Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis: Labour and Housing Market Systems in Nangarhar Province, Eastern Afghanistan

Complex Conflict, Displacement, and Returnee Influx

Oxfam in Asia - Publications - Afghanistan - Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis Labour and Housing Market Systems in Nangarhar, Eastern Afghanistan
Paper author: 
Stuart Kent
Paper publication date: 
Friday, May 12, 2017

This study has unearthed an increasingly fragile situation in Nangarhar province, Eastern Afghanistan, where there are high levels of stress in both casual labour and housing markets.

The average families relying on labour in Nangarhar districts – that are experiencing high levels of returnee influx – appear to be facing a monthly income gap of 2,000 AFN (roughly 29.5 USD or 27 EUR1). Housing is more expensive than in the past, costing families approximately 1,150 AFN (17 USD/15.5 EUR) more per month. This situation is expected to be exacerbated throughout 2017, with the continuing return of both documented and undocumented Afghans from Pakistan, and with the additional challenges of the volatile security conditions.

Throughout the course of this study, Oxfam has observed numerous factors that are destabilizing the labour and housing markets in Nangarhar province: varying degrees of down-skilling, a mis-match of skills in the market, housing expansion falling behind demand, increasing resort to sub-standard and unsafe housing, among others. Beyond these concerns, the evidence shows a huge reliance of vulnerable families on (extended) family networks to find and maintain both their work and shelter. For many, this seems to be a form of resilience — stabilising a situation where one would often find much greater tension, distrust and social conflict. Yet, for others, it is less clear how and where to manoeuvre.

This study had four overall objectives in reference to the casual labour and housing markets:

  1. To understand the capacity of the labour and housing markets to absorb the additional supply of labour and demand for housing in light of the returnee influx and to identify and attempt to quantity any “gap”; 

  2. To map and understand the market system functionality, and capacity to contribute to meeting survival and livelihoods needs of families and communities in Nangarhar province vulnerable as a result of conflict, displacement, and forced return; 

  3. To draw out from the analysis a set of response recommendations on how to mitigate the likely obstacles and barriers to the target group accessing and satisfying critical income and housing needs, and to identify any opportunities to enhance or support the target groups’ use of these markets; 

  4. To use this analysis and learning process to inform and adjust Oxfam’s current and future humanitarian programming and to share this widely and advocate for other agencies and response stakeholders to also interpret and use this information as suits their individual mandates and capacity for intervention.