Listening to women and girls diplaced to urban Afghanistan
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.