Community engagement results in identifying resources and quality construction of a school in Parwan

   Waliullah Rahmani, Integrity Watch staff, Parwan

Abdullah Amiri and Hazrat Bibi Hafasa schools which were separated into two schools in 2009 are still in one building where one of them is for boys and the other is for girls. Utilizing one building resulted in a number of problems, such as, difficulties of coordination among two school principals, not allowing male students to use the toilets, negative propaganda about the schools and so on. With the commencement of the Community Based Monitoring of Schools (CBM-S) in Parwan province. The problem was raised with local elders. Eventually, construction of a separate building was agreed upon by the community.

Following the initial meetings, local volunteers and Integrity Watch staff held many joint meetings with community representatives and school authorities to implement the decision taken in the initial meeting and to seek the resources necessary for it. Taking the decision of the community into consideration, a team was selected to find the resources for construction of the building. The team approached the Department for Anti-Narcotics in Parwan province which assisted by providing more than USD 300,000 to construct the new school building.

The main driver behind the construction of this new school building were the community monitoring representatives who played a vital and active role in bringing this initiative to a successful conclusion. In addition, community representatives monitored the construction of this school building which prevented a great deal of potential waste by the implementing constructing company.

During the construction of the school building, one of the problems identified was that the construction company was pouring concrete during cold weather which is contrary to accepted technical construction norms. The volunteer local monitors after identifying this problem, approached the engineers of Provincial education department and outlined this situation. The engineers then visited the area and suggested to stop concreting the stairs of the school and only pour the concrete when the weather was suitable for the concrete to properly settle. As a result of delaying this activity, until it could be carried out appropriately, the construction company lost around USD 4500 but the school was built in a proper way.

Abdullah Amiri School was established in 1981 and there are 2,100 male students studying in this school. Meanwhile Bibi Hafasa School still use the same building and there are 1,874 girls students studying in this school.