The tragedy of the Taliban’s quick take over in Afghanistan has sent waves of horror and grief around the world. It’s with pain that we see the images of desperation coming out of the country – where more than 400,000 people have fled their homes. What this means for Afghanistan is currently unravelling, but what we know, is that women and girls are among the most vulnerable.
The United States began withdrawing their troops in May, to end a 20 year military presence in the name of ending terrorism. Since then, the country has witnessed a record amount of civilian deaths – namely the deaths of women and children.
The rule of the Taliban poses a huge risk for the rights of women and girls. During their previous reign from 1996 to 2001, women and girls were harshly controlled. They weren’t allowed to go to school, work outside the household or even leave the house without a male companion. Public beatings of women were commonplace. Women’s rights activists worry that the Taliban’s takeover will push back the work for women’s rights in the country to square one. During the past 20 years, many girls and women have had the opportunity to get an education and a job.
My heart goes out to those who have dedicated their lives to support human rights and dignity for all in the country.
Brave activists and organizations are stepping up their work to support women and girls in Afghanistan. Despite the fear and worry, there is hope in the resilience and strength of the activists working for change.
Below are four important organizations that need your support in this current crisis.
Women for Afghan Women
Women for Afghan Women has become the largest women’s organization in Afghanistan over the past two decades. The organization provides life-changing services, education, and vocational training for our clients across Afghanistan and in the United States (US) who have endured rights violations. They are currently working 24/7 to keep their clients, staff, and families alive and safe. They are evacuating centers, providing safe shelter, resources, and aid.
Women for Women International
With a focus on the critical intersection of women and conflict, Women for Women International provides skills, knowledge, and resources that create sustainable change for women, their families, and their communities. They have been present in Afghanistan since 2002. Their Conflict Fund rapidly supports women caught in the horrors of our time.
Global Fund for Women
Women and girls are among the hardest hit in crisis. Global Fund for Women’s Crisis Fund “has supported partners during health crises, including COVID-19; political upheavals; and in the wake of natural disasters.” When you donate to their Crisis Fund, you will help fuel feminist response to the crisis in Afghanistan.
United Nations Population Fund
Women continue to give birth despite an on-going crisis. When a conflict occurs like the one in Afghanistan today, women and girls are at risk for gender-based violence (including child marriage) and maternal deaths and injuries. UNFPA’s emergency work delivers services to vulnerable women and girls. “All humanitarian actors must have unimpeded access to deliver services and assistance to those in need,” says Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director UNFPA.
As a former employee of UNFPA, I’ve worked in support of the emergency initiatives of the organization that steps up wherever a crisis arises. Donate here.
Here’s how our members are supporting women and girls in Afghanistan.
As one of the most conflict-ridden and violent countries in the world, Afghanistan has been a difficult place for aid organizations to exist. Yet, CARE Afghanistan has developed three programs: Women’s & girls’ empowerment, Enhanced resilience and Humanitarian action.
In light of the recent crisis, CARE has launched an Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund. Your gift is matched and helps to reach 500,000 vulnerable Afghans with emergency food, health services, shelter, and cross-border support for refugees.
Learn more and donate here.
Fistula Foundation supports partners around the world to end obstetric fistula, a childbirth injury that destroys women’s lives. An obstetric fistula occurs during a prolonged, obstructed labor, when there is no access to emergency medical care. This devastating situation is excruciatingly painful and most often the baby dies. The only cure for fistula is surgery.
Fistula Foundation has long supported a hospital in Kabul, that provides critical care through their female fistula surgery team. With the news coming from Afghanistan, it’s uncertain whether the fistula surgery team will be able to continue their life-changing work. Read CEO Kate Grant’s message here.
International Planned Parenthood Federation
Afghanistan has one of the poorest sexual and reproductive health statistics in the world. Maternal mortality poses a risk to 1 in 8 women in the country. In the past 20 years, IPPF’s Member Association in Afghanistan has conducted vital work to support the most vulnerable populations.
Read IPPF’s statement on the situation in Afghanistan here.
Other member organizations that support partners in Afghanistan includes, FRIDA, The Young Feminist Fund and International Confederation of Midwives.
In situations like these, it’s easy to fall into powerlessness and hopelessness.
Yet, it’s the brave changemakers who shine the brightest in these times. They are the ones we should listen to and support. Girls’ Globe is a global community of activists, advocates and organizations, that inspire us – even in the darkest of times.
I hope that you understand your power to support those who are in the midst of the crisis, working for safety, refuge, and essential health services for the most vulnerable. Donate, share this post, learn more and take action.
In the comments section below, please share other actions we can take to support those devastated by the crisis in Afghanistan.