KABUL (Pajhwok): The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has urged the UN to engage the de facto authorities in a practical and coordinated manner to secure a path towards the status quo ante in which female aid workers can safely and effectively work, according to a statement on Friday.
For decades, IRC has worked in countries and settings around the world where Islamic law is followed – including in Afghanistan since 1988.
All IRC staff, men and women, are afforded a safe and respectful work environment. Most IRC staff are national staff (including 99% of IRC Afghanistan’s 8000-person staff), working in their own communities in full respect and accordance with local laws and cultural and societal norms (including complying with hijab) to reach all populations in need.
The role of women in the humanitarian sector in Afghanistan, and in all contexts in which we work, is an operational necessity, the organization said in a statement.
IRC’s ability to reach those most in need and deliver in the hardest-to-reach areas is intrinsically linked to our staff.
82% of female-headed households in Afghanistan are food insecure—32 percentage points more than male-headed households.
Without female staff at all levels and across all sectors, we cannot deliver principled, needs-based aid and programs at scale for those hit hardest by this crisis.
The challenges hold true for every sector of the humanitarian response, not only for programs related to protection, gender-based violence and women’s empowerment.
Because our ability to reach all Afghans in need relies on female staff at all levels of our organizations, IRC has paused programs in Afghanistan. In the last year we have supported over six million Afghans. This means with each day our programs cannot be delivered tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans face even more hardship.