Afghanistan

Educo warns: Afghan girls do not have access to secondary education and this will impact their future and the future of the country

To mark the first anniversary of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and in the light of a worrying reversal of children's rights

On the first anniversary of the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, the NGO Educo expresses concern regarding the lack of secondary education for Afghan girls. "The fact that girls can only have access to primary school education will mark their future and also the future of the country," laments Pilar Orenes, executive director of the NGO.

On March 23 last year, the Taliban regime decided to ban girls from attending secondary school. "Banning girls from attending school is not only a huge setback, but it leads to multiple risks, including forced marriage, exploitation and abuse," says Orenes: “For girls, this new regime is having terrible consequences for their present, but sadly, it will also affect their future. Forced not to enjoy their right to education, they are repeating the same experience as their mothers in the first Taliban regime."

When the Talibans took control of Kabul, schools closed for six months. In the case of secondary schools, they only reopened for boys. As the executive director of an NGO that focuses on children's right to education, Orenes points out that "depriving girls in Afghanistan of that space throws them into a situation of maximum vulnerability and uncertainty."

The situation is not much better for boys in the country. In fact, 4 million boys and girls have dropped out of school. Twice that number, 8 million, are in need of humanitarian aid. The situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated in the last year and the country is on the verge of economic collapse. If in 2021, 18.4 million people were in need of humanitarian aid, in 2022 the figure has reached 24.4 million, more than half of the population. Over half are children. During 2022, 97% of the population is expected to be living below the poverty line (in 2019 the percentage was 54%).

Over the past year, Educo, through the ChildFund Alliance and in partnership with WeWorld, has carried out a project in the province of Herat to help widows who are heads of households. This is a particularly vulnerable collective which has not stopped growing. Due to the high number of men who have died in recent conflicts or as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and other widespread diseases, more than 2 million women have been widowed nationwide. The Cash for Food project in the rural areas of Robat E Sangi is supporting 180 households run by women, benefiting more than one thousand people, three-quarters of whom are children. Almost all of the people who participated in this project were suffering from hunger and 71.1% were suffering from severe hunger.

The action of handing out cash was designed to put an end to entrenched techniques that were harming the community: repeated borrowing of money to buy food; cutting back on expenses such as health and education; and the selling of any available items such as furniture and appliances, or even of their income-generating equipment or means of transportation. For this reason, a cash payment equivalent to 80 euros per month per family was adopted. This amount is based on average food needs and the number of members per family, and costs, although prices are steadily increasing.

About Educo:

Educo is a global development NGO focused on education child protection and child participation, which works in 14 countries carrying out projects in which more than 1.6 million children and young people participate.

For more information:
Maria Lopez Vivas (Press)
maria.vivas@educo.org
Tel: 660659172