Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world with 36% of the population living below the poverty line.
Conflict: conflict has become the biggest barrier to development in Afghanistan. There is an urgent need to secure peace in order to end further loss of life, to give the economy a chance to function normally, and to enable state institutions to meet people’s basic requirements and defend their rights.
Food: natural disasters such as successive droughts and floods, and the disruptive effects of the conflict, have left eight million people – more than a quarter of the population – without access to adequate food.
Women: famously banned from education or leaving the house alone under the Taliban, the position of women and girls in Afghanistan is still far from enviable. While 43% of Afghan males are literate, less than 13% of females are, and Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
Christian Aid has worked in Afghanistan for nearly three decades under four different regimes – from the Soviet occupation to the current government that was voted in after the US-led invasion of 2001.
Our approach of working through local Afghan partner organisations means that we can work directly with the communities who are suffering.
We focus on protecting rights in conflict, increasing food security, and promoting the rights of women.
• The Afghan Women’s Network works at the national level to make sure that Afghan women’s rights are protected when new laws are being drawn up – such as fighting against a proposed law that effectively legalised child marriage. It also provides training and awareness-raising to key state representatives such the judiciary and police, ensuring that they understand and are therefore able to protect women’s rights.
• The Afghan Women’s Education Centre runs health and literacy classes, and income generation projects that help women make a living, AWEC provides legal assistance to women in prison – many of whom are unjustly incarcerated.
• Rehabilitation Association and Agriculture Development for Afghanistan (RAADA) works with more than 50,000 people from some of the poorest communities in Afghanistan. It helps people find ways to make a living – from animal husbandry to carpet weaving, and helps remote communities utilise innovative and efficient technologies such as wind-powered wells and solar power.
Christian Aid backs Together Afghanistan, a joint interagency campaign which calls for:
• UK support for a comprehensive peace process
• Better protection for civilians
• Using aid to meet people’s needs not political objectives.
To find out more and get involved visit www.togetherafghanistan.org.
What you can do
• Help us continue our support of partners in Afghanistan by donating.
• Take action to help eradicate poverty and injustice across the world.
• Afghanistan’s women, protecting their rights – read about how our partners fought to get child marriage made illegal under Afghan law.
• Afghanistan's women: an eduction - only 13% of Afghan women can read and write. We're working to change that.
• Afghan women photo gallery – meet people through images, stories of real lives changed.
• Silk: a solution to poverty? Listen to Florence Mutesasira of Christian Aid Ireland talk about how silkworm cultivation is helping Afghan women to make an income.
• Piecemeal or peace deal? Our in-depth policy report looks at NATO, peace talks, and a political settlement in Afghanistan.
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