Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers
WADAN has centers funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. through the Colombo Plan drug treatment programs for men, women and children in Badakhshan, Farah, Ghazni, Helmand, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar, Khost, Kunar, Logar, Maidan-Wardak, Nangarhar, Paktia, and Zabul Provinces. Some locations offer residential care; others treat clients in their homes. Centers for women all have programs for the women’s children to receive basic care and educational skills while their mothers are treated. In areas where there are no inpatient services for women, home based treatment and counseling is made available to women. Outreach components offer community education regarding the dangers of using illegal drugs and misusing prescription medication as well as growing poppy and trafficking in illegal substances.
Child Protection Centers
The Swiss Foundation of Terre des Hommes, headquartered in Lausanne, funds our Child Protection Center in Jalalabad. The center seeks to detect, prevent and protect children from all forms of violence through working with at-risk children and their families. Children are provided literacy and vocational skills improving their ability to reintegrate into their families and community. Parents are guided to understand the value of educating and protecting their children. And the capacities of police, government officials, and other juvenile justice stakeholders are strengthened.
Targeting the Ultra Poor (TUP) Program
Through the Microfinance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan (MISFA) funded by the World Bank, in Kunar and Laghman Provinces WADAN implements the TUP Program. TUP provides primarily ultra-poor female-headed households the ability to become food secure and financially solvent. Over a two-year period participants are taught the needed skills, provided a living stipend, and given productive farm animals to start their chosen enterprise. They receive literacy education and are encouraged to send their children to school. The program also provides financial education; participants are taught banking fundamentals including how to start and maintain savings accounts.
WADAN works with people of all ages and in different walks of life to inspire, enable and educate them to be productive and involved citizens. We address the many needs of Afghans today through a wide variety of mechanisms to fulfill our mission. Inclusion of men, women, youth and children offers hope that our vision for a peaceful, drug free, democratic and developed Afghanistan becomes reality.
Our first project, funded by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), was to commemorate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26, 2003 in Gardez, Paktia. The theme was “Drugs: Treatment Works.” WADAN’s first drug treatment center, a residential center for men – with home-based treatment for women, opened in Gardez in March 2004 and is still in operation over a decade later. The poppy remains Afghanistan’s largest cash crop and well over a million Afghans, toddlers to the elderly, are addicted to heroin or other narcotics. WADAN operates treatment centers for men, women, adolescents and children throughout the country. We offer community based education about the dangers of drugs and enlist schoolteachers, Mullahs and Maliks (community leaders) to advocate against using, producing or trafficking illicit drugs. In March 2016, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior reported that 3,000,000 Afghans are involved in drug trafficking and there is one counter narcotics officer for every 1,200 traffickers. WADAN’s anti-drug messaging extends through all of our work. Our treatment centers counsel the family members of patients undergoing addiction treatment and our outreach education encourages communities to welcome recovering addicts when they return home.
Civic education is central to our work; first through a community empowerment and reintegration project in 2004, funded by Save the Children, Sweden/Norway (SCS/N), which worked with 160 village shuras (councils), equally divided by gender, in the eastern provinces of Laghman and Nangarhar. A dozen years later these shuras still meet to address the same issues they were created to address: political revival, national unity and reconstruction efforts. The Save the Children funded community based primary schools for which those shuras served as Parent Teacher Associations operated until 2011, the final year was privately financed, and they were phased out as national government schools were opened.
We nurture political revival through trainings about understanding democracy, its principles and practices and how to apply them for the greater good; national unity is a work in progress, as is reconstruction. WADAN promotes building Afghanistan from the grassroots, starting with the rural areas, and engaging traditional governance figures as well as officials from the central government ministries. We work closely with our funders and with the beneficiaries and all those who are necessary to assure that what is accomplished is sustainable. WADAN’s long-running National of Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded work with maliks, local leaders concentrated on peace building, election education, the importance of anti-corruption efforts and drug control. The National Maliks Association was formed in 2005 as the result of these trainings and now stands as a government registered association. We involve maliks in facilitating security in volatile areas and this allows WADAN to work in risky places where others will not go.
WADAN’s focus on human rights, including women’s rights, is furthered through our work with maliks and with religious leaders, including mullahs, the traditional influential figures of importance in village life. Working with these two sets of traditional leadership figures and with the involvement of district and central level provincial government officials, including departments of women’s affairs, WADAN has facilitated the participation of rural and urban women in nation building.
WADAN has trained women in voting procedure and campaigning for seats on Provincial Councils and Parliament. In the last national election, religious leaders appeared in television spots with women to promote women’s participation in election processes. Over the years, town hall meetings across the country have been well attended and thoroughly aired issues of national and local interest.
Education is a primary need in Afghanistan; our latest work funded in Uruzgan Province by Save the Children International (SCI), which established 120 community based schools, ended in 2015 as security in that southern province deteriorated. Also in Uruzgan Province, WADAN trained young women, recent high school graduates in a Save the Children funded program named Child of Uruzgan that taught them to be primary schoolteachers in villages that have no national government primary schools.
There is no lack of interest in self-determination and embracing the best that democratic governance could offer but there remains decades of work ahead once security and stabilization succeed.