EU releases €140 million to support Afghanistan, with focus on women and girls

The European Union has given the green light to disburse €140 million in vital support for the people of Afghanistan, with a specific emphasis on the well-being of women and girls. This assistance will encompass essential areas such as education, healthcare, agriculture, and initiatives to empower women economically.

This decision to allocate the funds, which had been held in abeyance since December 2022 due to the Taliban’s prohibition of women working in non-governmental organizations, comes after a meticulous six-month monitoring and assessment period, adhering to the “for women by women” guiding principle, as stated by the European Commission.

This principle underscores the involvement of Afghan girls and women at all stages of aid delivery, the statement said.

The statement said that the European Union funds will continue to be channeled through United Nations agencies, the World Bank, and international non-governmental organizations actively engaged on the ground.

A statement from the European Commission elaborated, “The financial support aims to address the basic needs of the Afghan populace in light of the daunting challenges they confront within the country.”

This resolution aligns with the agreement reached in the Foreign Affairs Council in February 2023, establishing a principled approach for EU aid. This approach restricts aid allocation solely to sectors and regions where women are permitted to participate in the delivery and reap its benefits.

The EU is mobilizing this funding to initiate new projects, including fostering an enabling learning environment for both boys and girls. Additionally, it will improve and incentivize access to education through food assistance. In the healthcare sector, the funds will assist in bolstering basic health services, managing infectious diseases, ensuring access to safe drinking water, enhancing child nutrition, and fortifying household food security and resilience, the statement said.

At present, the EU is co-chairing the Afghanistan Coordination Group in collaboration with the United Nations and the World Bank, the statement said. A continuous monitoring mechanism for adherence to the “for women by women” principle will be enforced, as emphasized in the statement.

The €140 million designated for basic needs and livelihoods is a component of the comprehensive €1 billion Support Package for the Afghan people, initially announced by the EU in August 2021. To date, the EU has mobilized €980 million of the allocated €1 billion, with €500 million earmarked for basic needs and livelihoods and €480 million allocated for humanitarian assistance.