German aid organization Welthungerhilfe recognized aid workers from around the globe at its conference in Bonn, Germany on April 24. DW talked with one worker from Afghanistan who received special recognition.
Masoud Saad is a project manager for Welthungerhilfe in his home country Afghanistan.
DW: You started working with Welthungerhilfe in Afghanistan in 2004. What made you interested in working to fight against hunger and poverty in your home country?
Masoud Saad: Afghanistan has lost everything. It's a destroyed country. It needs a lot [of things]. There is a lot of poverty, there is a lot of hunger, and there's a lot of needy, vulnerable, destitute people. I want to serve my people and I want to serve my country. And through non-governmental organizations, we can easily access those people who are very poor, vulnerable, and needy.
What are the biggest problems that Welthungerhilfe is trying to help with in Afghanistan right now?
The biggest problem is the IDP [internally displaced person] camp that exists in Kabul. They moved from the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. There is another project that really needs to be implemented, called WASH - water and sanitation [and hygiene] - only 20 percent of the population has access to potable water. And infrastructure projects, of course, there's a big need for them in Afghanistan, like schools, roads, wells, bridges, power lines.
Could you tell me what the U.S. and NATO troops' influence has been on your work in the past decade trying to help people with things like agriculture and water?
The troops, when they came to Afghanistan, they also put some money into rehabilitating Afghanistan. And also beside that they were involved in fighting insurgents in Afghanistan. It would be nice if they stayed in Afghanistan.
Generally in the West, when we hear about Afghanistan, we hear a lot of negative things, a lot about violence and poverty. There aren't many positive stories. So what keeps you from getting discouraged with your work? What makes you want to continue trying to help people?
Because Afghanistan has been destroyed and 10 years is not enough for Afghanistan to be rehabilitated. We need more time, more funds, and of course, security. And we [don't need] the negative influence of our neighbors Pakistan and Iran.
Author: Kathleen Schuster
Editor: Jessie Wingard