The problem

In rural Afghanistan, families living on the sides of steep mountains are isolated and poor. They are entirely reliant on natural resources to survive but, with huge distances to cross on a daily basis, and increasingly unpredictable weather, recurring droughts and floods, and punishing winters, it is becoming more and more difficult for them to live off the land.

Life in these remote villages has always been tough and, last year, the Taliban takeover, ensuing economic collapse and widespread food shortages pushed yet more Afghan families into poverty. 

Currently, 93% of Afghan families are not eating enough food, and this percentage rises to almost 100% in families headed by women. Poor education and restrictive social norms exclude women from economic and public life, limiting their potential to gain knowledge, learn skills and generate an income, and ensuring their contributions - including the care of livestock - are not valued by society. These constraints make families more likely to experience food shortages, by increasing the ratio of dependents to earners and limiting income sources to male family members. Mothers are often the first to forego food when there is a shortage and yet, when crises happen, they play a critical role in the survival of their families and communities. 

The solution

We know the key to transforming rural communities in Afghanistan lies in the untapped potential of millions of women. Decades of research, and our own experience, shows that where women are directly involved, communities become more inclusive, prosperous, and strong. 

We also know that healthy and well cared-for livestock are stronger, more productive and live longer, meaning that the families who depend on them have a reliable source of food and income. That’s why we support women to gain the skills, knowledge and tools they need to better care for their animals and produce more food. It’s a simple solution, with lasting results.

For women living in remote areas, healthy and strong animals also means being able to travel long distances to markets, hospitals and community facilities when needed. As income earners they gain the respect of male family members and start to influence family and community decisions. Armed with their new skills, they can start to lift their families out of poverty, invest money in their children’s health and education, and raise their voices to help their communities build resilience against future crises. 

How can I help women in Afghanistan?

When given the opportunity, women can be a powerful force for positive change. You can be part of this change. 

For every £1 donated to By Her Side before 30th September, the UK government will also contribute £1 of UK Aid - therefore doubling your donation. That means right now you have the opportunity to double your impact and transform a woman’s life.

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With your help, we can ensure that twice as many strong women like Arzo have the support, training and tools they need to produce more, feed their families, and increase the availability of nutritious food in their communities. 

Where will donations go?

100% of the match funds from the UK government will be used to support female livestock owners in remote rural Afghanistan. Half of the donations we receive from the public will also support this work, and the other half will go towards supporting our general work across Afghanistan, supporting families to recover and rebuild their lives, adapt to climate change and strengthen their resilience to future crises.

This is now more important than ever

One year on from the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan is at a pivotal moment in the country’s history. With millions of families still struggling to get by, the people of Afghanistan urgently need your support. Women in particular need us to not forget about them. They need us to stand with them.

Donate today to help us reach twice as many women in Afghanistan

Can't donate but still want to help?

There are lots of ways you can get involved in By Her Side aside from making a donation. Right now, we need as many people as possible to share our animation to help raise awareness about this issue and show women in Afghanistan that we stand with them:


Read our press release, or find out more about UK Aid Match and get your questions answered.