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62 nonfunctional schools of a village merged into 4 operational schools

Responding to public demand of merging nonfunctional schools together and increase the number of operational schools, Sindh education department finally took the decision to merge 62 schools into four.

ActionAid and its local partner in Chachro, Association for Water, Applied Education and Renewable Energy (AWARE) in collaboration with the local community have since long been highlighting anomalies in education system through research based advocacy which produced its results when evidences were documented and shared with media and other stakeholders.

Chachro is one of those areas in Sindh which faces recurrent famine and drought like situations. People living here are mostly poor and uneducated. As this is how ActionAid starts its work in any area, people were organized into groups and given task of evaluating causes of problems they were facing, education sector was marked with evident loopholes.

The community took the lead to document the evidences through mapping of schools. To their utmost surprise, they learnt that in government record, more than 62 schools existed in just one village (Waori Dora) of Chachro. On collecting primary information and other evidences like photos, they community decided to launch an advocacy campaign.

Very soon, the community with support from AWARE and ActionAid started holding meeting with concerned department, the local representatives, other civil society actors and the media. The community was fortunate that the issue was picked up by both national and international media.  Featured articles and stories were published in leading magazine and newspapers like Herald, the Daily Times and BBC Urdu.

The research revealed that out of 62 schools, 36 schools were non-functional, 29 schools had buildings and 10 schools had no building but huts. Among all, 28 schools were located within premises of 1.5 km radius. Interestingly, the research revealed that almost 17 schools merely existed in papers (government records).

The information gathered through evidence based research empowered the community who started conducting protest demonstration. Finally, government conceded to public demand and issued a notification to merge all nonfunctional schools of the village into four schools which are now operational.