50% of families in Afghanistan forced to send their children to work during COVID-19 pandemic

  • Ahead of the Afghanistan Conference 2020, World Vision urges world leaders to cooperate and protect Afghanistan’s most vulnerable, particularly children
  • World Vision research found that up to 50% of families are being forced to send their children to work during the coronavirus pandemic to cope with unsurmountable financial pressures.
  • The aid agency has also shared a nexus report, outlining their commitment to protecting children through sustainable development in Afghanistan

50% of Afghan families recently surveyed by aid agency, World Vision, are being forced to send their children to work, as COVID-19 has decimated their livelihoods. The NGO is calling on world leaders who will meet at the Afghanistan 2020 Conference next week, to agree common objectives for protecting Afghan children and returning them to education.

“Afghan people already face a complex crisis, which has been beset by conflict, weakened protection systems and displacement for decades, but coronavirus has brought further challenges which are leading to increased child labour and child marriage. From consulting children and parents, we found that half of the families surveyed are being forced to send their children to work or beg in order to survive,” said Asuntha Charles, World Vision Afghanistan’s Country Director.

World Vision research also shows that 48% of Afghan families surveyed had lost their source of income during the pandemic, with over 50% being unable to access food. Secondary impacts of COVID-19 have not only led to increased rates in child labour, but the rise in child marriage rates is also extremely disturbing. Recent studies show that one in three teenage girls are being forced into child marriage in Afghanistan[1].

“These figures are incredibly alarming and prove that COVID-19 has been a ‘tipping factor’ that has pushed vulnerable families into life-threatening situations and desperate measures. We urgently call on world leaders to prioritise the protection of the most vulnerable in Afghanistan, particularly children.” she said.

World Vision is committed to working with leaders and with the community in Afghanistan to protect vulnerable children and restore their basic rights. The NGO has published a Nexus report which details its plans to collaborate with the Afghan people to address their challenges and urges other change makers to partner in these efforts.

“The upcoming conference should put the future of Afghan children first. Global leaders must note that children represent the future for peace, recovery and prosperity for Afghanistan. A failure to invest adequately in the protection and rights of all children in Afghanistan, including quality and relevant education, will undermine any effort for sustained change,” Ms Charles adds.


Note to editor

For further information or to organise an interview, please contact: Mohammad Elias Hatimi, Communications Manager, World Vision Afghanistan

Phone: +93 728 256 483 | E-mail: mohammadelias_hatimi@wvi.org

World Vision International (WVI) began emergency relief operations in Afghanistan in 2001 by addressing the urgent needs of children and families affected by natural disasters and decades of conflict. More than a decade later, World Vision Afghanistan’s (WVA) programmes have expanded to development sectors such as health, nutrition, WASH, child protection and education, women’s empowerment and promoting positive social change through interfaith partnership. Since the starting of operations, WVA has reached over 10 million people through its programming. In 2020 alone, 642,761 vulnerable people benefited from our interventions. Currently, there are 35 active projects being implemented in Herat, Badghis and Ghor provinces.  

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.wvi.org or follow us on Twitter @WorldVision 

[1] UNICEF Afghanistan, ‘The Situation for Women and Children,’ as of September 2020..