DHSA is a non-profit, non-government, and non-political organization, registered with the Ministry of Economy under license # 23. DHSA was initially established by demobilized Afghan freedom fighters in 1992, who laid down their weapons and turned their attention to meet the needs of the civilians caught in the crossfire.
The mission of DHSA is to redefine development in Afghanistan by promoting a dynamic and capable civil society as a means to foster local ownership of development, dignity, and a peaceful and sustainable future for all Afghans. To achieve its mission, DHSA is working in the sectors such as; education, public media, environmental protection, Humanitarian services, and cultural heritage. DHSA has the main office in Kabul with its provincial offices in Hirat, Balkh, Nangarhar, Ghazni, Kandahar, and Khost. DHSA has a nationwide geographical coverage as radio Killid along with 32-affiliated provincial radio stations (The Killid group) broadcast programs all over Afghanistan. DHSA is home to diverse human resources of more than 300 personnel which include both national and international staff. DHSA has successfully implemented more than 211 projects since its establishment.
DHSA is home to some of Afghanistan’s most innovative and diverse development projects such as public media (The Killid Group), communication initiative, the first Kabul International Music Festival, Kabul Rock Radio, an accelerated learning & Building Support System for Teachers-BESST, a “Call for Transitional Justice,” rehabilitation of historic sites such as the 19th-century pavilion at Bagh e Babur Gardens in Kabul, a “media is development conference”, second independent media & CSOs conference and various public communication campaigns to protect the environment, the most recent of which has to lead to an end to the illegal drugging of Kabul River.
Early years (1992-1996)
DHSA came into existence as a response to the violent civil war following the Soviet invasion in 1992, founded largely by demobilized Afghan freedom fighters. Throughout these years, DHSA focused primarily on drawing strength from local knowledge and traditional relationships to fill gaps, caused by a weak national government and the absence of public services. During this time, DHSA has focused on activities such as water sanitation and irrigation, education, food assistance to drought-affected populations, and rural rehabilitation, matching local know-how with the financial and political support from international aid agencies and donors such as EC, USAID, WFP, WHO, the UN, Canada fund/Care International and Novib.
Taliban era (1996- 2001)
During Taliban rule, Afghan Intellectuals, artists and progressive thinkers flee their homeland to be refugee in neighboring Pakistan. DHSA continued its work in exile by adding cultural development to its list of core activities. DHSA established a cultural center, Irfan, and a cultural journal, Sapeda, in neighboring Peshawar, Pakistan for Afghan writers, filmmakers, artists and musicians in exile. DHSA served as hope home for the Intellectuals, artists forced to exile under the regime. One of Irfan’s achievements was producing music records of notable Afghan classical and folklore musicians in exile. Siddiq Barmak, the center’s film production director, went on to write and direct the Golden Globe winner for Best Foreign Language Film Osama in 2004.
Post Taliban era (2001-2013)
The political changes brought by the Bonn Agreement in 2001 allowed DHSA to add the development of civil society in Afghanistan – through its media, education, and various community development projects – to its portfolio, in addition to humanitarian assistance. This era could be labeled as the busiest era of DHSA’s history. DHSA was able to implement some of Afghanistan’s most innovative, complex, large, and result-oriented development programs under its five pillars.