Hiking For Peace In Central Afghanistan
21 September marks International Peace Day – an event which holds special significance in war-torn Afghanistan. Local communities, UN agencies, government representatives and NGOs gathered for a peace trek in the central highlands of Bamyan province to mark the occasion.
With a little help from the grownups, children prepared signs with their messages of peace. This was the fourth time such a peace hike had taken place in the area.
The march started in the village of Jawkar, a collection of mud houses home to 55 families, at an altitude of about 3,000 metres.
These mountains are an important watershed area of Afghanistan, so proper management of natural resources is closely tied in to long-term food security. Villagers thresh grain using oxen, as they have done for hundreds of years.
The hike brought together local communities, UN organizations and NGOs working on environmental conservation projects in the area, which is one of the largest watershed areas in Afghanistan. WFP supports many of these projects by providing food rations for villagers involved in asset-creating activities such as tree-planting, terracing of slopes, or gathering of wild seeds to re-plant over-grazed mountainsides.
The villagers prepared a picnic lunch for the hikers participating in the peace trek, sharing freshly-harvested potatoes, as well as bread, eggs and fruit.
Children played a game where a ball of string was passed around to show the connections between objects in their community – from milk to cows to pastures, for example.
Local communities, UN agencies, government representatives and NGOs gathered for a special trek in Afghanistan's Bamyan province to mark International Peace Day.