Schoolgirls in Afghanistan

Despite significant improvements since 2001, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with nearly 40 per cent of the population living below the poverty line.

Government institutions are weak and unable to deliver basic services. Participation of women in decision making and in other spheres of society remains limited. Violence against women is still a major challenge in Afghanistan. Women continue to be brutally punished by different forms of violence. Access to health facilities is poor.

As a result, one out of every five Afghan children does not live to see their fifth birthday, and one out of eight women dies in childbirth. Access to quality education and a lack of female teachers are other major challenges in Afghanistan that cause a high number of girls to drop out of schools.

Our vision is a peaceful, prosperous Afghanistan, where everyone knows and enjoys their rights.

Oxfam's work in Afghanistan

Oxfam has been working in Afghanistan since 1961, and has been directly providing humanitarian and development assistance in the country since 1991, including during the Taliban rule. We currently work in Kabul, and with local partners in seven provinces: Balkh, Daikundi, Herat, Kandahar, Kunduz, Nangarhar and Takhar. We provide assistance to families and communities affected by natural hazards and man-made disasters. We work with poor communities to help them pull themselves out of poverty and improve their lives. We promote the rights of women and youth to become agents of change and fight for their rights. We work with government institutions to build capacity and influence policies that will help address structural poverty and inequality. We speak out on behalf of marginalized groups at the highest levels in both Afghanistan and among the international community.

Working in and on conflict

Afghanistan remains a country in conflict. Conflict manifests itself every day in various forms and at different levels. Therefore, conflict sensitivity and transformation lie at the heart of every work that we do. For us, conflict sensitivity means fully understanding the context in which we operate. We constantly assess how our work affects conflict dynamics, aiming to avoid negative impact, and maximize positive effects. Our central focus is on conflict transformation as we aspire to produce positive and peaceful outcomes. Through our programs, and the relationships that we build with and between Afghan people and power holders, we constantly seek to address some of the key driving factors of conflict.

Economic justice

We especially work with marginalized groups in Afghanistan, such as smallholder farmers and women-headed households. We aim to improve their lives by building sustainable livelihoods, increasing their access to markets, and making them more resilient to the effects of climate change. We promote fair and equal access to natural resources, as a way to address some of the root causes of conflict.

Gender justice

In Afghanistan, we promote the rights of youth and women to enable them to have a voice, participate in decision making processes, and constructively work with the government to improve and promote policies that foster inclusive security, peace building and justice.

Good governance

We promote and strengthen the constructive engagement of civil society with the district, provincial and national levels of the Afghan government. We work to improve and support the delivery of essential services in line with the Afghan people’s needs. Our actions are guided by our overarching goal to address some of the key drivers of conflict.

Humanitarian response

Afghanistan is highly vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters including drought, floods, and conflict. 2016 and 2017 saw an influx of more than 2 million Afghan returnees from Pakistan and Iran. This further exacerbates the challenges. We work with Afghan communities and Afghan returnees to rebuild their lives and become more resilient to shocks and uncertainties brought on by hazards, conflict and climate change. We provide aid through programs focused on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), protection, food security, cash assistance and broader livelihood support.