Raw Hope in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the countries supported by Raw Hope, an initiative from World Vision that is focused on saving and protecting children in the world’s most dangerous places.

Watch the latest video about our Raw Hope work in Afghanistan.

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Geography & people

Located in south-central Asia, Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran. Mountains cover most of the landscape, with plains in the north and southwest.

Climate varies according to the elevation; low elevations are mild all year round, while higher elevations experience colder temperatures.

Natural resources are varied and include: gas; petroleum; coal; zinc; copper; talc; lead; iron ore; salt; and precious and semi-precious stones.

Forty-two percent of the country’s population is made up by Pashtun people. Smaller ethnic groups make up the rest. Almost 85% of Afghans speak the two official languages – Afghan Persian (also known as Dari) and Pashto. Around 30 other minor languages are also spoken.

Fast facts

  • Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world – for every thousand children born, 149 will not reach the age of five. It also has one of the highest maternal mortality rates and shortest average life spans, for both men and women, anywhere in the world.
  • The World Food Programme estimates that more than 30% of children under the age of five are underweight.
  • Around 35% of Afghans are without work and at least 36% live below the poverty line.
  • Less than one in three people in the population as a whole - and only 12.6% of girls - are able to read.

Our focus in Afghanistan

Ravaged by decades of bitter war and devastated by natural disasters, Afghanistan is, one of the world’s most difficult places to live, especially if you are a woman or child.

Our work in Afghanistan began in 2001, bringing relief to children and families affected by drought and decades of conflict. Moving on from providing immediate assistance, we now focus on providing long-term community based development programmes that help free children from the fear of ill health, abuse and limited opportunities.

Highlights of our work include:

  • Supporting 14 million people affected by drought and civil war
  • Reducing infant and maternal mortality rates
  • Improving access to and increasing the demand for education
  • Caring for and protecting vulnerable children – helping to prepare them for a future free from fear

Our achievements in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, our work has focused on improving health, education and protection for children and livelihood generation for their families. Our major achievements include:


  • Since 2004, we have trained more than 300 midwives, supporting and caring for pregnant women, their unborn children and babies. Access to skilled birth attendants has also helped reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.
  • Hundreds of community health workers have been trained. They have helped communities understand the benefits of a healthy diet, accessing clean water and using latrines. To help curb the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, World Vision has provided basic health care and practical prevention advice for those at risk.


  • In a mostly agrarian society where parents often need their children to help in the fields or work to help provide food, World Vision’s food-for-education programme has encouraged parents to send their children to school instead. In response to good attendance, children and school staff receive a monthly food ration. The skills of teachers and administrators are also strengthened through training.
  • Early childhood care and development spaces have been established by World Vision to help children, aged five and six, prepare for entry into formal education by teaching them literacy, numeracy and social skills. The first children to benefit from these spaces are now in school and achieving higher test scores than those who did not take part in preschool initiatives.
  • Young adults, aged between 15 and 30, who have missed out on education opportunities, can now receive training to gain and develop literacy and income generation skills. Women’s literacy and vocational training courses aim to increase household income for more than 14,000 families in one Afghanistan province alone.

Child protection & development

  • In 2011, World Vision established the first Street Children’s Centre. The Centre provides access for children to healthcare, in-school rations, protection, as well as formal education and life skills. Working to raise awareness of child rights, the Centre aims to target the root causes of child homelessness, neglect, and disempowerment. More than 95% of the Centre’s first graduates have passed the school entrance exam and 90% have joined the formal education system.


  • Families have learnt how to boost their incomes by raising and selling poultry and livestock and growing cash crops, including saffron and soya beans as well and fruit and vegetables. In one province more than 102 tonnes of the beans were harvested and sold, increasing the incomes of 900 families.
  • To date, 80 vulnerable families, with little or no income, have received beehives and training in beekeeping and are now earning money by selling honey. Training has included developing skills in beekeeping and honey extraction as well as packing and marketing.