Photo credit © Aryana Aid
Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. Since the Soviet invasion in 1979, it has been the scene of a series of conflicts that have continued for more than three decades.
Poverty in Afghanistan is widespread throughout rural and urban areas.
The government estimates that 42 per cent of the country's total population lives below the national poverty line. Another 20 per cent of the people live just above that line and are highly vulnerable to the risk of falling into poverty.
Afghan households tend to be large. They include numerous children and several generations that share the same dwelling. Agriculture is traditionally the major activity for a large portion of the population, but the sector has suffered from nearly 30 years of conflict, low investments and natural disasters.
The average size of landholdings is small, and as a result agriculture is rarely the main source of food or income. About two thirds of rural households own some livestock, and farmers also sell their labour.
Poverty causing high rates of child mortality and malnutrition !
A joint report released by the Afghan Ministry of Economy and the World Bank has highlighted the multidimensional nature of poverty in Afghanistan, and its impact on the most vulnerable.
The country suffers from one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world more than 50% of children under 5 years are chronically malnourished (stunted) and one-fifth of Afghan women of child-bearing age are underweight. Average life expectancy is 62 years, and adult literacy stands at just 28 percent.
Two major factors which the report illustrates are food insecurity and the lack of a social security net. Aryana Aid is currently implementing food security and cash transfer projects targeting some thousands of beneficiaries in Ghazni ,Badakhshan,Herat,Logar and Kunduz provinces.
Poverty in Afghanistan: 5 Facts You Might Not Know !
When we talk about Afghanistan or hear about it in the news, it can be very easy to forget about the people who are suffering through extreme poverty. For the average Afghan, life can be very difficult and stricken with economic struggle, food insecurity, and a lack of resources to improve their lives.
Here are a few facts that may come as a surprise about those living in poverty in Afghanistan.
1. Only 28.1% of the entire population over the age of 15 is literate, meaning that 71.9% of adults are incapable of even basic reading and writing skills.
On average, those who are capable of going to school only complete about 8 years, with females generally completing 4 years less than their male counterparts.
2. A 2008 estimate of the percentage of children aged 5-14 suggests that at least 25% were involved in child labor. UNICEF made an estimate in 2011 that the number had risen to at least 30%. In either case, around ¼ or more of all young kids in the country were being forced to work, therefore missing out on childhood and, most importantly, a proper education.
3. 36% of the population, or about 9 million people, lives in absolute, extreme poverty and another 37% lives just above the determined poverty line even though around $35 billion was put into the country from 2002-2009. In fact, the number one killer in Afghanistan is not armed conflict.it is poverty.
4. Half of the population still lives without access to improved water sources, this accounts for both men and women living in rural and urban areas.
5. For every 100,000 births, 460 mothers die and for every 1,000 births, 119 infants die. This leaves Afghanistan with the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world and the third highest infant mortality rate. Many of these deaths would be preventable with trained doctors and expedient, affordable care. But, with less than 1 doctor per every 1000 people, 0.21 of a doctor to be precise, proper care is difficult to come by.
Aid programs are doing what they can to help to citizens of Afghanistan rise about the poverty line, but the country has been torn apart by decades of fighting and inequality.
The process will be a long and arduous one, but every person should be able to take care of themselves and provide even just the basic tools for survival for their families. with an estimated total population of 30 million, Afghanistan still faces enormous challenges after more than three decades of war and civil unrest.
Despite recent progress, millions of Afghans still live in severe poverty with limited access to food and other basic requirements. According to the findings of the 2013/2014 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment, 8 million people, roughly one-fourth of the population, are food-insecure, and a further 17 % are considered to be borderline food-insecure.
Insecurity is a major and growing concern. Insurgent activity and military operations have affected food security in some regions, undermining reconstruction efforts and restricted humanitarian interventions.
The problem is worse during the winter and spring months when dependency on food aid is even higher.
Homelessness is also widespread in Afghanistan; the country has the second highest number of Internally Displaced People in the world.
An estimated 70,792 families live in makeshift camps with poor sanitation and limited services, with approximately 25% surviving in these conditions for 10 years or more.
Over 70% of Internally Displaced People do not have access to electricity or safe drinking water, and approximately 60% live in tents or temporary shacks.
Unemployment is the biggest obstacle to re-integration as returning refugees are unwilling to go back to rural villages, due to the lack of economic opportunities available there.