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Help for Afghan schools


The difference of OFARIN's program to the programs of many private foreign aid organizations is that OFARIN designs the lessons themselves. Other organizations raise money in their home countries and bring it to Afghan partners who are themselves organized like clubs. When members of the foreign organization visit the Afghan partners, they talk about what is needed for the lessons, and the foreign friends then seek funding to improve the situation. It can e.g. to procure equipment for teaching, building school buildings or wages for additional teachers that the state can not afford. But foreigners have no influence on the actual lessons.


But even the state aid organizations such as AID, the aid organization of the USA, or the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) do not interfere in the teaching operations of Afghan schools. They have declared the teaching of state schools to be an internal affair of Afghanistan. Their countries pay him as the international community finances all of Afghanistan's public service, but they do not care about what happens in the schools.


They are only active in marginal areas. School buildings are being built. This is necessary because Afghanistan's high birth rate necessitates doubling the number of school buildings every ten years. The Afghan state and foreign state and private organizations participate. However, the procurement of the state aid agencies in particular is questionable. Orders for school buildings are sold by the contractor to other construction companies and resold by them. For the one who ultimately builds the schoolhouse, not much remains and the construction is poor. Those who have placed the order rarely experience this. For safety reasons, they are not allowed to visit the construction site or the finished construction.


Otherwise, the state-owned major agencies are trying to improve the teaching of Afghan schools through teacher training. Teachers are invited to trainings. Those who are supposed to train the teachers do not know what happens in Afghan schools. But they are experts and know how it should be done. Role-playing games are performed and the teachers learn, among other things. something about the psychology of adolescents. The Afghan teachers then return to their school life. They do not know what the training has to do with their work and quickly forget the interlude.


GIZ is proud to provide its teacher training courses to a large number of teachers. GIZ switches multipliers between its instructors and the teachers. These are e.g. Lecturers at educational colleges. They are being trained by GIZ. From them one assumes that they pass on their knowledge to the teachers. Only many of these lecturers are earning their money, ie seniority, in the universities. There is no incentive for them to convey what they have learned. We got to know committed GIZ instructors, desperate for their job and dropping their contracts early.


In the meantime, the freedom of movement of GIZ employees has been severely restricted for safety reasons. "Cage management" is an apt term for the living and working conditions of these lavishly paid experts. They are housed in a high security wing outside the city of Kabul and are not allowed to leave. Also, few other people have access to them. It takes some imagination to imagine how these inmates could help their host country. Mine is not bigenough.


Actually, you do not need a lot of vehicles for the GIZ staff, because it can hardly leave the safety cage. After all, the GIZ-ler must be brought to the airfield and not infrequently. After all, they have to leave Afghanistan after a few weeks so they do not get a storage roller. The vehicles with which they are moved are heavily armored. The driver needs special training before he can drive such a fast tanker. For the price of three such monsters OFARIN could operate its Mosque school program in old size (€ 650,000) comfortably for a year.


If OFARIN aks the BMZ  for finances for its mosque school program, first organizational conditions must be created: OFARIN must create itself an Afghan partner, and train them to carry out the mosque school program of OFARIN themself. So OFARIN has to double itself. Thisis supposed to create  "civil society". These are the Afghan employees of OFARIN and his duplicate. They learn English and some Excel and are distinguished by gratifying salaries from Afghan society.


What is needed for this type of civil society? I dont know. It is clear that the double execution causes double costs. The duplicate is funded only for a limited time, usually four years. After that, the community of beneficiaries - in the case of a teaching project, that is, the student body - must economically bear the duplicate, that is: finance itself. OFARIN can put the duplicate, also a competent Afghan organization, under assumption, which then also takes over the financing. The idea is to have a government agency responsible for teaching programs, ie the Ministry of Education.


Here bureaucrats have thought of bureaucrats: If they help to finance the construction of a project, they will not go wrong if this project is put into the hands of administrators, as they are themselves. It is shocking to see how little BMZ officials can imagine being in Afghan ministries [Link to Public Schools in Afghanistan]. The support of a teaching program such as the mosque-school program of OFARIN by the BMZ leads directly into futility.


Why can't a project like OFARIN's mosque school project, which enjoys great success and unrestricted acceptance by those concerned, simply be continued as it is and may be carefully expanded and provided with additional components? That would be too easy. Ideologues have realized that it is more important to produce a certain kind of civil society, whatever the cost! The writer of these lines remembers that this ideology arose in the early 1990s of the last millennium. They have long since given way to practical requirements in almost all areas of development aid. Only in the BMZ they have found a niche in which they are lovingly cared for by nostalgic assessed officials.


Kabul in May 2018 Peter Schwittek.

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