What is ACBAR?
ACBAR (Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief and Development) is an Afghan independent body that brings together 167 national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in Afghanistan while adhering to humanitarian principles of independence, neutrality, impartiality, and humanity.
ACBAR was founded in August 1988 in Peshawar, Pakistan, in response to a request from NGOs working with Afghan refugees in Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan to better organize assistance and service delivery.
Since 2002, ACBAR’s primary office, or secretariat, has been in Kabul. In Jalalabad, Mazar-e-Sherif, Herat, and Kunduz, ACBAR maintains four provincial managers based in member offices.
ACBAR has a democratic structure, with the General Assembly serving as the organization’s highest decision-making body, with all members represented. Every two years, the General Assembly convenes.
The ACBAR Steering Committee is made up of 15 member NGOs who are led by the Chair and assisted by a Vice-Chair and Treasurer.
Core Activities of ACBAR
Information sharing, coordination, and lobbying with NGO members, the government, the UN, donors, and the broader civil society are all priorities. It also assists its members in developing their capacity. The secretariat’s many departments are in charge of these activities.
Information and Coordination Activities
The information-coordination section is in charge of providing critical information to NGO members, as well as supporting coordination mechanisms and gathering data on them. Members receive important information via email.
Members working in relevant sectors receive sectoral information and issues, while members working in the humanitarian field receive humanitarian information.
ACBAR keeps its members informed about important topics, rules, and government legislation, and when necessary, works as a liaison between its members and the government.
Advocacy and Communication Activities
ACBAR is a leader in supporting and defending the interests of its member NGOs, particularly with government officials but also with the worldwide community. ACBAR actively promotes NGOs’ positions and responds to concerns and challenges that they confront. Maintaining relationships and open communication channels with important stakeholders and decision makers who can influence the outcome is essential for this.
Capacity Building Activities
There are two capacity-building programs offered by ACBAR. ACBAR trainers deliver a number of training modules to NGO partners and wider civil society in all of Afghanistan’s major provincial cities as part of the training program.
ACBAR also established the Twinning Program, which allows national NGOs in the humanitarian sector to be supported and mentored by international NGOs. The mentoring provided by INGO partners is intended to assist in the development of the national organization’s administration and leadership as well as the sharing of institutional knowledge.
Developing and Promoting NGO transparency and accountability
ACBAR spearheaded the creation of a voluntary Code of Conduct to assist members in demonstrating their validity and accountability. The Code of Conduct is a national non-governmental organization code developed in Afghanistan in 2004 that all ACBAR members must sign and follow as a condition of membership.