On March 26, 2013 Sujeet Sarkar gave a public lecture at AKU-ISMC. The talk, entitled ‘Establishing Local Self Governance in Post Conflict Countries: The Afghan Experience’, attracted a great number of attendees, as well as a large crowd of webcast participants from all over the world.
Mr Sarkar started his lecture by explaining the role of the Aga Khan Development Network which is active in the North and the Highlands of Afghanistan. Two of the main problems development work faces after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, are the lack of accountability and rule of law. The National Solidarity Programme which was created in 2003 by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development seeks to create villages that fulfill a development and governance role on a local level.
Through various practical workshops, villagers are being trained on topics dealing with education, gender issues, health and forest resources. The idea is to train locals who can then again train other locals; so the success of the project does not depend on outsiders who will eventually leave the country again.
AKDN also introduced multi-stakeholder conferences on key issues and social audits in order to tackle corruption and install a social accountability and also to build linkages with the government. After successfully implementing these measures, AKDN has now left Afghanistan. The programme should ensure a continuing training of locals to cope with upcoming challenges.
Sujeet Sarkar has been working towards promoting and strengthening democratic governance and civil society in fragile and conflict prone countries over the past 17 years. Currently working as an international advisor, with AKF, Geneva, he is supporting the portfolio of governance and civil society in selected countries across Africa and Asia, including Afghanistan.
He has recently authored a book titled “In search of a new Afghanistan”. The book critically examines the development and reconstruction process of Afghanistan, post 9/11 and dwells upon the future of the country. He also conducts seminars and speaks as a special invitee at LSE, IDS Sussex and other leading global universities.
Details for upcoming lectures can be found on the AKU-ISMC Events Portal