Kabul, Afghanistan — September 10, 2017 — Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) (www.afghan-wireless.com), the nation’s first mobile communications company, the founder of Afghanistan’s mobile communications market and a leading provider of voice, data, entertainment and mobile payment services to over 5,000,000 consumers and businesses, announced today that Dr. Ehsan Bayat, the Founder of Afghan Wireless, theAriana Television Network (ATN), and the Chairman of The Bayat Group, (www.bayat-group.com), has received the 2017 Best Media and Telecom CEO Award from International Finance Magazine (IFM).
Over the years, the Bayat Foundation has undertaken a number of initiatives to improve quality of life for families in Afghanistan. These projects have ranged from water wells to hospitals. The foundation has also offered assistance during some of the country’s most difficult periods, including the harsh winter of 2006/2007, when families struggled to keep warm in below-freezing conditions with limited firewood and only blankets for warmth. That year was especially hard for former refugee families who had returned to Afghanistan only to find devastating conditions in which to live. The inclement weather claimed many lives and received international media attention.
During this particularly hard winter, the Bayat Foundation spearheaded a campaign to raise funds to keep families warm, matching each dollar raised from the international community. Within a few weeks, the campaign raised $131,000, which totaled more than $262,000 when combined with the matching funds. The foundation further covered $40,000 in transportation and delivery expenses to deliver products to families in need, including blankets, oil, coal, warm clothing, and tents. When necessary, the program also offered medical intervention. Altogether, nearly 7,000 families in 15 provinces received vital support to make it through the winter.
The 2006/2007 winter campaign demonstrated the willingness of Afghan people around the world to come together in support of their brothers and sisters. A vital part of the campaign’s success was the Ariana Television Network, which delivers material to Afghan people living around the world. By airing documentaries about the suffering of people in Afghanistan, the network motivated people to support the cause.
Since that winter, the Bayat Foundation has continued to distribute winter aid to families in need.
Since the Taliban lost power in Afghanistan, education has become a major focus, with a special emphasis on girls’ education. During the years of Taliban rule, fewer than 1 million children in the nation had the opportunity to go to school. At present, about 6 million Afghan children regularly attend school, and 2 million of these are girls. Many organizations have contributed to this achievement, including the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and the Swedish international development cooperation agency (Sida).
Sida and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have worked closely with the State Ministry of Education in Afghanistan to form a comprehensive strategy for increasing access to education. The ministry has improved teacher training, increased school construction, and expanded textbook production at an unprecedented rate. Still, education capacity remains fairly low.
Although much progress has been achieved through UNGEI, Afghanistan continues to have one of the world’s lowest rates of women’s literacy, about 14 percent. However, the rates of female school attendance have skyrocketed from 3 to 36 percent, and these rates are expected to continue climbing thanks to UNICEF and the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), who have helped Sida support schools in some of the country’s most remote areas. Many girls previously could not attend school because they would have had to travel unreasonable distances. With additional rural schools, girls have experienced greater opportunities for education.
Another important task undertaken by UNGEI and Sida involves adult education in villages. These programs allow older men and women who did not have any educational opportunities as youths, to learn how to read and write. This initiative emphasizes the value of education for all people and provides adults with a greater ability to participate in society, including helping their children with homework. In addition, the programs address the need for more teachers, especially female ones because girls can only receive instruction from female teachers.