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Afghanistan’s turbulent modern history has been shaped by decades of internal conflict and extreme natural disasters, especially drought. With an estimated population of 30 million, this landlocked country at the historical crossroads of Central Asia is extremely poor and highly dependent on foreign aid as it struggles to rebuild. After years of war and severe poverty, combined with poor security, the country is considered to be among the most dangerous places for children to be born.
The challenges are daunting, especially for children and women. Even though political and economic uncertainty and personal and community insecurity still exist in much of Afghanistan, Save the Children is committed to helping Afghan families and communities.
For almost 30 years Afghan children have been affected by conflict. Only half of children are in school today, many work in the streets or in fields and homes to support their families. Children in Afghanistan face one of the worst chances of survival of anywhere in the world. One in four children dies before their fifth birthday, most of them from preventable diseases and malnutrition.
Nearly 3 million people in Afghanistan are affected by a drought that has caused crops to fail, leaving many in a constant struggle to feed their children and families. Save the Children is working hand in hand with public and private partners to help avert a child hunger crisis.
Parents need support to buy food for their children as they cannot depend on fall harvests to feed their families. Save the Children is advancing a plan to temporarily employ parents of children in need on projects to improve local reservoirs, agricultural canals and other critical drought-related projects.
Child Protection: Save the Children fights for children’s right to protection. We work closely with local communities, religious leaders, parents, teachers and the government to create and help maintain measures and structures that can prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence affecting children.
Health: Save the Children works with families, communities and health care workers in homes, health posts, clinics and hospitals to promote basic health, well-being and survival, particularly for children under age 5 and for women of childbearing age. In addition to government healthcare leaders and administrators, we train and support community health workers living in some of the poorest and most remote areas in Afghanistan.
Education: For many children in Afghanistan, being beaten and humiliated is a daily reality. Afghanistan still legally permits teachers to physically punish children. Save the Children works to change that and to provide successful models of violence-free schools that can be used all over the country.
Afghanistan Facts and Statistics
Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s 2012 State of the World’s Mothers report. You can access detailed data here.
Other sources as follows: Infant Mortality Rate: CIA World Factbook 2012; Life Expectancy at Birth: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; National Poverty Rate: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; Population: CIA World Factbook 2012; Human Development Index Rank: United Nations Development Program
Last Updated June 2014