The decree banning Afghan women from working for NGOs is causing many women and children to miss out on life-saving aid during the most severe winter in more than a decade, and the worst hunger crisis in Afghanistan on record, Save the Children said in a report.
In January, the Ministry of Economy ordered the non-government foreign and domestic organizations to not allow female employees to work.
This comes as the World Food Program (WFP) said that it will continue aid to vulnerable Afghans due to severe economic challenges in the country.
Zahra Hossieni has worked in several NGOs but after the decree she has been at home.
Zahra said that she is struggling with severe economic challenges.
“There is no one working in our house. Our brothers are separated from us and I am the breadwinner," she said.
Save the Children said that although some activities have restarted where assurances have been received for female staff to safely resume work, mainly in health and education, more than 50% of its operations are still on hold, including essential cash distributions that help families meet basic needs, water, sanitation and hygiene activities and child protection services.
“The ban on female NGO workers is only driving up the needs of women and children. We’ve said right from the start that women are essential for aid delivery and that without them millions of women and children will be cut off from lifesaving aid,” said David Wright, Save the Children’s Chief Operating Officer.
This comes as the WFP said that it will continue its aid to the people who deserve it in Afghanistan in 2023.
“The WFP has continued its aid in December of last year, and January of 2023. It will continue its aid to the people of Afghanistan, which will benefit women, boys and girls," said Wahidullah Amani, a spokesman for Save the Children.
"Unfortunately, the foreign aid was distributed in a bad manner. They followed up a very bad procedure. An old procedure that never makes it out and is always being wasted," said Syed Masoud, an economist.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that earlier more than 28 million Afghans need humanitarian aid.