UNHCR – Solution Strategies for Education and Livelihood of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan

As part of Switzerland’s commitment to financing sustainable solutions for Afghan refugees, the contribution to UNHCR in Pakistan aims at improving the education and livelihoods prospects of around 60’000 Afghan refugee youths in three provinces of Pakistan. It strengthens Switzerland’s pledge at the Global Refugee Forum 2019 scaling up its support to the inclusion of refugee children in education in line with “SDC’s Education Strategy.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Vocational training
Education facilities and training
Primary education
Forced displacement (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)
Vocational training
Basic life skills
Secondary education
01.06.2022 - 31.05.2026
CHF  6’260’000

Pakistan hosts over 1.4 million Afghan refugees of which two thirds live in urban or peri-urban areas and one third reside in refugee villages in three provinces: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Punjab. This population includes 47% of children and youth (0-18 years old) and is almost equally divided between men/boys (54%) and women/girls (46%). The Afghan refugee situation in Pakistan is considered as highly protracted with some cases dating back to the 1980s.

School-aged Afghan refugee children in Pakistan face various barriers to education including cultural practices preventing children – mostly girls – from attending schools, poverty and inadequate school infrastructures, equipment or staffing.

When it comes to livelihoods, Afghan refugees – in particular youth – face obstacles entering the skilled labout market and encounter major competition in the unskilled job market essentially due to a lack of systematic formal training.


The programme is to ensure Afghan that refugee and host community children and youth have access to quality basic education and vocational training leading to greater local inclusion, social cohesion, gender equality and improved skills for self-reliance to a better livelihood.

The vision is to help Afghan Refugees in Pakistan to live a better and dignified life. 

Target groups The target population consists primarily of Afghan refugees in Pakistan although host communities will also benefit from investments made into the education system and vocational institutes. The success of inclusive policies significantly depends upon support to hosting communities and government structures. Around 60’000 individuals are expected to directly benefit from the education and livelihoods support while an additional 400’000 people, including family members and refugee households, should benefit indirectly from this programme. Particular attention will be paid to gender dynamics (focus on girls and boys) as well as to including children with specific needs. 
Medium-term outcomes

1.     Improve persons of Concern’s access to primary, secondary, and tertiary education leading to better education status.

2.    Improve persons of Concerns’ access to training and employment opportunities leading to higher levels of self-reliance.


Expected results:  

1.1.         Educational infrastructure constructed, improved or maintained, targeting refuge village schools and public schools

1.2.         Formal and Non-formal education is provided to Target Population through improved learning environments and community outreach on the importance of education, with a special focus on women and girls  

2.1.         Skills training centers constructed, improved, or maintained

2.2.        Skills of persons of concern improved and supported.  

Results from previous phases:   n/a

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Coordination with other projects and actors n/a
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    6’260’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’700’000
Project phases Phase 1 01.06.2022 - 31.05.2026   (Current phase)