UNODC provides motorbikes vocational training course to Afghan farmers

11 August 2011 - One of the goals of the UNODC programme in Afghanistan is to provide alternative livelihood opportunities. This support is especially extended, under project AFG/I87 'Capacity Building and Alternative Livelihood', to the farmers who are engaged in drug cultivation and dealings so that they can leave the drugs trade and become involve din constructive affairs. A vocational training course was conducted by UNODC in collaboration with a local Afghan NGO called Humanitarian Action for the People of Afghanistan (HAPA) in the Arghandab district of Kandahar.

UNODC training was provided to 12 farmers who have left poppy cultivation and were looking for alternate livelihoods. The course provided them with an opportunity in their own residential areas to be trained in motorbike repair skills which were in high demand in the district. This is an important occasion for the farmers to acquire knowledge to generate income and become a socially integrated person in their communities.

The motorbike repairing training is a good example of several beneficial programs that cover different vocations.  During the course (which commenced on 09/11/2010 and was successfully concluded on 08/05/2011) the trainees learnt how to identify different reasons for motorbikes break downs and how to make necessary repairs. Along with this, the trainees also attended literacy lessons which enabled them at the end to read and write numbers and letters and compose simple texts.

UNODC has been promoting joint programs with other UN agencies and government counterparts such as the World Food Programme (WFP), the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN), the Public Health office, the Social Affairs office among others, to improve the well being of people, control drug menace and decrease crimes. Meetings between UNODC and WFP authorities in Kandahar led to the WFP to providing their humanitarian assistance for the participants in this particular course. Subsequently WFP provided varied rations of food to the trainee farmers during the 6 months - the entire course period-, including wheat (300 kg. per farmer), cooking oil (22 kg. per farmer) and pulses (25 kg. per farmer).

The food was distributed to the trainees in presence of the WFP representative Mr. Haji Abdul Hameed and Social Affairs representative Mr. Habibullah. Trainees expressed their appreciation for the engagement shown by UNODC and WFP.