World Vision believes the best way to improve children’s lives is through child-focused, community-driven development. We work with communities and children through a range of programs that promote change and improvementof their well-being. World Vision’s development work aims to ensure that children:
Enjoy Good Health
Health remains an everyday struggle for the children of Afghanistan, where the infant mortality rate is the highest in the world and more than 30 per cent of children under 5 are underweight. For those who make it to adulthood the odds are still against them. Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates and shortest average lifespansfor both men and women, anywhere in the world.
World Vision’s health programming in Afghanistan is focused in three areas: child survival, midwifery, and the protection of vulnerable groups.
One of World Vision’s key health interventions in Afghanistan is the training of midwives. Since 2004, World Vision has trained more than 300 midwives to care for pregnant women and their unborn children before, during, and after birth. Access to skilled birth attendants is helping to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in western Afghanistan.
Coupled with this effort, World Vision has also trained hundreds of community health workers to inform and promote other areas that affect health, such as proper nutrition, access to clean water and the importance of latrines among other things, in communities.
Finally, World Vision works with at-risk groups to curb the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections by providing basic health care for targeted members of high-risk groups and their families through informative messages designed to encourage positive health behaviours.
Educated For Life
Education remains a challenge for children in Afghanistan and for girls in particular. In Afghanistan, less than one in three people (and only 12.6 per cent of girls) are able to read. World Vision is working to improve access to and the quality of education.
In a mostly agrarian society where parents often require their children to help in the fields or work to help provide food, World Vision is making education more appealing through a food-for-education programin through which children and school staff receive a small monthly food ration in response to good attendance in the classroom. The project also strengthens teachers and administrators skills through service trainings.
In addition to strengthening the existing educational system, World Vision is also establishing early childhood care and development spaces (ECCDS). These programmes help prepare young children (ages 5 and 6) for their entry into formal education the following year by teaching them the alphabet, numbers and basic social skills. The first children to graduate from the ECCDS are now in school and earning higher test scores than those who did not attend preschool.
Finally, to address the generation that missed out on educational opportunities, World Vision Afghanistan is providing livelihood and accelerated literacy opportunities where young adults, ages 15-30, have the opportunity to receive income-generating skills and learn to read. Women’s literacy and vocational training courses aim to increase household income for more than 14,000 families in Badghis province alone.
Cared for, Protected and Participating
World Vision established the first Street Children’s Centre in Herat in June, 2011. The centre provides children between 6 and 12 the opportunity to receive health care, in school rations, care, protection, formal education, and life skills. The centre aims to target the root causes of child homelessness, neglect, and disempowerment while also working to raise awareness of child rights and help children to attend school regularly. Of the first 200 graduates, more than 95 per cent have passed the school entrance exams, and 90 per cent have been integrated into the formal education system.
World Vision Afghanistan also implements several livelihood projects designed to strengthen the economic situation of vulnerable families. The projects help families: learn how to raise poultry and livestock to sale, grow saffron and soybeansas as cash crops, as well as raise vegetable, fruit and nut bearing trees. Additionally, World Vision works with communities to address infrastructure issues and help them adjust to the changing weather patterns.
Since Badghis has a suitable climate for growing soybeans, farmers collected a very good harvest during last two years. This encouraged farmers to grow soybeans rather than other grains, and approximately 90 per cent of farmers in the area are now using them in their crop rotation. The soybean project is designed to cover 900 families in Badghis province. In total more than 102 tons of beans were harvested, creating a lasting impact not only on farmers’ lives but also on the market
Beekeeping is an ideal economic activity for widows, female-headed households, disabled and other people with little or no land to earn income. Using specific selection criteria, to date 80 families have been chosen by the local council and received bee hives. Beekeeping project staff regularly hold trainings for beneficiaries including how bees should be kept/ fed, how to extract the honey, packing and marketing skills. These efforts have been very productive and effective.