Last year, Afghanaid embarked on an incredibly ambitious appeal following the surge in humanitarian need across Afghanistan. With over 28 million people requiring humanitarian assistance, and the humanitarian crisis showing no signs of abating, Afghanaid recognised that as well as delivering humanitarian relief, it was vital to begin to enact long-term solutions to food and income insecurity, as well as provide women with much-needed social and economic opportunities.

Afghanaid recognised that those suffering most in the midst of the humanitarian crisis were rural communities: cut off from major cities, unable to grow food due to severe drought, and without work due to economic collapse, families across the country required urgent support to get back on their feet. 

At the core of Afghanaid’s work lies the belief that the unlocking of a more prosperous and secure future for impoverished Afghan communities lies in the untapped potential of women. With this in mind, Afghanaid sought to launch a new project, ‘By Her Side’, aimed at revitalising remote communities by supporting women in livestock rearing and dairy production, a simple yet effective way to enable women to learn new skills, gain respect, tackle food insecurity, start micro dairy businesses, and earn a stable income.

The UK government saw how transformative this support could be, and pledged to match any donations to the By Her Side appeal over the summer of 2022 as part of their UK Aid Match initiative. Our amazing community of supporters also saw the enormous potential, and donated eagerly to support the campaign, with thousands more showing their support on social media and at fundraising events. 

Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the public over the three month appeal period, £312,582 of funds were donated. After eligible donations were match funded by the UK government by £281,093, a total of £593,676 was raised to invest in the power of Afghan women and their rural communities.

Now a year on, and despite extremely difficult circumstances, such as the recent restrictions on female NGO staff, we have been able to begin the implementation of this fantastic project. Through locally-led solutions and thanks to our long-standing presence in rural communities, we have been able to ensure that despite increasing restrictions on women’s basic freedoms, we can still reach Afghanistan’s most vulnerable women through this project whilst also meaningfully engaging our female staff in its delivery.

Abdul Rahman Tariq, Director of Programmes at Afghanaid, said: 

We are so pleased that, despite huge operational challenges over the past 12 months, our dynamic and hard-working team have been able to find creative, culturally and religiously sensitive solutions that allow us to reach rural women with this life-changing support.

Thanks to the generosity of the UK public and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in last year’s By Her Side match-funding appeal, hundreds of women in some of Afghanistan’s most remote communities will now receive the training and tools they need to transform their lives for the better through livestock. Not only has this money supported women’s learning and created new opportunities for them, but it has also enabled women to feed their families and earn a much needed income.

Simple solutions. Long-term impact. Transformed lives.

Thanks to UK Aid Match, Zuleika* will no longer have to worry about putting food on the table. Receiving her own cow, as well as enrolling on training on how to make dairy products, Zuleika cannot wait to start her own micro business selling milk, yoghurt and cheese, which will allow her to buy all the necessities her family needs and feed her children nutritious food. She and her family will also be able to use the cow’s manure to use as fuel and fertiliser, and sell any offspring her cow has for even further financial benefits.  

Zuleika’s husband also spoke to us about the life-changing effects this support will have on his wife’s mental wellbeing: “It helps her be independent as she learns new skills, and it’s also good for her mental and physical health, as she is able to be active outside the home.”

Not only that, Zuleika has realised her own potential, having had no one believe in her abilities or invest in her resilience before the By Her Side project. Thanks to the generosity of the UK public and FCDO, her dreams of a brighter future are finally becoming a reality.

*Names have been changed.


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Notes to editors:

About UK Aid Match

UK Aid Match brings charities, the British public and the UK government together to collectively change lives and support people around the world. It is designed to allow the British public to have a say in how UK aid is spent and provide opportunities to engage with international issues, whilst boosting the impact of work like Afghanaid's.

The UK government matched all public donations made to Afghanaid between 30th June 2022 and 11th October 2022 up to £2 million, helping to double the transformative impact Afghanaid has on women’s lives in Afghanistan.

Where have donations made to By Her Side gone?

100% of the matched funding that the public unlocked from the UK government is being used to support female livestock owners in remote rural Afghanistan to gain the skills, knowledge and tools they need to maximise the health and productivity of their animals and create a reliable source of food and income. Half of the donations Afghanaid received is also going towards supporting this work, with the other half supporting emergency assistance work across Afghanistan, ensuring families can recover and rebuild their lives, adapt to climate change and strengthen their resilience to future crises.

About Afghanaid

Afghanaid is a British humanitarian and development organisation. Since 1983, our dedicated staff have worked with millions of families in some of the poorest and most remote communities in Afghanistan. We build basic services, improve livelihoods, strengthen the rights of women and children, help communities protect against natural disasters and adapt to climate change, and respond to humanitarian emergencies in pursuit of a peaceful and thriving Afghanistan.

Since the beginning of 2023, Afghanaid has reached over 524,000 people through humanitarian assistance, and supported over 75,535 households to tackle food insecurity, strengthen their livelihoods sources and build more prosperous communities.

In the past 3 years, Afghanaid has also supported more than 1,161,000 women to enhance their economic engagement, inclusion in local governance and full participation in community life. This vital work continues despite increasing operational challenges.

For more information about our work, visit our website, or follow us on Twitter @Afghanaid or find us on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and TikTok.

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