New opportunities to learn for children in Afghanistan
In 2017, approximately 3.5 million children were out of school in Afghanistan, 75 percent of whom were girls.
Goroko village is located in Dorbaba district. The village has a population of over 34,000 and is located 14 kilometres away from the Pakistan border. Its geographical location means it is often overlooked by authorities. Lessons had to be held in a harsh, open air environment for primary school children, while high school students had to travel across the border to attend school. Next to the lack of classrooms and gender appropriate WASH facilities, there was also not enough community awareness regarding the importance of girl’s education.
Around 37% of returnee children surveyed in Nangarhar Province were not enrolled in school, and of those who were, 49% were more than three kilometres from the nearest formal school.
These deficiencies were discovered by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) while implementing a different project in the area (constructing bore wells and piped water schemes) and talking to the community, which is why the IRC decided to build a school with PATRIP Foundation’s resources.
Financed by: German Federal Foreign Office (FFO) through KfW and PATRIP Foundation
Implemented by: International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Duration: January 2018 – September 2020
Budget: 750,000 EUR
Direct Beneficiaries: 1,600
Indirect Beneficiaries: 8,000
Key Outputs: Providing 1,600 students of Afghan returnees and host communities in Dorbaba district access to a primary, secondary and high school
The main objective of the project was to construct a functional and well-equipped school building in order to provide 1,600 students of Afghan returnees and host communities in Dorbaba district access to a primary, secondary and high school education.
The target beneficiaries are children living in the local communities, which also include children of Afghan returnees from Pakistan, as well as Pakistani children living in that area. Indirect beneficiaries are local workers employed during the construction, teachers and supporting staff.
The continued political and security situation in Afghanistan has put a further strain on the already weak education system. This is why the IRC hired a Community Mobiliser to facilitate coordination between communities and local government to increase awareness and access of to girls’ education.
The overall goal was to promote and strengthen relations between Afghan returnees and host communities through provision of equitable access to education and by engaging parents in their children’s education.
IRC constructed a new school building with 18 classrooms, a computer lab, a library, as well as teacher rooms. The facility covers an area of 1,411 sqm in accordance with Ministry of Education (MoE) standards, including a solar power system and gender-sensitive WASH facilities.
IRC’s project strategy focuses on coordination, community participation, gender inclusion and sustainability. As required, the school is registered with the MoE and all the education campaigns are launched in coordination with the District Education Directorate (DED). They also met with parents to highlight the importance of their childrens’ education.
A Community Mobiliser, the IRC Site Engineer, social activists and other community members held meetings to provide updates on progress and to address challenges. They organised events to disseminate information on the importance of education, particularly for girls and child rights.
Previously, the IRC had already successfully handed over 22 schools to the MoE, while applying the same strategy as for this project. At the time of the handover, an agreement was signed between the community and the District and attested by the Provincial Education Directorate (PED). This documented their commitment to maintain the school upon establishment. The MoE is therefore responsible for hiring teachers and operating the school building.
IRC has a full-time Security Coordinator and a Security Officer, who monitor the situation and mitigate security risks and has standard operating procedures for security which are updated and reviewed on a regular basis. The IRC is committed to protection mainstreaming, and subscribes to the Humanitarian Principles, which include the principle of ‘Do No Harm’, in all its projects and when assisting beneficiaries.
Project Impact & Cross-Border Cooperation
The new school in Goroko provides improved access to a safe educational environment for approximately 1,600 students from the host community and returnees. The facility allows for structured lessons to take place, and spares local children from having to travel long distances to receive their education. IRC anticipates that the new school will increase attendance and reduce the number of out-of-school children – particularly girls – in the area.
The new WASH facilities furthermore make the school safe in terms of infections and water borne disease. The installation of the solar panels and Uninterrupted Power Supply allows vulnerable children to thrive in their learning environment, making it possible to use technology. Ultimately, the project will contribute to stabilizing the region by supporting its social development.
PATRIP Foundation supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In 2015, all member states of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda, whose main purpose was the introduction of 17 goals for sustainable development (SDGs). The goals aim at the joint creation of a world in which people are able to live together peacefully, as well as in ecologically compatible, socially just, and economically effective ways.
The described project contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals: