Community Learning Centres in Mazar
ANAFAE with the support of DVV International took a new initiative to re-establish 8 Community Learning Centres (CLCs) between 2012 and 2016 in different districts of Mazar-e-Sharif City, in the Northern Province Balkh.
These CLCs originally were set up by UN-Habitat as District Community Forums (DFCs) in 1995, in order to serve community needs, to provide a safe-place for women to benefit from social and education programs, mainly focussing on literacy education and work opportunities, supported by small loans for illiterate women.
After 2002 the UN HABITAT program ended without proper sustainable future plans. The DCFs were nearly forgotten for years but managed somehow to continue some small activities with very limited resources and limited organization capacities.
Most of the CLCs buildings were in a very bad shape, only few rooms were still functioning, when ANAFAE with the support of DVV International took a new initiative to re-establish these CLCs with a new approach in public private partnership. This partnership was agreed in with the local Shuras, representatives of the Provincial Shura, the Directorate for Economy, the Mayor of Mazar City, the Directorate for Labour and Social Affairs and the Director of the Education. An advisory board was established.
Community Learning Centres – deeply rooted to poverty reduction
The education services of ANAFAE and DVV International in the CLCs aim to widen access and participation in education, as well to provide new chances for personal development and changes through education by relevant community-based offers.
The Community Learning Centers (CLC) of ANAFAE and DVV International are deeply rooted in the fight to reduce poverty. The CLCs promote the development of skills and competences of disadvantaged groups, empowerment, social change and new life opprtunities.
The new CLC concepts took this into consideration. Community Education Programs still address the interests of the traditional families for programs, like tailoring classes for girls. But of course education needs and challenges of the younger generations, especially for girls are changing.
Education services and make a key contribution to lifelong learning
Now, complementary programs support school education. More young people from the communities now want to finalize their secondary education or join universities. Example CLC 9 Just recently in one of the CLCs 44 out of 45 learners joining the preparation course for the university entry test got the highest scores in the city.
The education programs of DVV International and ANAFAE also improve the opportunities of the generations from these communities who are in transition from school to working life and support their employability through IT and English language courses, through technical qualifications, as well as in the business and office spheres.
CLCs provide the local infrastructure and resources for social development through community-based education and make a key contribution to lifelong learning in a very comprehensive manner (informal, non- formal, formal) and strengthen capacity building for social participation.
Local partnership and hub for cooperation
Community Education is a way for people to enhance their lives and communities through learning and collaboration. Community Education, the new CLC concept emphasizes increased involvement of parents, businesses, and community members with the local public schools and lifelong learning. While providing opportunities for local community members, schools, and other organizations to become partners in addressing educational and community concerns.
E.g., the owner of a local mobile repair shop provides practical technical trainings. The cooperation with the parents and families is the strength of the successful education programs. Parents and community elders take an influence on the quality of the education programs.
The numbers of learns is increasing and we expect up to 55.000 learners in all 8 CLCs in Mazar during 2016. This will definitely influence the social transformation of the communities.
An additional element of the new concept is to develop the CLCs as a hub for community services, in particular, basic health, vaccination or food distribution programs and as platform for cooperation between governmental institutional and other NGOs offering a range of services with the community.
Challenges ahead – Young people can contribute to social change
With around ten million adult illiterates, literacy education especially of women is still crucial. Despite the preceding success building up the Afghan education system, access to education is still a problem. Well over 30% of children are not enrolled in school, most of them young girls. School education lacks qualified teachers.
The number of school graduates will increase to about 500,000 in the coming years. Access to higher education and vocational training is still limited.
The future of the country highly depends on the training opportunities and the qualification of the younger generation. More than half the population is under 25 years old their employment rate is high.
Young people could make important contributions to economic growth but they lack new knowledge and skills. With new competences, young people can make important contributions to social change.