On November 3rd 2015, UNESCO and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) conducted a joint donor mission in Bamiyan province.
UNESCO is providing literacy courses for men and women of Bamiyan through Afghanistan’s national literacy programme, Enhancement of Literacy in Afghanistan (ELA).
ELA is the largest youth and adult literacy programme implemented by the Government of Afghanistan, with generous funding from the Governments of Japan, Sweden and Finland.
Bamiyan is one province where ELA programme has successfully reached many interested learners, especially women. In Bamiyan 94.9 % of graduates in 2014 were female.
During the joint mission, the Sida delegation comprising Ms Ulrika Josefsson (Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden) and Mr Petter Meirik (First Secretary Development Cooperation, Sida) and the UNESCO team made up of Mr Leon Gaskin (Officer-in-Charge Education, UNESCO) and Mohammad Sarwar Hakimi (Deputy Program Manager ELA, UNESCO) met with HE Tahir Zahir Provincial Governor of Bamiyan to discuss progress and impacts of ELA. The meeting was also attended by UNESCO programme field support staff.
HE Mr. Tahir Zahir expressed his gratitude to UNESCO and Sida for their continued support in providing funds and technical support for empowering women and men of Bamiyan through literacy.
The Governor also thanked the Government of Sweden for their commitment and to the people of Bamiyan, and added that “Sweden has funded and implemented a good number of projects in Bamiyan which have been very successful”.
Mr. Zahir also affirmed that the people of Bamiyan are very interested in education and do not want to remain limited by their existing literacy proficiency. They are progressive in nature; therefore, women’s participation in the literacy programs is more socially accepted compared to other provinces of Afghanistan.
The Sida Delegation, UNESCO team and representatives of the Bamiyan Literacy Department also met with Mr. Habibullah the Provincial Literacy Manager (PLM) of Bamiyan. The PLM extended his gratitude to the ELA team and complemented the efficient communication and coordination between the provinces and the central Ministry in Kabul.
The joint team also met with newly recruited literacy teachers and had field visit to male and female literacy classes. Learners expressed their enthusiasm for the opportunity to gain literacy skills, with one male learner commenting that now he was now able to write records and bills of sale as a result of ELA’s classes.
At the end of the mission, Mrs. Josefsson, Head of the Sida delegation thanked the Governor for the hospitality and the cooperation provided to Sweden’s projects by the people of Bamiyan.