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Asia

Afghanistan

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FRAGILITY RANKING

9th out of 178 countries


Overview

Decades of conflict and recurring natural disasters have led to economic turmoil and the collapse of infrastructure in Afghanistan. The security situation continues to decline, forcing millions to flee across dangerous migration routes to safer areas of the country or to neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

Much of the country is in ruins and violent conflict persists, leaving large swaths of Afghanistan’s population of 35 million seeking safer spaces to call home. An estimated 2.6 million are internally displaced, with millions more living as refugees.

Those who remain in the country face both physical and psychological hardship, with over a third of the population living in extreme poverty. Hospitals and schools have been destroyed, and access to necessities such as healthcare, safe water, sanitation, and education is extremely limited. Where access exists, shortages of skilled workers limit services, with just two doctors and three midwives per 10,000 people in Afghanistan.

Recurrent cycles of flooding and drought have resulted in an insufficient supply of food, and malnutrition is on the rise. The ongoing conflict continues to take lives, tearing families apart and leaving two million women widowed and struggling to provide for their families’ needs.

Relief International began working in Afghanistan in 2001, with a focus on reconstructing schools and training midwives. Since then, we’ve expanded our programming to include healthcare, climate change mitigation, agricultural development, natural disaster response, women’s empowerment, domestic and gender-based violence prevention, water supply and sanitation, enterprise development, shelter and reconstruction, and civic skills trainings.

In 2019, the French non-governmental organisation Medical Refresher Courses for Afghans (MRCA) joined the Relief International alliance network. This natural partnership yields a combined focus in health, economic opportunity, education, water, hygiene and sanitation activities, and mainstreaming protection.

Our extensive work in Afghanistan leads us to partner with some of the hardest-to-reach communities affected by conflict, drought and floods. All of our programs are designed to tackle the pervasive discrimination women and girls in Afghanistan face every day at multiple levels – an effort that’s finding more allies among religious leaders and the police in some of Afghanistan’s most conservative provinces.

We increase access to healthcare across the country by rehabilitating and constructing hospitals and clinics, and are currently operating more than 80 health facilities. We’re also building up a desperately needed workforce by training doctors, nurses, and midwives to work in remote areas cut off from services.

To mitigate the effects of climate change, we have created partnerships with farmers and agricultural communities to help them devise strategies to safely preserve their limited water resources during times of drought and improve their food security.

“Pathways for women to actively participate in civic society, gain technical skills, and pursue income-generating opportunities are increasing through our Women’s Enterprise, Advocacy and Training Program,” says Khadija Mehmood, Relief International’s Advocacy Specialist in Afghanistan. “Our goal is to support 1,260 female entrepreneurs by 2022 – a success that would carry long-term impacts for households and local economies.”


Our 2019 Impact in Afghanistan
1.46M
healthcare consultations provided
38K
people with increased income from jobs programs run by Relief International
10K
people trained on strategies for disease prevention to help prevent major outbreaks
762
healthcare providers trained

Stories From Afghanistan

Learn more about our work in Afghanistan from our staff and the people we serve.

Afghanistan

Training a New Generation of Midwives in Afghanistan

Relief International is helping rebuild Afghanistan’s crippled healthcare system by rehabilitating and equipping medical facilities. We’re also training doctors, midwives, female medical staff, and surgeons to work in remote areas that are cut off from other sources of healthcare.

READ MORE

Afghanistan

Progress for Women Means Progress for All

Afghanistan is one of the toughest places in the world to be a woman. Relief International is working in Afghanistan to change the future for the country’s most vulnerable women and girls. Our programs work to lift up women like Zarifa, who possess the motivation and ideas to build a successful business, but are held back by access to resources and the gender barriers faced by women in fragile, conflict-affected settings.

READ MORE

Afghanistan

Saving Lives and Securing Futures in Drought-Stricken Afghanistan

Relief International has worked in Afghanistan since 2001. Over the last decade, our programs in Nimroz and Farah have provided shelter and enhanced food security and livelihoods.

READ MORE
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Afghanistan

Training a New Generation of Midwives in Afghanistan

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Afghanistan

Progress for Women Means Progress for All

Water distribution in Nimroz Province.

Afghanistan

Saving Lives and Securing Futures in Drought-Stricken Afghanistan

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Water distribution in Nimroz Province.
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Training a New Generation of Midwives in Afghanistan

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Progress for Women Means Progress for All

Water distribution in Nimroz Province.

Saving Lives and Securing Futures in Drought-Stricken Afghanistan

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Featured Project

Protecting Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

War-torn Afghanistan is considered to be one of the most challenging places in the world for women. While change has gradually started to chip away at Afghanistan’s patriarchal traditions, the country’s progress has been considerably slower than that of other developing countries.

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2001

In November, Relief International first establishes operations in war-torn Afghanistan to rehabilitate schools and roads in Kabul, the country’s capital city that has been damaged by intense fighting.

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2002

Relief International delivers life-saving healthcare via mobile clinics to women in remote areas of the country cut off by fighting.

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2003

Our teams begin providing literacy and educational courses to some of the 1.8 million refugees and 600,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning home to Afghanistan, following one of the country’s largest repatriation movements.

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2004

Years of intermittent fighting have destroyed Afghanistan’s educational system, forcing thousands of students to abandon their education. Our teams set up libraries at 282 schools across five provinces to improve access to education for more than 6.7 million students.

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2005

More than 1,000 Afghan women participate in livelihoods trainings organized by Relief International and our partner Schools Online. These skill-building trainings in tailoring, accounting, and marketing help families earn a sustainable income as the war drags on.

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2007

Relief International assists communities in establishing their own long-term development as part of Afghanistan’s National Solidarity Program. Our teams provide critical technical assistance and resources to support communities’ development of local democratic institutions.

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2008

Relief International provides cash assistance to refugees and returnees in Nimroz province to prevent further displacement.

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2009

Decades of conflict have bred mistrust between the Afghan people and their government. Our teams work to strengthen communities’ civic skills at village, district, and provincial levels and to foster reconciliation through rights-building seminars, advocacy projects, and leadership trainings.

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2010

Relief International starts treating people with HIV and providing testing, psychological counseling, and support. We also work to raise awareness about the disease to prevent its spread.

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2011

Afghanistan’s pastoral community rely on their herds of sheep and cows to survive. Their nomadic lifestyle means an infected animal can quickly spark an epidemic, resulting in a loss of food and income. Relief International teams work with members of the Kuchi population to limit the spread of zoonotic diseases, which are passed between animals and people.

Sandra Calligaro/RI

2012

In Nimroz province, Relief International teams provide relief to flood-affected communities by rehabilitating wells, constructing shelters, and distributing sand filters to preserve communities’ access to safe drinking water.

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2013

Relief International tackles persistent farming challenges by partnering with local farmers in the Kapisa province to improve irrigation systems and infrastructure.

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2014

Relief International continues to provide technical expertise to communities participating in Afghanistan’s National Solidarity Program. In 2014, our efforts focus on developing the capacity of people in 386 communities in Ghazni province.

2015

On October 26, a powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes the remote Hindu Kush mountain region in northeastern Afghanistan. Relief International teams are among the first on the ground, distributing cash assistance to families who lost their homes in the quake.

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2016

Relief International builds upon our history of utilizing cash assistance to provide life-saving support to families displaced inside Afghanistan’s Ghazni province.

2017

As in all war-torn countries, women face disproportionate levels of discrimination compared to their male counterparts. In April, Relief International launches a new program called the Women’s Enterprise, Advocacy and Training program. It focuses on empowering women through business initiatives, skills development, and advocacy efforts.

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2018

This year, our teams see more people displaced by drought than by Afghanistan’s ongoing conflict. Relief International responds to the unfolding crisis in Nimroz province by delivering safe drinking water to nearly 22,000 people. We also invest in alternative livelihoods that do not depend on water, such as tailoring or rugmaking.

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2019

Relief International enters into an alliance with the French nongovernmental organization Medical Refresher Courses for Afghans (MRCA), and is now known as MRCA/Relief International – France. The organization first began working in Peshwar, Pakistan, in 1985 to provide critical medical aid and training for Afghans living in refugee camps. Together, we continue to work alongside the Afghan government to rebuild the country’s health system.

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2001
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2002
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2003
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2004
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2005
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2006
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2007
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2008
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2009
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2010
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2011
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2012
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2013
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2014
2015
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2016
2017
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2018
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2019
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Bangladesh. Rachel Elkind/RI