In the remote regions of Afghanistan, families survive almost exclusively on their own agriculture. Typically, it is women who bear the responsibility of caring for their livestock. However, women often lack the necessary skills, knowledge, or resources to care for their animals. As such, animals are often weak, and of poor health, impacting families’ food supply, income, and general wellbeing. 

Droughts, harsh winters, and unpredictable weather are making it increasingly difficult for families in rural Afghanistan to live off of the land. This has contributed to high levels of food insecurity, with nearly 100% of families led by women not having access to sufficient food. The public restrictions placed on female education, employment and basic movement over the past year make it especially difficult for women to earn an income and provide for their families. The economic crisis has made matters worse, with the cost of food and other basic necessities skyrocketing. 

Despite all this, Afghan women can be powerful forces for change. With a bit of support, these women can complete training courses and gain the equipment they need to better care for their livestock, produce more food, earn an income and care for their families.

So, how exactly does supporting women to care for their livestock help their families?

Here are five ways that supporting women to care for their livestock can help their families:

  1. Better harvests. Healthier livestock means stronger livestock, which helps families to ensure better crop yields. This provides both an increased food supply for the family to consume, and creates a surplus to sell. This means women are able to start up their own small businesses and start generating an income.
  2. Increased food source. Healthier livestock also produce more nutritious food, which helps families stay healthy and acts as a lifeline during extreme food shortages. Meat and dairy products can also be sold, contributing to the family’s income.
  3. Easier access to public life. Stronger livestock also enables women and families to travel longer distances more frequently. This can transform a woman’s life, allowing her to receive healthcare for her family, and access markets, where she is able to sell produce that she’s been able to harvest thanks to her healthy livestock.
  4. Lifting families out of poverty. Ultimately, helping women care for livestock helps lift their families out of poverty. An increased and more stable income, access to health and social care for both themselves and their children, and a more reliable food source, all contribute to the long term prosperity of women and their families.
  5. Gaining confidence and respect. As income earners women can contribute to economic recovery after the events of the past year, and gain the respect of male family members. Armed with this new respect, women are able to influence family and community decisions and invest money in their children’s health and education, and raise their voices to help their communities build resilience against future crises.

How you can help

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