UNDP improving community resilience through school construction in KP & FATA
Located in Bannu Distrit, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Ghareeb Abad Government Primary School (GPS) was abode to around 300 pupils in the past. More recently, however, conflict and military operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) forced it to serve as shelter to 25 temporarily dislocated families.
Constructed to serve as an educational institution, providing shelter to over 150 temporarily dislocated persons (TDPs) in four classrooms took its toll on the structure of the building as the building was severely due to overcrowding. Once the situation improved in FATA and the families returned to their homes, the school itself could hardly function as an educational institution due to its damaged infrastructure.
The years which followed the return of peace to FATA, the institute saw a decrease in the attendance rate for both students and teachers. “Dozens of students dropped out of school in the last year due to rough conditions,” explained Mr. Irfan Khan, head teacher, Ghareeb Abad Government Primary School (GPS). "We did try to report the problem, but at the time no practical action could be taken."
Rehabilitated school to renew commitment to education
Rehabilitation of Ghareeb Abad Government Primary School (GPS) was initiated in early 2017 with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funding provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The early stage of rehabilitation included renovation of toilets and water supply system for the school which later moved on to construction of two additional classrooms. Plans for the next phase include construction of a boundary wall, and plastering, whitewashing and painting the entire building.
In the next phase, furniture has been provided with plans of providing the necessary learning materials which will assist in providing better quality education. “Staff of the school and community members are satisfied and monitor the quality of material and work on daily basis. We are optimistic that the rehabilitation of the school will result in a renewed commitment to education in the area,” said Mr. Shahid Ayub, teacher, GPS. The school became fully functional in February, 2017, after the completion of rehabilitation work, and now provides an enabling environment to it’s students.
Larger project to rehabilitate over 300 schools benefitting some 45,000 pupils
The rehabilitation of Ghareeb Abad school in Bannu district is part of a larger, two-year project to improve access to quality basic education services for about 45,000 children in four FATA Agencies and three Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Frontier Regions. So far, 44 schools have been rehabilitated with an additional 187 which are still under renovation and 69, which are yet to be identified. In total, the project aims to rehabilitate 300 primary schools.
“The community is grateful to UNDP for the assistance and rehabilitation of the school of our children. People of the area have a positive attitude towards education and believe that rehabilitation of this education facility will benefit future generations,” said Mr. Shahnawaz, community member, Gahreeb Abad.
Displacement putting strain on host communities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
As a result of military operations against non-state actors in FATA, tens of thousands of families have been temporarily displaced, notably to settled districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. According to UNOCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), approximately 5.3 million people in FATA have been displaced since 2008, with some families having been displaced multiple times.
Host communities such as Bannu, already struggling to provide services to its residents, were put under further strain by the large scale influx of displaced families. Without alternative places to live, schools have become one of the most common shelters for displaced families during their displacement.
Highlights of the Project:
UNDP, FATA and KP Secretariats with support from USAID aims to strengthen community resilience in TDP hosting and return areas of FATA and KP by improving access to quality basic education services for approximately 42,000 children through rehabilitation of 300 primary schools over a period of 24 months (Feb, 2016 to Feb, 2018).
Key achievements of the project:
- Rehabilitation of 44 schools completed, 187 schools are under construction in return and host areas of FATA and KP, respectively. While 69 more schools will be identified and assessed for rehabilitation.
- Schools supplies and furniture supplied to 41 schools while supplies for 162 schools have been procured and will be distributed to the schools once the civil work is completed.
- 166 Parent Teacher Committees (PTC)/ Taleemi Islahi Jirga (TIJ) have been formed to prioritize their education related needs, identify appropriate solutions, build capacities and implement various schemes to address education challenges in FATA and KP.
- 57 education officials from FATA have been trained in management and supervision of schools, financial management and school planning.
- A training manual developed for the teachers of FATA. The manual will serve as a guide for training teachers in pedagogy, psychosocial support, class room management and interactive learning.