Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan
Power dynamics in Afghanistan are changing at a terrifying speed, and food scarcity and forced displacement are soaring. World Vision warns that children will pay the price as they face a greater risk of violence, abuse and exploitation. Read more here.
More than half of the country's population — 24.4 million people — need immediate assistance and protection. Nearly half of them are women and girls. And these numbers are growing.
As an International Partnership, World Vision Canada is still operational in Afghanistan and working to meet the needs of children and their families. We have worked in Afghanistan but, as a result of a change in Afghanistan’s government, at this time, no Canadian raised funds (either from private donations or from government) can be programmed there due to Canadian Criminal Code restrictions. As concerned Canadians, you can call your federal Member of Parliament and express your concern and frustration that legal barriers make it impossible for Canadian charities, like World Vision Canada, to support work in Afghanistan. Raise your concerns about the significant level of needs and the urgency to remove these barriers so that life-saving work can resume.
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Binza Childhood Rescue Project Highlight
The BINZA CHILDHOOD RESCUE PROJECT is executed by World Vision International in BINZA, Rutshuru, Eastern DRC
By 2030, two thirds of the world's extreme poor will live in fragile contexts, and the majority will be children. Surrounded by instability and disaster, they are susceptible to violence, poverty, abuse and exploitation. Because of our commitment to the world's most vulnerable, and our goal to see girls and boys flourishing in childhood, World Vision started Childhood Rescue —a program that responds to urgent and arising needs with life-saving interventions, crisis recovery programs and help in building a future for vulnerable children.
Childhood Rescue has been implementing the Fragile Context Programme Approach in three countries: Afghanistan, Honduras and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). World Vision cannot end wars, stop political unrest or eliminate corruption in fragile contexts, but Childhood Rescue can help children reclaim their childhoods, helping children to survive, recover and build a future. The Fragile Context Program Approach (FCPA) is World Vision's approach to adaptive programming in fragile contexts which brings together humanitarian, development and peacebuilding nexus (HDPN).
Fragile Context Programme Approach
Built on valuable experience, capabilities and institutional knowledge, the FCPA enables World Vision field offices to respond flexibly to cyclical or recurrent shocks and stresses in fragile contexts, reducing their impact and supporting peace and social cohesion that is essential for sustainable well-being. At the heart of the Fragile Context Framework and the FCPA are the three dials: Survive, Adapt and Thrive.
The Survive dial is linked to programming options which allow a quick and effective response to rapidly deteriorating situations, to ensure the survival of the most affected and most vulnerable girls and boys, families and communities. This is working in fragility, by meeting survival needs of children, families and communities according to the humanitarian principles and strong security standards that ensure we can access the most vulnerable children, families and communities and keep our staff safe from harm.
The Adapt dial is primarily focused on resilience and recovery, which enables longer term change, as well as prepares for a better response, reduces the likelihood of relapse and mitigates the impact of future crises. Peacebuilding and conflict mitigation are central to these dials, and the programming options associated with them are aimed at addressing the drivers and root causes of fragility by reinforcing adaptation and resilience, building stronger networks, interpersonal, intercommunal, inter-religious and group ties to promote peaceful coexistence and social cohesion.
The Thrive dial is linked with programming approaches that bring hope, promote recovery, reduce dependency on aid, improve governance and service provision and help girls, boys, families and communities adapt to dealing effectively with risk.
Peacekeeping and conflict mitigation are central to these dials, and the programming options associated with them are aimed at addressing the drivers and root causes of fragility by reinforcing adaptation and resilience and building stronger networks to promote peaceful coexistence and social cohesion. In addition to this, context monitoring is essential to the approach. The project developed and deployed an online, live tool to support the collection, analysis and reporting of context information specific to each area of intervention, supporting context trend analysis to make project adjustments and decisions based on changes in context.
Since projects started in 2019, we identified and adapted to many operational context changes. Here are three significant examples from each of the countries we operate.
HONDURAS was hit by hurricanes Eta and Iota in November 2020.
These catastrophes caused major damage, particularly in the Sula Valley area, resulting in landslides, floods, road closures, crop losses. People lost their homes and were forced to flee. Churches and schools provided temporary shelter, but the large number of displaced people combined with a pervading sense of hopelessness led to increased violence and crime. The impacts of the hurricanes hurt families that had already been struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic—unemployment jumped as factories and other employers were affected by the storms.
We adapted and responded by deploying our team for wider emergency response efforts—in the immediate neighbourhoods covered by the Childhood Rescue project and beyond, where needs were greater. Through this humanitarian assistance, 9,172 families received psychosocial support, hygiene kits, care kits for children under five, blankets, water filters, wheelchairs or clothing.
In DRC, national park boundary changes led to the creation of new armed groups, ethnic conflict and violence.
When the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) redrew the boundaries of Virunga National Park beginning in 2019, people lost access to farmland, crippling their ability to earn a living. The land losses have created frustration and hopelessness, leading to ethnic conflicts and the formation of new local armed groups. In 2021, there were many instances of kidnappings, killings, looting and sexual violence, along with public demonstrations against the ICCN.
We adapted and responded by enforcing strict security monitoring and communication to prioritize the safety of staff and families involved in our projects. Staff movement was restricted and project activities were halted when necessary. Because families' ability to grow food and earn income has suffered, World Vision incorporated livelihoods projects into our ongoing health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities, ensuring more holistic support.
The situation in AFGHANISTAN became even more complex after the Taliban became the de facto authority in August 2021.
Afghanistan's people are contending with many emergencies simultaneously. Together, these threats have caused a full-blown humanitarian disaster that is both natural and anthropogenic, brought by decades of conflict, climate change, drought, food insecurity, displacement and COVID-19. Children face starvation, malnutrition, water shortages and disease. They are vulnerable, displaced, and at risk of violence and harm, and the rights of girls and boys as equals is being threatened.
The situation is especially dire for women and girls, with barriers to accessing healthcare and education and several policies that curtail women's freedom of movement, expression and association. Many are deprived of the ability to earn an income. In addition, economic crisis has sent prices skyrocketing, while simultaneously diminishing people's purchasing power.
With increasing desperation, families are taking on unmanageable debt burdens and relying on dangerous coping measures to survive, such as child labour and child marriage. Afghanistan's children are among the world's poorest and most vulnerable, and they urgently need support now, especially now given the change in leadership and the uncertainties this has brought since August 2021.
For 20 years, World Vision has worked to address massive life-saving humanitarian needs in Afghanistan, striving to protect girls and boys, provide them with an education, promote better health and sanitation and help to build livelihoods.
We adapted and responded to the impacts of August 2021 by temporarily placing our Childhood Rescue project in Herat into hibernation to ensure the immediate safety of our project participants and staff. Even so, World Vision Afghanistan is committed to remaining for the long term, with most of its 380+ staff being locals.
World Vision has worked in liaison with the wider humanitarian community to press for assurances that women have equal rights to continue to serve as humanitarian staff, work in agency offices, travel to site locations and for women to benefit from our programs. With these assurances given, our humanitarian responses have restarted in the four provinces where we work, including Herat.
Staff safety and security continues to be one of World Vision's priority concerns. Staff care and peer support processes have been in place for months, informed by context analysis and scenario planning. The commitment and strength of World Vision Afghanistan staff to the most vulnerable children and communities has been nothing short of exemplary.
The specific monitoring of the political, social, economic, and climatic context has aided the project team throughout project implementation. Through context monitoring within the Fragile Context Programme Approach, the project team could adjust plans and budgets based on context changes.
Use of Scenarios
Working under scenarios allows the project team to adapt more effectively to the contextual realities, allowing the team to adjust project interventions based on predetermined scenarios during the hurricanes. Swift decisions and the quick use of resources to adapt to survival actions were key in these emergencies. Although the use of scenarios was effective, it is also necessary to plan increasingly ahead based on scenarios, in order to quickly enter into recovery.
Identifying the true, specific challenges of the neighbourhoods continues to be a challenge, as well as actors having the social capacity to address these challenges. In order to achieve stronger impacts on these structural causes of neighbourhoods' problems, requires well-establishing actions.
Building sustainable futures together
Help children in the world’s most dangerous places survive, recover and build a future.