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Taliban Allows Women to Work on World Food Program Survey

After a year of strained negotiations and rejections, the Taliban finally agrees to allow the World Food Program (WFP) to employ Afghan women in its survey of the food needs of the most vulnerable households in the country. The survey will allow the Program to assess the need in the region and adjust aid and aid delivery, which has been complicated in recent years by the Taliban’s edicts prohibiting contact between men and women. The Taliban announced this weekend that it will allow the World Food Program to hire and train women from a list of potential employees drawn up by the Ministry of Health.

The World Food Program has emphasized from the beginning the importance of hiring women for this effort, as the Taliban’s edicts prevent males from speaking with females. In this survey, local Afghan women will be able to survey women in the household to assess the household’s needs, allowing the Program to analyze and adjust its aid distribution. The WFP already feeds an estimated 3.8 million Afghans, but recent reports show that 5 million Afghans have little or no access to food because of the region’s severe drought. Increased aid is desperately needed.

For more information or to take action on this issue, visit the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan.

Sources:

New York Times - June 19, 2001 and Feminist Majority Foundation

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