Broken Promises, Displaced Afghan Girls

Originally published
View original


Over 2016, more than 600,000 people were newly displaced in Afghanistan; half of whom were boys and girls. More than 50 per cent of these displaced children and youth are estimated to be out-of-school. Education must now be acknowledged as a humanitarian priority in Afghanistan that warrants a coordinated and well-resourced response.

Education in Emergencies

Every girl and boy has a right to education, even in emergencies. In 2016, intensifying conflict in Afghanistan led more than 620,000 people to flee their homes, which was compounded by a largescale, spontaneous return of more than 600,000 Afghan refugees from Pakistan. Over half of all internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees and returnees are children or youths, and a large number of them are out-of-school. Research1 indicates they are not attending school for three main reasons: lack of capacity of schools to absorb additional students (lack of appropriate learning spaces and materials), lack of required documentation (including birth certificates, and previous school records) to enrol in schools, and inability of families to afford school-related costs, and the domestic labour pressures this generates.

Education is not just a human right; in emergencies it provides life-saving and life-sustaining physical, psychosocial and cognitive protection for displaced children. Education mitigates the psychosocial impact of forced displacement by offering a sense of normalcy, stability and structure as children face uncertainty. It also protects them from exploitation and harm, providing essential knowledge and skills to survive. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Afghanistan has provided education in emergencies (EiE) in some of the most conflict-affected provinces of the country since 2006. During 2016, NRC supported about 80,000 internally displaced persons, refugee and returnee boys and girls in Afghanistan with primary education in the conflict-affected provinces of Faryab, Kandahar, Khost,
Kunar and Nangarhar, Kunduz, and Sar-e Pul Provinces. But this is a drop in an ocean of need, as funding is limited.