Country Profile: Afghanistan


The mountainous country of Afghanistan lies in south-central Asia. Despite vast natural resources, Afghanistan is burdened with extreme poverty. With a long history of political instability and war, families often face shortages in food, housing, clean water, electricity, healthcare, and jobs. World Vision is working in Afghanistan to help families recover from the effects of conflict and equip them to build a better future. Read on to learn more about this country and what World Vision is doing there.

Fast facts:

  • Capital: Kabul
  • Population: 26.1 million
  • Life expectancy: 44 years
  • Literacy rate: 28%
  • Religion: 99% Muslim
  • Nearly one in every five children dies before the age of 5



  • Music: Folk songs or ballads are typically heard in Afghani culture.  Traditional musical instruments include the harmonium (like a small piano/accordion), chang (like a harmonica) and the robab (6 stringed instrument).
  • Food: The diet of most Afghan villagers consists mainly of unleavened flat bread called naan. Other common foods include soup, a type of yogurt called mast, vegetables, fruit and occasionally rice and meat. Tea the preferred drink.
  • Sports: A popular and national outdoor sport in Afghanistan is Kite Flying. Afghans also play polo, and ghosai—a team sport similar to wrestling.

World Vision’s work:

World Vision first began work in Afghanistan in 1956. However, it wasn’t until 2001—after the fall of the Taliban—that World Vision opened an office in Kabul. World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of the Afghanistan to enhance their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their communities, families, and children.

In the past World Vision has….

  • Implemented cash-for-work programs
  • Created microfinance programs
  • Worked with local famers in agriculture development
  • Repaired existing schools and built new ones
  • Provided training for school teachers
  • Reconstructed wells and latrines

World Vision currently operates seven development projects, including:

  • The Midwife Training and Support Program works to reduce high maternal, infant, and child mortality rates by instructing women in how to provide adequate medical care for pregnant mothers and newborns.
  • Food for Education and Children Nutrition Program seeks to increase school attendance by providing meals to students. Project leaders are pursuing three primary objectives: increased enrollment of school-age children in primary schools, improved quality of teachers in primary schools, and an overall improved infrastructure of the educational system in rural communities. This project also supports classes to promote adult literacy for women and to increase the pool of potential female teachers in conservative regions with low female student attendance.

Fun Facts:

  • Afghans are known to be talented cooks. Each part of the country has its own food and cooking style.
  • Hospitality is very important to Afghans and they love to have guests.
  • Families in Afghanistan are extremely close. Family honor, pride and respect are highly important.
  • Houses in Afghanistan are most commonly made of mud-brick.
  • It is custom for men to wear a turban and women to wear a burka while out in public. The burka is a long, tent-like veil, that covers a woman from head to foot.