Improving government services in Afghanistan’s east spotlighted in UN-backed radio debate

18 Jul 2017

Improving government services in Afghanistan’s east spotlighted in UN-backed radio debate

JALALABAD - In a recent UN-backed radio programme in Nuristan, civil society representatives debated with government officials the most effective ways to improve services for the residents of the eastern region.

The radio programme, facilitated by the Jalalabad office of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), focused on ways to improve some of Nuristan’s basic services, including roads and schools, and discussed a broad range of other issues, such as improving the working relationship between civil society groups and their government counterparts.

Abdul Latif Nuhzatyar, a panellist and a member of the Upper House, pointed out that while the government has implemented many projects in the eastern region, residents are still in need of much more to meet their basic needs, particularly in Nuristan.

Nuristan, one of the poorest provinces of Afghanistan, is characterized by mountainous terrain, creating challenges for the delivery of local services. The province, one of four in the eastern region, shares a border with Pakistan to the east and has a small population living in mostly rural communities built around trades such as agriculture and animal husbandry.

Another panellist, and a member of civil society, Nadia Nuristani, stressed the importance of focusing on the province’s education systems, including strengthening the schools by recruiting highly qualified teachers.

“In Nuristan, 80 per cent of the schools don’t have buildings and all are facing lack of qualified teachers and facilities to operate effectively,” she said, urging civil society groups to become more involved with government, making their voices heard about their most pressing priorities.

UNAMA continues to work with government officials and civil society groups across the country to create platforms using radio, television and social media for Afghans to engage in dialogue and discuss key issues affecting their communities.

The mission is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. '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.