Afghanistan’s hunger crisis has gotten significantly worse over the past year, and new research by the international aid agency CARE confirms women are faring the worst.
Women reported eating less than other household members because there was not enough food to go around, with 87% saying their household income had decreased significantly since August 2021.
CARE Afghanistan’s Humanitarian Advocacy Advisor, Mélissa Cornet, said: “These reduced incomes impact every facet of a family’s life, including the ability to buy enough food, to buy nutritious food, to seek urgent medical attention, to have adequate shelter — the list goes on.”
One of the women surveyed in Parwan province said: “Before August 2021, we would cook three or four food items per meal — rice, chicken, red meat. Now we only cook one item. The food is just too expensive now. Some nights we would eat nothing and go to sleep hungry.”
The research also found it was not always possible for women to access humanitarian aid.
“Some aid is delivered in mosques, which are often not accessible to women and some distribution points are too far away [which] requires women to travel outside of their community, possibly needing to be accompanied by a mahram [a male relative],” Ms Cornet said.
CARE places significant emphasis on ensuring its aid is accessible to women, and advocates for other aid providers to do the same.
The organisation is calling for international donors, including the Australian Government, to increase funding to Afghanistan, and ensure it meets the needs of all people, regardless of gender.
“The international community must act immediately to prevent a deterioration of the already dire humanitarian and food security situation in Afghanistan,” Ms Cornet said.
Read the research summary here.
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About the methodology:
For this preliminary report, CARE surveyed 345 women in urban and rural communities in nine provinces in Afghanistan; conducted in-depth interviews with 18 women; conducted nine focus group discussions with men; interviewed food security specialists and humanitarian actors; and conducted a comprehensive desk review of existing data since August 2021.
About CARE Afghanistan
CARE began working in Afghanistan in 1961 and has had continuous operations in the country since 1989. CARE’s programs in Afghanistan focus on women’s social and economic empowerment, education, rural development and emergency response.