Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. After 30 years of conflict, over a third of the population live below the poverty line and struggle to meet their basic needs. The majority of the population live in rural areas and depend on agriculture to feed their families.
The causes of poverty and marginalisation in Afghanistan are complex but include conflict, poor governance, a weak economy and a high prevalence of natural disasters such as earthquakes and landslides. Afghanistan is a highly patriarchal society which means that women often face discrimination.
CAFOD in Afghanistan
CAFOD has worked alongside civil society in Afghanistan since the late 1980’s to support locally driven and sustainable development. Our work focuses on:
- Helping people make a living: we work with vulnerable communities to support them to establish small businesses and support farmers to increase their agricultural yields and gain access to markets.
- Helping families to be financially resilient: our partners bring community members together to join savings and loans groups and to teach numeracy and business skills. Saving small amounts each week means that families can plan for the future.
- Promoting women’s economic empowerment: our partners work with women’s self-help groups to teach women business and leadership skills that enable them to establish and build small enterprises.
- Advocating and lobbying with our partners: millions of dollars in aid have been sent to Afghanistan since 2001, but life for ordinary people has seen modest improvement in some areas due to insecurity, corruption and poor governance. In addition to supporting communities on the ground, we work alongside our partners to influence policy within Afghanistan and internationally to challenge some of the systems which keep Afghans in poverty.
"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