• Community Education, Afghanistan

    Educating the whole community in Afghanistan

    Project areas: Education

    Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. is expanding access to quality education in Afghanistan with its Partnership for Advancing Community Education in Afghanistan (PACE-A) program. This program expands education opportunities for Afghan girls and boys by working directly with communities and teachers to ensure that high quality classes are held closer to home. Many children in rural Afghanistan of school age are forced to stay at home because the nearest government school is too far away, making it nearly impossible for the children to attend. Girls are especially discouraged from traveling long distances to go to school. 

    We have been working with community members and key local leaders throughout rural Afghanistan to collaborate on organizing local community-based schools. The approach is to get everyone involved, so it is a shared, transparent and collective process with consent from all local stakeholders. That's a key in making the investment long lasting. In places were no school buildings exist, classes may need to be conducted in a resident's home or at center common to all the community. 

    A key role of the Foundation is to train teachers to ensure that the standards of quality remain high in conducting basic education classes such as math, grammar and reading. By equipping local teachers with the tools and skills in early childhood and primary school, the children of Afghanistan benefit greatly.  The Foundation distributes learning materials to village school and works with local communities members to involve them maintaining and sustaining the school program.

    The project addresses cultural obstacles preventing girls from staying in school. The Foundation works with parents and families to help them realize the long-term benefits of allowing their daughters to go to school. The Foundation is committed to training many more women teachers. Female teachers encourage higher enrollment rates for girls since families are more likely to send their girls to schools with female teachers.  

    Each year, about 15,000 mothers and community members enroll in adult literacy classes. With these adult learning classes, mothers are able to read to or help children with their homework. Many women now serve on school advisory and support parent/teacher councils as well.

    The entire local and international community is involved in the education process, helping sustain the project and nurture a rising generation of educated youth. Locally, the project has reached approximately 95,000 students, 68% of whom are girls. It has also reached 3,700 teachers, 35% of whom are female. At the global level, the project is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development and our Foundation partners with CARE, Catholic Relief Services, and International Rescue Committee.

    The PACE-A project is an active example of partnership and collaboration. Working in over 2,500 communities to promote basic education, this project creates bridges to a brighter future for so many young Afghans.