What is Women for Women International doing to respond to the situation in Afghanistan?
Our regular programmes have been paused for security reasons, but we hope to resume them as soon as we can. Our normal Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme provides cash, training, business skills, and referrals to services such as psychosocial support for women survivors of war and conflict. We are assessing how we will be able to continue these services in the new reality.
Our top priorities are protecting our staff and being a lifeline to the women we serve. We are also organising psychosocial support for some of our most vulnerable staff and for women we serve. As the situation evolves, we are reaching out to leaders to assess how we can continue our programmes.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been going through a process of negotiations with the new government authorities in Afghanistan in order to continue serving the women in our program. We want to restart our work of helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives and remain in the country for the long term. We understand this is an anxious time for our staff and their families and we are doing everything we can to ensure their safety.
We are working closely with other international organizations still in Afghanistan to align with them as we negotiate with this new government and we hope that we, like some other NGOs, will be formally authorized to continue our work.
We continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our international community of supporters. Money raised through our Afghanistan appeal will be used for activities which specifically support our Afghanistan response. That means money could be spent on adapting our program to the current situation, supporting participants and staff in the country or refugees who have now left, advocacy work specifically related to the situation in Afghanistan, as well as other solutions we develop in the coming days and weeks.
Over the past few decades, we’ve reached more than 120,000 women in Afghanistan, and we hope to increase services for those who are displaced and those who need us most now. Whatever happens in the coming days, weeks, and months, we hold true to the idea that women can and should help shape the future of Afghanistan. Our international community of supporters matters now more than ever.
We're adapting our programme to meet the current situation, including:
- We are supplying women with solar powered phones so while isolated they can connect with each other and to our team, as well as get vital safety information.
- We are providing referrals to services such as psychosocial support for women in the country.
- We have suspended classes at all locations in the interim to ensure the utmost safety for our staff and participants. Once we feel it is safe to do so, we will resume programs.
- We are advocating to governments and international bodies to provide aid for women at this crucial time.
Our commitment to supporting communities in Afghanistan remains, with the ultimate goal of continuing operations locally and supporting as many women as possible.
Thank you for being concerned about the well-being and safety of the communities in Afghanistan along with us. Please check back here for ongoing updates as we move through these unprecedented times.