Promoting Children’s rights – Bamyan School Quiz Project

Nai Qala had the great honor to partner with UNICEF in Bamyan to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Nai Qala firmly believes that every child has fundamental rights. Over the past decade, we have been supporting children specifically through our educational projects – building of schools, setting up of preschool centers, preparing students for university, and running tutoring and teacher training programs. Nai Qala acknowledges that children will be the future actors for change and in this spirit, it is of utmost importance that their rights are recognized.

Bringing children’s rights to the forefront in Bamyan Province

It is with great pride that Nai Qala has worked together with UNICEF on a project to bring the Rights of the Child to the forefront in the Province of Bamyan and to help raise awareness.

A team of Nai Qala project officers was in charge of explaining children’s right to schoolchildren from grades 7 to 9, of distributing brochures and organizing quizzes in schools. The program was successfully implemented in 8 districts, covering 25 public schools and 6 accelerated learning centers for children between the ages of 13 to 15. An information booklet explaining children’s rights was distributed to 2’500 children who were the direct beneficiaries. Furthermore, each of the 2’500 booklets were taken home by students to their families, increasing the circle of indirect beneficiaries.

During morning assembly of each school, pupils from grades 7 to 9 were asked to read from the booklet aloud in front of all schoolmates, from primary to high school grade. This ensured that the message of the Convention on the Rights of the Child reached the largest audience possible. For 25 schools, an estimated total of 12,500 students learned about the convention. Overall, more than 25’000 people were made aware directly or indirectly of children’s rights.

A quiz specially developed on this subject was then held in each school for children aged 13-15 years. The winner of the local school competition had the chance to take the next step and participate in a competition at the district level, for entry into the grand final in Bamyan city. Nai Qala’s team was very touched to see the great enthusiasm of all the children who worked so hard to be the winners.

Difficult conditions but strong motivation

Nai Qala’s project team travelled in the most isolated areas of the Province, facing rain and snow. Sometimes project officers had to go by foot as the roads were muddy or icy and it was simply impossible to travel by car however the team persevered and remained determined. There could have been dozens of excuses for not implementing this project in difficult areas… 

The purpose of the project was certainly the best reason for such great commitment from the team. Field officers accepted and overcame these difficulties and rose to the challenge because they were convinced of the benefits of raising young people’s awareness of children’s rights.

Building on Nai Qala’s know how to advance the Rights of children

Over all these years, Nai Qala Association has created a strong network in the communities with a good reputation and managed to gain their trust. Our success with this project is all the more admirable as we must stress that we presented it to traditional communities that were generally less receptive to new ideas. It took the diplomacy and patience of our team to guide them.

Project team members took the time to discuss respectfully with local communities and were successful at encouraging children to take part in the competition. Incidentally, children from these remote communities were among the winners of the district competition and their proud parents accompanied them to Bamyan.

The grand final

Nai Qala is very proud to have successfully implemented this project with UNICEF and was especially pleased to honor this program on World Children’s day, in Bamyan, where the finals of the children’s rights quiz were held and have chosen 6 finalists, 3 girls and 3 boys. The ceremony was a high-profile event involving many respected officials from UNICEF and local authorities, but most importantly, over 400 children, parents, teachers and school headmasters from all the regions of the Province. It has been an honor to welcome them all to such a beautiful event and it is especially commendable for those who have travelled from the most remote regions, in spite of rain and snow on roads that were already difficult to pass due to lack of proper infrastructure. Many of them of them travelled such distances and left their villages for the first time ever.

We were particularly touched to see parents encourage their children and the teachers encourage their students not only during the finals but during the whole duration of the project. We are extremely grateful and privileged to be given such a unique chance and opportunity to contribute to improving awareness of children’s rights. We wish to thank UNICEF for partnering with Nai Qala Association and for the trust placed in us.