Education

Case Study: Nepal

“the villagers are able to take ownership of the work and the schools have become a vibrant part of the local community.”

One project of AFAP’s partner in Nepal, Sailung TriNetra, is to improve the educational opportunities for young children in several remote villages in the Ramchapp district of Eastern Nepal. Built over three years ago with help from the local communities that the four Early Childhood Development Centres and primary schools serve, AFAP has provided support for the foundational education for over three hundred and fifty children. The facilities are open to all, and teach children about structured play, hygiene in addition to basic reading and writing.

Previously, children would have worked in the fields along with their family, due to AFAP and Sailung TriNetra’s program local children are now able to enjoy the benefits of school. AFAP is also working to teach the community about the importance of education and the value in sending their children, especially girls, to school. Two secondary schools in the area have also been expanded through the building of a small library and additional classrooms. The classroom teachers and helpers for these schools come from the surrounding villages, so the schools also provide employment opportunities for local women.

Each school has a committee that is responsible for the day to day running of the schools. In addition, the local communities carry out the ongoing maintenance of the school buildings with financial support from AFAP. In this way, the villagers are able to take ownership of the work and the schools have become a vibrant part of the local community.

Our Work

Lack of education is both a cause and a result of poverty in many countries. For the sixty-seven million children worldwide[1] who are not in primary school, it can result in reduced employability, poor health and increased vulnerability to activities such as human trafficking. AFAP supports a wide range of educational projects in Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia. These include primary and secondary level education, formal and non-formal classes and vocational training programs. Programs run by AFAP and our partners are carefully tailored to each community and targeted to issues which impact the wider community as well as the students.

The education programs AFAP supports aim not only to teach numeracy and literacy skills, but also to increase independence, employability, self-confidence and health for every student in ways that positively impact their community long after they leave our programs. There are many reasons why children might not attend school- often families cannot afford the fees or uniforms or the loss of labour from the family business or farm. Some are too far away for their children to safely travel to school. AFAP is working with local partners to improve children’s access to schooling through the provision of support and learning materials such as books, computers, or even bicycles to encourage children to attend school. Additionally AFAP supports with medical and psychological assistance and life skills training for vulnerable girls, assistance to teachers and school management, and even basic infrastructure in some cases. Children with disabilities often face additional obstacles to attending school because of physical limitations and social stigma. AFAP supports their inclusion in education programs, as in Vietnam and Uganda, where tools and programs that can accommodate disabled students have been incorporated into education programs in order to encourage greater participation.

Girls are also often excluded from formal education, of one hundred seventy-one countries with available data, only fifty-three claim to have the same number of boys and girls in primary and secondary education[2]. Many of these children play a key role in the day to day functioning of households, helping to raise younger siblings, cleaning and cooking, and sometimes earning money for the family. AFAP works to ameliorate this gender imbalance with partners Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre and Lotus Outreach in Cambodia and Room to Read in Laos, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Vietnam and Zambia through programs targeted specifically to girls. Non-formal education programs support children in their communities, allowing for catch up lessons and schooling that can accommodate these scheduling realities, allowing for greater flexibility and providing options where traditional schools and lessons fail.

Almost all of AFAP programs include education components in some form. This year we have provided educational support for families with vocational education programs- ranging from farming to internet usage and including conflict resolution, nutrition programs, legal advocacy for individuals and communities, training and strengthening of emergency relief. As a result of these programs, marginalised groups have access to the same education and choices as everyone else, reducing poverty and improving quality of life.

[1] UNICEF Annual Report 2010 page 18.

[2] UNICEF Annual Report 2010 page 18
Action on Poverty

Action on Poverty