By Her Side: How UK Aid Match grant holder Afghanaid are transforming the livelihoods of women in rural communities in Afghanistan

25 September 2023

The surge in humanitarian need across Afghanistan has increased over the last few years, with over 28 million people now requiring assistance. Amongst those most in need are rural communities who are cut off from major cities, unable to grow food due to drought and have lost work due to the economic collapse.

Through their UK Aid Match project, Afghanaid are revitalising remote communities and unlocking the potential of women. They are supporting women in livestock rearing and dairy production, a simple yet effective way to learn new skills and earn an income of their own.

In the past 12 months, Afghanaid have faced some extremely difficult operational challenges, such as recent restrictions on female Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) staff, and increasing restrictions on women’s basic freedoms. However through creative, locally-led solutions, and their long-standing presence in rural communities, Afghanaid have continued to reach rural areas and support the most vulnerable women, like Rahima*.

“My husband has a disability that prevents him from working. Previously, we had no other revenue source other than some agricultural land, and are unable to meet our needs. Life was extremely difficult, and we lacked a cow to provide us with milk…. In addition to not being able to buy cow or goat milk, my kids asked me for yoghurt during the warmer months, but I wasn’t able to fulfil their requests.”

As part of Afghanaid’s project, Rahima received one cow with cattle, 150kg concentrated animal feed and dairy processing kits. Rahima also enrolled in a technical training course on how to process dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese so she can feed her family and sell the products to neighbours.

Because of this support, Rahima has been able to transform her family’s daily life, contributing to household income whilst also ensuring her children are healthier:

“The first day I milked the cow and made Shorchay (a milk, tea and walnut drink), my kids were so excited they insisted I make it for them every day. I know it makes them healthier and adds dairy to our diet, but the milk we give from the cow is more than we can consume every day, so I also sell some of it to my neighbours.”

Visit Afghanaid’s website to find out more about Afghanaid’s ‘By Her Side’ project.

*Names have been changed.