Rachel Wolff, 253.394.2214
Washington, D.C., March 31, 2009—As Afghanistan donor countries meet in The Hague today, aid group World Vision is calling for a new approach that would strengthen development and reduce the militarization of aid in the war-torn country.
“We commend the Obama administration for focusing on the critical human needs in Afghanistan, but call for greater efforts to bring balance to the military-heavy NATO response,” said Rory Anderson, World Vision’s deputy director for advocacy and government relations.
“A long-term comprehensive plan for sustainable development is what is needed now, and this should not be eclipsed by diplomatic efforts for a regional strategy,” Anderson added.
World Vision calls for an approach to stability and development that empowers the people of Afghanistan and focuses on supporting local social services and institution building, phasing Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) out of the development sector and addressing the threat to children in Afghanistan.
In its statement, which is based on its grassroots work, World Vision notes that 54 percent of Afghan children are chronically malnourished. With rising food prices and widespread hunger, parents have resorted to selling children as slaves, child soldiers or child brides, the agency warns.
“Poverty, not insecurity, is the top threat to children in Afghanistan. The country’s extreme poverty can only be addressed by humanitarian organizations that have experience in long-term development and know how to achieve local ownership of development efforts,” Anderson says.
World Vision has worked in Afghanistan since 2001, supporting education, health and agricultural programs along with food aid in three western provinces.
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world’s poor regardless of a person’s religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press