Only one in five girls attend primary school
Only one in five girls attend primary school

Crisis in Afghanistan

Despite some improvements since the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, affected by decades of conflict and disasters, from persistent drought to flash flooding, earthquakes and the food price crisis. Oxfam provides aid to families affected by humanitarian crisis, supports rural development and sustainable livelihood programs and helps to raise Afghan people’s voice.

The situation

Nearly 40 percent of the population in Afghanistan live in poverty.

Over 80 percent of all Afghans depend largely on agriculture and related trades to feed their families. But the government is often unable to respond to crises such as fluctuating food prices and persistent drought or to support small farmers with the help they need to lift themselves out of chronic poverty.

Government institutions are often weak and unable to deliver basic services, while the participation of women remains limited.

An estimated quarter of the population has no access to medical care. As a result, one out of every five Afghan children will not live to see their fifth birthday and one out of eight women will die in childbirth.

Only half of all children go to school, and the figure is considerably lower for girls.

> In pictures: The Cost of War: Afghan Experiences

What Afghans want

In July 2010, world leaders met in Kabul to discuss the future of Afghanistan. We asked Afghans about their priorities:

Oxfam’s response to the crisis in Afghanistan

Oxfam has been operating in Afghanistan for three decades and currently works in 20 of the country’s 34 provinces.

Oxfam aims to respond quickly and effectively when a humanitarian crisis happens:

  • Oxfam provides clean water, latrines, hygiene kits and provide training on good hygiene practices.
  • Through Disaster Risk Reduction programs, we are helping Afghan partners in several provinces to identify and assess the risks, develop disaster management plans and create early warning systems, and to ensure poor communities are less at risk from future hazards and better able to cope should disaster strike.
  • Through the Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) approach, Oxfam is also helping to feed nearly 30,000 severely malnourished children and women in five provinces.

With local partners, Oxfam also supports:

  • Rural development and sustainable livelihood programs in 13 provinces
  • Women’s empowerment projects, including the promotion of women’s literacy and girls’ education
  • Community peace building, through the promotion of social justice and human rights at a local level.

In Daikundi province, for instance, Oxfam is assisting 64,346 families in 650 villages to identify their needs and manage projects to address these needs. To date, we have helped build more than 40 schools, over 1,000 kilometers of road, and more than 1,000 latrines. More than 120 villages now have electricity and at least 150 villages have received agricultural support, including training.

Oxfam also helps to raise the Afghan people’s voice and to advocate on the crisis in Afghanistan at the local, regional and international level.

Read more

> Story: Gains in girls’ education in Afghanistan are at risk: Real lives

> Watch: Afghanistan: How a women's bakery improves lives and livelihoods

> Read the report: High Stakes: Girls’ Education in Afghanistan

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