by Julien Anseau, Regional Communications Manager, ChildFund Asia
Tomorrow, Sept. 18, Afghanistan holds elections for its lower house of parliament. More than 2,500 candidates are vying for 249 elected seats. Security concerns are high, and many Afghans live in areas deemed too dangerous to set up polling places.
No ready solution appears in sight for a county long mired in conflict. “War turns everyone’s lives upside down, but none more so than children,” says Anna Maria Locsin, ChildFund’s national director of Afghanistan.
“We want children to have a safe, stable, normal childhood and to grow up in communities where they can become leaders of positive, enduring change that will help bring peace and security to the country,” she notes.
ChildFund has worked in Afghanistan since 2001, reaching more than 150 communities in the northeastern provinces of Badakshan, Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar.
Consider these sobering statistics:
- Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world.
- Only one in five children has access to improved drinking-water sources.
- Only 18 percent of young women age 15 to 24 can read and write.
ChildFund is working in Afghanistan to help fight these problems so that children will have a brighter future. “Our programs prioritize the community-led provision of health, education, and livelihood opportunities while strengthening the protective environment for children,” says Locsin.
Ultimately, it is the children who will determine Afghanistan’s future.