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UN Relief Efforts to Boost Education in Afghanistan - 2002-01-09

United Nations relief efforts in Afghanistan are focused on providing food and shelter to as many people as possible and offering medical services where ever it can.

But, the organization is now trying to take advantage of the change in leadership to promote an area it sees as equally important: education.

One of the goals of the United Nations World Food Program inside Afghanistan is to encourage girls to start returning to school. Now that the Taleban is no longer in control of the country, the edict banning formal education for women has been lifted.

The WFP is offering food to girls and their families as an incentive to attend classes. Under the terms of the program in the Badakhshan province, each girl will receive five liters of vegetable oil per month in exchange for regular school attendance.

The program itself was started in Badakhshan two years ago. In that province alone the WFP provides food for more than 27,000 children. It also cares for more than 1,500 teachers in about 50 schools throughout the province.

According to the U.N., the goal is to extend the program throughout Afghanistan as soon as it is safe enough to do so.