At a Glance: ChildFund in Afghanistan
- Established Child-Well Being Committees in
151 communities in four provinces in
- Strengthened four provincial
Child Protection Action Networks.
- Trained more than 9,000 community
leaders and parents in health promotion.
- Constructed or rehabilitated 33 community
health posts and trained 66 community
- Constructed or rehabilitated 900 wells and
81 boreholes, plus long-distance piping
systems benefiting more than 20,000 people
in 146 communities.
- Provided reintegration services, constructing
shelter and improving community services,
for 10,000 individuals in 1,600 families
returning from Pakistan and Iran.
- Founded ChildFund Microfinance Ltd., which
provides group loans to support income-generating
activities like carpet weaving, animal
husbandry and confectionary.
- Constructed or rehabilitated 34 government schools
and one teacher-training institute.
- Provided non-formal education services
to more than 66,800 youth including 32,000 girls.
An additional 3,000 youth have participated
in vocational training programs.
- Established and supplied 70 community libraries.
- Established Early Childhood Development Centers
that reach 9,200 children, both boys and girls,
to prepare them to succeed in formal school.
- Developed program to eliminate gender-based
violence, working with men and
women in 60 communities.
As news reports focus on the new U.S.-led military strategy in Afghanistan, it’s critical to remember that this country remains one of the most difficult places in the world to be a child.
According to UNICEF:
An Afghan child has a one-in-seven chance of dying before his or her first birthday.
One child in five dies before his or her fifth birthday as a result of common, but preventable, childhood diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria and typhus.
Most of these diseases are due to the children’s lack of safe drinking water, proper nutrition and adequate sanitation — basic necessities of life interrupted by the country’s ongoing turmoil.
In addition, Afghanistan still has an enormous gender gap to bridge, with only a 12.6 percent literacy rate among adult females, and a high level of gender-based discrimination and violence.
On the Ground Since 2001
ChildFund International has worked in Afghanistan since 2001, initiating an emergency response just days after the ceasefire that followed the first U.S.-led military action. (see sidebar).
“We respond to emergencies to provide more than the basics of survival,” says ChildFund President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard. “We have always worked with deprived, excluded and vulnerable children. Living in poverty, it’s possible for them to slip off the pathway to positive growth,” she notes.
“Emergencies, however, have the potential to rapidly drop the children from that pathway, significantly increasing their vulnerability. So ChildFund intervenes to provide keep them strong, resilient, and on track. We are committed to bringing positive outcomes and lasting change,” Goddard adds.
Work to Date
In the past eight years ChildFund has:
trained parents, community leaders and government staff to recognize and manage child-protection issues
supported community-based literacy classes for children, particularly for girls
provided children with recreational areas in which to play
developed health services that include training health workers to treat illnesses.
Today, ChildFund Afghanistan works in 151 communities in the four Provinces of Takhar, Kunduz, Badkhshan and Baghlan, reaching 277,000 children and family members. ChildFund Afghanistan has a broad donor base, including USAID and the U.S. State Department, European governments, IOM, and U.N. agencies.
“We want children to have as safe, stable and normal a childhood as possible and to grow up in communities where they can become leaders of positive, enduring change that will help them bring peace and security to their country,” Goddard says.