The regions that we focus on are either geographically isolated or generally neglected rural or urban settings. In most regions we have covered to date, girls and boys were previously studying outside, exposed to the harsh elements: rain, wind and cold temperatures in autumn and spring or sun, dust and hot temperatures in the summer. These were undignified conditions for teachers and pupils and impacted negatively on quality of both teaching and learning. Very often the school programs experienced big delays or were not completed.
Every time the Association has completed a school project, the impact on the community is visible and concrete. The number of registered and attending school children rises, as condition of study become dignified and safe. The parents see an incentive to send their children to school, as opposed to engaging in harsh agricultural work. There are very moving scenes when some children, for example aged 15-16, attend classes for the first time in their lives. It is a rewarding achievement to hear about the first pupils from the schools built by the Association, qualifying for university attendance.
The strong added-value offered in partnering with or funding the Association is related to its proven track record of implementing concrete projects in difficult and isolated regions, within time-line and budget.
The Association is made up of a tightly-knit team with strong local connections, exemplary networking capacities and effective outreach into remote communities. The Association offers an interesting avenue to deliver quality projects close to populations that have traditionally been neglected by central Afghan authorities, be it women and girls or ethnic minorities.
At the same time the Association’s strong governance focus, working with local, provincial and central authorities and contributing to county-wide objectives, is a further reason to support its work. The Association being lead by a woman, herself a teacher by training, is a powerful message of cultural change and Ms Rahim represents a role-model for women and girls throughout the regions concerned and beyond. In region after region, women come up to her and tell her how motivated and inspired they are to see that women can have such an impact on society.
The Association has developed increasingly effective assessment and monitoring approaches and has integrated donor requirements in terms of result-based management methodologies and reporting. Finally, working closely with partner construction companies involves strong oversight, regular monitoring visits, to ensure accountability.