News: Computer classes help Afghan government prepare for future
Story by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Marasky
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – As the government of Afghanistan begins to take over more and more leadership roles from the international community, training continues to be a key factor in future development.
One such course of training provided by Provincial Reconstruction Team Kunar is showing provincial government officials how to effectively use Microsoft Excel, providing a key capability to the Afghan people at no cost.
“When the governor’s chief of staff approached me, he said I’m not asking for money and I’m not asking for stuff, I just want knowledge, I want to know what you know,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Shane Kigin, a native of Arlington, Va. “Most of what we have to offer them these days is our knowledge, of technology and computers and how to use them better, so I was happy to provide the classes.”
The PRT has been conducting these computer classes for the past few months, with the first round of classes having been Microsoft PowerPoint. While none of the instructors are certified teachers, they do have a knowledge they can share built through years of experience, said Kigin.
“Some of these are programs we take for granted, because we’re used to using them on a daily basis,” he said. “But for the Afghans, such technology is uncharted waters that we can help them navigate, and I was happy to do so.”
While the classes may not seem like much on the surface, they provide key tools for governance that will prove invaluable in the coming years, said Kigin.
“I think one of the main difficuluties of government in the modern world is organization,” he said. “At the provincial level, budgeting and finance are big issues, due to the amount of money they are receiving from Kabul, and it’s not easy to track.”
“Using Excel provides a very simple, yet accurate, forum for budgeting and accountability of funds,” said Kigin. “It also aids in tracking the massive amount of people they employ, and their contact information.”
The class was a big success with the students, who appreciated the efforts of their teacher and asked for future classes.
“We are very thankful for the classes and the information you are providing,” said Fareedullah Hussam, the Kunar provinical governor’s chief of staff. “I hope that we can continue to learn more from the PRT and our allies in the future, and we thank them for the knowledge they provide.
In the end, these forms of training provide vital areas in which the PRT can continue to provide assistance without requiring the spending of funds that are quickly dwindling.
“We’re leaving the business of giving money and funding projects, but we’re still here providing training and transition assistance,” said Kigin. “As such, the computer training and other forms of training and education we provide as a PRT are indispensable to the Afghans and the process of learning how to effectively govern their country.”