No matter what age you are, you always have a way to do big things. This is what students in Balkh do when their schools need a helping hand. In the form of groups known as “Integrity Clubs”, students in Mazar-e-Sharif provided clean drinking water and a gate for their school in addition to purring in place a complaint mechanism for effectively addressing issues if something goes wrong.
In a short period of time after its establishment, Integrity Clubs in Kamarband and Kakot schools of Balkh introduced a culture of self-reliance by involving students and teachers alike into the management of school affairs.
One such example is the donation of a water tank to the Kamarband Middle School by a teacher after persuasion from the student body. Another initiative taken by the students of the same school was replacing the old gate with a new one. The money came from donations made by students themselves.
Furthermore, to create a healthy and clean environment for studies, the club provided dustbins for classrooms and toilets. They also cleaned their schoolyard. Another important initiative from the students was establishing a mechanism for a complaint-handling system, starting with installing a complaints box and regular follow-ups on the basis of objections received.
Students at both schools passionately contribute to their schools’ development and quality enhancement. Besides improving the physical structure of the schools, the clubs focus on promoting the culture of integrity and a sense of ownership among students.
Integrity Watch facilitates the creation of integrity clubs in schools. Currently, the clubs are active in schools of seven provinces, including Herat, Kapisa, Parwan, Nangarhar, Bamiyan, and Balkh.
The clubs are then handed over to school management after Integrity Watch moves to new ones. Integrity Watch’s Community-Based Monitoring programme in Balkh has been underway since 2016. Of more than 20 volunteers monitoring 20 schools, six are located in Dehdadi and Nahr-e-Shahi districts each and the rest in Mazar-e-Sharif, the provincial capital.