NGOs resume some Afghan operations with women workers | Taliban News

Some aid organizations have resumed some operations in Afghanistan after they received assurances from the Taliban-run government that women could work in areas such as healthcare, despite the restrictions. last month banned female NGO staff.

The International Relief Committee (IRC), Save the Children and CARE said this week that they have re-operated a number of programmes, mainly on health and nutrition.

The Taliban government last month ordered local and foreign aid organizations stop allowing female employees to work until further notice. It said the action, condemned globally, was justified because some women had disobeyed the Taliban’s interpretation of the Muslim dress code.

Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have suspended operations in response, saying they need female workers to reach women in the conservative country.

“Last week, the Department of Public Health made sure that female health workers and those working in office support roles could continue to work. Building on this clarity, the IRC has restarted health and nutrition services through our fixed and mobile health teams in four provinces,” said Nancy Dent, IRC spokeswoman. .

A spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health told Reuters news agency that it has not stopped any health-related activities.

“Due to a misunderstanding, they stopped their medical services and now they have restarted their medical services,” he told Reuters.

Save the Children said it has restarted some operations in the health, nutrition and some education programs when it has received clear instructions from the authorities that female workers can operate safely. , but warn that they are restricted.

“We have received clear, credible assurances from the relevant authorities that our female employees will be safe and able to work without hindrance,” Save the Children said in a statement. declare. “However, with the overarching ban still in place, our other operations, where we don’t have reliable assurance that our female colleagues can work, are still on hold.”

Save the Children spokeswoman Samantha Halyk said: “The activities we’re working to restart will provide vital support, but these are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s going on. necessary.

Hundreds of NGOs have played a key role in efforts to tackle one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with half of Afghanistan’s 38 million people going hungry and three million children suffering from hunger. risk of malnutrition.

The international community has urged the government in a series of high-level meetings to reverse the ban on women in the aid sector, which is expected to have severe consequences for aid flows into the country.

Abdul Rahman Habib, a spokesman for the Economy Ministry, which ordered the ban, told AFP news agency that allowing women to work in the health sector was a “need of our society”.

“We need them to support malnourished children and other women in need of medical services. Surname [women staff] working in harmony with our religious and cultural values.”

the situation worsened

Meanwhile, two relief officials said talks were ongoing with the authorities to allow women to work in other sectors, including education, water, sanitation and food distribution.

“We hope that there will be new guidelines soon,” said an aid official with a foreign NGO, who requested anonymity.

Another aid worker said the government could “selectively open up” other areas to women.

“They have to ask NGOs about specific parts of the organization and the areas of work where they need female employees, and accordingly, they can be licensed,” he said.

Women workers are vital to aid operations in place in Afghanistan, especially in identifying other women in need.

“Since the beginning of winter, our situation has worsened. We haven’t eaten in four days,” said Parveen, a mother of eight, standing in line to receive food aid in Kabul.

She said she prefers to receive aid from female workers rather than men.

Parveen, 38, said: ‘I can’t tell a man to give me first aid because I have young children or I’m sick.

The ban is one of two strict orders introduced in a row last month, after authorities first ban women from going to college.

Since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, they have imposed a series of restrictions on Afghan women, effectively shutting them out from public life.

Lower secondary education has forbidden for girlsand many women have lost their jobs in government.

Women are also banned from parks, gyms and public baths.

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