Nearly four decades of war in Afghanistan has led to socioeconomic strife on a nationwide scale. Extreme poverty and instability have caused an increase in child labor in the country. Many families are thus forced to employ their children to earn extra money to survive. According to UNICEF, child labor affects around 25% of afghan children from age five to fourteen. (Afghanistan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2010 – 2011: Final Report). These children do not have the opportunity to attend formal schools.
Afghan children face hardship on many levels, but disabled children are confronted with additional barriers, such as social stigma and isolation from the community. It is believed that 1 in 20 Afghan children today live with disabilities, either congenital or as a consequence of the ongoing war. The continuing conflict and displacement of populations make it difficult to plan and provide specialized rehabilitation and education services for the disabled.
Afghanistan has been recognized as a “high priority country” by the Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) for tackling malnutrition. According to the 2013 National Nutrition Survey, approximately 41% of children in Afghanistan suffer from chronic malnutrition. Furthermore, malnutrition is not only a major problem for children but also for pregnant and lactating women. In light of this, and in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, AfD is developing a nutrition project in Afghanistan.
Action for Development’s (AfD) has focused on finding solutions to Afghanistan’s healthcare crisis since its very beginning. One of the main issues that the country faces is a lack of an efficient reproductive health education.
The idea of a midwifery training came in response to the communities’ dire needs. Under the Taliban, female healthcare specialists were banned from their jobs, and males were forbidden from caring for women. This created a huge gap in women’s healthcare since there were only around 467 working midwives for a total population of around 20 million (World Bank). When the regime was overthrown in 2001, the Government of Afghanistan hurried to answer the population’s needs, and by 2012 Afghan midwifery forces were up to 3,500 (UNFPA 2014). However, the lack of time and resources did not allow for high-quality training for midwives. As a consequence, the course was limited to 18 months rather than the 4 years it lasts in developed countries.