As winter sets in, families across Afghanistan are struggling to heat their homes and keep children warm. Emergency cash assistance provided by UNICEF through a donor-funded program helps to keep these families going, enabling them to buy food and fuel and other essential supplies.
Afghanistan has always been one of the most dangerous places to be a child. In recent months, conditions have only deteriorated amid new violence and turmoil and the escalating impacts of poverty, conflict and COVID-19.
Even before the recent political and socio-economic turmoil, an estimated 58 percent of children in the country were living in poverty. With rising food insecurity, severe malnutrition rates among children have skyrocketed.
In winter, Afghan children face even more risks to their health and safety. Too many lack adequate clothing and live in shelters that do not protect against the elements. Families who are displaced and living in settlements are particularly at risk.
With support from donors, UNICEF and partners can provide emergency cash payments to vulnerable families that enable them to meet their basic needs with dignity. Each family receives a short-term emergency cash assistance comprising of three monthly payments of $85 per month, plus an additional one-off winter payment of $105 in the first month.
The temporary income helps families buy food, fuel for heating, materials for shelter repairs, health care, transportation for their children to school, warm clothing and blankets. It also helps families avoid loans and a spiral of debt while reducing the risk of child labor and child marriage.
UNICEF is delivering cash assistance to families in provinces with the highest poverty rates and worst winter conditions, focusing on children with disabilities, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and female-headed households.
Urgent additional funding is needed to deliver this critical support. You can help make sure families in need can buy food, fuel, health care, blankets and other essentials to make it through the winter. Donate today.
Top photo: Nienke Voppen, Program Specialist at UNICEF in Afghanistan, shares a laugh with 4-year-old Rahima from Nuristan. “It is very hard for these children to be safe during the winter,” Voppen says. © UNICEF/UN0574452/Fazel