Highlighted Projects

Highlighted Projects

Afghanistan Mortgage Market Assessment

This study was launched on behalf of Harakat- Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility Organization (Harakat-AICFO) to identify needs, requirements, prerequisites, recent investments in the housing sector, and public demand for mortgage loans in the major cities of Herat, Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar, and Mazar-i-Sharif. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative was used to obtain data through a representative sample household survey, expert interviews, focus groups, and a comprehensive national and international review of relevant reports and previous research.

The household survey was administered to 1959 households, selected through a random geo-spatial sampling strategy, in the five urban centers. A total of 56 expert interviews and 3 focus groups were conducted with representatives of relevant Afghan Government agencies, representatives of state owned and private banks, developers, property dealers, and common citizens, finally a comprehensive literature review was conducted to identify pre-requisites and existing policies and procedures for home financing in Afghanistan, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Nepal and United Arab Emirates. AHG’s research has revealed a strong public demand for more mortgage products in Afghanistan.


AHG is the local partner on the five-year USAID funded University Strengthening and Workforce Development (US/WDP) project. US/WDP is the flagship project for higher education with a mandate to work closely with the Ministry of Higher Education and ten public universities (Kabul University, Kabul Education University, Kabul Medical University, Kabul Polytechnic University, Nangarhar University, Kandahar University, Kunduz University, Balkh University, Herat University, Khost University) across Afghanistan to improve their management systems, academic programs, and links to public private employers.

AHG is working in collaboration with FHI360, University of Massachusetts (technical lead), Purdue University, and Altai consulting. AHG’s specific role is to conduct continuous assessment of the personnel and systems to identify areas of strength and weakness, develop a capacity building plan, and develop public private partnerships. AHG uses a mixed methods approach combining key informant interviews, focus groups, documents reviews, and individual questionnaires to triangulate our understanding of the areas of strength and weakness within each department and university.

UNICEF SMS, IVR, USSD Integration Project

This project was launched in coordination with UNICEF to support the realizations of children’s rights to life, health, learning, identity and safety through the use of mobile technologies. One category of programmes involve broadcast of SMS, USSD and IVR awareness messages to the general population about polio eradication and routine immunization. Another category of programmes involve regular reporting using mobiles by teachers, doctors, expectant mothers and others into closed user groups. Afghanistan Holding Group has established the infrastructure through mobile network operators in Afghanistan to make the broadcast/multicast of SMS, USSD and IVR possible.

Afghanistan Holding Group (AHG) has obtained a contract from Roshan for provision of these services, contract with AWCC has almost been finalized, while acquiring contracts from other mobile network operators is in progress. AHG installed a server in its office that serves as an interconnection point between mobile network operators and UNICEF’s application servers, which are located in Amazon Cloud. This server is currently connected to Roshan through a Microwave Link, E1 and Virtual Private Network (VPN). Microwave Link along with an E1 was installed in order to provide IVR services, while VPN is used for SMS and USSD. Roshan is also directly connected to UNICEF’s cloud through a VPN.

MTN Customer Satisfaction Survey

This survey was launched on behalf MTN Afghanistan to study core customer service and network parameters to identify their impact on customer satisfaction and the demands of customers. This survey was administered in Kabul, Balkh, Jalalabad, Ghazni, Kandahar, and Herat. The questionnaire was provided by MTNA, and the survey software was developed by Afghanistan Holding Group. The data was obtained through individual interviews with mobile network subscribers. Subscribers of four major mobile networks were interviewed.

The customer satisfaction surveys was administered to 4000 subscribers, selected through a random sampling strategy. 60% of interviews were conducted within universities and educational institutions, 30% interviews were conducted in Markets, while the remaining 10% were conducted in local areas i.e. near mosques and community centers. A total of 30 data collectors conducted these interviews. All of these data collectors are university professors, and were highly trained in the survey software and research ethics.

Building Research Capacity of Civil Society Organizations

AHG was hired to build the research capacity of selected community service organizations (CSOs) as part of Afghan Civil Engagement Program (ACEP). The main objective of this project was to enhance the capacity of around 60 CSOs from across Afghanistan in research methodology and research proposal development. The CSOs subsequently competed for a number of research grants issued by the Counterpart International. Research personnel of the CSOs received theoretical and practical training on the nature of social science research. The main topics of the training included defining the purpose of research, identifying research questions, conducting literature review, sampling techniques, questionnaire design, data management and descriptive analysis of data.

Multiple teaching techniques were used to conduct the training, including plenary presentations, question and answer sessions, group discussion and project work. The trainer and the co-trainer served as facilitators.

Research Methodology Training for MCN Research Department

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) commissioned Afghanistan Holding Group’s Research Services Division to provide a package of training for the staff of the Research Department of the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN). The objective of the training was to enhance the capacity of MCN research staff and researchers from other relevant ministries on the design, administration and data management of Afghanistan Drug Report. The training was provided to participants at AHG headquarters in Kabul.

The learning materials and outline of training covered topics on qualitative and quantitative research design and strategies with a particular focus on survey design. Training on questionnaire design, data management, descriptive analysis and report writing was another major component of the program.

As a major theme of the training, Afghanistan Drug Report was used to exhibit the application of theory in practice. Participants went through the Afghanistan Drug Report and commented on the strengths and shortcomings of the report.

Evaluation of INL’s Correction Support System Project (CSSP)

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of INL’s Correction Support System Project (CSSP) in its effort to partner with the Afghan government’s General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Centers (GDPDC) in the development of a safe, secure, and humane correction system. Additionally, the evaluation aimed to Identify lessons learned and best practices that will benefit the INL rule of law and other programs in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The methodology for this evaluation included a desk review of existing reports and program document review, a pilot phase, and administration of 50 structured interviews with management, 30 structured interviews with trainers, 420 surveys of correctional officers, 115 surveys of inmates, survey of all available advisors, and 2 focus groups.

AHG conducted the field work for this study in 8 prisons (Poli-Charkhi, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kunduz, Kandahar, Herat, Gardez, Jalalabad, and Bamiyan) and with the General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Centers.

Baseline Survey RADP West

This baseline study was launched on behalf RADP-West Afghanistan to establish a baseline prior to the agricultural interventions in the three provinces of Herat, Badghis, and Farah. This baseline study was tied directly to RADP-West objectives, anticipated intermediate results, and focused on the implementation regions. The Farming Household Survey and the Small, Medium, and Large Agribusiness (SML) and Shopkeeper Survey were provided by RADP-West and USAID, and were refined and translated by AHG. The survey software was developed by Afghanistan Holding Group. The data was obtained through individual interviews with heads of households and SML business owners.

The household survey was administered to 2,400 farmers and 120 SML businesses, selected through a random sampling strategy and comprising of 3 value chain producers (wheat, high value crops, and livestock). A total of 81 data collectors in the three provinces completed this baseline survey. All of these data collectors are university professors and/or students at the local universities, and underwent an intensive 5-day training program research techniques, understanding of the baseline survey, survey software administration, and research ethics.

GIZ Economic Analysis and Impact Study

AHG conducted a preliminary analysis of Badakhshan’s economy to identify sectors that hold the greatest promise for economic growth and equitable wealth creation. The analysis involved in-depth interviews and literature reviews. The in-depth interviews were conducted with provincial authorities of eighteen local government departments, ten local businesses, members of the Chamber of Commerce, and five university professors. The assessment was meant to help a Technical Working Group, established in partnership with provincial authorities and private sector representatives, to develop a Local and Regional Development Plan (LREDP) in the Northeastern province of Badakhshan.

As part of the same contract, AHG conducted an analysis of Cross-Border Trade with Uzbekistan through Hairatan Port. The purpose of this analysis was to collect facts, figures, and information about trade exchange between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan through the Hairatan Port and analyze the bottlenecks and challenges on cross-border trade. We interviewed 10 traders from Balkh province, the Director of the Hairatan Port, and had an open discussion in a workshop with eight officials from the Balkh Chamber of Commerce. We also collected figures on imports and exports through northern ports of Aqina, Sher Khan, and Hairatan from the Ministry of Finance’s Custom Department. We compared data from three years to demonstrate the trend of trade volume between the three northern ports. The analysis serves as a working document for a joined meeting between Balkh Chambers of Commerce and Surkhandarya Chamber of Commerce.

As part of the same contract, AHG conducted an assessment of 162 small businesses that received start-up-funds from GIZ in the provinces of Balkh, Takhar, Badakhshan, and Kundoz. The goal of the assessment was to learn about the businesses current status, their progress, and contributions to the local economy of the provinces. We surveyed all working businesses in these provinces using in-person and telephone interviews. The respondents were composed of business owners who received start up funds from GIZ.

Baseline Survey Report on the Evaluation of ARAP

The main objective of this assignment was to analyze the collected data and to produce the final Baseline Survey Report. More specifically this task involved:
Conducting an over all review of exploratory data analyses/regression analysis of key survey variables and their correlates; leading statistical power calculations and assisting in finalizing the study’s sampling strategy; analyzing the data and generating results for specific indicators, research methodology and preparing an analytical report in English which was responsive to core and sub-indicators in the project; preparing presentation describing methodology for data collection, analysis and results for dissemination to project stakeholders; holding multiple dissemination workshop of the Baseline survey report in Kabul to key stakeholders and responding to questions; finalization of the report and incorporating feedback from key stakeholders; and reviewing survey instruments of the ARAP Baseline evaluation and providing recommendations as to the design of the follow up survey methodology and the resulting questionnaires.

Baseline Study “Equal Access to Education for Kuchi Children” Project

This assessment focsed on Kuchi communities’ attitudes toward girls’ education, their barriers to accessing schools, and reading and numeracy skills of school-age children. The geographic focus of the study was kuchi populations in Kunduz and Baharak District of Badakhshan Province.

We used a mixed-method approach, both quantitative and qualitative, for data collection. The methods included structured household interviews with the heads of 485 households, 24 key informant interviews with Kuchi elders, local elders and District Education Authorities, 6 focus group discussions with teachers, and we administered the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) to 595 students (381 girls, and 214 boys) between grades 1-3. AHG adapted the EGRA and EGMA instruments to the context of Afghanistan, and developed adapted versions into Dari and Pashto languages. Annex B provides background information on EGRA and EGMA. Adapted versions of EGRA and EGMA were piloted in a school in Kabul City two times and revised accordingly to make sure they collect valid data on reading and numeracy skills.

Afghanistan Capital Markets Assessment

Afghanistan Holding Group conducted an assessment of capital markets in Afghanistan. The assessment included current capital market activities, the demand for capital, the basic infrastructure to support capital markets, and government debt markets. The assessment focused on 5 major urban centers of Herat, Kabul, Kandahar, Kunduz, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Jalalabad.

Translation Assessment

Afghanistan Holding Group was commissioned by IDLO to assess the accuracy of translation of 8 candidates who had translated legal documents from English to Dari and from Dari to English. AHG completed this task and provided IDLO with its assessment report and identified the best translator.

Returnee Rights Awareness Study and Material Development

Afghanistan Holding Group was commissioned to collect and review available materials in the area of returnees rights protection awareness, perform a context analysis to identify main contextual aspects to be considered in development of the returnees’ rights protection awareness raising package, drat the returnees’ rights protection awareness raising material package based on the results of the review processes, conduct a qualitative feedback session and revise returnees’ rights protection awareness raising material package, and pilot the implementation of the returnees’ rights protection awareness raising material package and assess the effectiveness of the package.

Local Governance Initiative (LOGIN) Country Facilitator

Afghanistan Holding Group served as a country facilitator for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s LOGIN program. The main responsibilities included network mapping, facilitation, and mobilization of LOGIN members in Afghanistan, facilitation of country level work plans and organizing learning events, development an dissemination of learning products, establishing of linkages, and reporting and accountability

Natural Sciences Curriculum Consultant – Higher Education Project

Afghanistan Holding Group’s Managing Partner, Omar Qargha, was commissioned by the Afghanistan Higher Education Project to serve as a natural science consultant. AHG developed a detailed course syllabus and teaching guidelines for natural sciences to be included in the Masters of Education program. Additionally, AHG provided several models for Master’s degree that combine content-based courses with education and pedagogy courses.

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