Friday, May 29, 2009

Our first day in Afghanistan

    Umaimah wrote this in email  dated May 23, 2009:

    Mona and I arrived in Afghanistan yesterday. We met with officials from WADAN, including the Managing Director of WADAN, Mohammed Naseeb, WADAN’s Program Director and lead for Education initiatives, Jean Kissell, and the Assistant Program Manager for WADAN, Inayatullah Niazi. WADAN officials briefed us on the education status in Afghanistan as well as the activities of the government, the local NGOs, the private sector, and the multilateral organizations in the country.

-          We had a meeting with the Senior Policy Advisor for the Ministry of Education & General Director of Teacher Education, Susan Wardak. Susan briefed us on what she believes is the most critical challenge in Education in Afghanistan, lack of qualified quality teachers. We shared with Susan our experiences from Pakistan, the learnings we could bring to Afghanistan, and potential areas for collaboration. Susan shared her belief that investment should be made in people development and human resource capacity building rather than infrastructure. She was very receptive and welcoming to dreamfly and interested in engaging in potential collaboration.

-          We then had a meeting with  the Head of Developing Education Curriculum and Compilation of Text Books, Abdul Zahir Gulistani, who briefed us on the recent initiatives in curriculum building led by the Ministry of Education in Afghanistan. We requested Abdul Zahir to provide us with the detailed curriculum as well as samples of books being taught in select grades in Aghanistan. We hope to receive these today.

-          We had a brief introduction with the Director for the Center for Conflict and Peace Studies (CRPS), which conducts action-oriented research cell in Afghanistan that aims to influence policy-makers around building local capacity, and safety and security.

We have a full day planned tomorrow – will provide more updates on our return.

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