In Afghanistan, years of conflict, drought and limited access to healthcare services make it difficult for vulnerable families 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 is working with a long-time partner on the ground to address these challenges.
PWS&D supports girls’ education in Afghanistan, which seeks to educate religious leaders, parents and community members about the importance of sending children, especially girls, to school. Specialized training for teachers includes sessions on child rights, gender, peace education and improved teaching methods, which foster a nurturing learning environment for girl students.
However, since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, PWS&D has not been able to provide urgent humanitarian assistance or continue our vital work. Currently, we cannot send funds to Afghanistan due to Canadian sanctions and a restrictive interpretation of the Canadian Criminal Code’s Anti-Terrorism provisions. We continue to advocate to the Government of Canada that a humanitarian exemption be made.
In previous years, PWS&D has 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. Communities also learned about the importance of maternal health, nutrition, hygiene, family planning and the benefits of breastfeeding.