The Tashabos Educational Organization (TEO) is an indigenous, nonprofit, youth/women focused NGO that serves primarily high school students in Grades 10-12, building capacity and promoting lessons in business and market economics, responsible citizenship, leadership, survey/research, conflict resolution and good governance. In addition to in-school programs, TEO facilitates networking among students from Kabul, Nangarhar, Parwan and Bamyan Provinces. Funded by NED, TEO grew out of a Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE) project to promote entrepreneurship among high school students. In 2010, we were officially registered as an independent NGO with the Ministry of Economy and the (now closed) Ministry of Women’s Affairs. TEO has MOUs with Ministry of Education, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce. TEO’s close affiliation with other NGOs enables the organizations to undertake complex activities across Afghanistan. Afghanistan Institute Civil Society certified TEO for standards, projects/program implementation, management and leadership capacity. TEO is an active member of the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief and Development (ACBAR). The Executive Director comes to TEO after almost a decade of leadership and program management experience at The Asia Foundation. Mr. Haqbeen currently chairperson remained an elected Steering Committee Member of ACBAR for many years, where he was responsible for programs’ oversight. TEO enjoys presence of qualified gender based experts human capital in various fields such as experts in education (including but not limited to Education in Emergency, Accelerated Learning Program, Community Based Education, Literacy), Training of Trainers/Teachers, research/assessments/surveys, women/youth empowerment, management, leadership, community empowerment, governance etc. Since its inception, the Tashabos program has achieved impressive results with limited resources, with annual enrollment exceeding 21,000 students at 29 high schools in Kabul, Nangarhar, Parwan, and Bamyan Provinces that are participants in the Tashabos network.
Current Dilemma: With 45 percent of the Afghan population under age 14, education remains a critical social need. Yet education is now facing an uncertain future in Afghanistan. Boys may still attend schools, but girls may only attend up to Grade 6. Teaching capacity is limited, curriculum is minimal, and student attendance has fallen. In additional to basic education, in Afghanistan, entrepreneurial and business and leadership skills are a critical necessity determining the future of individuals, families, and communities. Yet, these subjects are rarely included.
TEO Tashabos Program: Tashabos reaches Afghan teenagers at a formative period in their lives, when an understanding of free markets, entrepreneurship, and civic responsibility and participation can shape their future. The Tashabos curriculum is taught in both Dari and Pashto. The primary objective of Tashabos is to instill in Afghan youth an awareness of the values of entrepreneurship, market economics, and good governance. Objective outcomes are: a) Increased awareness among the Tashabos students about entrepreneurship and self-reliance, b) Improvement of students’ knowledge and skills, and c) Students have chosen and launched innovative businesses. TEO teaches youth the skills necessary to become entrepreneurs through educational activities, including training on market-based economies, fighting poverty and corruption, and the promotion of good governance and ethical business practices. The Tashabos curriculum is designed to provide knowledge of these topics that will ensure confidence and self-reliance whether students continue on to higher education or complete their schooling at Grade 12. The Tashabos program has a three prong approach: a) teaching the Tashabos curriculum, student pre- and post-tests, and capacity building of the Tashabos teachers; b) student entrepreneur product exhibitions in the schools, out of schools and functioning Tashabos exhibition rooms; and c) the 12 step Business Proposal Writing Competitions (BPCs) and Final Top 10 Business Proposals Competition a national event. The program works with 39 teachers who teach the Tashabos curriculum in their schools. At the beginning of the school year, students are encouraged to develop their own business by writing a business proposal. Near the end of the school year, students compete within their school for the best proposals. Those with the best proposals then progress to a national competition where the top three among ten finalists are selected. Participating schools also hold periodic Tashabos student-entrepreneurs’ products exhibitions held in the schools and in the community.
Business Practices: The BPCs provide golden chance for Tashabos students to experience the theories of business management in practical manner and to initiate turning their small business ideas into start-up stage. TEO in collaboration with MoE during the last seven years organized 254 BPCs among the over 21,000 Tashabos students (63% girls) in the high schools. Total of 7,576 Tashabos students developed business proposals during the seven years. TEO trained 293 Tashabos Students in various business management, who were able to win the final Top 50 places. TEO trained 84 Tashabos Students in advanced business, who were able to win the final Top 10 places. TEO introduced 293 Tashabos students to stakeholders for onward support
Results: Roughly 8,000 students across the four provinces complete the curriculum each year, and this includes both girls (65%) and boys (35%). The latest survey of Tashabos graduates (collected from 400 students) indicates that Tashabos helped 69% of them initiate new businesses. The Tashabos program assessment helps document the multiple ways in which the curriculum influences student thinking and provides feedback for TEO to further improve the program.
TEO Future Plans: TEO upon girls’ high schools’ opening, will continue and provided resources available, will expand the Tashabos program in the high schools. The changed conditions in Afghanistan have increased the importance of TEO’s work, but this will also require adjustments in approach. With additional funding, TEO would pursue the following: (a) online education allowing migration of key elements of the curriculum to a virtual platform—this will be critical if we are to continue to serve Afghan girls who are no longer allowed to attend high school; (b) strengthening home-based schooling programs—this will require development of new training material with emphasis on specific topics; (c) continued capacity building in the form of training courses, workshops, and seminars that place greater emphasis on self-study of the Tashabos textbooks; (d) continuing opportunities of professional interaction with entrepreneurs, online and in person; (e) expanding of the current Tashabos networks involving students, teachers, and alumni, using WhatsApp groups and Facebook, (e) community based education (EiE, ALP, Literacy, ToT), f) humanitarian aid delivery involving Tashabos alumni as well.
TEO is an example-led and a competency based organization with committed human capital serving humanity through sustainable approaches. TEO encourages, trains, supports, and gives voice to budding entrepreneurs.
Develop innovation and creativity in young entrepreneurs
The TEO’s mission is to advance the spread of democratic principles, self-reliance and sustainable development through the education of our Afghan youth.