The Strength of CCAP Mobilization: IDP Community’s Self Initiative

Ten kilometers west of the heart of Herat city there lies a community formed by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) primarily from Badghis and Kandahar provinces, and from Gulran, Ghorian, Karukh and Kushk-e-Rabat Sangi districts of Herat province. The area is part of Herat city’s 13th district, and is currently home to 230 households with a population of 1,870 people. Most of the families living in the area are poor, relying primarily on unskilled daily labor for their living.

In October 2017, through the urban Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (CCAP), the community was mobilized and supported in electing its own Community Development Council (CDC) comprising of 20 members, 10 men and 10 women. The people named their CDC “Empathy” in the local dialect.

As part of the participatory community development assessments, the community prioritized the transport and education sectors. The wider community voted for the urban area block grants to be utilized for street and drainage construction within the community. However, this left the lack of access to schools for the community children as a priority un-addressed. The nearest school was over 3 kilometers away and it was already filled to its capacity. In 2016, prior to the arrival of the CCAP in the community, some teachers had gotten together and rented space to hold primary school classes for the community. But this was then discontinued given the lack of continued rental payments.

After discussing with the wider community, the CDC decided to take the challenge of primary education for its children as a top priority and self initiative. The CDC members identified a building under construction near the community, and contacted its owner who lived with his family in Iran. The construction work had been completed for the super structure and was left unfinished. The CDC explained to the owner the need for a proper safe space for the children’s education, and asked for the use of his unfinished building. The CDC volunteered a sum of AFA 50,000 to construct doors, windows and floor concreting in the unfinished building, provided it could be used as a school for its children. The landlord agreed to their offer, and also agreed in writing to provide the space free of rent to the community for the next 2 years, for use as a primary school. The CDC then liaisoned with the UNHCR and the local Education Department to provide them teachers for the school, with the teachers paid directly by UNHCR/Education Dept and not by the community.

By March 2018, the community had made the basic repairs to the building, and started the new school, with a total of around 300 students in 11 elementary classes in two time slots every day. Maryam, a CDC member and teacher, stated: “If the CCAP had not supported our area and had not mobilized us to elect  our own CDC and look into our own development priorities, our children would still be without proper education or having to travel far for the same!” The community is especially proud that they were able to establish and run this school without utilizing the CCAP grants and by their own efforts!

CCAP started its activities in Herat in May 2017 with the contracting of the Facilitating Partner (FP) and actual ground work began in July 2017. The CCAP covers six municipal districts in the city. And this success story from Empathy is just one of many in this ancient city. The pictures below are from the new school for the community!