Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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As Afghanistan edges closer to economic collapse and winter closes in, nearly half the population are facing extreme hunger. Nearly 19 million people living across 34 provinces are facing crisis or emergency levels of acute food insecurity.

Sixteen months after the Taliban took control of the country, political instability has crippled the economy and decades of drought have made it impossible to continue the agricultural and farming practices that once sustained communities.

Right now, nearly 4 million children are malnourished. Without urgent treatment and long-term support to access nutritious food, many of these children will die.

In the Herat province, almost 15 per cent of households are run by women, mostly single mothers, or widows, living with little to no income. It is common for husbands leave the home to find work or to be killed in political violence. With limited opportunities to work, this puts women-led households at particular risk of extreme hunger.

ChildFund Alliance member WeWorld is working in partnership with Rural Rehabilitation Association for Afghanistan, in Herat to provide women-led households with the cash so that they can buy the necessities they need to get them through the winter.

Winter in Herat is harsh. Temperatures will plummet below zero degrees Celsius and snow will blanket the towns.

The six-month long program has supported 180 vulnerable households with cash for food assistance. The project supported 1,260 people to access adequate nutrition.

In Herat, 95 per cent of households in the province said that they experienced days where they had no food at all. These cash transfers give families with flexibility and dignity, allowing them to decide and buy the food they need. It also allows them to access health care when they need it the most.

Over the course of the distribution, there were many challenges to overcome and WeWorld has had to find new ways of working in an everchanging political landscape.

Through the course of the project, they also learned that many women are not able to attend the distribution sessions because of caring duties in the home.

To address these challenges, WeWorld has developed a WhatsApp group to advise when they will be distributing cash so they can arrange caring duties for their children.

Emergency food assistance is another vital intervention to reduce malnutrition for those populations unable to cover their food cost needs. The cash provided to families will be enough for them to buy food and water and pay for health care for their children during the crisis.

With winter closing in we have 400 households to that we need to reach urgently and support to put food on the table. Learn more about how we’re supporting children and their families facing extreme hunger in Afghanistan.

After nine months of relentless fighting on the eastern border of Ukraine, 18 million people are now in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. This number rises every day.

In February 2022, Russia launched a full-scale military attack on Ukraine, forcing nearly seven million people to flee their homes, with 600,000 of those fleeing into neighbouring Moldova. The vast majority are children, young people, and women whose lives changed overnight.

For a country of just four million, this sudden influx of people into Moldova has put massive strain on its housing, education, and health systems. Many of the children and young people that have fled the fighting, will experience some form of trauma.

ChildFund Alliance’s member organisations, ChildFund Deutschland and We World, are responding both in Ukraine and cross-border in Moldova. Together, they have equipped 23 emergency shelters for families and children, and their mobile teams are working to provide counselling and referral services for refugees arriving in Moldova from Ukraine.

Every emergency shelter set up by ChildFund has a child-friendly space – a place where children and young people can come and access psychosocial support and educational and recreational activities. Child-friendly spaces are run by trained facilitators and provide the opportunity for children and young people to play, rest, learn, develop their skills, and build their resilience.

These activities give them a much-needed respite from the ongoing turmoil and support them to overcome adversity. Together, they read, draw, paint, make handcrafts and make music.

In Moldova, 5,000 people have benefitted from psychosocial services provided by WeWorld and in both Ukraine and Moldova more than 3,000 children have been able to access safe spaces established by WeWorld and ChildFund Deutschland.

Since the fighting began, 300,000 people have made the decision to return home to Ukraine from Moldova. Many returned home to find their homes damaged, and schools and hospitals flattened. Across Ukraine, it is estimated that 140,000 homes have been levelled by the fighting and just over 2,000 schools have suffered structural damage.

With temperatures cooling and winter gripping the country, the number of people in need of humanitarian support will rapidly increase. Already, 628,000 households are without electricity and in winter the temperatures can plummet to minus 20 degrees Celsius.

ChildFund is working with local partners to ensure that children and families have what they need to stay safe and warm. This means providing food, hygiene, and medical supplies, blankets, and electric heaters, as well as transport and fuel.

ChildFund is also continuing to distribute food to children and young people in emergency shelters. Basic non-food items are being distributed alongside food, including diapers for babies, hygiene products and medicine for children receiving healthcare. More than 8,000 people are receiving these packages every week.

As children and young people across Ukraine and neighbouring countries such as Moldova continue to bear the brunt of this violence, ChildFund remains committed to ensuring that all children can be safe and healthy. Support children and young people now.