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Cablegate: Prt/Badghis: Spain Improves Education

VZCZCXRO5819
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1123/01 0951112
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 051112Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7300
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0373
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3917
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 001123

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CR, SCA/PAB, S/CT, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG CG CJTF-82, AND POLAD
REL NATO/ISAF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID AF
SUBJECT: PRT/BADGHIS: SPAIN IMPROVES EDUCATION

------
SUMMARY
-------
1. (U) The civilian component of the Spanish PRT recently
launched the latest part of its plan to improve the
provincial government's ability to meet the educational needs
of the people of Badghis Province. They plan to erect
temporary tent schools at 160 locations identified by the
Education Ministry, and to construct ten permanent schools
province-wide. The tent schools will also provide a
province-wide symbol of the provincial government's efforts
to address the educational concerns of locals. The program
is funded by the Spanish Development Agency (AECI) and has
strong buy-in from both the provincial and local levels.
This project promises to be the most visible symbol of
development in many parts of the province that lack the
necessary level of security for longer-term development
projects. The program could serve as a best practice for
those looking to quickly improve both the image of local
government and the ability of the Education Ministry to meet
the needs of local residents. END SUMMARY.

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Locals Involved in School Construction
--------------------------------------

2. (U) As spring makes roads passable and construction
possible throughout Badghis Province, the Spanish Development
Agency (AECI) is launching a plan to greatly increase the
capacity of the Education Ministry to meet the needs of
Badghis residents province-wide. Lack of security in over
half the province prohibits long-term development projects,
but these relatively low-tech initiatives can be completed in
a short time period, often by companies based in the
problematic districts themselves. AECI plans to utilize as
many local contractors as possible to mitigate the security
concerns, speed construction, and provide local jobs. The
160 tent schools will be erected on 10 by 4 meter cement
slabs in locations previously selected to receive permanent
buildings when funding and local security conditions make
construction possible. AECI will send locally engaged staff
to the remote districts to monitor construction. The
provincial Education Ministry generated the list of proposed
school locations and committed to providing teachers for each
school and local residents donated the land to accommodate
the school in their area.

--------------------------------------------- --------
Temporary School Will Be Replaced with Permanent Ones
--------------------------------------------- --------
3. (U) In addition to the 160 tent schools, AECI is planning
to build at least ten permanent schools this year to
complement those already constructed by other donors. NGO
World Vision (WV) is also constructing schools in Badghis and
both WV and AECI will coordinate with the Education Ministry
to replace the temporary tent schools with permanent
buildings. AECI director Pablo Yuste opined that the tent
school project was designed to meet the immediate provincial
need for schools and "buy time" to provide permanent schools
as funding and security permit. He stressed that AECI is
committed to replacing all 160 schools with permanent
structures.


--------------------------------------------- -----------
Local Education Ministry: Key Role is Setting Up Schools
--------------------------------------------- -----------

4. (U) The Education Ministry has played a central role in
liaising with local communities and selecting the school
locations. In addition to ensuring that each new school
location fits within the Province's Development Plan and the
Education Ministry's long-term education plans, the Ministry
has worked to ensure that it will have teachers available for
each of the new schools. By constructively engaging the

KABUL 00001123 002 OF 002


Education Ministry in all phases of the tent school project,
AECI has helped develop the Ministry's administrative
capacity and ensured that the provincial government is seen
by locals as the driving force behind the project. The
opening of 160 tent schools throughout the province will
serve as a prime example of the provincial government's
ability to provide basic services.

-------------------------------------------
Schools Help Build Confidence in Government
-------------------------------------------

5. (U) Education, along with healthcare and potable water, is
one of the most pressing needs in Badghis. Local elders from
villages without a school point to the lack of an educational
facility as a symbol of GOA ineffectiveness. By working with
local elders to select school locations, the Education
Ministry is increasing confidence in local government. The
fact that each of the 160 tent schools and 10 permanent
schools are being built on land provided by the residents of
local communities demonstrates both the local buy-in for the
project AND the wide-spread support education-related
projects have.

----------------------------
Security Still A Major Issue
----------------------------

6. (U) Security is a major concern in Badghis. In the past,
night letters against clinics and schools were common and
officials worry that successful attacks could weaken local
support for the GOA. To lessen the impact of possible
violent action, AECI conceived of this "blitz approach":
quickly constructing tent schools in many areas that have
historically been insecure. AECI hopes that local buy-in
will encourage residents to protect their schools, but in the
event of an attack it would only be an attack against one of
many schools, which AECI hopes would lessen the psychological
effect of such an incident. AECI also hopes that the flurry
of construction related to the 160 tent schools will detract
attention from the construction of the ten permanent schools,
lessening the likelihood of an attack against one of them.

-------
COMMENT
-------

7. (U) The tent schools are only a short-term fix to the
very real education needs in Badghis, but they will provide a
place for thousands of students to learn while plans to build
permanent schools go forward. The project should help
demonstrate to local residents that the GOA, with the help of
the donor community, is making progress in proving basic
services, even in areas with limited security. This project
could serve as a best practice for other provinces looking
for ways to rapidly improve both the image of the provincial
government and the level of education in local communities.
END COMMENT.
NEUMANN

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