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Who We Help & How: Afghanistan

A country overview provided by the UN Development Programme provides an annual Human Development Index ranking of countries around the world. This splendid tracking measure identifies trends in development for various countries compared with both regional and world statistics. 


Afghanistan is currently ranked 172 out of 187 countries with available comparative data. 


How We Help

Catalyzing Economic Capacity

CommonWell Institute International provides funding for numerous projects aimed at empowering women through economic self sufficiency. Within Afghanistan’s cultural tradition, women are often restricted in various aspects of social and economic activity. Decades of war have left a multitude of widows with limited opportunities to support themselves and their children.

Through CommonWell’s efforts during the past decade, women are now working as rug weavers, beekeepers, tailors, animal keepers and craft makers in numerous regions of the country, thereby improving their livelihoods and contributing to the wellbeing of their families.

ReGreening Afghanistan Literacy and Gardening Initiative

Reconstructive efforts include an innovative project created by CommonWell Intl co-founder, Dr. Sultana Parvanta. The Regreening Afghanistan project assumes an “ecological model” of human interaction and learning. The model follows the work of Paolo Friere and uses Permaculture principles.

Since 2004, in cooperation with various partners including Office of French Cooperation at the Ministry of Agriculture and an Afghan Relief Organization’s Vocational School, we have facilitated the delivery and planting of over 10,000 fruit trees. Accompanying curriculum focused on literacy and study of the environment for the months leading up to the traditional New Year’s Day planting on March 21 annually.

Livestock for Livelihood

In rural areas, particularly in the northern regions where the weather is cold for long periods, widows and their children are supported though the provision of livestock by CommonWell Intl, both to supply nutritious food, and to provide funds from selling dairy products and offspring baby cows. As the women in these areas rely on a barter system for survival, livestock is a lifeline to many necessities otherwise unavailable.

CommonWell purchases baby milk cows and goats, facilitates examination for health status, and delivers them to the widows for milk, cheese and butter. These products not only supply sustenance to the family but also allow for the products to be traded for rice and other much needed staples.

Afghan Assistance Fund

During the past years CommonWell has been called upon to respond to various unexpected issues and crises.

  • Takhaar Poisoning – Over 160 girl students and women teachers were intentionally poisoned by various methods through the water supply. CommonWell provided funds for treatment of those who arrived in Kabul, including toxicology tests in an attempt to identify the poison. Such efforts to suspend female access to education are a threat to the well being of the Afghan reconstruction and CommonWell remains active in ensuring the ability for young women to achieve an education safely and in a healthy environment.
  • Eyeglasses for elders – Many women can no longer see well enough to thread a needle or create the beautiful craftwork they have created for a lifetime. By providing eyeglasses, CommonWell restores vision for the future by providing glasses for the ability to continue designs of beauty and elegance for which the Afghans are well known.
  • Funding for food and clothing when tragedy has struck a family or community.