A girl’s debate competition has been held in ten provinces in Afghanistan with 1,000 students taking part. The Girls Education Challenge (GEC) is an initiative funded by the UK Department for International Development to provide girls in 18 countries with access to education, materials, safe spaces to learn and a ‘voice’ in their communities. Projects target girls that are marginalised, disabled or from migrant communities and concentrate on conflict-affected environments.
Girls that have been successful in inter-school, district level and province level competitions finally end up at this country level debate competition. The competition helps students to improve their communication and leadership skills through critical thinking and builds confidence. Ms Katrina Aitken Laird, the GEC Country Coordinator said ‘today you are competing here, but tomorrow you have to work together, the future of this country will not be built by any one of you alone, it will be built by you all together.’
One of the biggest problems in Afghanistan still remains a lack of access to quality education, especially for young girls. Often, schools are not located in proper buildings, there is a lack of textbooks and reading materials and teachers need more support and training. BRAC are working to improve access to education for girls through 1,500 community based schools as well as training teachers and peer mentors.