Afghanistan: EU supports education, health and livelihoods of Afghan people with €268.3 million – Afghanistan


In the major humanitarian crisis facing Afghanistan, the EU launched projects worth €268.3 million, stepping up life-saving assistance to the Afghan population. EU assistance focuses on maintaining education, sustaining livelihoods and protecting public health, including for refugees, migrants and internally displaced people. It is channeled through UN agencies working in Afghanistan (UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNHCR, WHO, IOM) and directly benefits the Afghan population. Two projects support human rights defenders and civil society organisations.

Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, noted: “Leaving no one behind is a key principle of the EU’s engagement in the world. Today we demonstrate what we have said time and time again: we will not abandon the Afghan people. I am happy that we are meeting basic human needs and supporting livelihoods within the clear parameters set by the Foreign Affairs Council. The projects focus on health, nutrition, clean water, sanitation and education, especially for women and girls. We also support income-generating activities, food security and local markets. We reacted quickly to alleviate the suffering of the population and preserve a future for the Afghan people, especially women and young people.

Education, health, livelihoods

Seven EU projects, worth a total of €186 million, support the health, education and livelihoods of Afghans and will be implemented through the UN Fund for Children (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Program (WFP).

  • Emergency Financial Aid for Teachers to Support Children’s Learning in Public Schools – This €50 million project implemented by UNICEF will provide some 194,000 public teachers in the country with emergency financial assistance of around €90 per month for two months during the harsh winter period. This will indirectly benefit more than 8.8 million children between the ages of 6 and 18.
  • Support for school meals for girls and boys – Implemented by WFP in collaboration with UNICEF, this €11 million project will ensure the provision of school and take-home food for boys and girls in primary school. For secondary school girls, the EU will also support cash transfers for their households conditional on the girls’ school attendance.
  • Mitigating the health effects of the COVID-19 emergency in Afghanistan – EU support of €10 million will improve testing, surveillance and hospital facilities to deal with COVID-19, in collaboration with the WHO.
  • Mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic through improved access to nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, and prevention of gender-based violence – This €25 million project will mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the health and nutrition of women and children in Afghanistan, in collaboration with UNICEF.
  • Working towards the eradication of poliomyelitis, which still prevails in Afghanistan – This €25 million project, implemented by UNICEF and WHO, will enable the purchase of polio vaccines and other measures.
  • Food and cash for work support is worth 50 million euros – Together with the WFP, the EU will strengthen the food security of around 450,000 people receiving food or cash when they participate in work programs aimed at boosting food production.
  • Support livelihoods, especially for women – In collaboration with the UNDP, this 15 million euro project will enable approximately 23,000 entrepreneurs, mainly women, to receive technical and/or financial support to develop and develop their business.

Forced displacement and migration

The EU has launched five other projects for a total of €79 million to combat forced displacement and migration in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Central Asia, in collaboration with UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP, IOM and Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

  • Afghan children on the move affected by irregular migration – Implemented by UNICEF, this €15 million project will notably support unaccompanied children in Afghanistan by contributing to protection measures, basic services and reintegration. It will also work to ensure equal access to education, protection, health and nutrition for Afghan displaced children and youth, their families and vulnerable host communities, as well as ‘to support families in debt, by reducing the number of families taking their children out of school or opting for child marriage.
  • Support for Afghan Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Pakistan, Iran, Central Asia and Afghanistan – This €34 million project, implemented by UNHCR, will aim to provide durable solutions for Afghans on the move, including improving access to basic services, strengthening economic self-reliance and protection.
  • Support for Displaced Afghans in Pakistan, Iran, Central Asia and Afghanistan – Implemented by IOM, this €15 million project will improve access to health and education and create economic opportunities for vulnerable Afghans and their host communities in Iran, Pakistan and in Tajikistan, focusing on the specific needs of women and girls.
  • Support for vulnerable Afghans and host communities in Iran – In cooperation with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), this €14 million EU project will improve access to rights, protection and essential services for vulnerable Afghans and their families. host communities, as well as improving livelihoods and access to sustainable incomes. The project will notably enable the construction and equipping of classrooms and sanitary facilities.
  • Capacity building of Surkhandarya region in Uzbekistan to educate and train Afghan citizens – This one million euro project, implemented by UNDP, will increase educational opportunities for Afghan citizens, with a particular focus on youth and women.

In addition, the EU is increasing its support to the Afghans Human rights defenders at risk and Civil society organizations during this very difficult period with two projects worth 3.3 million euros.

Other projects in all these sectors should be launched in the coming months.


New projects launched are key milestone under EU’s €1 billion global support package announced by President Ursula von der Leyen in October 2021. The €1 billion global envelope also includes €227 million in humanitarian funding for life-saving and life-saving emergency humanitarian assistance in the following sectors: food and nutrition, shelter, water and activities related to hygiene, medical care, education and protection. The EU has already fully allocated this funding to humanitarian partners in 2021 to support vulnerable Afghans living in the country and region, with a focus on the specific needs of women and girls.

The EU responds to basic needs and provides basic livelihood assistance without going through the de facto authorities. The response builds on the Council conclusions of 21 September 2021, which set out the European Union’s commitment to support the Afghan people and set out five criteria conditioning any future engagement with the de facto Afghan authorities, as agreed by ministers of EU foreign affairs. The criteria include the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of women and girls. Regular EU cooperation remains frozen until these criteria are met.

For more information

Factsheet – EU aid to the Afghan people: meeting basic needs

Afghanistan | International partnerships (

Afghanistan and the EU – European External Action Service (

Delegation of the European Union to Afghanistan – European External Action Service (

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