Helmand is regarded as one of the most volatile regions in Afghanistan. Insecurity, low literacy rate, unemployment, administrative corruption and conservative customs are some of the serious problems that continue to hamper development activities in the province.
However, in terms of education, the current situation in Helmand is the best it has been over the last few years. By the end of 2012, a total of 109,257 students were enrolled in 349 schools.
The Ministry of Education has achieved this progress through various programs, one of which is through funding support from the Global Partnership for Education.
Education challenges in Helmand
To increase and sustain equitable access to education, the GPE-funded program, with UNICEF as grant agent, targets 3 districts in Helmand: Garamser, Nawa and Marja. These districts face the most critical challenges: low access to education, insecurity and gender disparities.
Over the last one and half year, the GPE-funded program has been able to reopen 3 closed schools, establish 249 community-based, accelerated learning and mosque-based education classes, where now about 7,011 students continue school.
The program has 166 community based education (CBE), accelerated learning program (ALP) and mosque-based education teachers.
Getting more girls to school thanks to more female teachers
One of the main obstacles that hinders girls’ education is the lack of female teachers. To fill this gap, the GPE-funded program has recruited, trained and deployed qualified female teachers in the targeted districts.
Brishna, daughter of Mohsin, lives in a small village in Garamser, Helmand. She is 9 years old and comes from a poor family. Brishna is a bright girl and always wanted to go to school.
According to her, getting an education is her only dream. However, there was no school in her village and her family’s poor financial condition and cultural issues were additional obstacles that prevented her from going to school.
The program brought a horizon of hope in the eyes of many children like Brishna. The program established a community-based school in Brishna’s village, which made access to school easy for many children.
Brishna now goes to school and she says “I am happy because I can learn now. I have learned how to offer prayer and my feeling of happiness doubled when I first wrote Kalima on paper”.