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Education Jirga paves the way

Upon Danish initiative, the Afghan Minister for Education held a successful Education Jirga (assembly of locals) in Helmand. The Jirga aimed at paving the way for a Danish-supported education drive in Helmand Province. More than 200 local district leaders participated in the Jirga and brought forward specific proposals for how to reverse the negative development in enrolment in the province. The Minister for Education promised the participants that the Afghan Government was ready to build 100 new schools in Helmand provided the population itself showed initiative and reopened the existing schools first. The outcome of the Jirga was unequivocal backing from the participants for the education drive in Helmand Province. The mobilisation of the districts is crucial for establishing confidence in relation to the educational content and for removing the education sector from the immediate conflict between the Taliban and the Central Government.

Bringing schools and teachers to Musa Qala

Less than a day after Musa Qala was recaptured in December 2007, the Afghan Minister of Education launched an education drive in the area with Danish support. Through a rapid and visible civilian effort, the Afghan Government was able to build on its military success and thereby strengthen the reconciliation process in the area. Denmark has given a commitment to support the initiative with approx. DKK 3 million in 2008. This support will be used to  build new schools, reopen old schools and to recruit the necessary teaching staff to the area.

Improved security = wider access to education

The conditions for the schools in Gereshk are totally dependent on the security situation in the town. It has been important for the Afghan authorities that the local population, the school teachers and the children help the local police to enhance security by contacting the authorities if they are subjected to harassment. Together with Danish forces, an emergency hotline that the locals can call 24 hours a day has therefore been established.