UNICEF urges sustained investment in education and health for Afghan females
"Too few girls are in school and too many women are still dying unnecessarily," UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said. "As long as Afghan girls and women are routinely denied access to education and to health care, our job in Afghanistan is far from over."
Although one-third of the 3 million students who turned up for the agency's Back to School campaign last year were girls, UNICEF said the enrolment of females remains unacceptably low. The lack of separate and decent sanitation facilities presents particular difficulties for a female student.
Preparing for millions of children to return to school next week in the country's second Back to School campaign, Ms. Bellamy said the international community could not avert its attention or fail to invest in a country that is still struggling to help its most vulnerable populations. UNICEF invested heavily in girls' education because it is the foundation for lasting peace and development, she stressed.
“Education is the bedrock of any society. In Afghanistan, the education of girls and women is one of the single most imperative investments the country can make,” Ms. Bellamy said. “Afghanistan is steadying its legs. Out of the long and very shaky process we hope will emerge more and more Afghan girls and women who are educated, healthy and ready to take their country forward. But without immediate and sustained help this possibility remains distant.”