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Document Abstract
Published: 2015

Listening to women and girls diplaced to urban Afghanistan

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Growing numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) live  in  informal  settlements  in  major  Afghan  urban  centres. Compared with other Afghans they are more likely to be non-literate, to have lower rates of school enrolment, to live in larger households (but with lower household  incomes),  to  be  unemployed  and  to  be  highly food insecure.

There is insufficient understanding of and response to the needs of youth, and particularly vulnerable females, displaced to urban areas.  This report presents findings of research in three informal settlements in Jalalabad, Kabul and Kandahar which was commissioned by the Norwegian  Refugee  Council  and  researched  by  The  Liaison  Office  (TLO),  an  Afghan  non-governmental  organisation.

The   study   confirmed   earlier   findings   about   the impacts  for  IDPs  of  living  in  poor  urban  settlements,  characterised by inadequate and crowded accommodation,   insufficient   water   and   sanitation facilities,  extreme  food  insecurity  and  inability  to  get education or employment.

The  findings  of  the  research  break  new  ground, confounding   the   common   assumption   that   urban   women and girls should be more able – in a supposedly more secure and progressive urban environment with a  concentration  of  service  providers  –  to  access  services and employment and social opportunities than prior to their displacement.

This   research   found   the   opposite,   showing   that  displacement    places    women    and    children    at    disproportionate  risk,  living  with  fewer  freedoms  and  opportunities  than  those  they  enjoyed  in  their  natal  villages  or  when  living  in  Pakistan  or  Iran.  Evidence  gathered shows that displaced females face significant enhanced    gendered    constraints    to    accessing    education,   health   and   employment   opportunities.   They  have  lost  freedoms,  social  capital  and  networks  they  may  have  previously  enjoyed.  The  controlling  tendencies of their male kin, and their propensity to violence, are enhanced by their own desperation.

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Authors

S. Schmeidl; D. Tyler

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