DACAAR | Danish Committee for Aid Afghan Refugees
Side by side with the Afghan people since 1984 English | Danish

About us

We are a non-political, non-governmental, non-profit humanitarian and developmental organisation working to improve the lives of the Afghan people since 1984.

We address to the acute needs of the most vulnerable and support early recovery and sustainable development for all Afghans. We align our work to the specific needs and priorities of the Afghan communities.

Saving lives
Our emergency response is aimed at life-saving in early stages of a crisis.

We target recent internally displaced people and returning refugees, and communities affected by conflicts and natural disasters.

Real and positive changes
Our early recovery and developmental interventions are aimed at building resilience, enhancing capacity and improving livelihoods for protracted internally displaced people and returning refugees, and their vulnerable host communities.

We adopt a holistic and integrated approach with an emphasis, particularly on sustainability in terms of real and positive changes in the lives of our beneficiaries.

Vulnerable groups in focus
All our work considers the specific needs of most-at-risk groups such as women- or youth-headed households, the disabled, the elderly and others marginalised by society.

While maintaining and cherishing our Danish roots, we are deeply embedded in the Afghan society. We are registered with the Afghan Ministry of Economy and enjoy unprecedented access to Afghan communities.

Millions of Afghans benefit
Through our emergency programmes, we can respond to a crisis in 80% of the country’s provinces while we implement longer-term interventions in about half the country.

Historically, over ten million Afghans have benefited from our interventions since we started working in Afghanistan.

Message from Our Director

John Morse

Welcome to DACAAR website!

Afghanistan is going through challenging times. Ordinary Afghans continue to take the brunt of an un-ending conflict that not only has a high human and material toll but also denies many people the opportunity to develop and prosper.

Within this context and as an NGO that has stood side-by-side with the Afghan people for more than three decades, we continue to strive in reaching out to Afghans where the need is greatest and where we can make the most significant difference.

We work hard to place our beneficiaries’ needs, priorities and concerns at the centre of our work.

DACAAR’s deep roots in the Afghan society help us to succeed, maintain good quality and engage in continuous learning and experimenting to deliver the best humanitarian and developmental assistance that the Afghan people so deserve.

Long-standing expertise gained from our interventions is key to the positive impact of our programmes. We invest in strengthening DACAAR's national capacity and work hard to establish close links with relevant authorities, umbrella coordination mechanisms and other interventions to help build on Afghanistan's capabilities as a country.

Recently, we welcomed the expansion of our board from two to three members and the opening of an independent secretariat in Copenhagen in new premises.

I continue to be very proud to represent DACAAR and my colleagues in the task of making Afghanistan a better place and giving its citizens a better future which I believe we can achieve with all your help.

A huge thanks to all those supporting us along the way.

Best wishes

Our Vision, Mission and Values

Women and men in rural Afghan communities are effectively and in a sustainable way managing local resources in a constant improvement of livelihoods. As part of a strong civil society and with support from governmental institutions and local community organisations, individual men and women have access to knowledge, education, training and social services and are able to effectively improve quality of life and to withstand periods of calamity and stress.

DACAAR is a Danish non-governmental, development/humanitarian organisation that supports sustainable development in Afghanistan through the ability of local communities to decide upon and manage their own development process.

Activities are implemented in cooperation with civil society organisations, the private sector and governmental institutions with a particular emphasis on poverty eradication and assistance towards the return and reintegration of returnees and internally displaced people.

Efficiency, Honesty, Participation, Equity, Quality, Transparency and Anti-Corruption

Our History

Following the invasion of Afghanistan by the Former Soviet Union in 1979 and the ensuing uprising of the Afghan people, millions of Afghans poured across the border into Pakistan and Iran in what came to be known as one of the world’s biggest and most protracted refugee crisis in the second half of the 20th century.

On the other side of the border, in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (Now called Khayber Pakhtoonkhwa), tens of camps were established to deal with the influx of refugees who often left their homes with very little or no possessions. The amount of refugees had overwhelmed the capacity of the UN institutions and NGOs who struggled to deliver life-saving humanitarian and livelihoods assistance.

Sewing Project marks the beginning
A group of Danish Volunteers at the height of the Afghan refugee crisis in January 1984 laid the foundation for DACAAR with the commencement of a Sewing Project in a Gandaf Camp in Sawabi District of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa in Pakistan.

The project provided women with an income-generating activity that could be accomplished within the constraints of the Afghan cultural environment and at the same time supported the continuation of traditional Afghan embroidery.

Water supply in refugee camps
In July 1986, DACAAR took over water supply to refugee camps from UNICEF and by 1987 saw a major expansion of activities under the Water Supply Project. Two new projects – the DACAAR Hand Pump Factory and the Access Road Project - were started, and the Water Supply Project increased coverage and maintenance activities. By 1988, DACAAR worked for Afghan refugees in camps throughout the Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province.

Moving into Afghanistan
The most significant change for DACAAR came in 1989 when we expanded with a Rehabilitation Programme in addition to the Refugee Programme. The purpose of the Rehabilitation Programme was solely cross-border reconstruction work inside Afghanistan which marked our operations in Afghanistan to this day.

With the overthrow of Taliban at the end of 2001 and subsequent establishment of the Transitional Islamic Government of Afghanistan, it was finally possible for us to move our Main Office from Peshawar, Pakistan, to Kabul. We remained operational in Pakistan until end of 2005 and over the years delivering water supply in the Afghan refugee camps.

Key player
Over the last one and a half decade, DACAAR has made a name for itself as a leading NGO involved in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan for the benefit of its people.

We are supporting the efforts of the Afghan Government and the international community with the implementation of hundreds of humanitarian and development projects across most of Afghanistan’s provinces.

Click here to read a chronological history of DACAAR.

Basic Facts

Organisation Name DACAAR (Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees)
Established 1984
Agency Type International NGO
Country of Affiliation Denmark
DACAAR Governing Board Peder Thorning, Danish People’s Aid (DPA)
Ole Frank Nielsen, The Danish Afghan Committee
Mads Bugge Madsen, LO/FTF Council
Employees 947 Staff (as of end December 2017)
Director John Morse, Main Office in Kabul
Head of Secretariat Klaus Løkkegaard, Office in Copenhagen
Registered with Ministry of Economy of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Reg # 24 National Danish Register of Companies (CVR), Reg # 29902488
Main Office Kabul, Afghanistan
Regional Offices Jalalabad, Kandahar, Herat, Maimana, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kabul
Secretariat in Europe Copenhagen, Denmark