Welcome Afghanistan, the 171st National Scout Organisation!

Submitted by NGooderson on Thu, 01/09/2020 - 07:58
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World Scouting is excited to officially welcome the Afghanistan National Scout Organisation (ANSO) as the 171st Member Organization of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). The move marks the resurgence of Scouting in Afghanistan following a period of reconstruction and reunification that has been supported by local and regional leaders and government partners.

“Today, Scouting in Afghanistan is a strong keeper of values inspired by the Scout Method. Once again, Scouting has become a positive force in the lives of our young people and their communities,” said Mohammad Tamim Hamkar of ANSO and Director of the PARSA Afghan Scouts Programme. “We believe that Scouting works, as it has for more than 100 years, enabling young people to become empowered citizens who can help revitalise our environment and rebuild this nation.”

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Scouting has existed in Afghanistan for nearly 90 years, but activities halted in 1979, eventually resulting in the loss of official WOSM membership in 1981. However since 2004, the World Scout Bureau through its Asia-Pacific Support Centre has worked to re-enter Kabul with the support of Scout leaders from the region and in collaboration with the government’s Ministry of Education and to establish an office that would support the reintroduction of Scouting in Afghanistan.

Today, Scouting has emerged once again at the local level as a result of the collaboration between World Scouting, the Afghan government and international non-governmental organisation Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Support to Afghanistan (PARSA). More than ten training courses have been organised in different provinces across the country thanks to the support of neighbouring National Scout Organisations and their volunteers who aided in delivering the trainings. The courses have enabled Afghan Scout leaders to earn their Scout leadership training “Wood Badge” and reintroduced Scout activities through the Messengers of Peace Initiative and the World Scout Environment Programme, including with the support of key World Scout Foundation donors.

“This is a defining moment for Scouting in Afghanistan. We would like to extend our appreciation to the Afghan government, partner organisations and NGOs for the continuous support to prepare ANSO to rejoin the Scout Movement,” said Craig Turpie, Chairperson of the World Scout Committee.

“The resurgence of Scouting in Afghanistan has been made possible thanks to the dedication of volunteers and the enthusiasm of young people. As a result of this renewed commitment by government and local leaders, a new generation of young Scouts will redefine their purpose and contribute as active citizens towards building stronger, more resilient communities,” said Ahmad Alhendawi, WOSM Secretary General.

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Scouting in Afghanistan reflects the history of its people:

Scouting in Afghanistan dates back to October 1931 when King Nadir Shah founded the Scout Movement under the Education Ministry. Two years later, the Afghan Scouting Association joined the 7th International Conference (now called the World Scout Conference) in Gödöllö, Hungary. Scouting continued for several years and withstood challenges until the government dissolved the Association in 1947.

A Royal Decree re-established Scouting in 1956 with the strong support of King Zaher Shah and the Ministry of Education. Scouting expanded until the 1960s and membership grew exponentially. Afghanistan was readmitted to the World Scout Conference on 1 June 1964, and by 1977, it boasted a membership of 36,000. Following the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1979, Scouting eventually ceased and the World Scout Conference regretfully noted the dissolution of the Association in 1981.

After 2001, the transitional government of Afghanistan welcomed the possibility to reintroduce Scouting in the country and former Scout members came forward to begin the reconstruction. In 2004, the World Scout Bureau Asia-Pacific Support Centre initiated visits to Kabul to collaborate with the Education Ministry. In 2008, Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Support to Afghanistan (PARSA), an international NGO founded in Afghanistan in 1996, initiated a similar campaign with WOSM and launched community-oriented activities for young people and training for adult leaders.

View a short video of ANSO's history here.

Story courtesy of WSB.