On April 30th, Ambassador Ghafoorzai met virtually with Ms. Liv Kjølseth and Ms. Gry Synnevåg, Secretary General of the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC) and Head of Department of International Environment and Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and Chairperson of NAC’s Board of Directors.
Ambassador Ghafoorzai hailed Norway’s contributions in Afghanistan in various sectors. In that regard, he also highlighted the important work of Norwegian NGO’s, including the NAC in the areas of rural development and education of female health workers.
They discussed possible areas of collaboration, including academic collaboration between NMBU and the Kabul University within resource management, agriculture, food security and other academic initiatives that could benefit further enhancement of Afghanistan’s agricultural sector for economic development.
Ms. Kjølseth spoke about the NAC’s recent activities in Afghanistan, which included the Graduation Day at the Institute of Health Sciences in Paktia province, that took place on January 24th, 2021. At the event, fifty-nine men and women amongst community healthcare workers, midwives, nurses and medical doctors received certificates for their successful completion of service trainings, supported by NAC.
The vast majority of the graduates come from conflict areas in the provinces of Ghazni, Khost, Paktia and Paktika. Many of them are among the first in the family to have received an education. The initiative provides an opportunity for establishment of collaborations between the new graduates and Norwegian pharmacists and bioengineers.
Ms. Synnevåg, professor of NMBU shared her experiences while working in Afghanistan. Ms. Synnevåg, gave an overview of the master programs within conflict peace and development studies that NMBU developed in partnership with universities in Siri Lanka and Pakistan, and suggested programs that can be adapted to conditions in Afghanistan. Agriculture is part of several sectors of the sub-security aspect of the bachelor and masters programs at NMBU.
Ambassador Ghafoorzai gave an overview of the new situation that has come about in the agricultural sector, due to new policies and strategies in this areas developed by the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture. The government was investing heavily to further develop this sector through various initiatives. These include the completion of the Kamal Khan Dam project and plans underway for the completion of 122 other irrigation projects in 21 provinces in the country. He also proposed the start of collaboration between NMBU and the Kabul University in areas such as resource management, agriculture and food security.
Ambassador Ghafoorzai, Ms. Liv Kjølseth and Ms. Gry Synnevåg agreed on maintaining a close dialogue in the way forward and work on possible initiatives in the near future.