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ACBAR Newsletter October -2015

posted: 2015-12-20
ACBAR IN THIS hosts mini-workshop on education
A coordinated education response, bringing together all actors, is integral to ensuring all
children and youth affected by crises in Afghanistan have access to education opportunities.

Education is a fundamental human right for all people and is particularly critical for children and youth affected by conflict and disasters. On the 13th October 2015, ACBAR bought together those working in educational policy, programs and child rights to exchange ideas and explore options to link individual strategies and organizations with other initiatives for a coordinated response to improving education for Afghanistan’s youth.  Presentations were provided by the Tashabos Education Organization (TEO); Oxfam provided a presentation on their GREAT IDEA Project and CARE International provided a presentation on Challenges in Education .

TASHABOS program is an entrepreneurship high school curriculum which is based on proposal writing competitions among students in the high schools. Tashabos Education Organization (TEO) is a National NGO registered with MoEc in Aug 2010.  The aim of this program is to promote responsible citizenship and leadership, democratic governance and lessons in market economy and facilitating networking of the high school students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 with funding support from National Endowment for Democracy (NED). TEO grew out of Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE) project. Tashabos implements Entrepreneurship High School Curriculum in 43 schools in four provinces of Kabul, Parwan, Bamyan, and Nangarhar with the cooperation of MoEd, iaround 40,000 students are benefiting from this program.

The main objective is to instill in Afghan youth an awareness of the values of the entrepreneurship, market economics, and democracy.
The Great Idea project was launched by Oxfam in 2011- this is a distance learn program that makes use of modern mobile technology, for learning of secondary subjects such as Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology on a daily level. The curriculum is in line with MoEd. The Great Idea project consists of 4 key elements;  1- Master Trainers in Kabul teach interactive lessons in front of the camera which is recorded in TV studio and broadcast live via satellite to learners in Parwan region. 2- Mobile helpline allows for interactive key conversation, questions and answers after each broadcast lessons so the teachers then answer the specific questions to the students.  3- An innovative competition element is integrated into each session and active participation is encouraged. 4- The teaching model is further reinforced by raising awareness about the importance of education within the community. This is done by community involvement with parents, teachers, mullahs and group conversion as well as radio broadcasting.

CARE informed participants of the General Education context in Afghanistan. Student enrollment has increased rapidly during the last decade. While only one million children (almost all boys) were enrolled in schools in 2001, over 9.1 million children were enrolled in 2013 of which 39% were girls.

The MoEd estimates that gross enrollment ratio (GER) for all levels and all types of education were 69% (56% females and 82% male) in 2013. This is based on UN Population Division estimate of Afghan population. In-security, poverty and working children, shortage and lack of schools in remote areas, long walking distance to schools, Low quality of education, shortage of female teachers in higher grades, cultural beliefs about girls' education in some areas, shortage and lack of necessary facilities in schools such as sanitation, drinking water and surrounding walls.

Education strategies from the MoED include the provision of the National Strategic Education Plan III, the plan to meet the SDG Education for All Goal and a  Community-Based Education (CBE) Policy. Future plans include Developing an Interim and Fast Tracking Initiative (FTI) where each student’s file can be tracked via a database within the MoEd,

To conclude the workshop, participants identified issues that NGO ACBAR members would like to address with: NGOs have MoU problems with MoEd meaning that projects are being delayed from 2 months to 2 years. ACBAR will arrange a meeting with the MoED to try and resolve these issues.

The Asia-Pacific Meeting on Education 2030  will take place on the 25-27 November 2015 in Bangkok.  Representatives from UNESCO, MoED and ANAFAE will be attending this meeting. In preparation for the meeting.

 ACBAR will be collecting input from members working in Education.
ACBAR’s Strategic Review 2016-2019
A Strategic Review (SR) is a selective evaluation of an organizational unit, policy, project or program performed at the request of senior management, and examines the organisation’s rationale, relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, financial viability, impact and sustainability. SR’s are designed to assess strategy, performance, and areas for improvement.

The ACBAR current Strategic Plan (SP) covers the period 2013 - 2016. As it near the end of its strategic plan, ACBAR decided to conduct a Strategic Review (SR)  in order to identify its strengths and weaknesses, and build a competitive advantage based on activities like coordination, advocacy, technical resources, and capacity building.

The purpose of the SR is to assist ACBAR in redefining its strategy as an agency for NGO representation and coordination according to the changing context of aid coordination within Afghanistan. The objectives are to assess the implementation of the former strategy, and identify the strategic priorities for ACBAR in order to assist in the development of a mid-term action plan for the coming three years.

Stakeholders regard ACBAR as a crucial and central NGO coordinating body in Afghanistan. This Strategic Review (SR) found that stakeholders value and appreciate ACBAR’s role in supporting and strengthening NGO activities. A robust and effective ACBAR is seen as vital to the future of NGOs and their ability to respond to the many needs of the people of Afghanistan.

The Consultant, from organisation Cape Blue Group, used a multi-faceted approach to obtain both primary and secondary data for the evaluation. 87 respondents contributed to this Strategic Review.

This approach utilized, desk review of relevant documents supplied by ACBAR; Semi-structured interviews with key and randomly selected stakeholders including: ACBAR members (national and international NGOs), government, donors, UN, other coordinating bodies, and ACBAR staff; Online questionnaires: one for all ACBAR members and another more detailed one for Steering Committee members and ACBAR staff; Focus groups: one for international NGOs, the other for national NGOs; Meeting attendance: Afghanistan Humanitarian Forum (AHF) (21 October 2015) and the Advocacy Working Group (AWG) (27 October 2015) meetings that took place at ACBAR; Debriefing and presentation of preliminary findings to the Steering Committee.

Respondents described ABCAR as a body that coordinates NGOs, government and donors. The majority of respondents stated that ACBAR plays an important role in supporting the work of NGOs working in Afghanistan.

The common future goal was to have a stronger, more visible, more proactive and more innovative ACBAR. ACBAR’s financial viability is secured until 2019 after which time more core funding needs to be secured.

Stakeholders and members claimed that they want ACBAR to be more proactive, visible and stronger. They expect ACBAR to be the linkage between members, government, donors and other stakeholders. They see ACBAR as the chief coordinating NGO body in Afghanistan.

Regarding the current Strategic Plan (SP), 2013 – 2016, the findings highlight the fact that members and stakeholders are not familiar with the current SP and regard it as non-participative. Thus, there is very little buy-in and participation in the current SP.
The four current activities of coordination, advocacy, information sharing and capacity development are well appreciated and utilised.  There are suggestions for all four activities, most notably for advocacy where stakeholders expressed the necessity for a needs assessment that outlined the key local advocacy priorities. Funding remains a challenge for long-term sustainability.
ACBAR is well positioned to move forward into the areas identified in this SR and build on its past successes, while responding to the current and future challenges.

ACBAR holds Afghanistan Development Forum with Ministry of Labor Social Affairs Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD)

ACBAR’s Afghanistan Development Forum (ADF) is a monthly forum for NGOs and stakeholders to discuss development issues and challenges, including coordination with the government, to improve effective delivery and quality of assistance to vulnerable populations.
ACBAR’s Afghanistan Development Forum (ADF) is a monthly forum for NGOs and stakeholders to discuss development issues and challenges, including coordination with the government, to improve effective delivery and quality of assistance to vulnerable populations. Each month, a different line ministry is invited to the meeting to present any new strategies or updates.

On 8th October 2015, Dr. Ahmad Shah Salihi, Deputy Minister and Dr. Pardis Sabir, General Director for Policy and planning of MoLSAMD attended ACBAR’s ADF to discuss the current employment situation in Afghanistan. Employment is a very important part of life, and has become a serious challenge in Afghanistan. 

Strategies are needed to reduce the unemployment level and to provide job opportunities to the people. MoLSAMD is working on 5 main points in its strategy;

1- Obtaining sufficient information about the labor market, availability of job opportunities, type and field of job opportunities, in order to provide job facilities specifically where needed.  In some cases when there are some working facility we cannot find educated experts. So according to economic basics, the requirement and marketability should be identified and take into account according to the labor market.

2- Coordination is covering 50% of the MoLSAMD’s activities. MoLSAMD has no employment opportunities itself but employment is available in other sectors through coordination: 60% of employments are in agriculture sector, then commerce and construction, then other sectors.  Therefore MoLSAMD needs to keep close coordination with said sectors and has prepared a new mechanism to communicate the issues and speed up the coordination process for better entrepreneurship.

3-             Skill and vocational trainings are in the mandate of MoLSAMD which still has been conducted by MoLSAMD and MoEd as a part of government activities, but now MoLSAMD wants to involve NGOs and private sectors in providing vocational trainings for capacity building of people, and refer them to micro-credit programs for improving creation of businesses and other facilities.

4-             To send Afghan labour out of the country, a team of Afghan delegates will be going to Saudi Arab next week for an official discussion in order to provide employment for a large number of Afghan labourers in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. The Qatar labour market is a big potentially and hopefully an agreement will be signed between Afghanistan and Qatar, the process is ongoing.  Kuwait, UAE and Iran are also countries with good labour market potential for Afghans.  Based on the discussions, Saudi Arabia has promised to accept 200,000 Afghan labourers. The identification of these individuals will be done by MoLSAMD employment centers which need more capacity; therefore MoLSAMD wants to implement the scheme through the public partnerships with NGOs or private sector organization. MoLSAMD is working on its guideline which is going to release soon.

 5- The implementation of the Labour Law is the responsibility and authority of MoLSAMD and it should be implemented equally on everyone. NGOs, Private sector and the government are obedient to this law. MoLSAMD is responsible for all Afghan employees and has to care for their rights. There is a department for rights and legal inspection of employees, if any issue happens in the organizations which cannot be solved in the organization then it will be referred officially to MoLSAMD for legal consultation.

There are some points in the Labour Law to be amended and adjusted soon and MoLSAMD is working on its revision.

MoLSAMD encourages NGOs, private sector organizations and companies in economic development programs inside the country to employ Afghan labour. For example a shoe production company can create 30,000 job possibilities in Afghanistan for Afghan labourers, and the production will also be from Afghanistan.     

One of issues which NGOs mostly facing is the retirement’s privilege of their employees which to be implemented equally for all employees of the NGOs, private sectors and companies according to the Afghan labour law. MoLSAMD focuses on advocacy of all employees’ rights and all employees, in short or long term employment, should know about their pensions.

“Based on census of Central Statistics Organization ,during 2014 the number of unemployment reached to 40% of population and increasing day by day,  caused by insecurity, political challenges and economic and political instability in the country during past years”













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