5.2 SUPPORT TO PAKISTAN
We refer you to http://www.state.gov/s/special_rep_afghanistan_pakistan/133902.htm for the Pakistan Country Assistance Strategy.
5.3 COUNTERTERRORISM COORDINATION WITH SAUDI ARABIA
The United States and Saudi Arabia have a strong bilateral relationship. Multiple high-level visits in 2011 deepened this relationship at the personal and institutional level and enabled senior officials from both countries the chance to discuss means of improving coordination. In 2011, Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon, and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John O. Brennan, each visited Saudi Arabia, meeting with King Abdullah and other Saudi officials.
Like other countries in the region, Saudi Arabia sought to find meaningful economic and civic opportunities for its people, over 65 percent of its population is under 25 years old. The King has clearly enunciated an economic development agenda, and Saudi Arabia made progress in addressing economic sources of social discontent, such as housing scarcity, a low public-sector minimum wage, and the lack of a private-sector unemployment benefit. The King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue continued to promote tolerance and respect for diversity through its dialogue and awareness-raising programs. In October, as an extension of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote tolerance and dialogue, the Saudi government, in cooperation with the governments of Spain and Austria, launched the King Abdullah International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna to offer a permanent platform for dialogue between the world’s major religions.
The United States continued to support the Saudis in the reforms they are undertaking by facilitating Saudis studying in the United States and other educational exchanges; by encouraging increased bilateral trade and investment and urging Saudi Arabia to take actions necessary to attract job-creating partnerships with U.S. companies; and by targeted programming in areas that include judicial reform, local governance, and women’s entrepreneurship. The United States encouraged the Saudi government to take concrete steps to increase opportunities for civic participation; in September, the Saudi government held municipal council elections (delayed since 2009); also in September, King Abdullah announced that women would be allowed to participate in future elections (expected in 2015) and that women would be appointed to future sessions of the Consultative Council.
U.S.-Saudi collaboration was not confined to bilateral issues: With political upheaval across the region throughout the year, we consulted closely with the Saudi government on regional stability, including in Yemen, Syria, and Egypt. Working both bilaterally and multilaterally through the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League, the Saudi government provided leadership in promoting peaceful transitions. As part of its strategy to support these transitions and to promote stability throughout the region, the Saudi government significantly increased the scope of its economic and development assistance.
5.4 BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS INITIATIVES: OUTREACH TO FOREIGN MUSLIM AUDIENCES
This section is provided by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)
Four of the five broadcast entities under the supervision of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBC): the Voice of America (VOA), the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa, and Afia Darfur), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Radio Free Asia, provided programming for Muslim audiences in 2011:
• Eighteen of RFE/RL's broadcast languages – almost two-thirds of the total – were directed to regions with majority-Muslim populations, including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Albania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Additional broadcasting regions in the Russian Federation included the majority Muslim populations of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and the North Caucasus.
• VOA's Persian Service reached some three million Iranians weekly. A majority of those surveyed indicated the network has increased their understanding of events in the Middle East, Iran, and the United States.
• The Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) broadcast throughout the region to a Muslim population estimated at 315 million.
• VOA's Indonesian Service reached more than 38 million Indonesians each week.
• VOA and RFE/RL provided news and information to Afghanistan and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region in Dari and Pashto. Together, RFE/RL and VOA reached 75.3 percent of Afghan adults each week.
• Radio Free Asia broadcast to the more than 16 million mainly ethnic Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of northwestern China and Central Eurasia.
The BBG used the latest communications technologies to avoid jamming and to reach new audiences through digital and other communications tools, such as webchats and blogs.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Arabic. Through its five bureaus/production centers across the Middle East and North Africa, the networks presented in-depth discussions on subjects not often addressed in Arabic-language media, such as human rights, freedom of speech, and religion. As part of its coverage of the pro-democracy protests in the Middle East, Alhurra and Radio Sawa deployed correspondents to key locations such as Cairo, Alexandria, Tunis, Sanaa, Benghazi, and Tripoli. Thirty correspondents provided continuous and comprehensive coverage for listeners and viewers across the Middle East and North Africa.
Phone surveys in Cairo and Alexandria showed that 25 percent of Egyptians tuned to Alhurra to follow the events in Tahrir Square. At the time, Alhurra Television broadcast to 22 countries in the Middle East via Arabsat and Nilesat satellite system Alhurra's coverage was named the People's Choice Award for the Best Coverage of the Democratic Uprisings by the Association of International Broadcasting. These awards came despite the restrictions placed on the media by the ruling regimes.
The Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) also explored the establishment of democratic institutions in Egypt and Tunisia following the ousting of Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, respectively, and covered the first free elections that took place after years of dictatorship. MBN's social media platforms spread breaking news about the protests via Facebook , Twitter , and YouTube . Social media provided an outlet for user-generated content, such as photos, audio, and videos from the protests.
Radio Sawa was a 24/7 network of stations designed to reach the Arabic-speaking population under the age of 35. It broadcast 325 newscasts per week about the Middle East, the United States, and the world. According to international research firms such as ACNielsen, Radio Sawa had a weekly reach of 14.9 million people in countries where its audience has been measured.
Radio Sawa broadcast on FM in:
• Morocco (Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, Meknes, Marrakesh, Agadir, and Fes)
• Jordan (Amman and Ajlun)
• The Palestinian Territories (Ramallah and Jenin)
• Kuwait (Kuwait City)
• Bahrain (Manama)
• Libya (Benghazi)
• Qatar (Doha)
• United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai)
• Iraq (Baghdad, Nasiriya, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk, Sulimaniya, Fallujah, Ramadi, Al-Hilla, Tikrit, Amara, Najaf, Samawa, and Erbil)
• Lebanon (Beirut, North Lebanon, South Lebanon, and Bekaa Valley)
Radio Sawa also broadcast on medium wave to Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and throughout Sudan; and was available on the Arabsat, Nilesat, and Eutelsat satellite systems.
Iraq. Every week, 67 percent of Iraqi adults – some 12.4 million people – listened to or watched one of the four BBG broadcasters serving the country: Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, and VOA Kurdish. Alhurra was the leading TV channel among hundreds available by satellite and locally with 22 percent daily and 48.5 percent weekly reach. Radio Sawa had 23.2 percent weekly reach and was the number one radio station for Iraqis on a national basis. Radio Free Iraq, with 12.9 percent weekly reach, was among the top five radio stations for news. VOA Kurdish reached 7.1 percent of Kurdish-speaking Iraqis weekly.
RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq. In 2011, Radio Free Iraq provided in-depth coverage and analysis of the Arab Awakening. It also closely followed the final withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq. While radio was Radio Free Iraq's primary platform, iraqhurr.org gained online users. The Service also had a mobile version of its website and was active on Facebook , Twitter , and YouTube . Radio Free Iraq's SMS service increased public interactivity. Listeners' feedback sent in via SMS, as well as via voice mail service, was used to enrich radio programming.
Kurdish. VOA's Kurdish Service was the only international broadcaster that broadcast to Iraq's Kurds in their main dialects, Sorani and Kurmanji. Although the target audience was the Iraqi Kurd population, the Service regularly covered developments in neighboring Iran, Turkey, and Syria, all of which have sizable Kurdish minorities. The Service broadcast three hours of radio programming seven days a week via FM transmitters in the cities of Sulaimania, Kirkuk, Mosul, Erbil, and Baghdad, delivering extensive coverage of the new government formation in Iraq and the U.S. withdrawal. Postings on YouTube, Facebook , and Twitter increased the number of visitors to the service's Sorani and Kurmanji sites. A 2011 survey indicated an audience increase in the weekly listening rate to seven percent of Kurdish adults in Iraq.
VOA Persian. Although the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRIG) worked to jam satellite television signals, VOA Persian still reached some three million Iranians weekly. While a decrease in weekly viewers was of concern, the number of people who said they watched within a one- month period remained strong, at 26.3 percent of the adult population (roughly 12 million people), indicating that VOA Persian remained a reference point for news. The VOA Persian website was one of VOA's most active, with an average of 1.7 million additional visits via client-based circumvention tools and approximately 600,000 additional visits via web-based proxy servers. VOA Persian was also actively engaged in the social media space, overseeing a Twitter feed, twelve Facebook sites, six blogs, and a YouTube channel. These sites had tens of thousands of users and generated significant discussion.
VOA Persian's popular show, Parazit (Static), attracted over 19 million Facebook page views in a month. YouTube recorded another 3.5 million views of the show. A weekly 30-minute satirical program, Parazit has more Facebook fans than any other Facebook page in Iran.
RFE/RL's Radio Farda broadcast newscasts at the top of each hour, followed by reports, features, interviews, and regular segments on youth, women, culture, economics, and politics. In 2011, Radio Farda continued to expand its internet and social media audience and launched a number of short, lively topical weekly and daily programs:
• Dot Com: Issues discussed on the internet and social media.
• Report Card: L abor issues.
• Hatch: Human rights issues and abuses in Iran and around the world, highlighting civil society and human rights.
• Visit: The profile of political prisoners.
• The Scene: The latest news in cinema, theater, and the entertainment world in Iran and the world. The program is not only tailored to appeal to a young audience, but it also informs the general population on topics that are heavily censored or banned in Iran.
Radio Free Afghanistan. According to research, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan ( Azadi ) was the most listened-to radio broadcaster in Afghanistan in 2011. Afghanistan was the only country in RFE/RL's broadcast region where U.S. government-funded broadcasters were the dominant media outlets. Radio Azadi provided breaking news, in-depth reporting, analysis, and programming emphasizing democracy, the rights of women and minorities, and religious tolerance, and also addressed issues facing the country such as corruption and narcotics. The Service's call-in shows provided an important platform for discussion and debate as well as a means of communicating needs and concerns to Afghan officials. Every day the service received between 200-300 voice mails and messages from listeners. Nearly 400,000 Afghans signed up to receive news from Radio Azadi on their mobile phones and send citizen journalism reports to the station, via a subscription-based SMS news service RFE/RL launched in 2010 in partnership with local mobile phone service provider Etisalat Afghanistan.
VOA's Afghanistan Service provided radio and television programming to Afghan audiences, reaching a combined radio and television audience of 9.5 million people, or 60 percent of the adult population. VOA's television service, TV Ashna, has become especially popular in urban centers. In Afghanistan's top five cities, TV Ashna reached 62 percent of adults weekly, while its total “all-media” audience was over 71 percent. Special radio programming and segments covered Eid, Ramadan, and the Haj, with correspondent reports on prayers in mosques in both Afghanistan and Washington. VOA's TV Ashna continued its dominance in urban markets, where almost half of all adults watch the newscast at least once a week. In addition to news of Afghanistan, Ashna provided the full range of news and views from the United States. In June, President Obama spoke exclusively to VOA just hours before his national address on the Afghan troop withdrawal.
Urdu. VOA Urdu's flagship show, “Khabron Se Agy” (Beyond the Headlines) provided news and analysis. Story segments such as Muslims' America, Diaspora, What Would You Do, Hello America, and Campus are produced to give audiences a well-rounded picture of the United States. Program segments also targeted youth in Pakistan. Audiences were invited to send their observations, suggestions, and questions to VOA. The Service also provided an interactive capability through Facebook and Twitter . Every TV reporter has a Facebook page and responds to viewers comments. In its six hour live radio broadcast, programming delved into the lives of Muslims in the United States. Interactive programming with Pakistani-Americans and Pakistani youth on campus, provided discussion on issues of common interest to the Pakistanis in the target area and the diaspora. VOA's weekly combined radio and TV audience in Pakistan was 3.2 million in 2011
The Pakistan/Afghanistan Border Region
BBG research has shown VOA's Deewa Radio as the market leader in the target region for two consecutive years (2010 and 2011), reaching 22 percent of Pashtuns. Its daily nine-hour broadcast to around 40 million Muslims in Pakistan and the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan provided accurate and timely news in an area dominated by state-controlled media, Taliban-run Mullah Radio, and Jehadi media. The Service launched a one hour “Radio on TV” show, broadcasting the audio of VOA's TV product to the region. The show provided news and analysis and discussed health and other issues relevant to refugees.
Deewa's network of 28 stringers reported from one of the world's most hostile media environments, providing extensive daily coverage of the FATA, including live reports from the camps that housed internally displaced people. Journalists in the region received threats from various parties, but continued to provide objective news coverage. A reporter for Deewa radio was shot by unidentified gunmen while at evening prayers; a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the killing.
RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal ( Torch ). With its extensive network of local reporters, Radio Mashaal provided breaking news and in-depth coverage of developments in the Pashtun region, including the raid that killed Usama bin Ladin. It regularly focused on issues of religious tolerance, culture, counterterrorism, and promoting understanding. The Service emphasized interaction with its audience through regular call in shows and voice mails.
Bangladesh. VOA's Bangla Service reported on events in Bangladesh and in the United States. This included coverage of Ramadan/Eid celebrations in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India; and interfaith activities and dialogues. Bangala Service coverage of U.S. events included remarks by Members of Congress, Administration officials, and Muslim leaders.
Kazakhstan. RFE/RL's Kazakh Service was delivered primarily through its Internet platform but also provided two daily hours of radio programming. The web strategy attracted a younger audience to this bilingual (Kazakh and Russian) site, providing opportunities for interactivity and exploring new genres such as video reporting. The Service provided innovative coverage of the April 3 election through crowd-sourcing of violations around the country. The information was cited by the New York Times and other international media. It was the only media outlet in Kazakhstan devoting extensive coverage to a Kazakh police crackdown on Kazakh “Wahhabi” – a topic left untouched by other media due to government sensitivity.
Kyrgyzstan. RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service (Radio Azattyk) was one of the most trusted sources of news and information in Kyrgyzstan, especially during periods of political turmoil. The Service's two TV shows were broadcast during prime time hours on National TV with a combined weekly reach of almost 30% of the population. On the first anniversary of the June 2010 ethnic clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan, the Service prepared a series of investigative reports based on interviews with residents of Osh, the site of some of the worst clashes, as well as with Uzbeks who fled Kyrgyzstan after the tragic events. The Service also developed a new radio and web program called “The Invisible Women of Osh,” telling the stories of women who were assaulted or raped during the violence.
Tajikistan. RFE/RL's Tajik Service was the largest independent media outlet in Tajikistan and the top international broadcaster in the country. As the country's only source for unbiased information, the Tajik service was repeatedly criticized by the Tajik government for its coverage. Over the past year the Tajik Service devoted extensive coverage to counterterrorist operations in the east of the country. The Service also closely followed important political, economic, and social issues including the “law on parent responsibility,” forbidding children from praying in mosques. While state TV gave ample airtime to supporters of the law, the Tajik Service offered alternative views, giving voice to those who opposed the law.
Uzbekistan. Lacking a local bureau since it was closed in 2005, and despite operating in adverse conditions, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service emphasized interactivity with new citizen journalism initiatives, using Facebook pages and Twitter feeds to interact with its audiences. VOA's Uzbek TV program and daily 30-minute radio broadcast featured interviews with U.S. and international sources on topics including terrorism, religious extremism, and U.S.-Uzbek relations. The Service launched uzmobil.com , distributing VOA news to mobile phone subscribers. Reports were also accessible on Twitter , YouTube, and Facebook.
Turkmenistan. RFE/RL was not allowed to have a bureau or even accredited journalists in Turkmenistan. The Turkmen Service's “unofficial” reporters worked under routine surveillance and harassment. In March, Turkmen authorities confined an RFE/RL contributor to a psychiatric hospital after he criticized a local government official for corruption on the air. In October, an RFE/RL correspondent was arrested and jailed on dubious charges before being pardoned by the Turkmen authorities after extensive international pressure. Despite these restrictions, the Turkmen Service increased its online traffic through new-media techniques including blogging and social networking on Facebook and Twitter .
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
China. VOA Chinese included daily Mandarin and Cantonese broadcasts via satellite television, radio, on line, and mobile channels to penetrate PRC government jamming and censorship. These broadcasts delivered news about the world and the United States including religious and legal issues affecting China's estimated 22 million Muslims.
Radio Free Asia's (RFA) Uighur language service broadcast two hours daily, seven days a week and was the only international radio service providing impartial news and information in the Uighur language to the potential audience of more than 16 million Uighur Muslims in Western China and Central Eurasia. Consistent with RFA's mandate, the Uighur service acted as a substitute for indigenous media reporting on local events in the region. Its programs included breaking news, analysis, interviews, commentary, a weekly news review, and feature stories. Programs addressed issues including democratic development in Central Asia, Uighur history, human rights, religious freedom, labor issues, corruption, the environment, Internet control in China, AIDS, and other health issues. Despite the media blackout enforced by Chinese authorities, RFA provided eyewitness news coverage of the events, including breaking the news of a prominent Uighur economist's detainment after his blog was shut down by authorities.
RFA's Uighur service website updated news in all three writing systems used to convey the Uighur language: Arabic, Latin, and Cyrillic. The site streamed the daily RFA broadcast in Uighur and offered ongoing coverage of events in the XUAR in text, image, and video. RFA's multimedia web page devoted to the lives of and challenges faced by Uighur women since the 2009 ethnic riots, “Half the Xinjiang Sky,” received wide recognition and accolades. RSS feeds were available, making it possible for people to automatically update their newsreaders or web pages with RFA news content. RFA also offered a mobile version of its website as well as Uighur Twitter and Facebook pages. Despite Chinese censorship, research indicates that Uighur listeners and web users considered RFA a lifeline in a controlled media environment.
Indonesia. VOA's weekly audience in Indonesia grew to more than 38 million people, largely because of key placement s of short program segments on highly popular national TV stations. VOA Indonesian TV news products were regularly seen on eight of Indonesia's 11 national stations, in addition to more than 3 0 local and regional stations. During Ramadan, VOA produced a special series on Islam in the United States, which was carried by national stations. The Service produced more than eight hours daily of original radio programming for a network of more than 2 5 0 affiliate FM and medium wave stations across the country. Radio programming included five-minute Headline News reports aired 32 times a day, seven days a week. The Service's Facebook page surpassed half-a-million fans in 2011. The Service launched a year-long VOA Blogging competition and participated in two major off air events, UrbanFest with 50,000 attendees, and On/Off, a national blogging conference.
Thailand. VOA broadcast news throughout Thailand with a weekly audience of 5.5 percent in the cities of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Udon Thani. While Thailand is largely Buddhist, southern Thailand's Muslim population has been restive and VOA served this audience through a national TV affiliate and a radio affiliate in the south.
EUROPE AND EURASIA
The Russian Federation
VOA's Russian Service has systematically addressed issues related to Islam in key areas. A special section on the website, dealing specifically with developments in the North Caucasus region, is regularly updated with reports, interviews, and video features. The Russian Service has produced several Crossfire programs – 15 minute video discussions in a TV studio setting, bringing together an expert from the United States and an expert from Russia via remote connection.
Tatarstan/Bashkortostan. The Tatar and Bashkir communities are the two largest Muslim communities in Russia. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's (RFE/RL) Tatar/Bashkir Service was the only major international broadcaster in the Tatar and Bashkir languages and provided listeners with objective news and analysis. The service's web page has become a virtual meeting place for people to discuss these issues. VOA Russian also targeted these communities, who largely rely on Russian language for their news and information. Since May 2010, there were over 100,000 visits to VOA's Russian website for Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.
North Caucasus. Broadcasting in the Avar, Chechen, and Circassian Languages, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports the news in a region where media freedom and journalists remained under severe threat. The North Caucasus Service is often the only media outlet to report on human rights abuses in the region.
Turkey. VOA's Turkish Service, updated with top news seven days a week, offered English teaching programs, a daily web radio program, video and audio clips, and the ability for users to post comments. It was also accessible by web-enhanced mobile phones and similar devices and content was distributed on YouTube , Twitter , and Facebook . The Service continued to provide its TV affiliate, TGRT News Network in Turkey (one of the top five all-news networks in Turkey), 15-minute live TV news and analysis broadcasts four times per week. VOA Turkish also produced a weekly 30-minute magazine show that was aired on TGRT. The Service's weekly audience rate increased to over five percent in the past year.
The Balkans. VOA's Balkan services explored the possible rise and impact of Islamic extremism in the Balkans. More than 4.7 million adults watched or listened weekly to VOA programs in Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia, Serbia, and Macedonia.
• VOA Bosnian featured reports on the village of Gornja Maoca, the alleged stronghold of the radical Wahhabi movement in Bosnia; interviewed the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Mustafa Ceric; and presented commentary and analysis from U.S. terrorism experts.
• VOA Serbian featured exclusive interviews with Serbian terrorism experts in Belgrade and the Reis of the Islamic community in Montenegro, Rifat Fejzic. Stringers from Belgrade and Podgorica also travelled to the Sandzak region to file exclusive reports.
• VOA Albanian's special feature on the spread of Islamic radicalism featured interviews with the heads of the Islamic Community in Macedonia and Kosovo.
Azerbaijan. When it was banned from FM airwaves, RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service (Radio Azadliq) lost more than half of its reach in Baku. It has turned to the Internet to attempt to reconnect with listeners. Its programming includes interviews with both opposition and pro-government representatives. Recently, Radio Azadliq has been branching out into simulcasts on other platforms.
Nigeria. VOA's Hausa Service broadcast to the estimated 90 million Muslims in Nigeria and Niger. In Nigeria, where the language is spoken by over 75 million people, VOA had a weekly audience of 26 percent (23.5 million adults). The service covered Boko Haram, among other issues, and provided a forum for Muslims and Christians to discuss common concerns. VOA Hausa hosted town hall meetings on a variety of topics including health and education and engaged Muslim audiences with a weekly program called Islam in the United States , while its web site posted Eid listener greetings to mark the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Ethiopia and Eritrea. VOA's Horn of Africa Service broadcast 17 hours a week in three languages: seven 60-minute broadcasts in Amharic, five 30-minute broadcasts in Tigrigna, and five 30-minute broadcasts in Afan Oromo. In addition to shortwave, these languages aired live on VOA24, a 24/7 channel on Arabsat satellite television.
Somalia. VOA's Somali Service broadcast to a largely Muslim population estimated at 16 million people in the Horn of Africa, including 10 million in Somalia. Broadcasts were available on shortwave, and on FM affiliate stations in Somalia, Kenya, and Djibouti. A recent survey of the Somaliland and Puntland regions found VOA Somali to be the number one broadcaster, reaching 74 percent of adults weekly. The Service's web site reached an estimated two million Somali speakers outside the Horn region. Program samples include: A weekly “Islamic Affairs Program” focusing on current affairs and a six-part series on the rise of militants and the origin of al-Shaabab; and programs on why Somali youth from the diaspora are returning to Somalia to join the terrorists and what can be done about it.
Swahili. VOA's Swahili Service broadcast to large Muslim populations in Tanzania and Kenya, and to Muslim communities in Uganda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
French to Africa. VOA's French to Africa Service broadcast 23 hours weekly on radio to the 250 million French speakers in Africa, many of whom live in predominantly Muslim countries such as Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad. A weekly interactive program, “Dialogue of Religions,” featured guest experts. The Service also broadcast a 30-minute weekly television program.
Africa Digital Unit. The Africa division took the lead in providing videos for ‘Muslim Voices' 9-11 anniversary coverage. The division provided videos from Muslims living in the United States, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in East Africa.
5.5 ECONOMIC REFORM IN MUSLIM MAJORITY COUNTRIES
In countries with predominantly Muslim populations, the pursuit of economic growth is one method of achieving sustainable social benefits that can ultimately minimize some of the pressures that can lead to radicalization. In 2011, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in cooperation with other U.S. government agencies, undertook programs that promoted reforms to enable developing and transition countries to allocate resources toward activities to accelerate economic growth. USAID activities often focused on improving the regulatory or business-enabling environment, so the power of private sector investment, both domestic and foreign, could be leveraged to increase business activity and trade. A battery of program interventions have been designed and initiated to pursue measurable results in the commercial, legal, and regulatory framework that would significantly lower the costs, obstacles, and time required for doing business.
Afghanistan. USAID's Trade and Accession Facilitation for Afghanistan project assisted the Government of Afghanistan and the private sector in pursuing greater regional and global trade linkages and economic integration.
Albania. The Competitive Enterprise Development project sought the sustained growth of Albania's non-agricultural enterprises, and the strengthening of the competitiveness capacity of start-ups in targeted regions of the country. The Department of Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance provided policy, regulatory, and technical assistance to improve government finance functions and capability.
Algeria. The Department of Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance facilitated the adoption of Basel II requirements to the Algerian banking system and assisted with the modernization of policies, procedures, and functions to meet international standards. In addition, technical assistance worked to strengthen the government's capacity to prevent, detect, and investigate corruption within the tax administration through internal audit and internal investigation programs.
Azerbaijan. Numerous U.S. government agencies work with Azerbaijan to promote economic reform, growth, and diversification. Among them, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation has provided both political risk insurance and financing lines in Azerbaijan for the construction of the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan Pipeline and to expand banks' small-and medium-sized enterprise lending portfolio, respectively. A USAID program begun in October 2010, the Azerbaijan Trade and Competitiveness Project, is focused on technical assistance for World Trade Organization accession-related processes and reforms, promoting a trade enabling environment, and strengthening value chains.
Bangladesh. USAID provided technical assistance through the Poverty Reduction by Increasing the Competitiveness of Enterprises (PRICE) Program, which developed business support services that enhance products for export and reduce barriers to trade. PRICE focused on women and young entrepreneurs.
Burkina Faso. The Department of the Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance provided support to the country's Ministry of Economy and Finance with budget and financial accountability assistance. The U.S. African Development Foundation provided agricultural assistance to local agricultural associations, with program support to increase agro-processing, food production, and the design of long-term strategies.
Egypt. USAID provided technical assistance to increase investment and strengthen the trade environment by improving commercial laws and the efficiency of government procedures, along with support for the development of agriculture value chains. The Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Program assisted with courses, workshops, and visits by U.S. judges and government experts. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency provided support for technical symposiums focusing on trade investment and commercial opportunities between the United States and Egypt to help foster business development in the wake of Egypt's regime change.
Indonesia. USAID provided Biotechnology Regulatory Development Assistance for the development and implementation of bio-safety regulatory policies and practices. The Agribusiness Market and Support Activity assisted the Government of Indonesia in promoting a strong agribusiness system to cultivate gainful employment, growth, and prosperity. The Department of the Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance facilitated government debt issuance and management, and provided technical assistance in the areas of banking and financial services. The Department of Labor's Better Work Program sought to improve both compliance with labor standards and competitiveness in global supply chains. USAID's Support for Economic Analysis Development activity delivered economic policy advisory services to the Indonesian government to identify policy options that accelerate growth, employment, and poverty reduction. USAID extended a portable loan guarantee to a microfinance institution to develop a four-year loan program for low-income women entrepreneurs, 98% of whom are Muslim. The institution used the guarantee to obtain financing from Bank Muamalat Indonesia, an Islamic financing institution. Finally, the Federal Trade Commission provided support to assist Indonesia in building its institutional capacity to encourage competition and create effective policies.
Iraq. USAID provided technical and capacity building assistance to the Government of Iraq on legal, procedural, and practical matters pertaining to Iraq's bid to join the World Trade Organization. The U.S. Department of technical assistance also sought to revitalize Iraq's agricultural sector and enhance the trade capacity of institutions and developing regulatory frameworks. The Department of Commerce's Commercial Legal Development Program (CLDP) provided training for several government ministries in forming joint ventures and strategic partnerships with investors, managing contracts, and quality controls. CLDP, in close collaboration with Iraq's Higher Judicial Council, also organized a series of workshops to develop curriculum on commercial law leading to the creation of the first commercial court in Iraq. The Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance advised on new areas of critical importance to the Central Bank of Iraq and the Iraqi financial sector as a whole, including enhanced bank supervision.
Jordan. USAID's Jordan Economic Development project is a five-year broad economic development initiative that supported improvements in the business environment and provided assistance to expand innovation and productivity in Jordanian businesses. With its Ministry of Finance counterparts, USAID's Jordan Fiscal Reform Project staff worked to reform and modernize the tax system and increase tax compliance; reform the budget system; streamline customs administration; and establish a Government Financial Management Information System. Support was also provided to higher institutions of learning to develop and implement an entrepreneurship-across-the-curriculum program for career and technical education. The Patent and Trademarks Office supported reforms in the area of intellectual property law and strategic management.
Kazakhstan. The Patent and Trademarks Office and Overseas Private Investment Corporation provided technical assistance in the areas of patent examination training and project financing to microenterprises. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency approved a Reverse Trade Mission to bring a delegation of Kazakh pipeline officials to the United States to gain exposure to advanced pipe technology.
Kosovo. The Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Program and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation provided technical assistance in the areas of improving the commercial legal framework, and expanding credit to microenterprises and consumers. USAID's Business Enabling Environment Program focused on building trade capacity by improving the legal and regulatory framework for external trade, lowering trade barriers, and reducing import and export times and costs. The U.S. Department of the Treasury-Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) supported improvements in government finance functions.
Kyrgyz Republic. The Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Program sponsored workshops on the challenges and potential solutions of exporting local products and the role of intellectual property in economic development. The Department of State's Self Employed Women's Association project sought to empower women shareholders, artisans, and other self-employed entrepreneurs to effectively manage their enterprises and compete in the marketplace.
Lebanon. USAID began a comprehensive feasibility study for the Tripoli Special Economic Zone. The study will draw on best practices from special economic zones globally and in the Middle East, while considering particular circumstances that affect investors in Lebanon and North Lebanon. USAID also provided support to Lebanon's accession to the World Trade Organization with the goals of helping Lebanon build a strong connection to the global economy, and expanding commercial opportunities for local businesses.
Libya. The Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Program organized the first three phases of a four-phase program intended to build the judiciary's capacity to enforce arbitration awards as well as adjudicate international trade and investment disputes.
Mali. USAID's Investment Climate Reform Phase II project provided assistance to the Government of Mali in implementing regulatory and institutional reforms in order to stimulate domestic and foreign private investment. USAID's Integrated Initiatives for Economic Growth in Mali Project, 2007-2012, focuses on selected value chains, including the expansion of agriculture production, enhancing access to finance, and enhancing access to markets and trade. The U.S. Department of Commerce, through its Commercial Law Development Program, worked with the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Agriculture, Customs, and the Malian police to develop and adopt policy guidelines and other instruments to strengthen the protection of Intellectual Property Rights.
Morocco. USAID supported improved vocational training in sectors including agro-processing to provide youth jobs and career development opportunities, while remedying the shortage of skilled and semi-skilled labor for employers . Assistance was provided to stand up a center supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in support of the country's new Innovation Strateg y, and support was given to educational institutions in Morocco to deliver a train-the-trainer program to more effectively prepare a global workforce. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, through USAID's Office of Technical Assistance, supported increasing the functional expertise and capacity of the Government of Morocco to successfully carry out criminal, civil, and administrative adjudication of financial crimes.
Nigeria. USAID's Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transportation project supported the Nigerian government's efforts to expand trade domestically and beyond. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service provided funding to address the problem of post-harvest storage losses in Nigeria. The Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Program supported a legislative advisor to assist the Economic Community of West African State's legal and trade offices to produce a draft intellectual property policy and guidelines for harmonizing protection among the member states. The Federal Trade Commission assisted Nigeria in building institutional capacity to apply competition and consumer law and policies, and the African Development Foundation provided support for agriculture via grants to increase production and marketing capacity. Finally, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, through USAID's Office of Technical Assistance, provided support to banking and financial services by increasing asset management capacity.
Oman. Advisors from the Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Program and Customs and Border Protection experts worked with Oman Customs officials to create institutional knowledge and understanding of the Advance Rulings under the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement.
Pakistan. The Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Program provided technical assistance in the areas of trade and market access, and energy sector reforms. USAID supported an enterprise development initiative to increase affordable access to finance for Pakistan's private sector, and also began agricultural and agribusiness projects to improve the macroeconomic environment and promote trade. USAID also transferred funds to the U.S. Trade and Development Agency to provide feasibility studies to identify and facilitate investments in Pakistan's infrastructure and key economic sectors. Finally, USAID provided support in implementing the Afghan Pakistan Transit and Trade Agreement.
Senegal. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, through the USAID Office of Technical Assistance, assisted with government debt issuance and management. USAID provided support with activities that helped Senegal strengthen its international standard business environment and improve its trade and investment capacity. The United States Department of Agriculture provided support for phytosanitary and technical training and further assisted in the development of a local response to global food insecurity by increasing agricultural productivity and implementing sound market-based principles for agriculture. The U.S. African Development Foundation provided technical assistance with the production and marketing of agriculture to improve yields.
Somalia. USAID supported the Ministry of Commerce's Investment Climate Unit and Chamber of Commerce in the development of investment promotion strategies, and facilitating government and private sector participation in local, regional, and U.S. trade fairs (the latter in collaboration with the Department of State).
Tunisia. The Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Program worked in Tunisia to create a legal framework for franchising and facilitated the publication of French and English versions of “Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Maghreb.”
Uzbekistan. USAID's Ag Links Plus project provided training to agro-firms and water user associations on agronomic issues and agribusiness management. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation provided financing for business support services to stimulate the construction sector, as well as the local agricultural and hotel supply sectors, to encourage importing and exporting.
West Bank and Gaza. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, through its Office of Technical Assistance, provided support to the Palestinian Authority for anti-money laundering activities, countering terrorist finance, and financial crimes capacity building in the West Bank and Gaza. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation provided financing for a telecom project to develop trade infrastructure.
The ASEAN-U.S. Technical Assistance and Training Facility, a joint project of the U.S. Department of State and USAID, worked to advance the goals of the U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Cooperation Plan and contribute to ASEAN becoming a stronger regional institution.
Central Asia-Afghan Electricity Trade (Pamir Energy). The Pamir Energy program sought to promote greater energy cooperation, an increase in regional economic activity, and the development of small commercial enterprises. It transmitted electricity from Tajikistan to serve Afghan villages in Badakhshan Provice to supply households, shops, government offices, schools, and clinics.
Central Asia Regional Program. The “Regional Economic Integration Activity” in Central Asia and Afghanistan increased trade among Central Asian and Afghan firms through training, networking, and supply chain improvement.
Cochran Fellowship Program. This program provided training for agriculturalists from middle-income, emerging market, and emerging democracy countries throughout the world. The training took place in the United States and targeted senior and mid-level specialists and administrators from the public and private sectors concerned with agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy, and marketing.
Coral Triangle Initiative. The program supported the development of a common Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) framework, environmental standards, and technology towards sustainable management of Live Reef Food Fish Trade (LRFFT) in the CTI region, which included Indonesia , Malaysia , Papua New Guinea , Philippines , Solomon Islands , and Timor-Leste .
Faculty Exchange Program. The Faculty Exchange Program brings qualified agricultural educators from progressive agricultural institutions of higher learning in Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine to the United States for four to five months to increase their knowledge and ability to teach agricultural economics, marketing, agribusiness, and agrarian law in a market-based economy.
Global Labor Program: ALNI. The program was established to meet the needs of the region by educating members of the “Asia Labor Network on International Financial Institutions" coalition about how international financial institutions work, creating and enhancing watchdog functions, and creating opportunities for civil society to engage in a dialogue with governments about loan regulations and expectations.
South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy. USAID promoted energy security in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan, and the rest of South Asia through three areas: cross border energy trade, energy market formation, and regional clean energy development.
Special American Business Internship Training. This program facilitated economic development through the training of managers and scientists in U.S. business practices, thereby advancing commercial partnerships and encouraging market-based reforms. SABIT programs trained business managers and scientist-entrepreneurs in U.S. companies where they were exposed to Western management concepts that provided models for process improvement.
Women's Economic Symposium in Central Asia. The Department of State organized a Women's Economic Symposium for women in the region to discuss strategies to overcome challenges and form connections that prepare them to compete in the national and regional marketplace. The conference concluded with a suite of follow-on projects facilitated by a steering committee of participants from the region.
5.6 Basic Education in Muslim Majority Countries
USAID/Asia and Middle East Bureau's total basic education assistance was approximately US $373 million; approximately US $360 million of this sum was targeted in predominantly Muslim countries or in Muslim majority populations within a country. Countries included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines (Mindanao), Yemen, and the Central Asian Republics. West Bank/Gaza was also included in the program. USAID/Europe and Eurasia Bureau's education assistance for Kosovo totaled US $1,510,000. USAID/Africa Bureau's total education assistance for the region was approximately US $272,678 million in basic education; US $75,785 million was used for Muslim populations in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, and on regional programs in several other countries.
Innovation and Technology. USAID/India's US $12.5 million program, Technology Tools for Teaching and Training (T4), employed technologies to educate poor and disadvantaged children studying in public schools in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Bihar states, and reached more than 24 million children. Combining technology tools with sound pedagogy and effective teacher training, interactive radio, video, and computer programs, simplified the teaching of difficult concepts in various subjects, including language, math, science, and social studies.
ASIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST
Afghanistan. USAID's basic education program totaling US $70,000,000 continued to open access, improve the quality of education, and build the skills of Afghan partners to deliver basic education and literacy training for out-of-school youth and adults. The United States continued working with the Ministry of Education to implement its national education strategy. Community-based education reached over 60,000 children in areas with no government schools, and a youth and adult literacy program provided learning opportunities for over 151,000 learners, 60 percent of whom were female. In-service teacher training, the printing of 21.5 million textbooks, and assistance with school materials and security have strengthened educational programs that currently reach 2.3 million (one third) of Afghan school children. The training of 40,850 teachers and over 3,800 literacy teachers were complemented by follow-up classroom support to help improve the quality of basic education programs. Programs on pedagogy, instructional content, and research methods updated teaching skills for over 700 education professors involved in pre-service education of secondary school instructors. Community participation in education significantly expanded in 2011. U.S.-trained school management committees monitored classes and teacher performance, contributed furnishings and materials, aided teacher recruitment, and collaborated with district and provincial officials. The strengthening of national ministries is another key to long-term sustainability. U.S. assistance strengthened Ministry of Education employee recruitment and performance evaluation systems, and established an electronic database for employees .
Bangladesh. USAID focused on early childhood development to improve enrollment, retention, and performance in primary schools. The Promoting Talent Through Early Education Program developed a pre-school curriculum and increased learning skills and access to educational opportunities for 39,710 preschoolers. Over 2,800 primary school teachers were trained in interactive teaching methodologies that also included health, nutrition, and sanitation components. In addition to teacher training, the program trained school administrators to ensure that curriculum and teaching improvements were institutionalized. The US $8.3 million Bangladeshi version of Sesame Street was the most widely viewed children's television show in the country, reaching over 10 million Bangladeshi children weekly.
India. While not a Muslim majority country, India has a large Muslim population. USAID's basic education activities helped provide quality education to disadvantaged children including Muslim minorities and promoted the use of technologies to improve teaching and learning in the classroom and interventions that link education to employment. The Madrassa Education Program came to a close and helped to enroll over 51,000 disadvantaged students. More than 200 teachers and 110 administrators were trained in modern pedagogic concepts and effective teaching methods resulting in madrassa leaders assuming new roles in education for youth, particularly girls. A noteworthy achievement has been the mobilization of community support groups and volunteers through training, resulting in formal communication channels being institutionalized between parents and madrassas.
In addition, USAID/India's Youth Skill Development Initiative provided education in basic life and employability skills to deprived out-of-school youth. The program provided training in market-oriented skills, such as computer usage, spoken English, and customer relations to make participants more employable. Over 38,000 youth were trained in the states of Delhi, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra. Seventy-five percent of the trainees received employment and many opted for further studies. Designed as a public-private initiative, the program has leveraged resources from non-USAID sources such as the Centre for Civil Society, the India Islamic Cultural Centre and Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Kishanganj. Finally, USAID/India implemented a program in over 500 madrassas in Hyderabad, West Bengal, and Andra Pradesh, that introduced formal curricula, enrolled and retained out-of-school children, improved the quality of education, and prepared madrassas to meet government standards. Over 50,000 Muslim children were provided with formal education in the two states.
Indonesia. T he Decentralized Basic Education initiative expanded the dissemination, replication, and sustainability of best practices to more schools and districts. Funds provided by local governments and schools, resulted in 75 district governments officially budgeting for Basic Education programs in more than 2,000 schools across 24 districts. The program benefited nearly 30,000 educators, 2000 administrators, and 200,000 students. USAID also supported Jalan Sesama , a Sesame Street Workshop that reached 7.5 million children. The Opportunities for Vulnerable Children Program assisted children with special needs to attend inclusive education programs.
Egypt. USAID made significant progress in promoting new and innovative government education policies, increasing fluency, and increasing learning in the classroom through technology. In FY 2011, USAID provided school leadership and teacher training, and installed computer technology and other digital resources that helped more than 300,000 students in 500 schools. USAID trained 7,309 teachers and 2,818 trainers and administrators in student-centered pedagogy and use of technology in instruction. Evaluations in 2010 and 2011 revealed that teaching and learning practices improved dramatically with over 30 percent gains in teacher practices shown to support critical thinking and improve student achievements.
An early grade Arabic reading assessment, for grades two through four, conducted in a sample of schools in Upper Egypt, indicated that more than half of the students could not read at grade level. Six months after USAID introduced a new teaching approach and instructional materials in targeted schools, a follow-up assessment indicated an increase of 82 percent over baseline in reading fluency. Subsequently, the Government of Egypt co-funded the use of the USAID devised reading intervention in 3,000 primary schools in four governorates, and made a policy decision to expand its use nationwide.
Finally, training for 271 school Boards of Trustees enhanced their role as grassroots community structures in the Delta and Upper Egypt, demonstrating democratic principles in school governance and using data in school decision-making. The Ministry of Education decentralized the technical education and school maintenance budgets (US $100 million) to schools and governorates throughout the country.
Pakistan. USAID programs supported improving academic standards for teacher education, training master trainers and education managers, improving administration and academic supervision, and supporting federal, provincial, and district education officials in school management and planning, including procuring and training for the National Education Management Information System.
The Sindh Basic Education program focused on improving the quality of early grade reading, community mobilization, school consolidation to eliminate ghost schools and ghost teachers, and improving educational management practices. In Baluchistan, USAID continued to rehabilitate schools affected by the 2010 floods, support pre-service teacher education, and assist the government to increase literacy through improved reading instruction and assessment. In the Federal Administered Tribal Area (FATA), USAID worked with teacher colleges to improve the preparation of pre-service teachers and with the FATA secretariat to reform the teacher certification process. In Punjab, the main focus was on building partnership with the private sector and civil society to improve the access and quality of basic education programs.
The new Increasing Educational Quality Program improved reading instruction and assessment to prevent school dropout and increase student achievement in primary schools nationwide. The Pakistan Television Project, Sim Sim Hamara (Sesame Street), successfully launched an interactive website (SimSimHamara.org) with videos, games and learning activities to help viewers regard girls and other marginalized children as competent contributors to society. Multi-media programs reflected messages of inclusion, mutual respect, and equal opportunity while helping the Pakistan government reach its objective of overcoming structural divides through education.
Philippines. USAID education program assistance reached more than 387,000 learners and 10,300 teachers and administrators in Mindanao. To improve access to education, 385 classrooms were constructed and repaired. Programs also supported 729 Parent-Teacher-Community Associations and distributed more than 700,000 learning materials. The National Achievement test scores of students in U.S.-supported schools increased by 14 percent, and marked improvements were observed in all skill sets including reading fluency.
West Bank and Gaza. In close coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE), USAID focused on the professional development of teachers and administrators, increasing access to education by constructing and renovating schools and classrooms, and equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in the Palestinian labor market. Programs supported the production of a new series of Sesame Street television shows, produced radio episodes targeting teachers and parents, and launched the Shara'a Simsim (the Arabic name for Sesame Street) website. USAID partnered with the National Institute for Educational Training to design and accredit the new Principal Leadership Program. Through partnership and dialogue, the MOEHE has embraced a decentralized education system model and delegated decision-making authorities to the district and local levels. One hundred twelve classrooms were constructed or rehabilitated at eight schools, while 11 youth centers were renovated in the West Bank, with 3,000 students benefiting from increased access to education facilities.
Yemen. USAID worked to strengthen the capacity of communities, schools, and the Ministry of Education to sustain educational improvements. USAID's education program activities included school renovations, adult literacy support, support to increase community participation in school management, and teacher professional development in reading, writing, and mathematics. The program established baseline data on target student competencies in math and science.
Kyrgyzstan. USAID's education programs benefited more than 80,000 students and 4,000 teachers across the country. The model for school financing and increased accountability continued to spread to schools and administrative units beyond the USAID project areas. Assistance also supported the American University of Central Asia and a Development Credit Authority student loan program that increased access to higher education and vocational training for students, particularly those from rural areas, by creating a replicable, private-sector tuition financing model.
Tajikistan. The USAID Safe School Program assisted the government with anti-gender based violence training modules that were adapted and integrated through the national teacher training institutes. In collaboration with the Tajik government, the School Dropout and Prevention Program began to address school drop-out in three regions, and in collaboration with the Tajik government and the World Bank, USAID-supported school financing and management systems were rolled out nationwide in 68 districts. A new activity promoting positive youth engagement in three high-need regions of the country was launched; through civic education courses, youth development activities, and community development grants, this initiative will reach 900 disadvantaged youth.
EUROPE AND EURASIA
Kosovo. USAID continued its basic education program, a five-year initiative designed to benefit all public primary and lower secondary schools in Kosovo, grades one through nine. The project has three components: Enhance School Management Capacities in a Decentralized Environment; Strengthen the Assessment of Learning Outcomes; and Improve In-Service Teacher Development. The three components provided strategic support to the reforms introduced by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology. Approximately 58,000 students benefitted from activities that modernized classrooms; increased teacher capacity and teaching methodologies; trained 692 educators from 58 primary schools; established 17 professional development centers in support of the Government of Kosovo's decentralization policy; and ensured 48 schools received teaching and learning materials, including technological equipment. Collaboration and cooperation with donors and the private sector included partnerships with the Teacher Training Project of GIZ (Deutsche Gessellschaft fur Zuzammenarbeit) and the European Union, with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency-supported Education Technology program, and with Intel and Microsoft to integrate technology in classrooms.
Djibouti. USAID's basic education program focused on improving the education systems through decentralized teacher training; strategic planning and budgeting; enhanced community participation; improving the Education Management Information System; and increasing learning for out-of-school youth. The program trained 1,100 teachers and administrators in childhood literacy and mathematics. Host country strategic information capacity was improved through the establishment of a software application that accurately captures statistical data and more than 50 administrators were trained in the use of this data for more informed planning and policy decision-making. To further strengthen the management of the schools, more than 80 Parents-Teachers Associations are involved in school operations through small grants for school improvements projects.
To address Djibouti's chronically high unemployment rate and enable the Djiboutian people to leverage their own skills for continued economic growth, the program expanded education and training for employment for out-of-school youth and dropouts. In addition to its bilateral program, USAID/Djibouti implemented the Ambassador's Girls' Scholarship program benefitting over 1,200 recipients, who received supplies, mentoring, clothing, hygiene kits, tutorials, payment for school fees, and HIV/AIDS awareness training. The Teachers' for Africa program provided highly skilled volunteers to assist in the decentralized teacher training program and reinforce the teaching and learning of the English language in secondary schools.
Ethiopia. Activities in Muslim-majority areas in the Somali, Afar, Benishangul, Gumuz, and Oromia regions included teacher training to improve the quality of primary education; capacity building training for Parent-Teacher Associations and community members to increase parent and community involvement in school management; grants to schools to enhance learning and teaching and to build the capacity of education officers to plan and manage the education system; and establishment and expansion of alternative basic education centers to provide non-formal primary education to children, especially girls; and adult literacy classes for illiterate adults.
Kenya. USAID's Education for Marginalized Children program concentrated on the predominantly-Muslim North Eastern and Coast Provinces, reaching nearly 377,000 children in both provinces. Approximately 250 Early Childhood Development Centers were supported and over 13,000 teachers were trained in child-centered teaching and early grade reading methods. USAID/Kenya's Education & Youth Office also oversaw the Garissa Youth Project, which provided livelihood and workforce readiness programs for ethnic-Somali youth susceptible to recruitment by al-Shabaab. The Garissa program partnered with USAID's Office of Military Affairs to pilot the District Stability Framework, a tool to gauge the level of instability within Garissa and to help coordinate an interagency response, as well as coordinate action by the youth themselves through an U.S. $800,000 youth fund. This was the first pilot of the Framework outside of Iraq, Afghanistan, or Yemen.
Mali. In support of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP), USAID/Mali's basic education program focused on supporting moderate Islamic schools and improving the quality of primary education for Mali's predominantly Muslim population. In 2011, US $1.3 million in TSTCP funds were allocated to school construction in the northern regions of Timbuktu, Gao, and Kidal.
Nigeria. Wh ile education indicators were poor nationwide, they were worse in the predominantly Muslim North, where poor education contributed to the marginalization of Muslim communities. An estimated 10 million children were not enrolled in school, and with no vocational skills have little hope of ever joining the formal workforce. USAID implemented interventions that targeted both access to education services for the vulnerable, increased quality for those in school, and system strengthening for increased accountability and transparency. In FY 2011, USAID worked in Islamiyyah and Quranic schools benefitting 72,350 pupils (41,915 male and 30,435 female), out of which 15,060 were identified as orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). The vulnerable children received support materials to allow them to attend school. A total number of 200 OVC acquire vocational and life skills annually by participating in the skills program.
Senegal. One of the USAID's education program's biggest accomplishments was the completion of a “Community Daara Model.” Traditionally, these community education institutions are tied to their founding teacher and/or Quranic instructor and are somewhat isolated in their communities. Daaras selected to participate in the three-year USAID educational program agreed to implement the project's model of a “community daara” which includes: 1) a selection process that involves relevant stakeholders; 2) renovation of the learning space using a standardized classroom model, a blackboard, school desks, gender separate toilets and access to water where there is none; 3) a management committee comprised of community members to help manage, and increase resources to the daaras; 4) support and monitoring from education authorities and community-based organizations. USAID worked with 296 daaras, which are at various stages of their development as community daaras; and constructed 57 new classrooms in support to this initiative. More than 22,000 vulnerable and out-of-school children between the ages of five and 18 were enrolled in the program.
Somalia. A dual approach was taken in Somalia. For those enrolled in schools – only 20% of school-aged children – USAID provided learning materials, and improved the physical and sanitary environments of schools and the quality of their teachers and their administrations. Achievements for in-school children included the rehabilitation of 102 classrooms and the construction of 68 new classrooms in 25 schools in Somaliland, Puntland, and South Central Somalia; the training of 505 teachers and 43 head teachers in improved teaching practices; the training of 351 Community Education Committee members on improved school management techniques; the distribution of 11,221 school kits and teaching/learning charts; the rehabilitation of three health centers; the training of 296 health workers and eight community health committees; the construction of numerous latrines, water tanks, shallow wells, and hand-washing facilities and the associated water quality testing and training; and the airing of three health promotion programs. As an integral part of improving school environments, improvements in water and sanitation infrastructure were funded in schools and their communities. Part of the rationale for this was the finding that the lack of sanitary facilities for girls was preventing many of them from attending school. As a result of USAID attention, overall, 9,130 people (5,444 male and 3,686 female) were provided with access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities and better knowledge of good hygiene practices. The above results expanded access to 8,441 new learners (5109 male and 3332 female).
For the remaining 80% of school-aged children not enrolled in school, an interactive radio instruction program using distance learning techniques through radio-based programs was employed for those most at risk, primarily women and girls, youth, internally displaced persons, and illiterate urban youth. Through this initiative, USAID helped enroll an additional 1,337 new learners, trained 1,513 educators, and distributed 102,861 text books and learning materials.
Tanzania. USAID's assistance has enhanced and improved educational service delivery for primary, secondary and adult literacy education. In underserved, primarily Muslim communities in Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania, 30,575 primary school learners (14,530 girls and 16,045 boys) have gone to school who would otherwise have dropped out; 34,985 learners (17,997 girls and 16,988 boys) experienced increased learning gains in mathematics, science, and life skills through the innovative use of cell phones and digital technology; and 1,016 teachers, including 600 women and 416 men from 150 schools, were trained on classroom management skills. In secondary education, over 1.5 million science and mathematics textbooks were procured for the mainland, resulting in a substantial reduction in the student-textbook ratio; 489 young women from marginalized populations completed their post-primary education; and over 2,000 Maasai adult women in the north learned to read and write in the Swahili language, empowering them to secure their land rights, get involved in local government, and bring their products to market. The 21st Century Basic Education Program carried out professional development needs assessments in Mtwara and Zanzibar, reaching a mix of over 6,000 primary school teachers, head teachers, district education officers, education managers, and pupils. Finally, USAID/Tanzania provided over 2,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing children with assorted hearing aid equipment; developed 1,000 new signs to the existing 800 Tanzania Sign Language (TSL) published signs, and raised awareness among 2,812 community members of the importance of sending hearing impaired children to school.
Uganda. USAID supported the Aga Kahn Foundation's Madrassa Early Childhood Development Program, which targeted poor districts and allowed communities to establish and manage their own pre-schools. In 2011, the Madrassa Resource Center trained 145 individuals from 25 teacher training Coordinating Centers on early childhood instruction. A total of 835 teachers from lower primary schools were trained in issues of transition from early childhood to primary education. A training of trainers succeeded in teaching 985 educators on the development and use of instructional materials. In addition, new early childhood development resource rooms were established in five districts. By year's end, the resource rooms were handed over to the districts in order to promote continuity and sustainability of support to early childhood development.