Citizens’ Charter Unites People for the Better Future

Rabia Balkhi Gozar Assembly (GA) was established in mid-March 2019. It consists of 5 Community Development Councils (CDCs) formed by Citizens’ Charter in the 8th District of Mazar Sharif City. The Gozar Assembly (GA) is made of almost 1,385 household’s covers 9,695 people. The residents were living together but there were no mechanism of cooperation and collaboration, they were unfamiliar with the impact of collective work. According to Mr. Mohammad Jaleel Shairzad, 37-year-old and the chairperson of the Gozar Assembly (GA), “Before Citizens’ Charter covered our community, the collective work has lost its true meaning for us and we did not value it due to several reasons”.

Mr. Shirzad adds, “Since Citizens’ Charter Program covered our Gozar, they conducted several workshops where we practiced Participatory Learning Actions (PLAs) tools, it helps us to be united in using our resources and to plan our future. We could have remarkable achievements and had positive impact both individually and socially”.

Large number of internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) is living at the 8th District of Mazar Sharif with less access to the primary services. They are also being joined with Gozar Assembly (GA) & the people nearby provided support to them. As Mr. Shaifq Ahmad, 28 years old & member of Gozar Assembly (GA) says, “Even though our living condition is not so good financially but we launched a door to door visit and collected clothes and other accessories from neighbours and distributed among IDPs, beside the chairperson of the Gozar Assembly (GA) drafted a letter ask the Directorate of Refuges in Mazar Sharif for supporting IDPs living in our neighbourhood”.

Meanwhile following the efforts of the people to promote and expand the culture of reading books to improve literacy, the youth member of the Gozar Assembly (GA) collected books from the Gozar Communities and created the first primary library name Fasle Naw (New Chapter) initiated by the people. About 12 to 15 students of the Gozar on daily bases come to the library for studying books. A piece of land has been provided by the resident of the people to build the library room. In order to improve literacy, the women of the community created home-based literacy classes where they teach children, girls and women.

To reduce poverty and have access to income generating resources through micro businesses, the women of the Gozar have taken the initiative and created a community fund savings mechanism, which can lend even up to 10,000 Afs to the poor women. Another major initiative the residents of Rabia Balkhi Gozar have cleared and cleaned the area which was turn into a big garbage collection point. The chairperson of the Gozar adds, “Previously this area was for garbage collection. Children, pedestrians and residents had been fed off with the stink of the garbage an it caused different diseases”. During a meeting and consultation with council members, we have decided to clean the area and convert the garbage collection point into a green recreation spot and collectively planted trees and different plants.

It is also worth mentioning that the council has gained good experience in resolving conflicts and problems among its members. According to the council chairperson “Once there was a verbal conflict between two neighbours that was feared to become violent. The Gozar Assembly (GA) members mediated and resolved it peacefully”.

Rabia Balkhi Gozar Assembly (GA) as an example of the initial local governance institution shaped the atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration among its resident and the story boldly highlights the people role in making the their better future.