Unequal Distribution of Humanitarian Aid

Afghan Women's Struggle in 2023

In a news article published by the Khamaa Press, a pressing issue that has been haunting Afghanistan in 2023 is brought to the forefront. The United Nations Coordination Office (OCHA) has disclosed that more than one million women and 700,000 children in Afghanistan find themselves without crucial humanitarian assistance, primarily due to funding shortages. This article delves into the unequal distribution of aid, its ramifications for Afghan women, and the hardships they encounter amidst these tumultuous times.

The Grim Reality

Qudsia, a resident of Kabul, shared her heart-wrenching experience, stating, “We received help several times almost two years ago, but since then, we have not received any assistance.” Her family’s situation is dire, with five children and an unemployed husband. Two of her children are ill, and she cannot afford their treatment. Qudsia is just one example of the many Afghan women who have been left to fend for their families without the support they desperately need.

The Funding Shortage Dilemma

OCHA’s report, released on September 4th, highlights that this crisis is a result of funding shortages. This devastating shortfall has left a million women and 700,000 children deprived of humanitarian aid, with detrimental consequences. The report underscores the urgent need for increased financial support to alleviate the suffering of these vulnerable populations.

The Impact of the Taliban's Policies

The United Nations investigation reveals that after the Taliban’s ban on women working, 86% of domestic and international NGO activities have been halted or severely reduced. This prohibition has significantly affected women’s rights, as women were often the driving force behind many of these organizations, especially those focused on providing services to women.
Sahar, a mother of five in the Kishima district of Badakhshan province, exemplifies the dire situation many Afghan women face. Her husband’s addiction has made her the sole provider for her family. She used to receive food aid from relief organizations like the World Food Program, but recently, she has not received any assistance. This lack of support threatens her family’s livelihood.
Riza Gul, another Afghan woman in need, relies on humanitarian aid while selling items on the streets of Kabul. She laments, “Sometimes aid comes to our area, but we have no intermediary to help us.” The opaque distribution process adds further complexity to these women’s already challenging circumstances.

The Dependency on Humanitarian Aid

Women’s rights activists argue that the interim administration’s efforts to exclude women from the workforce and intentionally remove them from social spheres have exacerbated their dependency on humanitarian aid. Maryam Sediqi, a journalist and women’s rights activist emphasizes, “Women have been removed from all sectors, and a significant portion of them are the breadwinners of their families. They are not allowed to work, which increases their reliance on humanitarian aid.”
Additionally, the shift towards relief organizations employing predominantly male staff after September 2022 has further hindered the identification and fulfillment of the specific needs of women. The absence of female staff in these organizations has paralyzed the previously available assistance.

Supporting Afghan Women 

In a country grappling with political turmoil and economic instability, Afghan women find themselves at the center of a dire humanitarian crisis. Unequal distribution of aid, coupled with the Taliban’s policies, has left countless women and children in Afghanistan vulnerable and in desperate need of assistance.
It is imperative that the international community recognizes the urgency of the situation and mobilizes support to ensure equitable access to humanitarian aid for all Afghan citizens. The plight of Afghan women cannot be overlooked, and concerted efforts must be made to address their unique challenges and provide the assistance they so desperately need to rebuild their lives and communities.

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