Improving girls’ access to education in Bamyan’s northeast districts spotlighted in UN event

24 Aug 2017

Improving girls’ access to education in Bamyan’s northeast districts spotlighted in UN event

BAMYAN - Afghan girls must be supported in pursuing their education to enable their full participation in all aspects of social and political life, said community leaders at a UN-backed event held last week in the central highlands province of Bamyan.

Department of Education officials, community leaders and students from Bamyan’s northeastern districts of Kahmard, Saighan and Shibar gathered at the event to understand the factors that are contributing to low enrolment of girls.

Bamyan’s northeast districts have been vulnerable to the influence of anti-government elements, just as long-held conservative beliefs continue to restrict the rights of girls in the province.

The recent event, facilitated by the Bamyan regional office of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), was set up so participants could strategize on ways to address these and several other factors, including school infrastructure and teacher qualifications.

“It is essential to have more women teachers and an increased recognition among communities and families as to why sending girls to school is important,” said Najiba, a girl from a local school.

Sayed Ali Ihsani, the head of the monitoring section of Bamyan’s Department of Education, underscored the importance of girls’ education in fostering both development and peace, and urged community leaders to ensure the security of teachers and school monitors.

Participants at the event agreed that the best way forward in addressing the many challenges unique to the province’s northeast districts is to focus on increasing collaboration between communities and local government, and continuing to strategize on ways to reduce poverty and unemployment.

Participants universally called for expanding access to education for girls as a fundamental right, and agreed to convene district-specific meetings between education officials, teachers, parents and community leaders to continue the dialogue and strategize further on education-related issues.

The event was recorded by local media and was broadcast by radio to an audience estimated at 350,000 people in and around the province’s capital city.

UNAMA is mandated to assist the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan in the prevention and resolution of conflicts through facilitation of dialogues and provision of ‘good offices’. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.

UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.