CARE International calls for increased aid to frontline programmes that reach women and girls at the grassroots
As donor nations, the UN and the Afghan government prepare to meet in Tokyo on 8 July to discuss the future of aid to Afghanistan, CARE International warns that the rights of women and girls must be placed at the heart of commitments made at the conference, in order to safeguard the fragile gains made over the past decade in improving the rights of women and girls and their access to basic services such as health and education.
In a report ‘Women and Transition in Afghanistan’ released today, CARE International, an aid agency with more than 40 years’ experience of working in Afghanistan, cautions that, without tight controls, funding through the central Afghan government could undermine the access of women and girls to aid at the grassroots level. The report calls for the government’s administration of the aid and women’s ability to access it safely to be rigorously monitored prior to increasing funding through state institutions. This is especially important in the context of donor commitments to increase aid through the central government, which will be reviewed at Tokyo.
The report also warns that worsening violent conflict places increasing numbers of women and girls at risk. It therefore recommends that funding for frontline humanitarian agencies should be increased, especially to organisations which can access women and girls in conflict zones beyond the reach of government institutions.
Furthermore, the report sets out how women should be involved in the way aid is delivered and monitored to ensure that their needs are addressed in reality after Tokyo, and not just in political rhetoric at the conference. Specific steps are outlined in the report to ensure that women have a voice in aid funding decisions and monitoring, especially in rural areas outside of Kabul and the provincial centres.
Brian Cavanagh, country director for CARE International in Afghanistan, said: “For too long, women’s rights and needs have not truly been at the centre of national or international efforts in Afghanistan. This needs to change in Tokyo. We need robust and practical commitments to ensure that women and girls can safeguard the precious, but fragile, gains they have made over the past decade.”