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: Better than meeting Springsteen
Some people are thrilled to meet rock stars or celebrities. I, on the other hand, get really excited about meeting grape growers.
Afghanistan: Afghan farmers get noticed by NY Times
I'm a big consumer of news, and sometimes I get tired of reading about the same old cadre of high-profile folks: politicians, celebrities, big business types — the "news makers." It's rare to hear about how current events impact normal people; even rarer to hear about the impoverished and voicele
Afghanistan: Losing some preconceptions in Afghanistan
I should know by now, but the important lessons are always worth repeating. Although blessed with the opportunity to travel often, I packed a lot of preconceptions when I set out for Afghanistan; this country that dominates our headlines but whose people we know so little.
Afghanistan: Greening Afghanistan
I’m just going to say it — people think of Afghanistan as a pile of rocks. I see where the mental image comes from; photos on the news do seem to showcase the sand and rocks in their effort to capture the grittiness of soldiers at war. But I know an Afghanistan of a different color: green.
Afghanistan: From our photo library
This photograph is from Afghanistan in 2008. The woman’s hurried gait is exaggerated by the camera’s motion and I can’t help but wonder what’s on her mind and where she’s going with such purpose and concentration.
Afghanistan: Almonds for Afghanistan: A farmer tries his hand at a high-value crop
I picked my way gingerly though the rows of young, green wheat as our host, farmer Ahmed Shah*, the Mercy Corps project manager and a few agriculture experts strode ahead across the field.
Afghanistan: Irrigation canal saves 600 Afghan households
Ortabuz is a small village in the east of Afghanistan’s Takhar Province. At least 600 families are living in this small and green village. The people of Ortabuz are mostly farmers and each family have one or two jerib — about one-half to one full acre — of land for planting of crops.
Afghanistan: Celebrating International Women's Day in Afghanistan
Mercy Corps Afghanistan celebrated International Women's Day in Kabul with bunches of flowers and gifts for female staff. Many of Mercy Corps' female staff here are working in high positions: country director, program manager, deputy program manager, head of departments and coordinators.
Afghanistan: Going to Lashkar Gah
It is six o' clock of the morning of January 5. It is still dark and cold. The vehicle waiting outside of my house is honking its horn. The horn means I have to be ready to go to airport and fly to Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan.
Afghanistan: How about 30,000 teachers to Afghanistan?
Yesterday I spoke to Oregon Public Broadcasting's Emily Harris about the humanitarian perspective on President Obama's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.