Investing in a Brighter Future:
Humqadam-SCRP Improves School
Accessibility for Girls’ Education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

9th February 2018

Written by Abeera Ahmed; Source: Hashim Khan, Humqadam/Charsadda
Photos credits: Hashim Khan, Humqadam/Charsadda

GPS Jura Safaid Sung is the only primary school in the nearby village of over 1500 people. Humqadam-SCRP constructed one new classroom and two new toilets to meet growing needs for girls

Humqadam-SCRP is taking part in academic improvement by providing high quality, inclusive and safe school infrastructure that encourages learning among school going children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab provinces in Pakistan, particularly for girls. While large gains have been made to provide improved, safe and secure learning environment a special focus is on creating a supportive school environment for girls’ education. Dedicated new girls’ schools, separate toilet cubicles and classroom blocks are breaking down the environmental barriers to make education work for every girl.

Government Primary School (GPS) Jura Safaid Sung, Peshawar District, KP province, was adopted by Humqadam-SCRP in 2015 where one additional classroom block and two new toilet cubicles were constructed to supplement the existing two classrooms and toilets. These provisions were a much needed reprieve in the overcrowded school as it struggled to accommodate over 150 students from the surrounding villages. There were no separate classrooms for girls and boys, posing a cultural problem where gender segregation is valued.

Jura Safaid Sang, is a small village in Peshawar District, with population of more than 1500 and had no provisions for a girls’ school in the vicinity. The community only had one boys’ primary school, GPS Jura Safaid Sung. As a compromise, Haseena Bibi who is a studious 10-year old girl along with other young girls had to be accommodated in the crammed school premises along with the boys. For the most part, owing to overcrowding-compounded by the need for gender segregation- they had no choice but to take classes in the school ground or the veranda. Due to limited classrooms, the school was often shut down for girls during inhospitable weather.

“Not only were the classrooms crammed for us normally, it was impossible for us to study during rainy season and in extreme hot summers because we would often have to take classes out in the open. Our parents were concerned about our health and safety at the school,” said Haseena Bibi as she recalled the conditions of her school prior Humqadam interventions.

Haseena finally gets a chance to attend her lessons inside the new classroom

Humqadam-SCRP sees schools as an equaliser across socio-economic and gender constraints. Girls are an important contributor in any society, and educating girls is an important investment. Educated girls find better-paid jobs, opportunities, and raise a more healthy family, which ultimately leads to a better, more prosperous society. Humqadam-SCRP strives to improve accessibility to education for girls by ensuring they have a safe and secure school environment. At GPS Jura Safaid Sung, post Humqadam-SCRP interventions, enrolment has risen by 25%.

“I feel very excited that we now have our own separate classrooms. Whenever I go to a family gathering, I always talk about the improvements at our school especially from a girl’s perspective. I enjoy my studies and I don’t miss a day at school” said Haseena Bibi about her improved school conditions.

In areas of KP where few schools exist, Humqadam-SCRP is constructing and rehabilitating schools for meaningful educational gains in hopes to encourage substantial increases in enrolment and total years of education for girls. So far, 119 new girls’ schools, which are inclusive and safe, have been completed with new classrooms and toilet cubicles in KP as of January 2018, making schools more accessible and girl child-friendly.