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Japan Contributes $7.2 Million to Support Literacy in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2019)

An agreement on a project aimed at improving the quality of the Accelerated Non-formal Education Programme (ANEP) was signed between Japan and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Wednesday at the Embassy of Japan in Kabul.

The signing ceremony for the project was attended by Mirwais Balkhi, the Acting Education Minister, Takahashi Yoshiyaki, Chargé de’ Affairs ad interim of the Embassy of Japan, Patricia McPhilips, UNESCO Representative in Afghanistan, Sardar Mohammad Rahimi, Deputy Minister of Education for Literacy, as well as a number of staff from the Embassy of Japan, the Ministry of Education, and UNESCO.

The project will be implemented jointly by the Ministry of Education and UNESCO within a period of three years (2019-2022) and will focus on establishing literacy courses, pilot accelerated learning centres and professionalization of 70 Adult Literacy Schools throughout Afghanistan.

Speaking at the event, Minister Balkhi, welcomed the contribution of Japanese government to education sector in Afghanistan.

He added that the key objective of the project would be to help the Deputy Ministry of Education for Literacy in establishing literacy and adult education centres, professionalization of the literacy school as well as in developing necessary policy documents for the Accelerated Education for youths and adults in Afghanistan.

On his turn, Takahashi Yoshiyaki, the Japanese diplomat said that his country believes education plays a key role to empower the people and society and the program will enhance the literacy rate in Afghanistan.

Japan is the largest donor for literacy sector in Afghanistan and has long history of partnership with UNESCO, which has implemented the three phases of “Enhancement of Literacy in Afghanistan (ELA) programme covering over 1 million learners in 18 provinces during (2008-2018). 

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India plans to send food to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2021)

India plans to send food and medical aid to Afghanistan amid warnings that the nation could face a catastrophic famine this winter.

India is considering options to transport 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and medical aid to Afghanistan. This, however, will be subject to Pakistan’s approval.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for “urgent and unhindered” humanitarian assistance to Afghan citizens.

Speaking at the G20 summit on Afghanistan, Modi had noted that the Afghan people have a great feeling of friendship for India and that every Indian feels the pain of Afghan people facing hunger and malnutrition.

Meanwhile, UN World Food Programme (WFP) had earlier said it is in touch with India to donate wheat to Afghanistan.

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US will not join Russia’s Afghanistan talks this week

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2021)

The United States will not join international talks on Afghanistan organized by Russia this week due to logistical reasons, but is open to participating in the future, the State Department said on Monday.

Moscow is hosting talks on Wednesday with officials from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), China and Pakistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special representative was quoted as saying last week.

“We will not participate in the Moscow talks. The Troika-plus has been an effective, a constructive forum. We look forward to engaging in that forum going forward, but we’re not in a position to take part this week,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

“It has been effective in the past, it’s just logistically difficult for us to take part this week,” Price said.

Asked if the United States supports the process, Price said: “We do.”

Moscow hosted a conference on Afghanistan in March at which Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan released a joint statement calling on the then-warring Afghan sides to reach a peace deal and curb violence.

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House-to-house polio vaccination campaign to recommence across Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2021)

A nation-wide polio vaccination campaign will resume in Afghanistan next month, UNICEF announced Monday.

In a statement issued by the organization, the World Health Organization and UNICEF welcomed the decision by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) leadership supporting the resumption of house-to-house polio vaccination campaign.

The vaccination campaign, which begins on November 8, will be the first in over three years to reach all children in Afghanistan, including more than 3.3 million children in some parts of the country who have previously remained inaccessible to vaccination campaigns.

“This is an extremely important step in the right direction,” said Dapeng Luo, WHO Representative in Afghanistan.

“We know that multiple doses of oral polio vaccine offer the best protection, so we are pleased to see that there is another campaign planned before the end of this year. Sustained access to all children is essential to end polio for good. This must remain a top priority,” he said.

With only one case of wild poliovirus reported so far in 2021, Afghanistan has an extraordinary opportunity to eradicate polio. Restarting polio vaccination now is crucial for preventing any significant resurgence of polio within the country and mitigating the risk of cross-border and international transmission.

“This decision will allow us to make a giant stride in the efforts to eradicate polio,” said Hervé Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan.

“To eliminate polio completely, every child in every household across Afghanistan must be vaccinated, and with our partners, this is what we are setting out to do,” he said.

The polio programme has started preparations to rapidly implement the nationwide vaccination campaign, which is a result of ongoing high-level dialogue between the UN and the IEA leadership to swiftly and urgently meet the health needs of the people in Afghanistan.

“This is not only a win for Afghanistan but also a win for the region as it opens a real path to achieve wild poliovirus eradication,” said Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

In addition to this, UNICEF reported that as the overall health system in Afghanistan remains vulnerable, all parties have agreed to immediately start measles and COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in order to mitigate against the risk of a rise in diseases and deaths.

This will be complemented with the support of the polio eradication programme and with outreach activities that will urgently begin to deliver other life-saving vaccinations through the national expanded programme for immunization, UNICEF reported.

While the safety and security of health workers remains a prime concern for the polio programme, the IEA leadership has expressed their commitment for the inclusion of female frontline workers and for providing security and assuring the safety of all health workers across the country.

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