This report highlights key challenges and dilemmas that the humanitarian community in general, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in particular, are facing in Afghanistan today. The report concludes with two overarching recommendations. The first is that in order to enhance the perception of neutrality, independence and impartiality of their humanitarian activities, particularly in those areas of the country where working with legitimate local authorities is no longer possible, NGOs should establish a Humanitarian Consortium that would distinguish itself from other actors on the ground by a recognizable symbol (e.g. pink vehicles or a particular logo) and by a set of principled, clear and transparent operational guidelines. The second relates to the urgent need to launch a communications strategy aimed at the general public and all belligerents to explain the principles, objectives and modus operandi of consortium agencies. This should include efforts to ensure that the vernacular media provide a balanced presentation of humanitarian activities, a campaign to sensitise decision-makers at the sub-national level (provincial councils, governors, leading mullahs), including efforts directed at influencing the leadership of the insurgency on humanitarian access and the rights of civilians caught up in conflict.
NGOs and Humanitarian Reform Mapping Study: Afghanistan Report