforestation in South-East Region of Afghanistan” and raising awareness about deforestation at Sharan, center of Paktia Province. In this ceremony, the Deputy provincial Governor, Academic vice-president of Paktia University, representatives of the Agriculture Department had participated. At first, Abdur Rahim Khosty, the representative of TLO presented activities and operations of TLO in Paktia and other regions of Afghanistan. Mr. Khosty mentioned that TLO operates in the irrigation, advocacy, and awareness sectors. Also, he talked about the importance of forests and the fact that one tree can produce oxygen for 18 people and forests can reduce air and sound pollution. Second, Dr. Ahamadzai, Academic Vice-President of Paktia University expressed his gratitude toward IWYGHO and TLO for arranging the program. He added university students and professors will do their responsibility toward the environment and forest protection. The main reasons for deforestation are; poverty, insecurity, and lack of awareness about the importance of forests. Ms. Zuhra Motahar Ahmadzai, Deputy Governor of Paktia in her speech mentioned the importance of forests. Forest act as a buffer against natural disasters like floods, landslides, and avalanches. Additionally, forest keeps the air clean, increases precipitation, and increases the level of ground waters while the forest is beneficial for the environment and human mental health. Mohammad Aman Sokoot on behalf of IWYGHO talked about the activities and mission of IWYGHO and disseminated findings of “The Main Reasons of Deforestation in South-East Region of Afghanistan” research.
On Tuesday October 29th, 2019, IWYGHO with the collaboration of TLO organized a one-day training program for people of Paktia to increase knowledge and awareness of people about the root causes of deforestation in the South-East region of Afghanistan at Shewak district of Paktia. This training was led by Abdur Rahim Khosty representative of TLO. It had over 50 participants from the Shewak district. The training discussed the importance of research’s finding in the protection of forest, types of forest and their protection, the impact of war and illegal deforestation on forests, monitoring the impact of chemical usage on the forest, lack of implementation of the law, expansion of agricultural land, monitoring of forest in last 4 decades and causes of deforestation. At the end of this training, participants stated that poverty and lack of access to alternative fuels are the reasons for deforestation. on the other hand, mafias’ interests also accelerated deforestation. At the end of this training, participants suggested the following solution to prevent deforestation; 1. Creation of local police force 2. Suppression of illegal mine operation 3. construction of barriers such as barbed wire in border areas 4. Law enforcement and implementation 5. Providing alternative fuel for wood 6. Creation of job opportunities for local people 7. Plantation of Fruit trees in deforested lands 8. Providing clean energy or clean fuel.
Environmental Debate and Research Dissemination On Sunday, October 27th, 2019, IWYGHO with the collaboration of TLO advocated for the finding of research “The Main Reason of Deforestation in South-East Region of Afghanistan” through debates and raising awareness program for people of Khost. This program was organized in presence of Mohammad Halim Fedayee governor of Khost province, Dean of Khost University, Director of Agriculture Department, Director of Environment Department, tens of youths, university students, and representative of Khost districts. In this program, the governor of Khost province and the Director of the Agriculture Department, IWYGHO, and TLO discussed the significant role of forests in the environment and causes of deforestation. In the beginning, Mohammad Halim Fedayee governor of Khost province talked about the provincial plans regarding solving deforestation issues and the importance of forests. He added that protection of forest is every citizen’s responsibility and every individual should take part in the protection of forest and prevention of illegal cutting of forest and deforestation. He requested people to take their responsibilities toward forest protection and people supported him reciprocally. Additionally, Mohammad Aman Sookot on behalf of IWYGHO introduced activities and operation of IWYGHO for environmental protection. He added that this program was organized to advocate for the finding research and bring it to practice which will help us to achieve sustainable development goals. Afterward, Wali Yosufzai, the assistant professor of agriculture at the Shaikh Zahid University of Khost said that agriculture is the main reason for deforestation. He added that people for extending agricultural land log the forest trees which has huge negative consequences such as the increase of flood level, reduction of land fertility and soil erosion. At last, the IWYGHO team met with Khost province officials and local people and advocated for forest protection, also make them aware of the issue of deforestation and the benefits of the forest.
On Sunday, October 5th, 2019, representatives of IWYGHO during their visit to Khost province, met with Khost’s Environment Department Officials. In this meeting, they discussed the findings of the research on “The Main Reason of Deforestation in South-East Region of Afghanistan” and the environmental condition of the province. Mr Mohammad Dawood Shafe-ee the Khost province governor said: Environmental condition of Khost province is good and the environmental crisis is controllable until now, however, the increase of cars and machinery with non-standardized fuels become a concern for the environment of this province. Likewise, lack of proper canalization is a threat to underground water pollution. More seriously, deforestation is another threat to the environment of this province. Moreover, forests are one of the important natural resources which have a significant role in the storage of underground water, air pollution reduction, soil protection, flood reduction and protection of biodiversity. In the last years, forests were habitats for diverse groups of animals but due to deforestation, the habitats of those animals are destroyed and they abandoned the place. At last, Environment Department Officials of Khost province appreciated the activities of IWYGHO and the partner organizations regarding environment protection activities.
IWYGHO with the collaboration of TLO organized a conference and advocated for finding of “Real Cost of Coal” and “Allocation of Natural Resources’ Revenue in Afghanistan” researches which raised awareness of local people. This conference was organized in presence of officials from Mine and petroleum Department, Natural Disaster Management Department, Environment Department, Agriculture Department, Communication Department, Transport Department, Mawlana Jalal Uddin Balkhy University, representatives of different districts of Samanga and youths at Mawlana Jalal Uddin Balkhy University. Research under the title of “Real Cost of Coal” is about social and environmental impacts of coal mining in the Dara-e-Sof district of Samangan province and the research under the title of “Allocation of Natural Resources’ Revenue in Afghanistan” is focused on the allocation of 5% of natural resources’ revenue to provincial development including mine industry. In the beginning, Habibullah Zahedi on behalf of the IWYGHO team introduced the team and the organization’s activities and area of operation. He said that IWYGHO was established in November 2017 with a mission of bringing positive changes and sustainable development in our society with the support of women and youths. IWYGHO has three departments; Environment, Social and Culture, also Economic Departments. Environment Department organized many beneficial programs and advocacy related to the environment in Kabul and Bamyan provinces. Now, we are implementing activities of IWYGHO in Samangan, Khost and Paktia provinces. Then, Engineer Abdul Latif Farhan Wahedi Chief/Chairman of Mines and Petroleum Department of Samangan Province talked about conditions of mines extraction situation in the province. He said that mining companies are owned by some strongmen (warlord and mafia) and Mineworkers are not aware of standard working conditions. Also, standards of occupational health safety are not considered at all. Mr. Wahedi emphasized that insecurity is the main cause of previously-mentioned problems which led to the point that the coal mines of Dara-e-Suf have gone under the control of s local Jihade commanders. After that, Abdul Khalil Karimi, the chairman of the environment department of Samangan province gave his speech. He talked about the negative impacts of coal mine extraction on society and the environment. He said that none of the coal mining companies have licenses from National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) and they have no intended program for reduction of the negative impact of mining on the environment. Sebghatullah Seyas Head of Natural Disaster Management Department of Samangan province said: from an occupational health perspective, the working conditions of mineworkers are not safe. Also, personal protection equipment, modern technology and alarming system such as gas alarm device is not accessible for workers therefore, he believes that the lack of standards and monitoring causes to increase casualties due to lack of standardized coal extraction. Head of Transport Department of Samangan province gave his speech. He said that coal extraction had both negative and positive impacts on society. He added that extraction in consideration of standards and spending its revenue for the development of society would have a positive impact on society. Moreover, he said that it was very necessary to return the 5% of natural resources to local people.
on Saturday October 26th, 1398 at Samangan province, IWYGHO with the collaboration of TLO organized a one-day workshop with focus on the findings of “Real Cost of Coal” and “Social and Environmental Impact of Coal Extraction”. This workshop had 40 students of Samangan university which most of them were residents of the Dara-e-Sof district. This training discussed the evaluation of coal extraction condition in Dara-e-Sof district of Samangan province, evaluation of coal extraction and its social and environmental impacts, the economic condition of local people and coal extraction, illegal coal mining, human rights and illegal coal mining, labors’ rights, corruption and quota of revenue of coal extraction. In this workshop participants shared some of their concerns with the IWYGHO team and requested the team to consider their concerns in future programs and meetings with policymakers and responsible authorities. Their concerns are as follows; - Affected lands should be restored from coal extraction; - Mineworkers should be hired from local people not outside of the province; - Awareness about personal protection and occupational safety should be raised; - Attention should be paid to the deteriorated lands to be restored from mining; - New and standardized infrastructures should be built; - Coal mining workers’ heir or the beneficiary should be supported. For instance, those families who lost their family members in coal mining should be paid some percentage of the revenue.
Habibullah Zahedi, Omid Askary and Naim Wafayee, the representatives of IWYGHO met with Abdul Khalil Karimi, the director of the environment department, engineer Abdul Latif Farhan Wahedi, the chairman of mine and petroleum department and Sibghatullah Seyas, the Chairman of Natural Disaster Management Department of Samangan Province. They have discussed the conditions of coal extraction in Dara-e-Suf district of Samangan province, evaluation of environmental impacts of coal mining, legalization of coal extraction companies, creation of the secure working condition, monitoring of the implementation of Article 84 of Afghanistan’s mine law (allocating 5% of natural resources revenue) in Samangan province and impact of coal mining on income and infrastructure of local areas. Control of Mafia over coal extraction and illegal coal extraction are among the biggest problem in the province which will cause irreversible impacts on the environment and society. These officials reiterated that urgent action and advocacy is needed regarding illegal and non-standardized mining. In this way, illegal extraction will be prevented and the natural resources and environment of Afghanistan will be protected. Also, social services and development in consideration of natural resources revenue allocation will be done. Another issue that the official of this province emphasized was awareness of local people has a significant role in solving problems and one of the main goals of IWYGHO is to raise awareness among unprivileged provinces of Afghanistan. All these departments appreciated the activities of IWYGHO regarding raising awareness programs and advocacy campaigns in Samangan province and offered their cooperation with IWYGHO.