Silver Spring, MD—Following a few days of interruption, Humanity & Inclusion's activities serving Afghans with disabilities, injuries, and chronic disease have resumed. Humanitarian needs are immense in a country devastated by decades of conflict, and one of the world’s most contaminated by explosive remnants of war and landmines. Today, 80% of the Afghan adult population lives with some form of disability, and more than 2.5 million adults live with a severe disability.
Humanity & Inclusion is steadily resuming its activities in four provinces in Afghanistan—Herat, Kunduz, Kandahar and Nimroz—as the organization believes it can safely follow its humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence. If women and other members of the population are prevented from accessing aid, the organization would reconsider the future of its programs.
“The access of women, people with disabilities, and vulnerable populations to the services provided by Humanity & Inclusion is an essential condition for the association's action,” says Gilles Nouziès, Head of Humanity & Inclusion’s Asia Programs. “If we are denied access to certain parts of the population, we would reconsider our work in the country. Our Afghan teams include men and women, so that women can benefit from rehabilitation sessions. Respecting the possibility for women to work in our projects and ensuring equal access to services for women and men is a priority.”
Local action since 1987
In Afghanistan since 1987, Humanity & Inclusion is one of the few NGOs working in the fields of physical rehabilitation and psychosocial support—services that play a vital role in helping people with injuries and disabilities regain or maintain their independence. The organization’s Afghan team counts 260 people, including 63 women and 30 people with disabilities.
Humanity & Inclusion set up the only rehabilitation center in the south of the country, in Kandahar in 1996, and has supported it continuously ever since. The center is run by a team of about 50 people and usually sees close to 300 patients a week. In the provinces where Humanity & Inclusion works, the organization’s mobile teams visit homes in isolated rural areas with no access to health facilities. The organization also offers psychosocial support to people in need, including people displaced by conflict, supplies mine risk education, and assists people affected by Covid-19.
Conflict and disability
“The Afghan people have experienced decades of conflict,” says Julio Cesar Ortiz Arguedas, Director of Humanity & Inclusion in Afghanistan.
Prolonged conflict has had a direct impact on the incidence of disability. In fact, due to the presence of mines and explosive remnants of war, armed conflicts and limited access to health and nutrition services, and other such services, some 80 percent of adults live with some form of physical, functional, sensory, or other limitation. And more than 2.5 million adults live with a severe disability.
“For many Afghans, it is vital we continue to provide our rehabilitation and psychosocial services,” Ortiz adds. “They suffer shortages and a lack of essential services. Humanitarian needs continue to grow. The fragile health system, undermined by the lack of trained staff, is unable to meet the medical needs of the population.”
Humanity & Inclusion’s actions
In 2020, the organization supplied direct aid to 160,000 Afghans, focusing on six priority areas:
Teams provided more than 17,000 people with rehabilitation care. The organization distributed 3,700 artificial limbs and braces and 9,200 mobility aids such as crutches and wheelchairs. These actions were implemented in Kandahar rehabilitation center and the Kunduz center, or by mobile teams who travel to people’s homes in isolated rural areas where it is difficult to access health care.
The organization expects to train 120 male and female physical therapists in 2021.
In 2020, Humanity & Inclusion provided psychosocial support to some 6,000 people through one-to-one and group sessions, and the like. This assistance is targeted at people who have been psychologically scarred by the conflict or other traumatic events, such as those who have fled their homes due to drought or conflict.
Mine risk education
The organization also does important work teaching Afghans to understand the risks from mines and explosive remnants of war in the country, including lessons on how to spot, avoid, and report weapons they may find in their paths.
Humanity & Inclusion also promotes and advances the rights of mine survivors and people with disabilities. It works for their inclusion in society and improves their access to medical and other basic services.
The organization also assists people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, through awareness-raising on basic preventive measures, distributing hygiene kits, etc.
About Humanity & Inclusion
Humanity & Inclusion is an independent international aid organization. It has been working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster for close to 40 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and people living in situations of extreme vulnerability, our action and testimony focus on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions, and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Since its 1982 founding, Humanity & Inclusion has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. The network of eight national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) works constantly to mobilize resources, jointly manage projects and to increase the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. Humanity & Inclusion is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. The organization has numerous prizes to its name, including the 2011 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the 1996 Nansen Prize, and two 2020 Horizon Prizes for innovation. Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task.
Press contact: Mica Bevington | +1 202-290-9264 | [email protected]