Journalist and best-selling author Christina Lamb OBE launches Afghanaid’s By Her Side appeal with UK government matching public donations until 30th September 2022
One year on from the Taliban takeover, thousands of women and their families in Afghanistan are facing a food security crisis. Currently, 93% of Afghan families are not eating enough food, and this percentage rises to almost 100% in families headed by women. Afghanaid has been able to reach over one million people with emergency assistance since August 2021, but families still urgently need support to get back on their feet and build resilience against future crises.
Until 30th September, every £1 donated to Afghanaid’s By Her Side appeal will be doubled by the UK government, up to £2 million. The matched funding that the public will unlock will be used to support women in rural Afghanistan, providing them with the training, tools and networks they need to generate more and better quality produce from their livestock, contribute to their household income, and increase the availability of nutritious food in their communities for years to come.
80% of Afghanistan’s population are reliant on agriculture for their food and income, yet one of the country’s most precious resources – the skills and talents of Afghanistan’s female population, including their vital contribution to agricultural economies – is routinely overlooked. When given the opportunity, women like Arzo* can be powerful forces for change.
Arzo explains why life can be challenging for rural Afghan families:
“Right now things are difficult for people. Since last year, the price of food and other items has increased,” she said. “In the past, our animals would die every year. The animals we did have were weak and often became sick or injured, as we did not know how to look after them properly. We had to rely on what we could grow ourselves for our food, which was not enough.”
“With Afghanaid’s support, we have been able to make our lives better… Our animals are healthy and we have food to eat and a way to make some money.”
Christina Lamb has seen first hand the challenges facing Afghan people over the past two decades. She said:
“Since the Taliban seized power last August, people across Afghanistan have been battling a humanitarian crisis beyond anything I have ever witnessed in 35 years of reporting. Families have been forced to sell their daughters to keep their families from starvation. Supporting rural Afghan women to strengthen their income-earning skills is vital to help bolster their family’s sustainable source of food and income, but crucially, it also helps women gain confidence and respect in their communities.
“That’s why I am a fierce supporter of Afghanaid’s By Her Side campaign, as it gives us an opportunity to support women in Afghanistan to become changemakers in their communities.”
Charles Davy, Managing Director of Afghanaid, said:
“Near-record low precipitation has been observed in many parts of Afghanistan this year, meaning that millions of families across Afghanistan will continue to face acute food insecurity, compounding existing debt and unprecedented hardship. Mothers are often the first to forego food in crises, yet they play a critical role in the survival of their families and communities.
“The good news is that, with the UK government doubling the public’s generous donations to Afghanaid’s new appeal, we will be able to reach thousands more women in vulnerable conditions, transforming rural communities through the untapped potential of local women.”
Find out more and donate: www.afghanaid.org.uk/by-her-side-uk-aid-match-appeal
*Please note: we have changed Arzo’s name to protect her privacy