US embassy cable - 02ROME19

WFP PLANS TO ASSIST THE AFGHAN PRIMARY SCHOOL AND NON-FORMAL EDUCATION SECTOR - THE NEXT EMERGENCY OPERATION (EMOP) APPEAL APRIL-DECEMBER 2002

Identifier: 02ROME19
Wikileaks: View 02ROME19 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 2002-01-02 15:15:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: EAID EAGR AORC PREF EU WFP UN AFGHANISTAN
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ROME 000019 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: EAID, EAGR, AORC, PREF, EU, WFP, UN, AFGHANISTAN 
SUBJECT:  WFP PLANS TO ASSIST THE AFGHAN PRIMARY SCHOOL AND 
NON-FORMAL EDUCATION SECTOR - THE NEXT EMERGENCY OPERATION 
(EMOP) APPEAL APRIL-DECEMBER 2002 
 
REF: (A) ROME 6582 
 
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SUMMARY 
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1. AS A MAJOR COMPONENT OF ITS NEXT EMERGENCY (EMOP) 
OPERATION APPEAL (FROM APRIL THROUGH DECEMBER 2002), WFP IS 
PLANNING FOOD ASSISTANCE FOR 270,000 PRIMARY SCHOOL 
STUDENTS, FOOD AID FOR TRAINING 50,000 TEACHERS, ASSISTANCE 
TO 75,000 ENROLLED IN NON-FORMAL EDUCATION ACTIVITIES, AND 
FOOD-FOR-WORK FOR 80,000 ENGAGED IN EDUCATION-RELATED ASSET 
CREATION IN AFGHANISTAN. IN THE MEDIUM-LONG TERM, FOOD FOR 
EDUCATION IS INCREASINGLY ENVISIONED AS WFP'S "NICHE" IN 
ASSISTING AFGHANISTAN'S DEVELOPMENT. END SUMMARY. 
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BACKGROUND 
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2. USMISSION HUMANITARIAN ATTACHE AND SENIOR EMERGENCY 
COORDINATOR SPOKE ON DECEMBER 28 WITH ARLENE MITCHELL, WFP'S 
COORDINATOR FOR THE GLOBAL FOOD FOR EDUCATION INITIATIVE. 
SHE RELATED DETAILS OF HER MID-DECEMBER TRIP TO PAKISTAN TO 
REVIEW CURRENT AND POTENTIAL WFP INVOLVEMENT IN THE AFGHAN 
EDUCATION SECTOR. 
 
3. MITCHELL REFERRED REPEATEDLY TO A COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATION 
SECTOR ASSESSMENT "EFA 2000 AFGHANISTAN" CONDUCTED BY 
UNESCO, IN COOPERATION WITH UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, SAVE THE 
CHILDREN (USA) AND THE SWEDISH COMMITTEE FOR AFGHANISTAN, 
WHICH PROVIDES THE FOLLOWING "DIRE" END OF DECADE EDUCATION 
SCENARIO FOR AFGHNISTAN: 
 
A. THE NUMBER OF SCHOOLS HAS HALVED IN THE PAST TWENTY 
YEARS. IN 1990, ALL PROVINCES HAD SCHOOLS; IN 1995, NINE OF 
AFGHANISTAN'S TWENTY-NINE PROVINCES HAD NONE. EVEN THOUGH 
PRIMARY EDUCATION WAS OFFICIALLY MADE COMPULSORY IN 1964, 
"SERIOUS IMPLEMENTATION HAS NOT OCCURRED." 
 
B. GIRL'S EDUCATION HAS BEEN SEVERELY COMPROMISED. IN 1978, 
AT THE TIME OF THE SOVIET INVASION, THE GROSS ENROLLMENT 
RATE (GER) WAS CALCULATED AT 8 PERCENT FOR GIRLS AND 37 
PERCENT FOR BOYS. IN 2000, THE GER STOOD AT 3 PERCENT FOR 
GIRLS AND 39 PERCENT FOR BOYS. AT PRESENT, GIRL'S SCHOOLS 
REPRESENT ONLY 14.9 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL NUMBER OF SCHOOLS 
IN THE COUNTRY. 
 
C. ESTIMATED DATA AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL (UNICEF, 1998) LIST 
APPROXIMATELY 4.4 MILLION CHILDREN OF PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE. OF 
THIS, SOME 3.4 MILLION, 2 MILLION GIRLS AND 1.4 MILLION 
BOYS, DO NOT ATTEND SCHOOL. 
 
D. IN 1978, THE AFGHAN TEACHING CADRE WAS ESTIMATED AT 
30,502. IN 2000, THE NUMBER DROPPED TO 27,230, OF WHOM 10 
PERCENT ARE WOMEN. THE PERCENTAGE OF PRIMARY TEACHERS WITH 
REQUIRED ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS IS NOW ESTIMATED AT 18.3 
PERCENT. PRE-SERVICE TEACHER TRAINING HAS BEEN SEVERELY 
REDUCED OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS, AND ADJUDGED ALMOST "NON- 
EXISTENT" IN 2000. 
 
F.  THE PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENT "SURVIVAL RATE" TO GRADE FIVE 
IS 48.8 PERCENT. 

G. 69.5 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE ARE ILLITERATE, WITH THE 
PERCENTAGE OF ILLITERACY FOR WOMEN ESTIMATED AT 85 PERCENT. 
THIS CONTRASTS WITH SOUTH ASIA AS A WHOLE WHERE TWO-THIRDS 
OF THE WOMEN ARE ILLITERATE, COMPARED WITH ABOUT ONE-THIRD 
OF THE MEN. 
 
H. PRE-SCHOOLS: AFGHANISTAN HAD AN EARLY CHILDHOOD 
DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM AS FAR BACK AS 1980. 195 DAY-CARE 
CENTERS WERE IN EXISTENCE IN 1990. IN 1999, THIS NUMBER HAD 
DROPPED TO ONE. 

 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
WFP'S PLANNED SUPPORT TO THE AFGHAN EDUCATION SECTOR FOR 
2002 AND BEYOND - WFP'S NEXT EMOP APPEAL (APRIL -DECEMBER 
2002) 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
 
4. MITCHELL COMMENTED THAT ALTHOUGH THE CURRENT SITUATION 
CALLS FOR AN IMMEDIATE EFFORT TO GET CHILDREN AND ADULTS 
EDUCATED (ADULTS THROUGH THE NON-FORMAL EDUCATION VENUE), 
THE SITUATION WITH THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT AND OTHER 
PARTNERS COMBINED WITH THE ON-THE-GROUND DIFFICULTIES OF 
WORKING IN AFGHANISTAN - CONSTITUTE FORMIDABLE IMPEDIMENTS 
TO ANY MAJOR EFFORT. WFP THEREFORE PROPOSES TO BUILD ON ITS 
PAST EXPERIENCE (IN SELECTED DISTRICTS OF BADAKSHAN 
PROVINCE) IN A PHASED MANNER NATIONALLY FOR THE PERIOD APRIL 
2002-DECEMBER 2002, AS FOLLOWS: 
 
A. FOOD FOR EDUCATION FOR 270,000 STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND 
SCHOOL SERVICE WORKERS TO ENCOURAGE ENROLMENT, GOOD 
ATTENDANCE, LOWER THE DROP OUT RATE, AND ENHANCE IN-SCHOOL 
PERFORMANCE. WHERE NECESSARY, TAKE HOME RATIONS MAY BE 
PROVIDED AS AN ECONOMIC INCENTIVE FOR FAMILIES TO SEND 
CHILDREN TO SCHOOL. AT THE OUTSET, WFP PLANS TO RESPOND 
FLEXIBLY AT URBAN AND RURAL LOCATIONS AND AT BOTH THE 
SECONDARY AND PRIMARY LEVELS. (WITHIN TWO-THREE YEARS, THE 
EMPHASIS WILL BE INCREASINGLY ON PRIMARY AND RURAL SCHOOLS.) 
 
B. TEACHER TRAINING - WFP WILL PROVIDE FOOD TO SUPPORT THE 
TRAINING AND RETRAINING OF UP TO 50,000 FORMER TEACHERS, 
TEACHER CANDIDATES, AND CURRENT TEACHERS. MITCHELL SPOKE OF 
POSSIBLE UN PROMOTION OF A "TEACHER TRAINING CORPS," DRAWING 
ON A CADRE OF TEACHER VOLUNTEERS FROM THE CENTRAL ASIA 
REGION OR BEYOND. 
 
C. NON-FORMAL EDUCATION - FOOD AID WILL BE PROVIDED TO UP TO 
75,000 YOUTHS AND ADULTS WHO REQUIRE LITERACY AND SKILLS 
TRAINING. 
 
D. FOOD-FOR-WORK/FOOD ASSET CREATION - FOOD AID WILL BE 
PROVIDED FOR UP TO 80,000 BENEFICIARIES/MONTH. WFP WILL WORK 
WITH COMMUNITIES TO BUILD OR REBUILD SCHOOLS AND RELATED 
SANITARY FACILITIES, AND TO ESTABLISH INCOME-GENERATING 
ACTIVITIES RELATED TO EDUCATION. IN PARTICULAR, WFP PLANS TO 
IMPLEMENT COMMUNITY-BASED BREAD BAKERIES TO SUPPLY SCHOOLS 
DAILY WITH FORTIFIED BREAD. THIS WOULD GENERATE JOBS, 
PARTICULARLY FOR WOMEN, BY PROVIDING A READY "MARKET". 
 
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COMMENT 
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5. GIVEN ITS MASSIVE FOOD AID FLOWS IN RESPONSE TO THE 
PRESENT CRISIS, WFP IS NATIONALLY THE MOST OPERATIONAL UN 
AGENCY IN AFGHANISTAN. WFP HAS PREVIOUS (AND FAVORABLE) 
EXPERIENCE IN SCHOOL FEEDING IN BOTH NORTHERN AFGHANISTAN 
AND PAKISTAN AND A HEAVY INVOLVEMENT IN THE U.S.-LED GLOBAL 
FOOD FOR EDUCATION INITIATIVE (REF A).  WFP FEELS THAT ITS 
MEDIUM AND LONG-TERM "NICHE" IN AFGHANISTAN OVER THE NEXT 
ONE-TWO DECADES WILL BE TIGHTLY LINKED TO FOOD FOR 
EDUCATION. CLEARLY THE NEED IS THERE. WHAT IS NOW REQUIRED 
IS THE DELICATE TASK OF: (A) OBTAINING THE AGREEMENT OF THE 
AFGHAN GOVERNMENT THAT WFP'S APPROACH WILL SUPPORT THEIR 
PRIORITIES AND NEEDS; AND (B) "CONCRETIZING" THE COOPERATION 
OF WFP'S IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS. THE RELATIVELY SHORT-TERM 
(I.E., NINE-MONTH) FOCUS OF THE PROPOSED EMOP SHOULD GIVE 
WFP A GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO "FURTER TEST THE EDUCATIONAL 
WATERS." 
 
6. DUSHANBE MINIMIZE CONSIDERED. HEILEMAN 
 


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