Despite Conflict and COVID-19, Children Still Dream to Continue Their Education in Afghanistan

Nov 2020

By Guy Dinmore for IPS news

LONDON, Nov 12 2020

For each of the past five years, Afghanistan has been identified by the United Nations as the world’s deadliest country for children and, despite progress made in peace talks between the government and the Taliban, child and youth casualties from the ongoing conflict continue to mount in 2020.

Education itself has come under fire, with hundreds of attacks on schools and teachers. A 2018 joint report by the Afghanistan Ministry of Education and UNICEF, estimated that as many as 3.7 million children in Afghanistan were out of school, 60 per cent of them girls.

Against this backdrop, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) – the global fund launched at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit to deliver quality education for vulnerable children and youth in countries affected by armed conflicts, forced displacement, climate-induced disasters and protracted crises – selected Afghanistan as one of the first countries to roll out a Multi-Year Resilience Programme (MYRP). The in-country Steering Committee formed to oversee implementation of the programme appointed management of the MYRP to UNICEF as a grantee.

Sarthak Pal, ECW project coordinator for UNICEF in Kabul, says Afghanistan’s MYRP was designed to focus on ‘out of school children’, by setting up community-based education (CBE) classes close to where they live. Classes are arranged mostly in private homes and sometimes in mosques for those who cannot make the long journey to the nearest school.

“Most of these out of school children live in remote, rural and hard to reach places,” Pal told IPS from Kabul. Pal explained that focusing on out of school children was a context-specific choice for Afghanistan, and may differ from MYRPs in other countries with their own unique contexts.

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Photo credit: UNICEF


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