Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. 30 years of conflict mean that a third of the population lives on less than 60 pence a day, one in six children die before their fifth birthday, and the average life expectancy is just 48. The status of women in Afghanistan is especially low.
In Lal District, in Afghanistan’s remote central highlands region, food shortages during winter are common. The dry, cold climate and severe winters mean many families struggle to grow enough food to eat. Again, women in particular have few resources and opportunities, and our research shows household debtis high: families have to borrow money to cope with food shortages.
CAFOD in Afghanistan
CAFOD has been supporting communities there since the late 1980s, and we're expanding our programme. We're particularly working on:
- helping people make a living: we work with vulnerable communities, tackling inequality that stops them earning money and helping small businesses produce better goods and access markets.
- helping women into work: our partner brings women together in a savings and loans group to teach numeracy and business skills. Saving small amounts each week means they can plan for the future.
- peace and women’s rights: our partners help women earn money for their families. We fund peace groups to improve relations between men and women, and educate women about their basic rights, which helps them gain greater respect from their male relatives.
- advocating and lobbying for our partners: billions of dollars in aid have been sent to Afghanistan since 2001, but life for ordinary people has been getting worse because of corruption and poor governance. While we're helping people on the ground, we also represent our partners' experiences and opinions at UK and European level, to make sure the system changes too.
"Now we've trained women they can work to get out of poverty. They want to use their savings and turn them into a business."
Marziya, a woman from Lal District who works with CAFOD’s partner