The money helped me a lot during difficult times, says Mohammad from Afghanistan. People in Need has supported 25,894 people with Cash-for-Food assistance as part of its EU-funded programmePublished: Apr 5, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
Since 2008, the Sayedabad District, 90 kilometres west of Kabul, has been a battlefield between government forces and opposition groups. The conflict has seriously disrupted people's lives, and the traces of war are still visible, evidenced by bullet holes in houses and shops, and damage to the infrastructure caused by roadside bombs.
Mohammad Gul (60) has lived in Sesai village for many years. He lives with his five sons—one of whom was recently deported from Iran—two daughters, six grandsons, his wife, and two daughters-in-law. Together they live in a house with inadequate facilities without electricity; the windows have broken glass and are covered with plastics to keep the cold out. Mohammad is a cobbler and spends hours in the town near his house trying to make money and support his family. He does not have a shop; he works out in the open beside the public road to earn an average of 100 Afghani ($1.40) per day.
Flatbread with tea
The effects of poverty, conflict and a hard life are etched onto his wrinkled face and cracked hands. His family has faced hunger and food shortages during the recent harsh winter.
Poverty pushed Mohammad to borrow from shops and relatives to buy food for his family. Out of desperation, he also sold plane trees he had grown in his small plot.
"Before receiving cash, I borrowed money and food from my relatives and shops to provide food for my family because we had no food. My five-year-old grandson suffers from malnutrition," he adds.
Cash assistance for 25,894 people
Mohammad was one of the 25,894 people ( 12,595 men and 13,299 women) supported over the past year with Cash-for-Food assistance delivered in Saydabad, Jaghatu, and Behsud districts of Wardak Province as part of a programme funded by the European Union. The cash assisted the households with covering their basic food needs. "I have so far received two rounds of cash assistance [AFN equivalent of $72 each]. I bought flour, oil, spaghetti, meat, beans and powdered milk for my family and grandson facing malnutrition. Now, we have access to some food, and my grandson's health has also improved–this money assisted me a lot during this difficult time," says Mohammad. He will still receive three more rounds of cash assistance.
Afghanistan's economy has been in the throes of collapse since the change of regime in August 2021. Consequently, hundreds of thousands are internally displaced, and millions are facing hunger, lack of shelter, and crippling education and health system. Most people struggle to find the funds to cover basic living expenses such as food and heating materials.
The unemployment rate has generally remained high, and only a small proportion of households have access to sustained employment. Based on the figures from UN OCHA in 2022, it was estimated that 24.4 million people needed humanitarian and protection assistance, which has increased to 28.3 million in 2023. In addition, 20 million people are facing acute hunger, and 6 million are in critical situations.
In the programme "Strengthening household and community public health capacities through a lifesaving and resilience building response for multi-hazard affected households in Maydan Wardak province" we, together with funding from the European Union, support people in Afghanistan with Food Security, Nutrition, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) assistance.