Primary school girls and boys walk to a UNICEF-supported community centre in Shahristan District in central Afghanistan.
18 September 2023Culture and Education
The international community must ensure that every girl in Afghanistan has an opportunity to learn, the head of the UN fund for education in emergencies said on Monday – the second anniversary of the Taliban’s edict banning secondary education for girls.
“Denying education to girls is a violation of universal human rights,” said Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW).
“The de facto authorities can do the right thing for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan by ensuring that every girl in Afghanistan can access quality education and contribute to rebuilding their war-torn country,” she added.
2.5 million girls affected
Ms. Sherif reported that 80 per cent of school-age Afghan girls are currently not in the classroom.
“That’s 2.5 million girls denied their right to the safety, protection, opportunity of education – their inherent human right,” she said.
Education Cannot Wait (ECW) has expressed solidarity with all girls in Afghanistan who are courageously speaking up for the right to education.
The fund recently launched a campaign, #AfghanGirlsVoices which will highlight the issue throughout the year.
“Together, we must ensure that, through education, every girl in Afghanistan can emerge from the shadows so they can contribute to a brighter future which every Afghan so deserves,” said Ms. Sherif.
Learning under pressure
ECW runs a multi-year resilience programme in Afghanistan that aims to support more than 250,000 children and young people across some of the most remote and underserved areas of the country.
It has appealed for urgent additional funding to fill a $30 million shortfall to fully implement the programme, and the $670 million required to fully finance a new strategic plan to reach 20 million crisis-affected children worldwide over the next three years.