Victims of war - Afghanistan

News and Press Release
Originally published
More than 20 years of military conflict and three years of drought had devastated much of Afghanistan prior to Sept. 11, 2001. The country experienced the collapse of basic social services and government infrastructure, widespread food shortages and the displacement of millions of people. After the U.S.-led coalition forces toppled the Taliban, the country faced many challenges in its efforts to rebuild. Insecurity in the form of armed conflict and banditry persist in many areas of the country. The presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) throughout Afghanistan also poses a serious threat.
CARE's Response

CARE has worked in Afghanistan since 1961, initially to provide medical training and improve health care service delivery. CARE suspended operations during the years of Soviet occupation. In 1989, CARE launched a relief and rehabilitation project in Konar Province, an area that had been badly affected by the war. During the 1990s, CARE's programs in east and central Afghanistan included food distribution, road reconstruction, irrigation system repair, erosion control, water and sanitation system rehabilitation/operation, home schooling, and small economic activity development.

Following the events of Sept. 11, CARE was one of the first international organizations to move back to Kabul. As more than 2 million refugees and displaced persons began returning to their homes, CARE tripled our project portfolio. Since July of 2001, CARE has reached more than 4.3 million people (44 percent female, 56 percent male) through a combination of emergency relief and development programs.

These included:

  • Distribution of food and emergency supplies

  • Shelter construction

  • Labor-intensive public works programs (urban sanitation, road repair and irrigation system rehabilitation)
In addition to these emergency programs, CARE has continued operating the following projects:

Water and Sanitation Project - The Water and Sanitation Project aims to provide clean drinking water and improve the overall health status of some of Kabul's poorest neighborhoods. The program, operational since 1997, has helped rehabilitate large parts of the municipal water system, including deep wells, reservoirs and pipes. Last year, the project's two pumping stations provided clean water to 45,000 poor households in Kabul (more than 400,000 people). The project plans to expand to 5,000 additional households.

Assistance to Widows in Kabul - This program supplies a monthly food ration of wheat, beans and cooking oil, equivalent to half of the monthly nutritional needs for a family of five. CARE distributes 4,000 tons of food annually to 10,000 widows (60,000 people total). In addition, CARE is providing health education and vocational skills training to widows.

Rural Assistance Program - This program supports the livelihoods of rural families by promoting food production, improving health and sanitation, and enhancing the role of women in the community development process.

Basic and Girls' Education - The Community Organization for Primary Education (COPE) Project helps improve access to quality education for both boys and girls in seven districts of southeastern Afghanistan. CARE provides teacher training and school supplies and equipment, and the communities provide the school facilities (usually a home or community building), teacher salaries, and school management. COPE is currently reaching almost 30,000 students (49 percent girls) in more than 300 villages.

Local Capacity Building - CARE Afghanistan's Partnership Umbrella Initiative (PUI) provides training, technical support and grants to local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for programs aimed at overcoming poverty.