Increasing Disaster Risk Reduction Capacity in Afghanistan Through GIS Training for ANDMA

iMMAP is increasing the disaster risk reduction capacity of the Afghan Government by providing specialized technical training in geographic information systems (GIS) to members of staff from the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA).

Ms. Arjmand, iMMAP Afghanistan’s Disaster Risk Reduction Coordination Officer, giving an opening speech at the start of the training

Within the scope of iMMAP’s disaster risk reduction (DRR) capacity strengthening program in Afghanistan, iMMAP has successfully completed five days of geographic information systems (GIS) training between September 13th – 17th, 2020. A total of 16 members from the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) were trained.

The intermediate GIS training program built upon the information management (IM) and GIS training that was delivered to 13 IM/GIS Assistants (seconded from iMMAP to ANDMA) earlier in the year and who were subsequently deployed to the Provincial Disaster Management Committees of their respective provinces. The in-person GIS training was held in Kabul and attended by the 13 IM/GIS Assistants, representing eight Afghan provinces (Bamyan, Faryab, Herat, Kandahar, Laghman, Paktya, Panjsher, and Kabul), in addition to three members of staff from ANDMA’s Headquarters in Kabul.

The primary purpose of the training program was to enhance the knowledge and skills of the attendees, particularly the IM/GIS Assistants, in ArcMap, QGIS, and Google Earth Pro, so that they can map, identify, and analyze areas at risk of natural hazards. The attendees were taught a range of GIS techniques, including; how to clean and import data into GIS, digitize, buffer, clip, intersect, join, merge, and dissolve layers, and create maps. The training involved interactive sessions delivered through presentations, technical demonstrations, and group discussions.

GIS training in Kabul for the 16 ANDMA staff

The value of national expertise in GIS was recently highlighted yet again following the devastating flash flooding that occurred in eastern and central Afghanistan in late August. The floods demonstrated the need for GIS in the response phase of a disaster for detecting locations of change, determining damage to infrastructure, coordinating the response effort, and maintaining a common operating picture.

The ability of ANDMA, the designated national authority for disaster management in Afghanistan, to use GIS to help it plan, prepare, and respond to the numerous natural hazards that occur in the country every year and result in the loss of lives, livelihoods, and property is crucial. Doing so will help the government and its agencies, as well as the wider humanitarian community, to respond in a more timely and effective way, bringing urgent assistance to the people who are suffering.

Thanks to iMMAP and ANDMA for offering such a useful training in GIS. We now know how to map hazardous areas, analyze affected areas, and source spatial data from online sites. This will allow us to provide even better information management services for ANDMA and the people of Afghanistan. We request iMMAP to provide advanced GIS training in the future for further capacity building of provincial staff to strengthen these skills and knowledge in the provincesMr. Haidari - ANDMA IM/GIS Assistant, Faryab province

The GIS training was a success; the attendees and senior ANDMA staff expressed their great satisfaction in the training and iMMAP’s services. All the attendees completed the training program and received their certificates during the award ceremony from HE. Mohammad Qaseem Haidari, Deputy for Policy, Coordination, and Planning; Eng. Mohammad Sediq Hassani, Planning and Policy Director; and Mr. Abdullah Akef, Risk Prevention and Mitigation Director. The attendees also received a copy of the recently printed “Risk Profile Atlas for Afghanistan” (produced by ANDMA with the support of iMMAP). As a token of appreciation, iMMAP’s coordination and training team received appreciation letters from ANDMA for organizing and conducting the training.

Photo of the attendees, senior ANDMA staff, and the iMMAP coordination/training team following the award ceremony

iMMAP thanks all the attendees for their participation and ANDMA for their confidence in iMMAP to provide this specialized technical support as part of our close and longstanding partnership. iMMAP would also like to thank USAID for funding iMMAP to provide these services since 2010.