Afghanistan: Borjegai

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Borjegai schools project

project established: 2003

Borjegai area consists of several villages with a total population of 36,000. It is located in a mountainous area of central Hazarajat in Nawor District, Ghazni province, Afghanistan.

The Hazara population of Borjegai, like the other parts of Hazarajat, has been the victim of institutionalised discrimination by Afghanistan’s central governments in the past. The harsh geography and historical discrimination have made it difficult for Borjegai’s population to access socially valued resources, such as education.

BACKGROUND

Borjegai area consists of several villages with a total population of 36,000. It is located in a mountainous area of central Hazarajat in Nawor District, Ghazni province, Afghanistan.

The Hazara population of Borjegai, like the other parts of Hazarajat, has been the victim of institutionalised discrimination by Afghanistan’s central governments in the past. The harsh geography and historical discrimination have made it difficult for Borjegai’s population to access socially valued resources, such as education.

The partnership between indigo foundation and Borjegai to develop educational opportunities for the children of Borjegai began in 2003. After a decade, the Project has become a micro-development success story with great potential to be used as a model for rural development throughout Afghanistan: it is community managed, focused, results-based and extremely cost-effective.

For the first time in the village’s history, girls are being educated.
There are currently nine schools operating in Borjegai, which are all registered with the central government’s Ministry of Education.  To date, the Project has built four schools buildings (accommodating around 2,000 students) and furnished four of the nine Borjegai schools.

The project provides project management support and funding for salaries of professional teachers, construction of school buildings and the purchase of school textbooks and stationery materials.

Provincial authorities ranked the Borjegai schools as the best both in terms of quality of its buildings and for their outstanding achievements.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Since 2003 approximately $400,000 has been spent by the Project in Borjegai to improve education. Of this, almo

st half has been contributed by the community, in the form of land, labour and significant amount of cash with the other half provided by contributions to indigo from the Australian community.  Results of the Project have been outstanding and include:

a. Improved teaching and education outcomes

  • Around 4,000 students (45% are girls) now attend school. The majority of these students have access to safe, proper and usable school buildings, school furniture, safe drinking water and hygiene.
  • High School graduates increased from 0 to more than 350 since 2003. This represents a university entrance exam pass rate of over 75%, which is much higher than the national average of around 45%.
  • A significant number of university graduates have returned to the village in the past three years. They work as school principals and teachers in Borjegai schools and surrounding areas.
  • Enhanced teacher’s knowledge and capacity. Unlike a decade ago, today all Borjegai teachers have at least Year 12 qualification. In another milestone achievement, Borjegai schools have hired nine female teachers all of whom graduated from the local high schools.

b. Broader impact of the school Project

  • Increased community understanding and value for education such that the vast majority of  families  now encourages and supports their children to attend university.
  • Increased cultural acceptance towards the education of girls. While there is still a long way to achieve full gender equity, significant improvements have been made. About 45 percent of the students in the village are girls, representing a much higher rate than the less than 35 percent nationwide.
  • Increased level of community cooperation and harmony as all three tribes- Maqsud, Mazid and Khasha- of the village work collectively to take part in the school and their children attend the schools together.
  • Cultural shifts in Mullahs’ attitudes from only supporting religious schooling towards greater understanding of the need of educating of children to be able to respond to the increasingly diverse needs of the community.
  • Enhanced capacity of the community to lobby the District and Provincial governments not only in matters related to their schools but also in health, security and legal services. Since 2007, the three tribes have successfully lobbied for a Medical Clinic in Borjegai and the government has agreed to build it. The building is built but it not yet staffed or equipped.
  • Lastly, there is rise of a collective awareness about the importance peace and education and a decreasing of  “Gun Culture” that was crippling the country during the war.

FUTURE NEEDS

The partnership between indigo foundation and Borjegai has provided a solid base for the continuation and expansion of the project in partnership with surrounding communities.  We are developing a five year strategic plan to increase educational infrastructure and improve teacher quality in Borjegai and adjacent villages, with the ultimate goal of supporting 15,000 students in schools in the District by 2016.

We would like to extend our thanks to Mr Mohammad Anwar Haidary, indigo foundation’s long term in-country representative, who continued to provide crucial support this year in building a volunteer culture in Borjegai community.

We look forward to working with the people of Borjegai as they continue to invest in their children’s future.

UPDATES

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