By Ruth Yohannes (Sahar Intern)
Capacity building and development is a process by which organizations such as Sahar help communities improve their skills and knowledge needed to sustain themselves. In education, this task consists of training teachers, strengthening schools’ management system and beyond.
An important aspect of capacity building is to recognize and empower leaders within the community. In fact, relying on leaders creates a ripple effect, and each of Sahar’s initiatives impacts the community in a different ways. For instance, Sahar’s early marriage prevention program encourages students to start conversations with their peers and family on child marriage. Equipped with critical thinking tools, they are able create their own spheres of influence where more and more individuals become aware of the harmful effects of early marriage.
The same lens can be applied to the creation and strengthening of school shuras (managment). While the government might have limited outreach and influence in some regions outside of the cities, community-led management can close the gap. As trusted leaders in their communities, shura members are better placed to convince parents to send their girls to school. Similarly, increasing the number of female teachers has been proven to raise the female student enrolment rates, as they appear as role models to students and parents alike.
Empowering young leaders is one of the pillars of Sahar’s work. In the case of Afghanistan, policy change is already achieved; girls are legally guaranteed the right to education. However, rural regions often lag behind in reforms. This is where capacity development comes in. It ensures that the change the government is igniting eventually becomes a widely accepted norm. With the support of Sahar and their school shuras, young girls have the capacity to change their communities for the better.