In response to the ongoing social and economic situation, large-scale awareness programs and grassroots level interventions along with effective, sustainable support are essential actions to take in order to address the needs of Afghan children, adolescents and adults for education. Since 2005, WADAN has utilized all available resources, taken every opportunity, and maintains advocacy activities to educate Afghans. WADAN has worked in all 34 provinces to implement projects that support schoolteachers, principals and students, and to involve local religious leaders and other social multipliers including civic actors and government officials to advance opportunities for education throughout Afghanistan.
Working with local school Shuras, WADAN reopened 125 closed schools allowing 209,251 students and 2,354 teachers to re-access education through school safety initiatives between 2009 and 2012. WADAN has delivered capacity-building activities to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Maliks, and other community elders and mobilized them for school safety, child protection, and to encourage education for children in geographically remote areas. Since 2002, WADAN has mobilized and trained 6,401 members of CSOs, Maliks, Mullahs, and Community Development Councils (CDCs) on community mobilization, child protection, classroom observation, monitoring of classes, and capacity building activities for involvement in “back to school” campaigns and other public awareness interventions.
WADAN has implemented more than 30 projects throughout the country in partnership with UN agencies, Save the Children International (SCI), European Union (EU) funding through Terre des hommes (Tdh), the Central Asia Institute (CAI), and USAID, WADAN has delivered packages of assistance to the public schools and assisted Community Based Education (CBE) and Accelerated Learning Centers (ALCs) throughout Afghanistan. We have trained 128,484 schoolteachers and 15,400 principals in capacity-building activities from 2004 to May 2022. Sessions on child protection, psychology, and teaching methodology were conducted for teachers and principals during the education projects’ implementation lifecycle.
Currently, we cover 50,598 students in the 1,611 CBE and ALC classes in Badakhshan, Logar, Farah, and Nangarhar Provinces. Already 71,083 students (29% girls and 71% boys) have been part of 2,370 CBE and ALC classes that were maintained by WADAN between 2004 and 2022. UNICEF, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) through SCI, and CAI supported these classes. These students received referral services under Child Protection services, school supplies were also distributed to them, and following CBE they were enrolled in the government supported schools nearest to them to continue schooling beyond the third grade.
From 2009 through the end of 2022, students already attending public schools have been provided with clean water, school supplies and hygiene kits, as well as refurbished classrooms. Under this component, 189,188 students were enrolled in public schools through public awareness and community inclusion campaigns from April 2018 through January 2023. The Malala Fund, Afghanistan Girls Learning Education (AGE) project through CAI, Global Partnership for Education (GPE) through UNICEF, and UNICEF’s Education Cannot Wait (ECW) programs are the main contributors to this initiative. The AGE, ECW, and GPE programs continue to meet education needs in Farah, Logar, Badakhshan, and Nangarhar provinces.
The Story of a Second-Grade Student, Baheshta.
Nine-year-old Beheshta, from Mahal Mahbas Village, Baharak District in Badakhshan is a second-grade student at the community-based school there. Beheshta’s teacher noticed this bright child was suffering and seemed constantly in distress, so she reported the situation to the AGE Child Protection (CP) team. A discussion followed with the little girl’s parents, and her case was registered with the CP database, and soon Beheshta was scheduled to receive medical attention. She went to Fayzabad, the provincial capital, for a consultation with Dr. Viktor Naziri, an urologist. His diagnosis revealed that Beheshta suffered from a kidney and bladder disorder. Dr. Naziri prescribed medication and scheduled follow-up appointments to monitor her progress. Prior to her successful treatment, Beshesta’s life was difficult, as she had been ostracized. Her classmates had kept her at a distance, and her family was exhausted. “I felt sad and isolated,” Beheshta said. Due to the intervention instigated by her teacher, Beheshta’s health and sense of well-being improved. She became a joyful and enthusiastic little girl, happy to go to school and included in play with her classmates. Her father, Borhanuddin, expressed his happiness and added, “We are grateful for the educational and health support provided by the CBE in our community.” Beshesta now dreams to become a doctor and provide free medical care to poor children in her village. These days she is known for her outstanding academic ability and is recognized as one of the brightest students in her class. She can now read and write basic paragraphs, do arithmetic, and solve mathematical equations.