Mercy Corps has been working in Afghanistan since 1986. Decades of ongoing conflict, political instability, drought and economic chaos have left Afghanistan one of the world’s poorest and unstable nations. Eighty-five percent of the population relies on agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods, leaving them vulnerable in a precarious economy.
Due to a worsening economy and a growing youth population, many people are unable to find suitable work. Currently, over 70% of the population is under the age of 30, and 400,000 young people reach working age yearly — there are not enough jobs available to meet their employment needs.
Climate change and challenges in managing natural resources have increased conflict in recent years. Approximately 75% of Afghans are at risk of their land becoming desert, particularly in rural areas.
- Agricultural Development: Increasing farmers' production through training, infrastructure improvements and links to local and global markets.
- Youth Programs: Providing young people with vocational training and support to start small businesses.
- Environment: Addressing natural resource depletion by educating farmers and government officials about sustainable water management.
- Renewable Energy Installing solar systems in community spaces to support economic growth and better access to social services, like schools and health clinics.
- Women & Gender: Helping women learn job skills and start small businesses.
Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia: In the news: Research on youth violence opens eyes to injustices that must be addressed
Vice News and CNN report on our new study offering insights and recommendations to keep an overlooked generation of young people from radical extremism.
Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia: Report: What drives youth to violence?
Getting youth development right has never been more pressing. But what underlying grievances must the global community address in order to keep this overlooked generation from violence? Our research in Afghanistan, Colombia and Somalia provides new insights and recommendations.
Afghanistan: Women breaking down barriers in southern Afghanistan
Vocational training and a revolutionary new women's market are giving many women the opportunity to earn their own income for the first time.
Afghanistan: Meet our field staff: Meena
More than 95 percent of our worldwide team members are from the countries where they work — and we're inviting them to give us a peek into their work and lives. This month, meet Meena Haidari, who is working to empower women in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan: Thoughts from a recent visit
In strategic governance and economic development work, Mercy Corps' CEO sees progress toward a stronger future in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan: Students welcome visit from British government official
The normal school day at our vocational training center in rural Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan was recently shaken up — but students were eager to discuss the changes education has brought to their lives.
Afghanistan: Fathers and sons learn a trade together
Multiple generations are learning new job skills like carpentry in Afghanistan's Helmand province, where decades of conflict have limited opportunities to earn an income.
Afghanistan: New graduates yield unexpected returns
The latest group of students to graduate from our vocational training program in southern Afghanistan — more than 3,600 of them — show that real success is giving young people hope.
Afghanistan: Behind the camera: Chickens that change lives
A photographer in Afghanistan experiences first-hand the tension and risk women face as they try to earn a living and tell their story.
Afghanistan: Education against all odds: Job skills open up new world
Our INVEST vocational training program gives women in Helmand province an opportunity to go to school and earn an income for the first time in a generation. Meet Shamsiya, who is bravely seizing her brand new opportunities.