In Afghanistan, years of conflict, drought and limited access to healthcare services make it difficult for marginalized families and individuals to grow enough food, improve their health, attend a school or escape the cycle of poverty. This is especially true for women and girls. PWS&D has supported work in Afghanistan, with a long-time partner, since 2001.
However, since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, PWS&D was unable able to provide urgent humanitarian assistance or continue our vital long-term development work. Canadian sanctions and a restrictive interpretation of the Canadian Criminal Code’s Anti-Terrorism provisions made it impossible to send funds.
After years of advocacy, the passage of Bill C-41 in June 2023 has made it possible to restart vital humanitarian assistance work in the country, which is urgently needed. An estimated 28.3 million Afghans (two-thirds of the population) are in need after three consecutive years of drought-like condition, crippling economic decline since the Taliban takeover, and decades of conflict and recurrent natural disasters.
In previous years, PWS&D has supported girls’ education in Afghanistan, seeking to educate religious leaders, parents and community members about the importance of sending children, especially girls, to school. Specialized training for teachers helped foster nurturing learning environments for girl students.
PWS&D has also worked in Afghanistan to improve the quality of mother and child health services and overcome cultural barriers that prevent women from receiving essential pre and postnatal health care. Delivery rooms were established and upgraded, and birth attendants received training about how to deliver babies safely.