FAQ - Shelter Assistance

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   April 2006 Free of Charge “Frequently Asked Questions” A Circular for Afghan Refugees from theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Shelter Assistance Question : Does UNHCR provide shelter assistance to all Afghans returning to the countryfollowing time spent as a refugee? Answer: No, recipients of UNHCR’s shelter assistance are only those Afghan returnees that areparticularly vulnerable and who would not be able to build a home without help from UNHCR. Question : Who actually decides which people are the recipients of shelter? Answer: In areas where UNHCR assistance is provided, a Beneficiary Selection Committee (BSC)made up of the local shura, authorities from the Directorate of Refugees and Repatriation(DoRR), representatives from UNHCR’s implementing partner and UNHCR, has the primaryresponsibility for identifying eligible recipients for shelter. Question : Do I have to have land in order to receive shelter assistance from UNHCR? Answer : In most cases, yes, you must have land (with proof of ownership), a lease or other legalright to use land, or a no-objection certificate (NOC) from local authorities or communities forpublic land you may have had a house on in the past without ever owning. Question : Do I have to have a Voluntary Return Form (VRF) from UNHCR to receive shelter? Answer : No, though it’s usually required, people who return to Afghanistan with no help fromUNHCR, were displaced inside the country or never left but need help might also receive shelter. Question : Does UNHCR provide a complete shelter?  Answer: No, this is a self-help project meant to ensure a minimum standard of privacy as well asprotection from the weather, and therefore it only includes essential construction materials, asmall cash grant and technical assistance from UNHCR’s partner NGOs. Question : What if I don’t have enough money to purchase additional materials or hire labourersto start work on or to complete my shelter?  Answer : In certain instances, with UNHCR’s approval part of the cash grant can be paid before orduring construction, and under exceptional circumstances additional grants may be provided tothose who need extra support to complete their shelters. Question : What do I do if I’m not physically capable of building my own shelter? Answer : Your BSC should assess the vulnerability of all recipients and the support they mayrequire, after which UNHCR’s NGO partner will provide the technical guidance needed to ensureall beneficiaries are able to complete construction of their shelters.   April 2006 Free of Charge Question : What mechanisms are in place to help ensure that female heads of household get thehelp they need to build their shelter? Answer : Female heads of household are allowed to have a male relative, neighbour or leader acton their instructions with, for example, the receipt of any documents, the purchasing of materialsand the making of arrangements for construction. Question : Is UNHCR assisting people with shelter in all provinces of Afghanistan? Answer: Yes, however it’s generally provided in areas where refugee returns are the highest,provinces such as Baghlan, Balkh, Ghazni, Herat, Kabul, Kunduz, Kandahar and Nangahar. Question : When does the selection of recipients actually take place? Answer : At various times throughout the year, though generally between April and June. *Contact Information in Afghanistan for Various Agencies Providing Shelter Assistance Afghan Bureau for Reconstruction ( ABR), Kabul, Ph: 0093-70291104Afghan Public Welfare Organization (APWO), Kabul, Ph: 0093-70285738Afghan Planning Agency (APA), Kabul, Ph: 0093-70285780Afghan/German Help Coordination Office (AGHCO), Kabul, Ph: 0093-70277766/0093-70224891Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), Kabul, Ph: 0093-70282539CARE International, Kabul, Ph: 0093-70281723Development and Humanitarian Services for Afghanistan (DHSA), Kabul, Ph: 0093-70283386FOCUS Canada, Kabul, Ph: 0093-70275132/0093-70277061Ghor Rehabilitation and Construction Organization (GRCO), Herat, Ph: 0093-79354343Independent Humanitarian Service Association (IHSAN), Kabul, Ph: 0093-70283813International Rescue Committee (IRC), Kabul, Ph: 0093-70294398/0093-70283945Japan Emergency NGO (JEN), Kabul, Ph: 0093-70280912/0093-70281552Javid Rehabilitation Organization for Afghanistan (JROA), Kabul, Ph: 0093 70221723Norwegian Project Office (NPO), Kabul, Ph: 0093-202501065Shelter for Life (SFL), Kabul, Ph: 0093-70279778United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Kabul, Ph: 0093-70224498UN Habitat, Kabul, Ph: 0093-202101652/0093-70279000ZOA Refugee Agency, Kabul, Ph: 0093-70282809 *Please note these numbers are for main offices in Afghanistan and are not meant to indicate the onlylocations where these NGOs work. For more information, please contact: Barialai Barakzai at 0093-70283028, e-mail: barakzai@unhcr.org  
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