Discuss the Issue you personally faced or observed relating to SDGs

Discuss the Issue you personally faced or observed relating to SDGs (indicate which ones), and what you want to do about it, if you have all the power to resolve (magic wand?).

2000 Words
I want to write down my observation of a task regarding the Women Enhancement and Capacity Building in Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MMRD) of Afghanistan. This task is merely related to Goal # 5 Gender Equality and Goal # 4 Quality of Education in order to cope with Goal # 10 reduce inequality.
Decades of war, internal conflicts, particularly under the Taliban regime, have destroyed the basis of social infrastructure in Afghanistan. Education, being the most vulnerable social sector to insecurity, violence and discontinuity, has been severely affected. The Taliban regime was in contradiction with the female education and employment, therefore, they had banned and marginalized women from any activity (ies) in the society including pursuing education. This barbarian act caused severe damage and dispirited the girls/women’s achieving their personal, academic and professional goals, moreover, they were deprived from their basic rights such is Education and Human Rights, and further, placed them among the most vulnerable group in the society.
Earlier the interim government the enrollment in general schools (Primary, Secondary, and High School) and universities were very low, zero percent for girls, due to lack of security, poverty and shortage of schools / universities and educational services. However, the main obstacle for girls / women’s to pursue their education / higher education are insecurity, poverty, early marriage, distance of school / university, shortage of girl’s school and lack of female teachers, that does not allow them to proceed with their higher stages of education, especially outside Kabul. Limited access to education further inhibits women’s productivity, and continued gender discrimination largely inhibits the ability of women to participate in the socioeconomic and political development of the country.

In 2002, the newly established Government of Afghanistan inherited a disabled and defunct education system, consisting of less than one million students, looked after by 20,000 male teachers only. Schooling was conducted in 3,800 unusable buildings with no standard national curriculum, and almost no textbooks. Hence, the Government had initiated in reopening the schools and universities in most of its provinces. After the downfall of the Taliban, Afghanistan saw the highest school enrollment rates in its history, with more than 4.3 million children enrolled in primary and secondary school in 2003, of which one-third were girls, with such a high level of girls’ enrollment in particular representing an impressive achievement. Likewise, the number of schools has increased from 3,800 in 2002 to 7,134 currently. At Kabul University, more than 18,000 students took the admissions examination at the beginning of 2002. Thus demand for education were high, but there are also serious constraints. NOTEREF _Ref513330001 h * MERGEFORMAT 2
During the Taliban regime women’s and girls were neglected from education, economic and social development activities which was caused them to be in the worst place of economic and social development position. Hence, the discrimination of women and girls for getting education, health care facilities and employment were at its peak. The ban on women’s employment also affected boys’ education, as the majority of teachers had been women. Poor health conditions and malnutrition made pregnancy and childbirth exceptionally dangerous for Afghan women. In addition, by 1996, when the Taliban reached Kabul, about 50 percent of the country’s civil servants were women.

After the collapse of the Taliban regime and the establishment of new government in Afghanistan, women have returned to their earlier professions such as teachers, doctors, engineers, lawyers, judges, civil servants, police and army officers. Radio and Television broadcasts in Kabul have once again featured women commentators. The Government provided the opportunity as well encouraged girls and women to get education; contribute in political, economical and social activities; health care programs and services; and small and medium business opportunities. Furthermore, women were hired in the highest and preeminent governmental and nongovernmental positions such as Ministers, Members of Parliament, Governors, and Ambassadors. According to the Afghanistan MDG report in 2005, increases to girls’ enrolment and participation in the education system will aid in the alleviation of gender discrimination.

Afghan citizens have witnessed substantial improvement in their lives and commitment from the state after the establishment of new government in 2002, in the Afghan Constitutions, Article Six, talks about the obligation of state to create a prosperous and progressive society based on social justice, preservation of human dignity, protection of human rights, realization of democracy, attainment of national unity as well as equality between all peoples and tribes and balance development of all areas of the country. Further, in Article Forty-Four, the implementation of effective program to create and foster balanced education for women, has been discussed. Moreover, the Article Forty-Eight, specifies that work is the right of every Afghan, and the government should support the women to be appointed in key positions in the government.
Women comprise 48.9% of the 27m population of Afghanistan according to Central Statistics Organization 2013 Annual Report. Therefore, the Afghan government has made significant commitments to the international community and its regional and global partners to strengthen gender equality, improve the quality of education and provide decent work opportunities and economic growth for its citizens in particular the women and girls.
Gender Equality is one of the most important priorities of the Afghan government and has been sought to tackle gender inequality in all areas of education, work and socio-economic development of the government, so that all citizens, especially women, can work in a safe and comfortable environment. Hence, the third goal of the Millennium Development Goals is to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

MDG 3: Gender equity: promote gender equality and empower women by consolidating a coherent and pragmatic Gender policy and framework that forms a cross cutting element of it institutional development.
Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development is among the key ministries in the government of Afghanistan, functions to reduce poverty, promote social and economic development in villages, and provide support for the rural community of Afghanistan. MRRD’s directorates are operational in 34 provinces of Afghanistan where their staff are working with partner organizations in significant areas. MRRD’s vision defines a prosperous, open, independent and free from poverty and narcotics Afghanistan established upon national sovereignty through safeguarding democratic values and a healthy and vigorous society on the basis of freedom, self-confidence, self-reliance, balanced growth, social justice, advancement and free from discrimination. The mission of this ministry is to ensure social, economic and political prosperity of rural people particularly the vulnerable and the poor; to reduce poverty in villages through providing social service access to people; to enhance the level of sustainable livelihood which doesn’t depend upon cultivation of opium; to develop and reinforce local governance; and to finance and implement a suitable and effective social policy in Afghanistan .

Ministry of Rule Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) has established the Afghanistan Institute of Rural Development (AIRD) as the national apex agency to act as think tank and capacity building arm of the Ministry. Thus, AIRD re-established in 2006 and has started functioning since 2008.

AIRD is a key organization in MRRD which was established in June 2006 to be a center for excellence research, policy formulation and capacity development in rural development. AIRD is structured on three pillars of (i) policy development and research (ii) education and training and (iii) facilitating international scholarships and fellowships, which jointly provide the basis of a comprehensive and integrated approach to rural development.
AIRD is mandated to support the implementation of Comprehensive Rural Development toward socio economic development and poverty alleviation in Afghanistan through providing training/education services, research and policy inputs and dissemination of result and finding to stakeholders, managing and facilitating international scholarships and fellowships. Moreover, AIRD is mandated to disseminate more accurate information and reliable knowledge regarding the current status of rural life in Afghanistan & better understanding of rural development process, its impacts, trends through continue research and assessment to inform policy makers and concerned stakeholders. On the other hand, currently AIRD implement many research and capacity building projects and activities on national and sub national level even on the district level.

The Strategic areas of AIRD are
Research and Surveys;
Technical and Professional Trainings;
Rural Technology Park (RTP);
Scholarships and Fellowships Management;
Information Disseminations.

In order to create a professional rural development staff, the scholarships and fellowships management unit of AIRD provides and delivers various international scholarships and fellowships, in diverse relevant fields, to enhance the professional knowledge of MRRD’s male and female personnel to eliminate the inequality gap. Moreover, improving the educational level of employees through providing scholarships and fellowships has direct impact on efficient delivery of sustainable and quality services to the rural development sector.
Based on the action plan and the schedule fixed with our international partners annually we receive a number of scholarships and fellowships from JICA, KOICA, Indian Government, NIRD, CIRDAP, and KNB Indonesia, in order to select the suitable and appropriate candidates we need to take an exam from the relevant fields in English language and the final top ten score will be later interviewed and introduced to the scholarship provided organization.
The main challenge we face every time we receives a scholarship or fellowship is lack of female candidates to participate in the process, and at the same time, we have also been criticized by scholarship providers several times about this issue, and we were fed-up to find a way out. Unsuitably, from the year 2010 until 2017 MRRD have introduced 65 of its employees to different Master’s degree Program to JICA, KOICA and India, however, regrettably, only five of them were female. So It was a big challenge for our organization (AIRD) and as well we have to provide a suitable justification for the scholarships providers that why we only introduce our male employees all the time.
Women in our country faces many obstacles and problems in all aspects of their lives, in particular education and employment section. Cultural and Social barriers: Cultural barriers are one of the main obstacles to the development of education and employment for women in the country. Particularly the social and cultural characteristics of society, tribal customs and traditions, religious beliefs, incorrect interpretations of religious texts, time-consuming household chores and childrearing and … have been a major obstacle to the growth of their education and employment. Insecurity, is one of the serious obstacles to girls’ education and employment. Economic Problems, is the other great factor, it should not be overlooked that a large number of people live in bad economic conditions and are below the poverty line.

Although Afghanistan has a high percentage of seats allocated to women in parliament 69 out of 241 seats, women have little impact in decision-making processes at the sub-national and local levels.
The women of Afghanistan are grappling with the worst of challenges in the world and their current situation presents a serious challenge to human development. The situation of women in Afghanistan, however, is to be equally viewed from the circumstances that the country experienced during the past over three decades of conflict. While acknowledging this, progress across various indicators under this goal is encouraging, at the same time progress is lagging in some areas which raise concern.

Gender inequality • In every development field women are disadvantaged compared to men. This situation is generally less pronounced in urban areas. • Women participate less in economic activities, for fewer hours and predominantly in vulnerable employment. • Literacy of women is less than one-third of that of men, and large gaps exist in school enrolment rates. • In recent years the literacy and school enrolment gaps are narrowing.

Support for women’s basic rights should not be limited to written guarantees, but should be used as legal basis for more balanced development of women alongside men. On the eve of the establishment of a new government and a second international forum on Afghanistan tomorrow, January 28 in London, the government should focus on long-term programs to improve women’s education, and to create a monitoring mechanism that enforces gender equality in the education sector.

Education is an indispensable element for the progress of a country in order to achieve peace and stability. Afghanistan is at the crossroad of development and in dire need of a proficient and balanced education. Real progress and development does not necessarily mean improvement and betterment of infrastructure alone. A sound and long lasting progress could be achieved by a constructive and efficient education system. Through proper education, people can stand on their own feet and achieve a dignified life.

Afghanistan is now in a state of transition and needs stability. During this transition, it is very vital to save the country from falling back to the period of darkness, illiteracy, and ignorance again. Therefore, awakening the political awareness of Afghans through civic education is fundamental for making good decisions for their national and international responsibilities
For a 2000 word essay I would divide it up as follows:
Introduction: 200 words
Topic 1: 500 words
Topic 2: 500 words
Discussion: 600 words
Conclusion: 200 words.

Education helps to form the very foundations of peace, nation building, the reduction of poverty, and economic growth. … The future of Afghanistan depends on what, and how, we invest today in its education sector. As a long-term investment in Afghanistan’s social and economic development, success in education cannot be measured only by the numbers of children enrolled in school. Afghan children must also be equipped with well-developed skills in literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, critical thinking, team-building, and communications to face the needs of an expanding peacetime economy. Quality education, featuring these characteristics, is thus among the most critical investments in Afghanistan – an investment that must start today and continues in the years to come. Source: World Bank (2005c