Fighting Cold And Hunger In Eastern Afghanistan

The long winters in eastern Afghanistan bring not just harsh weather, but fewer jobs and higher prices for necessities such as wheat and fuel. The tightened conditions increase the pressure on poor families already struggling to secure life’s basics amid unstable political conditions, weak infrastructure and frequent natural disasters.

Relief International workers reached out to thousands of the poorest families in the Kunar Province during the winter of 2017, connecting them to a cash support program that enabled them to buy food, clothing and school supplies. The program aimed to stave off childhood malnutrition and encourage parents to send their children to school rather than to work. 

In partnership with the World Bank and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs & Disabled (MoLSAMD), Relief International provided financial assistance to nearly 2,600 families in 76 communities in Kunar Province. The assistance is directed to the neediest families with children under the age of 5.

Relief International teams, who have built relationships in the most remote communities of Afghanistan, worked to make families aware of  the eligibility requirements and benefits of the program to ensure the money reached those who need it most.

In 2017, RI also worked to reach a higher number of women, who often have been shut out of such programs by conservative cultural beliefs. RI employed female organizers to boost awareness of the program in nearly 50 communities and created women-only payment centers staffed by women. 

With assistance from Relief International, the poorest families in this eastern region of Afghanistan were better able to cope with the seasonal impact of weather on their food security, while children continued their education.