Monday, November 19, 2007
Rich Corsino has given us a different picture of what is happening to the people of Afghanistan. Kandahar is close to the center of the most contested area of the country and yet the progress in literacy and especially among women has been encouraging. As he notes, this is not very glitzy but the provision of this service to the country will make the difference between success or failure in the struggle against the Taliban.
"I was recently in Kandahar City, where the news bulletins will tell you the heart of the Afghan insurgency lies."
"I was most struck by the literacy projects I visited, where I spent time with some of the poorest women in Afghanistan"
"The mix of unending conflict, poverty and strict cultural mores governing the role of women in society has meant they have led extraordinarily difficult lives."
"Through the hard work of local Afghan government officials, who build trust within the community about the content of the curriculum taught in the learning centres, and thanks to the funding to buy food which acts as a powerful incentive, these women are now being allowed out of the home."
"Those I met talked about the confidence they have in being able to read signs in the street ... But most significantly, they said they had more respect in their family and community as they now had some education and were contributing food."
"As military forces from many countries challenge insurgents opposed to the fledgling Afghan government, aid agencies from the same countries are contributing to security in a far quieter, but just as critical way. They are helping alleviate hunger in Afghanistan."
"Few people know there is a hunger problem in Afghanistan."
"Despite the worsening security, which has made our operations far more difficult to deliver, most donor countries have realized the benefits in supporting food assistance. In the short term, we are supporting the chronically poor, as well as those displaced by fighting. But in the long term we are coaxing well over a million kids back to school with daily rations."