A boy carries a child inside a compound with different houses belonging to his extended family. The family came back to Kabul in 2003 after living in Iran during the Taliban time. In Iran they were farmers, here in Kabul some members of the family collect garbage for 1 to 2 dollars a day. Credit: Joël van Houdt/Oxfam Novib

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

As part of a strategic change process, Oxfam decided in 2020 to phase out from a number of countries. One of those is in Afghanistan. In recent months, programs have been terminated and ongoing programs are being transferred to other organizations.

How we worked in Afghanistan

Oxfam first provided support in Afghanistan in 1961 and has been directly providing humanitarian and development assistance in the country since 1991, including during the Taliban rule. We worked in Kabul and other seven provinces of the country (Balkh, Daikundi, Herat, Kandahar, Kunduz, Nangarhar and Takhar).

Through our local partners, we provided assistance to families and communities affected by natural and man-made disasters. We worked with poor communities to help them pull themselves out of poverty and improve their lives. We promoted the rights of women and youth to become agents of change and fight for their rights.

In a critical but constructive way, we worked with government institutions to build capacity and influence policies that help address structural poverty and inequality. To create lasting change, together with our partners, we also spoke out on behalf of marginalized groups at the highest levels in both Afghanistan and among the international community.

    We worked together with our partners in four thematic areas:

    • Economic justice: we especially worked with marginalized groups such as small farmers and women headed households to improve their lives by building sustainable livelihoods, increasing their access to markets, and building resilience to climate change. We promoted fair and equal access to natural resources as a way to address some of the root causes of conflict.
    • Gender Justice: we promoted the rights of youth and women to enable them to have a voice, participate in decision making processes and constructively worked with the government to improve and promote policies that foster inclusive security, peace building and justice.
    • Governance: we promoted and strengthened the constructive engagement of civil society with the district, provincial and national levels of government to improve and support the delivery of essential services in line with people’s needs and with an overarching goal to address some of the key drivers of conflict.
    • Humanitarian: Afghanistan is highly vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters including drought, floods, and conflict. We worked with Afghans affected and returnees to rebuild their lives and become more resilient to shocks. We provided aid through programs focused on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), protection, food security, cash assistance, and broader livelihood support.