Government and Civil Society Coordination Forum (GCCF) is established in 17 provinces of Afghanistan with support from the UNDP LoGo and its partner Equality for Peace and Democracy (EPD). GCCF forums consists of 20 members including 10 representatives from government and 10 from the civil society organizations. The forum members work closely to improve the local services delivery and thus improve good governance in these provinces.
Ghulam Sakhi, Reporter from Pajhwak and GCCF member stated: “Untill now, I had only identified and reported challenges in the local service delivery on the media but today I did something different through the GCCF platform. I have the feeling of accomplishment, I was part of the team resolving a major issue in the education of the children who are the future of this country.”
On 17 July 2019 at a GCCF meeting, the CSO network raised the issue of unavailability of books for the school students. This had been a major concern of some of the parents in the community. The civil society network took action to investigate the matter and see whether the books were equally distributed between the schools and meeting the actual needs of students. The aim was also to reduce the possibility of selling school books at the markets.
Joint visits by the government and civil society representatives to the local schools revealed that some schools had a large number of books, that had not been distributed, in the storage rooms. The reason the schools gave was that “these books are extra”. At the same time some of these very same schools had complained about the lack of books.
Civil Society representatives presented their report of findings to the Department of Education and advocated with the Head of the Education Department, Mr. Ahmad Khan Bigzada to take prompt action against this issue. Mr. Bigzada thanked the whole GCCF team for their support and created a working group to sort out the issue.
As a follow-up, the working group collected more than 15,000 school books, that were redistributed to 10 selected schools most in need in Sar-e-Pol Province. The case was also presented in the official Facebook account of the Sar-e-Pol Education Department bringing visibility to the issue.
The action taken in close cooperation by the government and civil society resulted is solving a major concern raised by the community.