This year, in Afghanaid’s 40th year of work, we’ve continued to provide large-scale, transformative humanitarian and development assistance to thousands of vulnerable, remote communities in Afghanistan.

The situation in Afghanistan

Life for the women, men and children of Afghanistan continues to be fraught with dire challenges and restrictions.

It is estimated that a record 29.2 million people in the country require humanitarian assistance. In the past 24 months, household debt has acutely deepened as people have no choice to rely on loans to get by. An astonishing 90% of the population have struggled to put food on the table, skipping meals or going whole days without eating - food security rates have deteriorated principally due to the climate crisis, which continues to dry up harvests and strain livelihoods. Women and girls also face increasing restrictions on their basic freedoms, limiting their independence, as well as their ability to help provide for their families and build more secure futures.

Sadly, further disasters towards the end of 2023, such as the powerful series of earthquakes in Herat, and the recent deportation crisis have greatly burdened already overstretched communities. Yet, despite the impacts of these overlapping crises, acute funding shortages continue to threaten aid efforts.

There is no doubt that 2023 was one of the most difficult years in memory for families across Afghanistan. Whilst the headlines remain dire, there are also many stories of impact and hope worth reflecting on as we enter the new year.

Positive stories from 2023

In 2023, Afghanaid worked with over 1.5 million men, women and children across Afghanistan. As we enter the new year, we remain committed to working alongside millions more vulnerable families to help them through the current challenges they face, and rebuild their lives. We also remain committed to reflecting on stories of impact, to spotlight the resilient Afghans forging brighter futures against the odds. Join us as we look back on some of the positive stories of 2023.

1. Afghanaid delivered 25 successful projects in 2023

Our dedicated staff implemented 25 projects in 2023. From humanitarian relief, building roads, improving farmers' production, teaching women new skills, and reducing the impacts of floods, our impactful work has remained large-scale and wide-ranging, and most crucially, led by local people. Through working with community development councils to establish specific needs, we have designed and implemented holistic solutions.

Want to hear more about this approach? Watch our brand new film, Still Here, to fully understand our impact over 4 decades. We're thrilled to announce the film has been shortlisted in this year's Charity Film Awards - find out more and how you can vote.

2. Women's Self-Help Groups shown to give Afghan women like Siamoi independence, support networks and hope

Being part of this group has taught us so much, now our eyes are open and we are all working towards becoming successful business women.

Siamoi, leader of her self-help group

We've continued to form and support women's self-help groups, helping women come together weekly to meet, form savings groups and launch their own small businesses. These life-changing self-help groups are a simple, yet powerful solution for women in Afghanistan to cope with the challenges they face: by gaining vocational skills to earn an income and solving problems with other group members, they are able to provide for their families and change attitudes from the grassroots up. Take Siamoi's group, who have launched a thriving soap business:

Read Siamoi's Story

3. 114 communities newly gained access to clean water in 2023

UNICEF estimate that 8 in 10 Afghans currently drink unsafe water, meaning that millions of Afghan families risk contracting preventable illness daily in search of drinking water. Acute watery diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of death in Afghan children under five.

We've been working hard to improve water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and knowledge in 114 different communities by delivering training on how to avoid water-borne diseases and manage their water, building water supply networks and toilet facilities for communities, as well as providing water filters. This has helped to reduce the number of avoidable deaths in the communities we work, improving school attendance for young boys and girls, and preventing family members walking long and dangerous journeys to find safe water.

4. Vital emergency livelihoods support has helped families pay off debt

Rising food and fuel prices, growing unemployment and increasing restrictions on women's freedoms has contributed to least four out of five households have experienced income reduction and taken on debt in the past 2 years. With the ongoing humanitarian crisis showing few signs of abating, extreme debt leaves families unable to rebuild their lives and extremely vulnerable to future challenges. 

Under one project, aimed at facilitating livelihoods recovery from recent shocks, we distributed emergency cash alongside substantive, wide-ranging support for agricultural and livestock based livelihoods. We directly worked alongside over 24,000 households in seven provinces, and of the families involved, 43% were able to immediately reduce their household debt. Additionally, 88% of households like Asma's reported improved future income-generating opportunities, indicating their improved resilience to further shocks in the future.

Read Asma's Story

5. Women-led climate adaptation efforts are helping to mitigate disasters

This year, we helped more than 65,970 households to adapt to the changing climate, helping them to better protect themselves from natural disasters and extreme weather. This has included working with communities to rehabilitate watershed areas and build infrastructure, such as irrigation canals, water reservoirs and flood protection walls (pictured, below).

Crucially, we put women at the heart of our climate adaptation work in Afghanistan, harnessing Afghan women's resilience to pioneer climate solutions that create a more sustainable, inclusive future that benefits all. From bio-briquettes to gabion boxes, this work is transforming local environments and economies.

Read more about Women and Climate Action in Afghanistan

6. More than 2 million Ferula seedlings to vulnerable farmers

A profitable crop across Central Asia, the herbaceous plant Ferula is sold at high prices to make the spice asafoetida, which is utilised in various homeopathic medicines. Towards the end of 2023, we distributed more than 2 million Ferula seedlings to farmers, enabling them to generate more profit from their land.

Crucially, this drought-tolerant crop also ensures farmers like Abdul Satar (pictured below) do not solely rely on wheat yields, and can still earn a decent living despite the changing climate. 

Now, I am very happy and optimistic that we will earn good money, buy good food, wear warm clothes, and experience a good life through the cultivation of Ferula.

Read Abdul Satar's Story

How can you inspire hope in 2024?

This year, we will continue to make life better for over one million people in Afghanistan. Regular support from our wonderful monthly giving community is a vital resource that enables us to do this. Having a reliable stream of funds that we can count on all year round, allows us to plan ahead so we can reach more vulnerable men, women and children, and respond immediately when disasters strike.

Regular gifts empower change that will last. Every month, you can help us save lives, reach remote villages, respond to emergencies and natural disasters, and work with communities to make them healthier and stronger. Join us and our partnering communities in building a brighter future for Afghanistan.

Do something amazing today and Join Our Monthly Giving Movement