WFP assisting Afghans in education sector
ISLAMABAD (NNI): World Food Programme has initiated a project at various Afghan provinces to assist Afghanistan in education sector.
In an interview with VOA, a WFP official Khalid Mansoor who has just returned from Badakhshan province in northern Afghanistan said that WFP has decided to launch a project in five areas of Badakhshan province and is also assisting 19000 students including 8000 girls.
He said that the WFP project of providing food in lieu of job and teaching is not quite successful in other parts of the country as is in Badakhshan. He said that the project is aimed at convincing and encouraging parents to send their children both girls and boys to schools. He said that under the programme, every female teacher is provided 50 kilograms of flour and every students 12 kg flour in Badakhshan. He said that most of the families do not send their children to schools because they want them to do jobs to manage livelihood. Khalid Mansoor hoped that people from rest of the country would also benefit from the WFP project.
The WFP official said although drought has not cast great impacts in Badakhshan but poverty is high and the economic condition of the people is not good. WFP is trying to provide one hundred twenty thousand tones of wheat to the Afghans till the next year crop’s in addition to its routine programme. He added that the aid would be supplied to the most deserving Afghans.
Asked how they can identify the deserving people, Khalid Mansoor said that they have visited 17 Afghan provinces and tried to visit each and every area of the country to ascertain the effects of drought. He said that WFP has its offices in Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Faizabad and it has been working in Afghanistan for years. The WFP, he added, has been in touch with local and international NGOs operating in Afghanistan.
Mansoor said that drought has cast adverse effects on central mountainous areas, north-western, western and southern part of Afghanistan. He said that drought has hit hard Herat, Ghor, Bamyan, Farah, Nimroz, Kandahar, Zabul, Helmand, Paktia, Faryab, Juazjan, Bulkh, Samangon and few other provinces. Drought has cast its effects on Kabul as well because food commodities arrive there from other parts of the country.
The WFP official said Badakhshan is also facing food shortage adding Badakhshan is among the provinces being assisted by the WFP because of drought. He said that although drought has not affected Badakhshan much as compared to other parts of the country yet its effects would be known in the winter because the current year’s crop has dried and withered due to lack of rains. He said that grains and foods shipment to Badakhshan provinces is difficult due to security reasons, dilapidated roads and transportation problems.
He said that WFP would supply nine thousand tones of food to Badakhshan so that these could be distributed among one hundred thousand deserving people before the advent of the winter because roads are closed in winter season.
Commenting on security situation of the area, Khalid Mansoor said that situation in a couple of villages he visited near Faizabad was good although there had been sporadic fighting between the commanders. Khalid Mansoor said that what impressed him much was that there were not great restrictions on women in Badakhshan. He said that it is good that women have right to education and jobs in Badakhshan because the situation is not the same in other parts of the country.
He said that restrictions were there but women were allowed to do jobs. Besides girls were getting education. He added, one of his objectives to visit Badakhshan was to closely monitor the WFP programme for food in lieu of job and teaching.
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