Community School Committees Build School Sustainability in Afghanistan
Critical to Afghanistan's long-term development is the ability to maintain quality schools and the continued delivery of quality education to Afghan girls and boys. Unfortunately, too many schools that were established after the initial overthrow of the Taliban in late 2001, lay abandoned or in disrepair, due in part to the lack of on-going funding, but also because those organizations (who established the schools), did not invest properly in building local community support.
HTAC takes pride in the support it receives from local communities where we maintain our model schools, but this support must be earned. Since 2004, HTAC has invested in the development of Community School Committees that allow members of the community to take an active role in managing school-community affairs.
This community-based approach is essential in order for communities to take ownership of their schools and the educational welfare of their children and this partnership has strengthened the HTAC-local community relationship. Committees have been instrument at deal with potential threats of security and theft on school grounds, making repairs to bridges and school access roads as well as school property such as classroom chairs and desks, while providing potable water to schools where deep wells are not always available.
Our committees are typically comprised of local elders, recognized community leaders, other influential citizens, parents of children, as well as teachers and school administrators. HTAC's role has been to 1) help mobilize local committees in neighborhoods where we have model schools; 2) train selected leaders to be Committee facilitators who are responsible for managing meetings; 3) train committees in setting goals and decision-making; and 4) periodically interfacing with committees as they discuss issues, make decisions, and take actions.
Because of the active role our committees play, members of local communities stay connected to their schools and take a personal interest in the education their children receive. By educating and empowering local communities, HTAC is helping to ensure the long-term sustainability of our model schools for many years to come.