Thursday, December 10, 2009

Good News From Afghanistan

Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, "Our relationship with Afghanistan is a long-term commitment," "As security improves our relationship grows ... especially with economic and political development. Speaking of development and commitment; with funding from USAID, one of my biggest clients, Education Development Center (EDC) has been implementing education  programs in Afghanistan. In 2005 I had the opportunity to document those projects.
If I've learned one thing while traveling all over the world and shooting for countless NGO's it's that education can make a country more self sufficient and secure. An educated populous is probably less vulnerable to exploitation by some charismatic, but tyrannical leader or political party. Education is, as the say; power.

In Afghanistan there is a huge need for education. According to EDC, "Many Afghans who grew up during decades of war and repressive rule are now in their twenties, struggling to find their footing in a dramatically altered and rapidly changing country. Deprived of the opportunity for schooling in their early years, many are unable to read. In rural areas, about 70 percent of heads of households cannot read or write." Women are also at a great disadvantage when it comes to learning. Women in Afghanistan are more often than not denied any formal education at all. EDC has been working to change that.

EDC's Literacy and Community Empowerment Program (LCEP) is a groundbreaking community development project that connects rural villages throughout Afghanistan with an integrated package of literacy, governance and economic empowerment opportunities. LCEP is the first step in a larger, more ambitious long-term initiative to create sustainable literacy and community development opportunities for Afghanistan's rural population. Click here to see a slide show and learn more about what EDC is accomplishing.

We hear a lot of bad news from Afghanistan, so I thought I would point out something positive. And, oh, by the way;  if you were wondering about the photo of the bridge (below) in my previous post...that's another EDC project. I guess you could say that EDC is building bridges, both literally and figuratively.


Anonymous said...

Karl I love your work and photos... however you need to pay attention to the politics. USAID is a CIA organization helping dictators all over the world. The Afghan people are rejecting a puppet drug regime (Karzai's brother!) collaborating with the US to murder little kids, bomb weddings and kill countless civilians etc. All to control the oil pipeline that will pass from their land. Yes, the people are in great need of education, healthcare, stability, freedom, and democracy, a REAL democracy. However NOT from their illegal occupiers.


Karl Grobl said...

First of all, thanks for the compliment on my work and photos, that was really nice...the part about me needing to pay attention to politics was a bit of an assumption though. I do pay attention to politics, but prefer to see for myself by visiting a place and talking directly to people, just like myself, out in the world trying to make a life and a living. I'm not sure if the author of the comment has been to Afghanistan but I would be curious to know. So, anyway, for a while I thought about not posting the comment, but hey, it's a free country, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I imagine that a lot of Afghans and many people in similar countries probably wish they lived in a place where they could say whatever they wanted to without fear of reprisal too. The good news is that two sides of a story are being explored here. Perhaps the comment will spur discussion and/or exploration. Actually, if after reading the comment, anyone takes the time to try and find out if USAID really is a CIA organization, will certainly gather new information, insights and opinions on the matter. The more informed we all are, the better the chances we have of making the world a nicer place. The bottom line is, don't necessarily believe my version of Afghanistan, or the anonymous author's; try and form your own opinion by gathering the best information that you can.
Happy Holidays, Karl

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