Medair – Water and War in Bamyan, Afghanistan

It is ten years since the Taliban lost power in Afghanistan. Over 800 billion dolllars worth of aid has flooded the country since the coalition forces took control. In October, 2011, Kate Holt traveled with the international NGO, Medair, to photograph their Water and Sanitation (WASH) programmes in the province of Bamyan…

Community members participate in a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting in the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011.

Community members participate in a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting in the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011.

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Community members participate in a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting after which they receive red plastic buckets to help them implement what they have learnt in the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011.

Community members participate in a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting after which they receive red plastic buckets to help them implement what they have learnt in the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011.

Community members participate in a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting after which they receive red plastic buckets to help them implement what they have learnt in the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011.

A young girl herds her sheep in the evening light near to the village of Bostock, in the province of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 18th October, 2011.

A young girl herds her sheep in the evening light near to the village of Bostock, in the province of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 18th October, 2011.

A girl leads donkeys while her father stands on the plough behind in a village in the region of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 21st October, 2011. As a result of a prolonged drought the harvest this year is much less than it has been in previous years and many people are worried that they may not have enough food to see them through the winter months.

A girl leads donkeys while her father stands on the plough behind in a village in the region of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 21st October, 2011. As a result of a prolonged drought the harvest this year is much less than it has been in previous years and many people are worried that they may not have enough food to see them through the winter months.

The wife of Yousef, who has six children, washes potatoes at their house in the village of Borlak Paein in Bamyan Afghanistan on October 21st 2011. As a result of a prolonged drought his crop is not as good as it has been and he has had to buy in a lot of food for the winter. His village have never had WASH but have heard of the benefits and would like to see the programme implemented.

The wife of Yousef, who has six children, washes potatoes at their house in the village of Borlak Paein in Bamyan Afghanistan on October 21st 2011. As a result of a prolonged drought his crop is not as good as it has been and he has had to buy in a lot of food for the winter. His village have never had WASH but have heard of the benefits and would like to see the programme implemented.

Masomah, who was widowed when her husband was killed during the war with the Russians, poses for photographs with her two grandchildren who now live with her after their mother left to marry another man when her husband died. She is a beneficiary of Medairs vulnerable persons programme as she has no means of income or place of her own to live.

Masomah, who was widowed when her husband was killed during the war with the Russians, poses for photographs with her two grandchildren who now live with her after their mother left to marry another man when her husband died. She is a beneficiary of Medairs vulnerable persons programme as she has no means of income or place of her own to live.

Photos of the prophet Mohammed decorate the walls of a mosque where women take part in a WASH training, organised by Medair in the village mosque in Obuqa, in the region of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 22nd October, 2011.

Photos of the prophet Mohammed decorate the walls of a mosque where women take part in a WASH training, organised by Medair in the village mosque in Obuqa, in the region of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 22nd October, 2011.

Women take part in a WASH training, organised by Medair in the village mosque in Obuqa, in the region of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 22nd October, 2011.

Women take part in a WASH training, organised by Medair in the village mosque in Obuqa, in the region of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 22nd October, 2011.

Community members participate in a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting after which they receive red plastic buckets to help them implement what they have learnt in the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011

Community members participate in a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting after which they receive red plastic buckets to help them implement what they have learnt in the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011

The shoes of community members who are participating in a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting are left behind at the doorway, in the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011.

The shoes of community members who are participating in a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting are left behind at the doorway, in the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011.

Community members participate in a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting after which they receive red plastic buckets to help them implement what they have learnt in the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011.

Community members participate in a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting after which they receive red plastic buckets to help them implement what they have learnt in the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011.

A view down one of the valleys in which Medair work near the the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011.

A view down one of the valleys in which Medair work near the the village of Talaqul, Bamyan, Afghanistan, on the 19th October, 2011.

Small houses dot the landscape in valleys in which Medair have WASH projects throughout Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 21st October, 2011.

Small houses dot the landscape in valleys in which Medair have WASH projects throughout Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 21st October, 2011.

Yousef, who has six children, holds up his harvest of potatoes at his house in the village of Borlak Paein in Bamyan Afghanistan on October 21st 2011. As a result of a prolonged drought his crop is not as good as it has been and he has had to buy in a lot of food for the winter. His village have never had WASH but have heard of the benefits and would like to see the programme implemented.

Yousef, who has six children, holds up his harvest of potatoes at his house in the village of Borlak Paein in Bamyan Afghanistan on October 21st 2011. As a result of a prolonged drought his crop is not as good as it has been and he has had to buy in a lot of food for the winter. His village have never had WASH but have heard of the benefits and would like to see the programme implemented.

Women collect water from a stream in the village of Borlak Paein in Bamyan Afghanistan on October 21st 2011. Their village has never had WASH but have heard of the benefits and would like to see the programme implemented.

Women collect water from a stream in the village of Borlak Paein in Bamyan Afghanistan on October 21st 2011. Their village has never had WASH but have heard of the benefits and would like to see the programme implemented.

A young girl feeds her goats in the village of Borlak Paein in Bamyan Afghanistan on October 21st 2011. Her village has never had WASH but have heard of the benefits and would like to see the programme implemented.in the region of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 21st October, 2011.

A young girl feeds her goats in the village of Borlak Paein in Bamyan Afghanistan on October 21st 2011. Her village has never had WASH but have heard of the benefits and would like to see the programme implemented.in the region of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 21st October, 2011.

Masomah, who was widowed when her husband was killed during the war with the Russians, poses for photographs with her two grandchildren who now live with her after their mother left to marry another man when her husband died. She is a beneficiary of Medairs vulnerable persons programme as she has no means of income or place of her own to live.

Masomah, who was widowed when her husband was killed during the war with the Russians, poses for photographs with her two grandchildren who now live with her after their mother left to marry another man when her husband died. She is a beneficiary of Medairs vulnerable persons programme as she has no means of income or place of her own to live.

Masomah, who was widowed when her husband was killed during the war with the Russians, poses for photographs with her two grandchildren who now live with her after their mother left to marry another man when her husband died. She is a beneficiary of Medairs vulnerable persons programme as she has no means of income or place of her own to live.

Masomah, who was widowed when her husband was killed during the war with the Russians, poses for photographs with her two grandchildren who now live with her after their mother left to marry another man when her husband died. She is a beneficiary of Medairs vulnerable persons programme as she has no means of income or place of her own to live.

A woman holds her child who is suffering from acute dioriah in the district hospital in Panjob in the province of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 22nd October, 2011. The doctor in the hospital said that he has noticed that villages in which WASH programmes have run have much less cases of water related diseases.

A woman holds her child who is suffering from acute dioriah in the district hospital in Panjob in the province of Bamyan, Afghanistan on the 22nd October, 2011. The doctor in the hospital said that he has noticed that villages in which WASH programmes have run have much less cases of water related diseases.

It is ten years since the Taliban lost power in Afghanistan. Over 800 billion dolllars worth of aid has flooded the country since the coalition forces took control.

 

But despite this Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world with more than 92 % of the population having no proper sanitation; and four out of five people having no access to safe drinking water. Cholera, diarrhea and dysentery are common, and over twenty percent of children under the age of five will die as a result of water related diseases.

 

In October, 2011, Kate Holt was asked to travel with the international NGO, Medair, to photograph their Water and Sanitation (WASH) programmes in the province of Bamyan in Western Afghanistan. The communities visited were extremely remote and most would be cut off from the outside world for nearly seven months once the winter snow fell in November.

 

For the last two years Medair’s WASH teams have assisted over 40,000 people. They have provided communities with hygiene education, protected fresh water springs from contamination, built wells, latrines and stand pipes and encouraged communities to develop hygenic practices as part of their daily lives.

 

This project was produced into a multi-media slideshow for Medair that was translated into four languages using subtitles. The photographs were also complied into a slideshow for Guardian Development and the photos were used extensively by Mediar in marketing and communications publications.

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