Ehsanullah Ehsan (Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies) and Arne Strand (CMI) in conversation with Åse Gilje Østensen, The Naval Academy

Cultural and religious resistance against education of girls is widespread in many parts of Afghanistan. Schools are attacked and burnt down, roads are unsafe to travel in many parts of the country, and the Afghans fear reduced development assistance as international troops withdraw. Despite difficulties and potential danger, the number of Afghan children enrolled in schools has increased tremendously since 2002, especially the number of girls.

How is it possible to run schools for girls in the insecure Kandahar province where education for girls is highly controversial? 

Meet Ehsanullah Ehsan and Arne Strand, deputy director at CMI in conversation with Åse Gilje Østensen.


Ehsanullah Ehsan is Director and Head Teacher at the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies. On 8 March, the Institute celebrated the International Women’s Day by holding a graduation ceremony for 300 female students. Ehsan has worked with a wide range of organisations to raise awareness of the challenges facing women in Afghanistan and has received multiple threats from the Taliban. 

Arne Strand is deputy director at the Chr. Michelsen Institute. Strand has been team leader of several evaluations and research programmes in and on Afghanistan. He has extensive management experience from NGOs and research institutes, and has also been involved in developing management and professional capacities of Afghan NGOs and peacebuilding organisations.

Photo: Balazs Gardi