list of ngos studied in france

AFRANEAmitié Franco-Afghane [French-Afghan Friendship]
Country of head officeFRANCE
Postal address of the head office16, Passage de la Main d'or
75011 PARIS
Telephone33(0)1 43 55 63 50
Fax33(0)1 43 57 07 44
"Branches" abroad0
Date of creation of the NGO1980
Level of actionOperational agency
Religious characterNone
Percentage of private resourcesAFRANE - FRANCE
38% out of a € 0.5 million budget in 2008
71% out of a € 0.3 million budget in 2002
94% out of a € 0.1 million budget in 2001
73% out of a € 0.1 million budget in 2000
84% out of a € 0.1 million budget in 1999
Countries of actionOnly one

- History -

-May 1980, France: after the Red Army entered Kabul in December 1979, AFRANE is created by French former volunteers or travellers in Afghanistan, in order to assist the victims of the Soviet invasion. At the beginning, the organization works in particular through a national service volunteer in Kabul, Philippe Truze, who buys medicine, and who soon goes underground for AMI, on the Mujaheddin side.

-1983, France: in Paris, AFRANE launches the CEREDAF (Centre of studies and documentary research on Afghanistan).

-1986, Afghanistan: Thierry Niquet, a representative for AFRANE and the Guilde du Raid, is killed, probably by a commander from the Hezb-e-islami, Zabet Toufan, while he was going to Mazar-i-Sharif.

-1992, Afghanistan: AFRANE hires guards to look after a farm project in the Logar province. While there is no permanent expatriate on site, one could find there about thirty fighters of a local warlord, Doctor Fazlullah Mujaddedi. According to Gilles Dorronsoro, a researcher, the military base of this commander of the Jamiat Islami directly takes advantage of the workshop AFRANE has set up and where the Mujaheddin repair their weapons.

-1997, Afghanistan: AFRANE refuses to obey the Taleban fundamentalists orders, and has to leave Kabul. Nevertheless, the organization manages to keep running an underground education program for young girls in the districts of Khayr Khâna and Charara in Kabul.

-From 2002, Afghanistan: with the American military intervention and the implementation of a provisional administration, AFRANE starts its education programs again, and signs a memorandum of understanding with the minister of Education in Hamid Karzai’s government in Kabul.

- Comments -

1) The mission
-Above all, AFRANE informs about Afghanistan and publishes Les Nouvelles d’Afghanistan (“News from Afghanistan”) since it was created in 1980. During the Soviet occupation, the difficulty consisted in releasing information without being accused of spying, and without implicating the sources. For this reason, the authors of articles and the villages described were not explicitly named. As it did not hide its liking for the Mujaheddin freedom fighters, AFRANE was among the associations a researcher, Helga Beitenmann, suspected of minimising the rebels’ abuses and of dismissing their detractors, rejected on Moscow’s side. After the Soviets left, AFRANE was also criticised because of its geographical position in Afghanistan. By keeping on running a program in Kabul rather than in the Panchir valley in 1992-1997, for instance, AFRANE was unfairly accused of supporting the Taleban rather than the armed opposition of Ahmed Shah Massoud.

-For further information, let us mention another association, Aïna, which publishes news about Afghanistan. Created in 2001 by Reza Deghati, an Iranian photo reporter, Aïna helps the rebirth of the Afghan press. It supports in particular the Kabul Weekly, which had to stop during the Taleban period, and Malalai, a women’s magazine. With a media and cultural centre built in the capital city, it also organises the distribution of newspapers by street children in Kabul, and runs a mobile cinema throughout the countryside. Though recent, Aïna has already had victims. On the 19th of December 2002, while they were walking with two French journalists in front of the military hospital in Kabul, two local employees working as interpreters were killed during a terrorist attack against the barracks of the International Security Assistance Force.

2) The way it works
-AFRANE’s humanitarian aid focuses on the education field, in particular since 1996 thanks to the Esteqlâl and Malâlai alumni. At the beginning, AFRANE sometimes gave money directly to deprived families, even if this operation always carried the risk of allowing local elders to select the beneficiaries and, in the process, to strengthen their social domination. Besides, considering a small budget and the difficulties to travel in Afghanistan, AFRANE did not always have an expatriate worker on site, and therefore it was not able to keep a close control on its programs, which explains partly how commanders could, in some cases, exploit for their own advantages the organisation’s projects.

3) The financial resources
-Unlike other French NGOs in Afghanistan like ACTED or MADERA, whose employees are paid on raising budgets, thanks to public subsidies, AFRANE keeps working on a voluntary basis. That reduces its capacity of action, but allows the organisation to avoid some of the institutional backers’ political constraints.

- Written sources -
-Baitenmann, Helga [1990], “NGOs and the Afghan war: the politicisation of humanitarian aid”, Third World Quarterly vol.12, n°1, pp.62-85.
-Dorronsoro, Gilles [automne 1993], L’aide en Afghanistan”, Cultures et Conflits n°11, pp.93-112.
-Weber, Olivier [1995], French doctors: les 25 ans d'épopée des hommes et des femmes qui ont inventé la médecine humanitaire, Paris, Laffont, 585p.

- Right to reply -

Aid Watch would like to thank AFRANE for its co-operation. The history part of this description was reviewed after an interview on 28th March 2003 with Mr. Etienne Gille, editor of Les Nouvelles d’Afghanistan and president of AFRANE, and Mr. Alain Marigo, the general secretary of the organization. Some of the above-mentioned data are not related to this interview but to other written sources.

Translation and last update: D.E., 16-6-2003

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