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Against hunger and oppression

Germany continues to support civil society in Afghanistan – with the focus on the country’s women.

Ulrike Scheffer, 29.10.2022
Seamstress in Afghanistan
Seamstress in Afghanistan © picture alliance/dpa

Germany suspended cooperation with Afghanistan after the Taliban took power in August 2021. Nevertheless, people in the country continue to receive assistance. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says: “Our particular focus is on supporting women and girls, for no one is suffering more than they are in the current situation.”

In October Germany launched a federal admission programme. Above all, it is intended to benefit women who are at risk because of their support for female and human rights and want to leave Afghanistan. They will receive help in leaving the country. Women and men who are under threat because of their sexual orientation, their gender identity or their religion are also to be admitted to Germany.

Germany is also again providing emergency assistance in Afghanistan because the humanitarian situation has deteriorated dramatically. Over two thirds of Afghanistan’s roughly 34 million inhabitants are threatened by hunger. The greatest need is in rural areas. For several years droughts have made harvests barely possible, and worldwide price increases for oil, wheat and other basic foodstuffs are also having an impact in Afghanistan. In addition, women are now only allowed to work in a few occupations. As a result, many can no longer contribute to family incomes.

This year, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe distributed food parcels to 12,500 Afghan families. One long-term aid project is being continued by Afghan women under their own management. In the province of Herat in western Afghanistan a cooperative is successfully producing saffron. Women can learn how to cultivate the valuable spice and then plant saffron corms in their own fields or gardens. This means they can earn money even if they are not allowed to leave their home.

World Vision continues to be active in Afghanistan too. “In light of the need we must not leave people alone now,” says Ekkehard Forberg of World Vision. Among other things, the Christian relief organisation trains midwives. The Taliban tolerate this and also allow midwives to carry on working. That is vital for Afghan women because maternal mortality, like child mortality, is high in Afghanistan. The midwives trained with German help are thus able to save many lives.


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