NEI’s Vision in Afghanistan:
Eradicate protein-energy malnutrition, especially among women and children
NEI’s mission is to establish a self-sustainable soybean industry in Afghanistan through developing a soybean full value chain; which includes seed multiplication, soybean cultivation, soybean processing, and soy market development.
The general objective of NEI’s humanitarian distribution program in Afghanistan is to assist poor families suffering from protein-energy malnutrition. NEI distributes soy products to women and children, excluding infants and children under three years of age in order to supplement their diets with a complete protein source and help prevent protein-energy malnutrition.
NEI Expands Emergency Food Aid
(thanks to a Global Bridge Foundation grant)
Since 2003, Nutrition and Education International has been focused on developing a soy value chain in Afghanistan—teaching rural farmers how to grow soybeans to feed their families and earn an income, establishing soy processing factories to make soy flour, and educating women on how to include nutritious soybeans in traditional Afghan recipes.
This long-term focus abruptly shifted in mid-August 2021 when the Taliban took over the government. Nutrition and Educational International quickly began providing soy-based meals to malnourished women and children living in Kabul’s refugee camp villages. These internal refugees were facing poverty, malnutrition, and starvation since fleeing their rural homes to seek temporary shelter in Kabul. To date, NEI’s staff has provided over 1,000 refugee families with winter survival food packages of soy flour, soybeans, and rice together with firewood. NEI is buying the food basket ingredients from soy farmers and soy processors, benefiting them financially as well.
Thanks to funding from the Global Bridge Foundation, more Afghan women are feeding their children Soy Naan, Soy Qorma, and Soy Palaw to help develop and sustain their bodies. When NEI staff noted that children were coughing from the cold weather, NEI added firewood to the food packages to keep the children warm. The Kabul Department of Refugees and Repatriate authority informed that NEI is the only humanitarian group providing winter survival packages of both food and firewood.
As the NEI staff distributed the food aid, several refugees shared their thanks:
“I am an old man and cannot work outside to support my family. Also, I am sick, and my family condition is so bad. Before your support, we didn't have anything at home for eating, and nobody helped us. Now, my children and wife are so happy after receiving your help. Now we use soybean food and firewood in our home. Before that we used wasted plastics in our heater for warming our room. We are grateful and request for continuing this great program especially in this difficult time.” —Mr. Pedagull
“We are a very poor family and didn't have anything at home to eat. The children got cold and even got sick due to the cold winter. It was a hard time for us, but you assisted us and gave us firewood along with the soy food at the good time. Now we are using these and benefiting from that. Thus, my family is so happy and appreciates your support.” —Mr. Shiraga
NEI plans to expand its emergency food aid program to help over 10,000 women and children living in Kabul’s refugee camp villages in the next six months. Funding from the Global Bridge Foundation will help NEI achieve this ambitious goal.