AFGHANISTAN:

CBSG Aids Remote Village to Acquire School Shelters

December 3, 2010

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Rahman Abad village is located on a strategic hill in the northeast part of Faizabad City, the administrative and economic center of Badakhshan Province. Rahman Abad residents subsist on a mountain economy that has changed little for hundreds of years. Now, the community wants its children’s future ensured by making education available. Because the local school lacked a shelter to protect children from sun, rain and snow, villagers appealed to the government and aid organizations to provide a basic school structure. But, their appeals went unanswered. Skepticism set in, forging a distance between villagers and the government, and striking fear that the widening linkage could provide an opportunity for insurgent groups.

On a breezy morning on October 26th, villagers, provincial dignitaries and USAID representatives gathered to celebrate the arrival of school shelters made possible by the Creative-implemented Community Based Stabilization Grants Program, known as CBSG. Funded by USAID, CBSG provided USD $24,000 to Rahman Abad’s villagers for the school shelters. The villagers themselves added an additional USD $1,800 for the shelters, underscoring their commitment to education. After a recitation from the Holy Quran, Badakhsan’s Acting Provincial Governor, Mr. Shamsurahman Shams noted that he appreciated USAID’s efforts in Afghanistan and especially in Badakhshan. He added that USAID’s funding of these types of projects will strengthen the linkages between the government and the people and will reduce the sense of deprivation and distance felt by the grantee communities.

Haji Abdul Wajid, Badakhshan’s Provincial Stabilization Advisor also thanked USAID for helping to provide the school shelters’ project and underscored that stabilization comes only when the urgent needs of the communities are addressed. A third speaker, the Deputy Director of the Education Line Department, also highlighted his appreciation for CBSG’s assistance to the Education sector. Provincial Councilmember, Mnira Alamyar, shared her appreciation for USAID’s efforts in Badakhshan and asked for the continuation of such efforts in the province. Abdul Halim, a member of the Rahman Abad Community Development Council was the last speaker. He said we are happy to receive this donation and outlined the dire situation of the school before the provision of shelter. He spoke about the difficult days students and teachers had before the provision of shelter for their school but today thanks to the donation by the USAID CBSG project, those difficult days have passed.

The ceremony ended with a joint ribbon cutting by the Acting Provincial Governor Mr. Shamsurahman Shams and the USAID CBSG AOTR, Angelina Allen Mpyisi. Others in attendance included, USAID Badakhshan’s Field Program Officer, Michael Haines, Provincial Stabilization Advisor, Haji Abdul, the daughter of the former Afghan President and social activist, Mahbooba Rabanni, and members of the Community Development Council of Rahman Abad village, and many community members.

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