Muyassar's nine-month fellowship with Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. (AKF USA) has taught him a lot about international development, both its institutions and its individuals. Since his previous blog, in which he shared the impressive impact of savings groups in Tajikistan, he has learned a lot through his experience in the Washington, DC office and the perspective of a donor-liaison office. Read on to for his reflections on his time here in DC as his fellowship comes to a close and he prepares to return home.
FACES OF CHANGE
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Bintou Toulema lives with her family in a small village in Mali where her 15-year-old son attends school. Bintou's sister and niece also depend on her. Here at the Sahara Desert’s southern edge, nearly 9 out of 10 people live below the poverty line. Unpredictable rainfall, water shortages and limited government support lead to poor harvests.
Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) is a project of the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. (AKF USA) and Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) funded by the United Sates Agency for International Development, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA). It is currently taking place in the Badakhshan and Baghlan provinces in northern Afghanistan. The project enables local communities and authorities to prepare for, respond to and recover from shocks that are caused by natural disasters.
Swafiya Said knew that the system of education in the Muslim community of Mombasa was not good enough. The traditional preschools emphasized rote learning and provided few practical and enjoyable learning opportunities to children. As a teacher, Swafiya knew the there could be a better way, so she developed a new teaching model, which integrated child-centered methods in pre-school subjects with a solid grounding in cultural education.
Shakeeba, an eight-year old second grader, lives in Shina Masjeed village in Baghlan, Afghanistan. Until community-based education classes started in 2007, none of the children in her village had schooling. The closest government school was four hours away from their village. While some boys went to the village mosque to study religious subjects, there were no classes in basic subjects like reading and math.
Zuhura Khamis, a 16-year old student of Micheweni Secondary School in Pemba, has defied the odds by being the first girl to win a district-level Science and Math competition. She was also the only girl representing the island at the national level competition.
Aden Noor Adow is 11 years old and comes from a pastoralist (nomadic) community in Abakorey in Wajir South Province in Kenya. Boys of his age typically help look after livestock and never go to secular school. But a mobile school has provided Adow with an education. Today Adow can name most of the objects within his environment, write his name and the alphabet, and do basic addition and subtraction.
“I could not see. Not even objects that were very close to me,” recalls Khadija. At the age of five-years-old, Khadija Kali Mati was rendered blind. Khadija lived with her grandmother in Zanzibar, helping her fetch firewood and work in the kitchen. Khadija’s sudden visual impairment affected everyone.
Ms. Chidzidzingo is a farmer in a drought-prone village along the coast of Kenya. Toiling the parched land is tiring and unprofitable, creating a scarcity of food and resources.