Chapter 5: Terrorist Safe Havens (Update to 7120 Report)
Terrorist safe havens described in this report include ungoverned, under-governed, or ill-governed physical areas where terrorists are able to organize, plan, raise funds, communicate, recruit, train, transit, and operate in relative security because of inadequate governance capacity, political will, or both.
Somalia. In 2012, many areas of Somalia remained a safe haven for terrorists, although fewer areas than in 2011. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and its successor, the Federal Government of Somalia, with the assistance of the AU Mission in Somalia, AU member states, and allied Somali militia forces, secured areas neighboring Mogadishu and drove al-Shabaab out of many of its strongholds in south-central Somalia. Most notably, the forces gained control of the port city of Kismayo on September 28.
Al-Shabaab continued to control large sections of rural areas in the middle and lower Jubba regions, however, as well as the Bay and Bakol regions. Al-Shabaab also augmented its presence in northern Somalia along the Golis Mountains and within Puntland’s larger urban areas. Additionally, Somalia’s long unguarded coastline, porous borders, and proximity to the Arabian Peninsula allowed foreign fighters and al-Shabaab members to transit around the region without detection. Areas under al-Shabaab control provided a permissive environment for al-Shabaab and al-Qa’ida operatives to conduct training and terrorist planning with other sympathetic violent extremists, including foreign fighters. The capability of the TFG through August, the Government of Somalia from September on, and other Somali local and regional authorities to prevent and preempt al-Shabaab terrorist attacks remained limited.
The TFG and its successor, the Federal Government of Somalia, cooperated with U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
According to independent sources and NGOs engaged in demining activities on the ground, there was little cause for concern for the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Somalia.
The Trans-Sahara. The primary terrorist threat in this region was al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Though its leadership remained primarily based in northeastern Algeria, AQIM factions also operated from a safe haven in northern Mali, from which it launched kidnap for ransom operations, collected arms in the wake of the Libyan Revolution from that country, and attempted to expand its safe haven but was pushed back by Algeria, Mauritania, and Niger.
Mali. In 2012, the Tuareg Rebellion, aided by returning mercenary fighters and arms proliferation stemming from the Libyan Revolution, was followed by the arrival of violent extremist and terrorist groups such as al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), in northern Mali. The rebel groups, aided by violent extremists in some cases, took advantage of the political chaos in Bamako following the March 2012 coup d’état to capture northern towns and cities and effectively gain control over northern Mali. The key cities in the north – Timbuktu, Gao, and Kidal – were overrun and occupied by violent extremists, who consolidated their gains in northern Mali north of the Niger River, and attempted to implement sharia law, recruit fighters, and establish a governing structure. The international community mobilized and called for: restoration of a civilian government through inclusive and credible democratic elections, negotiations with the rebels but not the terrorists, responding to the profound humanitarian crisis, and countering terrorism.
State Department assistance to the government of Mali for activities that strengthen biological security and reduce the risk of biological weapons acquisition by terrorists or proliferant states was terminated, as required by law, after the March 2012 military coup d’état.
The Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral. The numerous islands in the Sulawesi Sea and the Sulu Archipelago make it a difficult region for authorities to monitor. A range of licit and illicit activities that occur there – including worker migration, tourism, and trade – pose additional challenges to identifying and countering the terrorist threat. Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have improved efforts to control their shared maritime boundaries, including through the U.S.-funded Coast Watch South radar network, which is intended to enhance domain awareness in the waters south and southwest of Mindanao. Nevertheless, the expanse remained difficult to control. Surveillance improved but remained partial at best, and traditional smuggling and piracy groups have provided an effective cover for terrorist activities, including movement of personnel, equipment, and funds. The United States has sponsored the Trilateral Interagency Maritime Law Enforcement Working Group since 2008 and this has resulted in better coordination among Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines on issues of interdiction and maritime security.
Asia is vulnerable to exploitation by illicit traffickers and proliferators given the high volume of global trade that ships through the region as well as the existence of smuggling and proliferation networks. Weak strategic trade control legal and regulatory frameworks, and inadequate maritime law enforcement and security capabilities make Southeast Asia an area of concern for weapons of mass destruction proliferation.
The Southern Philippines. The geographical composition of the Philippines, spread out over 7,100 islands, made it difficult for the central government to maintain a presence in all areas. Counterterrorism operations over the past 10 years, however, have been successful at isolating and constraining the activities of domestic and transnational terrorists. Philippine cooperation with U.S. counterterrorism efforts remained strong. Abu Sayyaf Group members, numbering a few hundred, were present in remote areas in Mindanao, especially the islands of the Sulu Archipelago. Jemaah Islamiya members, of whom there were only a small number remaining, were in a few isolated pockets of Mindanao. The Communist People’s Party/New People’s Army maintained a national presence with a focus in rural and mountainous areas. Continued pressure from Philippine security forces made it difficult, however, for terrorists to organize, plan, raise funds, communicate, recruit, train, and operate.
Iraq. In 2012, the Government of Iraq was aware of the extent of terrorist activities occurring in its territory, and Iraqi leaders and security forces expended considerable effort to counter terrorist groups and deny terrorists safe havens. While the level of counterterrorism pressure exerted by security forces varied by region, overall the central government took strong action to eliminate terrorist safe havens, maintained strong counterterrorism cooperation with the United States, and made progress in preventing the proliferation and trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) both within and across its borders.
Lax border enforcement by the Kurdistan Regional Government, tensions between the central government and Kurdish security forces, and the ongoing crisis in Syria, however, increased the likelihood that al-Qa’ida in Iraq and its Syria-based front group, al-Nusrah Front, could successfully smuggle WMD, conventional weapons, and operatives across the Kurdish areas of the border into Iraq from Syria.
The Iraqi government made progress in preventing the proliferation and trafficking of WMD. In February 2012, the Government of Iraq passed the Nonproliferation Act, which will serve as the basis to further develop its legal infrastructure to control strategic goods through implementing regulations. The Iraqi government also committed to adopting the EU control list. Furthermore, Iraq has established a radioactive source regulatory infrastructure, the Iraq Radioactive Source Regulatory Authority.
The United States continued to work with Iraq to build Iraqi government capacity to secure potentially dangerous biological and chemical materials and infrastructure housed at Iraqi facilities, while also productively engaging Iraqi scientists and engineers that have WMD or WMD-applicable expertise in peaceful, civilian science.
Lebanon. The Lebanese government does not exercise complete control over all regions in the country or its borders with Syria and Israel. Hizballah militias controlled access to parts of the country, limiting access by Lebanon’s security services, including the police and army, which allowed terrorists to operate in these areas with relative impunity. Palestinian refugee camps were also used as safe havens by Palestinian armed groups and were used to house weapons and shelter wanted criminals.
The Lebanese security services conducted frequent operations to eliminate Palestinian violent extremist safe havens and to capture terrorists. They did not target or arrest Hizballah members; although in August, the Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch arrested a political ally of Hizballah, former government minister Michel Samaha, on suspicion that he was involved in a plot to carry out terrorist attacks in north Lebanon on orders from Syrian officials. The Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Force continued to participate in U.S. counterterrorism training programs and improved their ability to conduct successful operations.
Lebanon is not a source country for weapons of mass destruction components, but the primary concern is that Lebanon’s porous borders will make the country vulnerable for use as a transit and transshipment hub for proliferation-sensitive transfers. The conflict in Syria increases the risk of illicit transfers of items of proliferation concern across the Lebanese border. The United States conducted technical exchanges focusing on drafting comprehensive strategic trade control legislation and adopting and implementing a control list for strategic goods. On border security, the United States conducted numerous trainings and donated equipment to Lebanese Customs to enhance its capabilities to detect illicit cross-border trade in strategic goods and other contraband. Hizballah’s continued ability to receive sophisticated munitions via Iran and Syria requires aggressive regular monitoring of this issue.
Libya. In 2012, Libyan internal security suffered significant challenges and setbacks as it sought to reassert central authority following the fall of the Qadhafi regime, though attempts were made to strengthen overall counterterrorism and border capabilities to mitigate the various threats. The resulting instability was punctuated by the attack against a U.S. facility in Benghazi on September 11, which claimed the lives of four U.S. personnel, including J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. The Libyan government had serious difficulty in asserting control over portions of the country and adequately manning border posts, particularly in the east and south, resulting in significant levels of known terrorist transit through the country. The Libyan government attempted to assert firmer control over specific areas of the country, and in December declared broad portions of southern Libya a military zone, resulting in border closings across a number of crossing points.
Libya has encountered significant capacity gaps to mitigate the illicit flows of goods, people, and weapons across its borders since the revolution that toppled Qadhafi. While secured at year’s end, Libya also maintains stockpiles of declared chemical weapons materials that could prove a proliferation risk given weakened border security. The United States has offered to assist the Libyan authorities with the security and eventual destruction of their chemical weapons stockpiles, in accordance with their obligations as members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The proliferation of loose weapons from Libya across the country’s borders was very concerning. The EU contributed significant border security assistance to the Libyan authorities, and throughout 2012, the United States worked with the Government of Libya to develop a complementary border security assistance package of its own. A delegation of Libyan officials from the Ministry of Defense and Customs Authority visited the United States in mid-September 2012, and expressed deep interest in both U.S. border security best practices and border security technology. They specifically requested U.S. assistance on border security, particularly in the South. Nevertheless, implementation of these programs has been slow, and the Libyan authorities lack the basic training and equipment necessary to monitor their vast land and maritime borders, and to control the flow of people and goods through their airports. Violent extremists continued to exploit these weaknesses, and threatened to destabilize the Middle East and North Africa region.
Yemen. The Government of Yemen, under President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, remained a strong partner of the United States on counterterrorism issues. Hadi demonstrated Yemen’s commitment as a counterterrorism partner soon after taking office by ordering the military to dislodge al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants from areas they occupied in Abyan and Aden governorates including the towns of Zinjibar, Jaar, and Shuqra. By June, these AQAP forces had been dislodged or withdrawn. The Yemeni government relied on pro-government tribal militias known as Popular Committees (PCs) to secure the area after the military sweep. After their setback in Abyan, AQAP terrorists took advantage of Yemen’s climate of instability, employing asymmetric tactics in a campaign of bombings and targeted assassinations against government targets, PCs, and civilian and international targets.
Yemen’s political instability makes the country vulnerable for use as a transit point for weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related materials. In the past year the United States resumed training focusing on the development of strategic trade controls. Yemen has identified an inter-ministry group to work on nonproliferation-related issues.
The United States continues to build Yemeni government capacity to secure potentially dangerous biological and chemical materials and infrastructure housed at Yemeni facilities, while also productively engaging Yemeni scientists and engineers that have WMD or WMD-applicable expertise.
Afghanistan. Several terrorist networks active in Afghanistan, such as al-Qa’ida (AQ), the Haqqani Network, and others, operate largely out of Pakistan. AQ has some freedom of movement in Kunar and Nuristan provinces largely due to a lack of Afghan National Security Forces capacity to control certain border territories in north and east Afghanistan. During 2012, the Afghan government continued to counter the Afghan Taliban and Taliban-affiliated insurgent networks with AQ connections. Specifically, the increased capability of the Afghan Local Police units has increased the ability of the Government of Afghanistan to control territory.
The potential for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) trafficking and proliferation was a concern in Afghanistan because of its porous borders and the presence of terrorist groups. The U.S. government worked with the Government of Afghanistan to implement comprehensive strategic trade controls. The U.S. Border Management Task Force also worked closely with Afghan officials to prevent the proliferation of and trafficking of WMD in and through Afghanistan. The Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance (EXBS) program assisted the Government of Afghanistan in drafting a Strategic Goods Law. This draft legislation was in the final approval stages within the Afghan Ministry of Justice at the end of 2012. In addition, EXBS contributed to strengthening Afghanistan’s enforcement capacity through participation in a regional cross-border training program, and training through the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection agency.
The United States continued to assist the Afghan government to build capacity needed to secure potentially dangerous biological and chemical materials and infrastructure housed at Afghan facilities, while also productively engaging Afghan scientists and engineers that have WMD or WMD-applicable expertise.
Pakistan. Portions of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and Balochistan remained a safe haven for terrorist groups seeking to conduct domestic, regional, and global attacks. Al-Qa’ida, the Haqqani Network, the Afghan Taliban, Lashkar e-Tayyiba, and other groups exploited the inability of Pakistan’s security agencies to fully control portions of its own territory to find refuge and plan operations. U.S.-Pakistan discussions on counterterrorism, border security, and political transition in Afghanistan occurred regularly and at high levels.
Pakistan alleged that ISAF and Afghan forces failed to control the Afghan side of the border, allowing safe haven for anti-Pakistan terrorist groups such as the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP or Pakistani Taliban). Pakistan reiterated this concern following the October 2012 shooting of 14-year-old education activist Malala Yousafzai, which Pakistan claimed was planned by TTP elements in eastern Afghanistan.
The potential for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) trafficking and proliferation remained a concern in Pakistan. Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance (EXBS) enabled Pakistani officials to gain expertise in properly classifying items of proliferation concern and learn about export licensing best practices.
The United States continued to reduce the risk posed by potentially dangerous biological and chemical materials in Pakistan by promoting the institutionalization of safe and secure laboratory best practices, productively engaging Pakistani scientists and engineers that have WMD or WMD-applicable expertise, and helping to develop surveillance capabilities to detect and identify possibly catastrophic biological and chemical events.
Colombia. Colombia’s borders with Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and Brazil include rough terrain and dense forest cover, which coupled with low population densities and historically weak government presence, have often allowed for potential safe havens for insurgent and terrorist groups, particularly the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). Although Colombia is actively fighting to combat terrorism within its borders, vast swaths of the country are essentially ungoverned and exploited by terrorists and narco-trafficking organizations. Illegal armed groups use the porous borders, remote mountain areas, and jungles to maneuver, train, cultivate and transport narcotics, operate illegal mines, “tax” the local populace, and engage in other illegal activities. The FARC elements in these border regions often engaged the local population in direct and indirect ways, including relying on them for recruits and logistical support. There was seemingly less of this type of cross-border activity in Brazil and Peru where potential safe havens were addressed by stronger government actions. The Government of Peru assigned security forces along the Peru-Colombia border. Both Ecuador and Panama appeared to be strengthening their efforts against Colombian narcotics trafficking and terrorist groups.
Venezuela. The FARC and ELN reportedly continued to use Venezuelan territory to rest and regroup, engage in narcotics trafficking, extort protection money, and kidnap Venezuelans to finance their operations. Throughout the year, the Governments of Venezuela and Colombia continued a dialogue on security and border issues. Venezuela captured at least two FARC members during the year: Luis Freddy Rojas Rincon, who died in custody from injuries sustained during his capture; and William Alberto Chivitia Asprilla, who remains in Venezuelan custody. FARC member Guillermo Enrique Torres Cueter (aka “Julian Conrado”), captured in 2011, remained in Venezuelan custody at year’s end despite the Venezuelan government’s initial statement that he would be deported to Colombia.
In 2012, the Department of State designated three new Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) and amended three existing designations. In addition, the Department listed 18 organizations and individuals as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under E.O. 13224 and amended three existing designations. The Department also revoked the designations of two organizations. The Department of the Treasury also designated organizations and individuals under E.O. 13224.
FTO/E.O. 13224 group designations: See Chapter 6, Foreign Terrorist Organizations, for further information on any of these groups.
• On January 26, the Department of State amended the FTO and E.O. 13224 designations of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) to include the Islamic State of Iraq as an alias.
• On February 24, the Department of State designated the Jemmah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) under E.O. 13224 and as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 13.
• On May 24, the Department of State designated the Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB) under E.O. 13224 and as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 30.
• On September 7, the Department of State designated the Haqqani Network (HQN) under E.O. 13224 and as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 19.
• On September 28, the Department of State revoked the Mujahedin-e Khalq’s (MEK)’s designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under E.O. 13224.
• On October 4, the Department of State amended the designation of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to include Ansar al-Shari’a as an alias under E.O. 13224 and as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 5.
• On December 11, the Department of State amended the designation of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) to include al-Nusrah Front as an alias under E.O. 13224 and as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
E.O. 13224 designations:
• On January 5, the Department of State designated the al-Qa’ida Kurdish Battalions (AQKB). Established in 2007 from the remnants of other Kurdish terrorist organizations, AQKB believes the leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government are traitors and has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks against Kurdish targets in Iraq, including a May 2007 attack in Erbil, Iraq, in which 19 people were killed.
• On January 26, the Department of State designated German citizens Yassin and Monir Chouka, who are fighters, recruiters, facilitators, and propagandists for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), operating along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The Chouka brothers are also senior members of Jundallah Media, the IMU’s media production arm, and have claimed responsibility for numerous IMU attacks, including one which killed 17 people, including five Americans.
• On January 26, the Department of State designated Mevlut Kar, a facilitator and recruiter for the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU). He is currently wanted by the Government of Lebanon and was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison for attempting to establish an al-Qa’ida cell in Lebanon. Kar is also implicated in the 2007 bomb plot targeting U.S. military installations and American citizens in Germany, and provided more than 20 explosives detonators to members of the IJU.
• On June 21, the Department of State designated Boko Haram commander Abubakar Shekau and senior operatives Khalid al-Barnawi and Abubakar Adam Kambar. Shekau is the most visible leader of Boko Haram, while Khalid al-Barnawi and Abubakar Adam Kambar have ties to Boko Haram and close links to al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb. Under their leadership, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks on government assets and civilians in Nigeria, including the August 26, 2011 attack on the UN building in Abuja that killed at least 23 people.
• On June 21, the Department of State designated Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) military leader and explosives expert Aitzol Iriondo Yarza, a long-term member who has engaged in murder, bombings, recruiting, and training for ETA.
• On July 17, the Department of State designated Ahmed Abdulrahman Sihab Ahmed Sihab, (aka Abdulrahman al-Sharqi). The Bahraini citizen has trained members of al-Qa’ida (AQ) in terrorist tactics, techniques, and procedures. Since January 2007, Sihab has been wanted for extradition by the Government of Bahrain where he has been publicly charged with planning terrorist attacks as a member of AQ.
• On August 7, the Department of State designated trainer and senior AQ member Azzam Abdullah Zureik Al-Maulid Al-Subhi (aka Mansur al-Harbi). Al-Harbi travelled to Afghanistan more than a decade ago to join AQ and is responsible for training militants and coordinating foreign fighters who travel to Afghanistan to fight against coalition forces. Mansur al-Harbi is a Saudi citizen currently wanted for extradition by the Government of Saudi Arabia and is accused of being tied to numerous senior AQ leaders.
• On September 6, the Department of State revoked the designations of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN(M)) under E.O. 13224 and as a “terrorist organization” from the Terrorist Exclusion List under the Immigration and Nationality Act, after the Department determined that the CPN(M) is no longer engaged in terrorist activity that threatens the security of U.S. nationals or U.S. foreign policy. The Maoist party has been elected as the head of Nepal’s coalition government, has taken steps to dismantle its apparatus for the conduct of terrorist operations, and has demonstrated a credible commitment to pursuing the peace and reconciliation process in Nepal.
• On November 5, the Department of State designated Qari Zakir, the Haqqani Network’s (HQN) chief of suicide operations. Zakir is responsible for HQN’s training program, which includes instruction in small arms, heavy weapons, and basic improvised explosive device (IED) construction. He has been involved in many of HQN’s high-profile suicide attacks, including the September 2011 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, and is partially responsible for making some of the final determinations on whether or not to proceed with large-scale attacks planned by local district-level commanders.
• On December 7, the Department of State designated the Movement of Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA or MUJAO), Hamad el Khairy, and Ahmed el Tilemsi. MUJWA was created in September 2011 after members broke off from AQIM, and has been behind violent terrorist attacks and kidnappings in the region, including a March 2012 suicide attack on a police base in Tamanrasset, Algeria that wounded 23 people; an April 2012 kidnapping of seven Algerian diplomats in Gao, Mali; and a June 2012 attack in Ouargla, Algeria that killed one and injured three. Hamad el Khairy has appeared in MUJWA videos to claim operations and make threats against those who oppose the organization. He was a member of AQIM prior to his leadership role in MUJWA, and was involved in planning terrorist operations against Mauritania in 2007. Ahmed el Tilemsi acts as MUJWA’s military head, and has directly participated kidnapping operations for both MUJWA and AQIM.
• On December 17, the Department of State designated former Lebanese Minister of Information and Tourism Michel Samaha. Samaha was arrested by Lebanese authorities in August 2012 and has been charged with plotting to assassinate political and religious figures in Lebanon through targeted bombings. The goal of these attacks appears to have been an attempt to incite sectarian clashes in Lebanon on behalf of the Syrian regime. Samaha was also accused of transporting explosives for the planned attacks into Lebanon.
In 2012, the United States continued to work with key partners and allies to strengthen our diplomatic engagement through multilateral organizations. By deepening and broadening the international multilateral counterterrorism framework, we are drawing on the resources and strengthening the activities of multilateral institutions at the international, regional, and sub-regional levels to counter the threat of violent extremists and build the capacities of countries around the world. Working with and through these institutions increases the engagement of our partners, reduces the financial burden on the United States, and enhances the legitimacy of our counterterrorism efforts.
The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). The GCTF is composed of a strategic-level Coordinating Committee and five thematic and regional expert-driven working groups focusing on the criminal justice sector and rule of law; countering violent extremism; and capacity building in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and Southeast Asia. The GCTF aims to strengthen the international architecture for addressing 21st century terrorism and promotes a strategic, long-term approach to dealing with the threat. Since its launch in September 2011 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, the GCTF has mobilized over US $200 million to strengthen counterterrorism-related rule of law institutions, in particular, for countries transitioning away from emergency law.
Other accomplishments since the launch include the adoption of three sets of good practices that are intended to both provide practical guidance for countries as they seek to enhance their counterterrorism capacity and bring greater strategic coherence to global counterterrorism capacity building efforts:
• The Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector;
• The Rome Memorandum on Good Practices for Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders; and
• The Algiers Memorandum on Preventing and Denying the Benefits of Kidnappings for Ransom to Terrorists.
In addition, the GCTF has set in motion the development of two international training centers that will provide platforms for delivering sustainable training in the Forum’s two areas of strategic priority: countering violent extremism and strengthening rule of law institutions. At the December GCTF ministerial meeting, the UAE Foreign Minister announced the opening of Hedayah – the International Center of Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism in Abu Dhabi. At the June 2012 ministerial, Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem announced that Tunisia would host the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law. The Institute will provide interested governments with the training necessary to strengthen criminal justice and other rule of law institutions. GCTF members are working closely with the Government of Tunisia on the development of the Institute.
The UN is a close partner of and participant in the GCTF and its activities. The GCTF serves as a mechanism for furthering the implementation of the universally-agreed UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and, more broadly, to complement and reinforce existing multilateral counterterrorism efforts, starting with those of the UN.
The United Nations (UN). Sustained and strategic engagement at the UN on counterterrorism issues is a priority for the United States. In 2012, the UNSC addressed critical international security matters, including the adoption of three resolutions that concerned the conflict in Mali. These included UNSCR 2056, which expressed the Council’s full support for the joint efforts of the Economic Community of West African States, the AU, and the transitional authorities in Mali trying to re-establish constitutionality and territorial integrity; and UNSCR 2071, which expressed the Council’s readiness to respond positively to a request from Mali regarding an intervention force to assist the Malian armed forces reclaim the northern half of the country, pending a report from the UN Secretary-General. In addition, the United States engaged with a wide range of UN actors on counterterrorism in 2012. These included:
• The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC). The Committee monitors global counterterrorism efforts following the guidance of UNSCRs 1373 and 1624. Its group of experts, the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), assists the Committee in its work and is well-suited to bring together experts and officials to identify practical solutions to common counterterrorism challenges. In 2012, the CTC focused on outreach and terrorist finance; it organized a workshop on terrorist financing that called attention to the revised Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force. The Committee also highlighted the challenges in implementing counterterrorism measures for effective cross-border control of small arms and light weapons and the role of central authorities in enhancing counterterrorism collaboration. The CTC and CTED maintained an ongoing dialogue with member states, donors, and beneficiaries regarding the implementation of technical assistance for capacity-building at the national and sub-regional levels. Additionally, CTED launched a global initiative aimed at helping member states set up effective mechanisms to freeze terrorist assets in accordance with their obligations under UNSCR 1373 and held a variety of workshops in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the Sahel, East Africa, and Southeast Europe that brought together relevant practitioners to address issues such as border security, countering terrorist financing, the investigation and prosecution of terrorist cases, and countering violent extremism. The United States continued to support an initiative that brought together senior prosecutors from across the globe with experience in handling high-profile terrorism cases. The United States also financed training for judges in South Asia.
• The UNSC 1267/1989 Committee. For over 10 years, the sanctions regime established by UNSCR 1267/1989 and its successor resolutions – most recently UNSCR 2083 of December 2012 – has been instrumental in ensuring effective multilateral cooperation in global counterterrorism efforts, particularly the threat posed by al-Qa’ida and its affiliates. Subsequent modifications to the 1267/1989 regime have strengthened and improved its fairness and transparency, including the establishment of the office of an independent Ombudsperson. Important efforts are also under way to strengthen member states’ implementation of 1267/1989 sanctions and improve its overall effectiveness. As such, the 1267/1989 Committee added 13 new individuals and two new entities to its Consolidated List in 2012. The Committee also worked to ensure the integrity of the list by endeavoring to remove those individuals and entities that no longer meet the criteria for listing. To date, 150 individuals and entities have been delisted and additional information on remaining listings has been provided to assist in the operational implementation of the sanctions.
• The UNSC 1540 Committee. UNSCR 1977, adopted in 2011, extended the mandate of the 1540 Committee for 10 years, reaffirming UNSCR 1540’s attention to the non-proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. The resolution also encouraged member states to prepare national implementation plans and urged the Committee to strengthen its role in facilitating technical assistance for implementing UNSCR 1540. In 2012, the 1540 Committee’s activities included participating in outreach events to share best practices and facilitate capacity-building. The UNSC also passed Resolution 2055 increasing the number of experts assisting the Committee to nine. The Committee’s program of work focuses on five main areas: monitoring and national implementation; assistance; cooperation with international organizations, including the UNSC committees established pursuant to UNSCRs 1267 and 1373; transparency and media outreach; and administration and resources. This includes the compilation and general examination of information on the status of States’ implementation of UNSCR 1540, in addition to States’ efforts at outreach, dialogue, assistance and cooperation. The United States has contributed US $4.5 million to the UN Trust Fund for Global and Regional Disarmament to support UNSCR 1540 implementation. See Chapter 4, for further information about The Global Challenge of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Terrorism.
• The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF). Since the adoption of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in 2006, the Task Force (UN Member States, 30 UN entities across the UN system, and Interpol), has become the focal point for UN efforts to support implementation of the global framework. In 2012, the United States funded a series of workshops to raise awareness of the strategy in key regions, including a regional workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh in May. To support the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia, CTITF and the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) organized consultations with regional organizations. The United States also provided voluntary funding to support a number of CTITF programs and projects including its Integrated Assistance for Countering Terrorism initiative in Nigeria, which seeks to enhance information sharing and coordination of technical assistance delivery with partnering governments and the different entities of the UN; training and capacity building of law enforcement officials on human rights, the rule of law, and the prevention of terrorism; and a project on targeted financial measures to counter terrorism, aimed at strengthening implementation of the al-Qa’ida Sanctions regime.
• The UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). In partnership with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT), UNICRI developed study sessions and technical workshops on identifying innovative means to prevent and counter radicalization and terrorist recruitment. In 2012, UNICRI also started an initiative focusing on prisons, with the purpose of supporting member states in their efforts to build effective rehabilitation and disengagement programs for violent extremists and to take steps to ensure that their prisons are not serving as breeding grounds for radicalization. The United States worked with UNICRI and ICCT to develop this international initiative. More than 35 countries, many multilateral organizations, and leading independent experts have participated in this initiative, which is providing policymakers, practitioners, and experts a chance to compare notes and best practices in this area. The best practices developed, known as the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Rome Memorandum on Good Practices for Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders, is a key tool for shaping the capacity building assistance that UNICRI is providing to requesting member states.
• The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO’s Universal Security Audit Program (USAP) continued to contribute directly to U.S. homeland security by ensuring that each of ICAO's 191 member states undergo regular security audits and comply with uniform aviation security standards. USAP conducted assistance missions to help states correct security problems revealed by surveys and audits. ICAO, in partnership with UN’s Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), has assisted member states in the implementation of UNSCRs on counterterrorism, including border control. The two entities have conducted assessment visits and organized workshops focused on countering terrorism and the use of fraudulent travel documents, and promoting good practices on border control and aviation security. Together with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, ICAO and CTED have encouraged member states to ratify and implement international counterterrorism treaties.
• The UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s Terrorism Prevention Branch (UNODC/TPB). The Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB), in conjunction with the UNODC’s Global Program against Money Laundering, continued to provide assistance to countries in its efforts to ratify and implement the universal legal instruments against terrorism. In 2012, the United States supported the TPB by funding programs that provided counterterrorism training to national prosecutors and judges.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA continued to implement its Nuclear Security Plan (2010-2013) for countering the threat of terrorism involving nuclear and other radioactive material. The United States was actively involved in IAEA efforts to enhance security for vulnerable nuclear and other radioactive materials and associated facilities, and to reduce the risk that such materials could be used by terrorists.
Group of Eight (G-8). The United States, which held the G-8 presidency in 2012, hosted the annual G-8 Summit in Camp David where leaders stressed the need to counter terrorist financing, including kidnapping for ransom and strengthening implementation of the UN al-Qa’ida sanctions regime; and to eliminate support for terrorist organizations and criminal networks. They also urged states to develop necessary capacities in governance, education, and criminal justice systems; and to address, reduce, and undercut terrorist and criminal threats, including violent extremism, while safeguarding human rights and upholding the rule of law. They underscored the central role of the UN and welcomed the Global Counterterrorism Forum and efforts of the G-8 Roma-Lyon Group (RLG) in countering terrorism. The RLG met once in 2012 and advanced projects on cross-cutting threats of terrorism and transnational organized crime, through its expert groups on improvised explosive devices, transportation security, high tech crime, migration, criminal legal affairs, and law enforcement.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs). The FATF develops and promotes standards, known as recommendations, that protect the global financial system against money laundering and terrorist financing when adopted and effectively implemented. FATF recommendations are the internationally-recognized standard for countering money laundering and terrorist financing. Over 180 jurisdictions have committed to implement the FATF recommendations. In 2012, FATF continued to identify high-risk jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies and worked closely with them to address their shortcomings.
In 2012, the United States supported the plenary activities on a range of policy issues, negotiating, and revising the assessment criteria for mutual evaluations under the new standards; and participated in the working groups on implementation and on strengthening the FATF network through the FATF-style regional bodies (FSRBs). The United States continued its co-chair roles with Italy on the International Cooperation Review Group and with Spain on the Working Group on Terrorist Financing and Money Laundering. The United States continued to emphasize the importance of targeted financial sanctions and Special Recommendation III, a provision regarding the freezing and confiscation of assets. Additional work contributed by the United States included examining and revising the FATF-FSRB relationship, looking at guidance on new payment methods and their vulnerabilities, outreach to the private sector, public-private partnerships, maintaining an emphasis on non-financial businesses and professions, and participation in the Contact Group on the Central African Action Group against Money Laundering and engagement with that organization to transition to an FSRB.
The United States played a similar and equally active role in the FSRBs, advising and supporting the work of the FSRB members as well as the Secretariats, by supporting FSRB-executed training and workshops. The United States provided technical assistance to both members and Secretariats and took part in technical assistance working group meetings. Additionally, the United States took part in Contact Groups to guide outreach for new members, and Expert Review Groups to delve into mutual evaluation issues.
European Union (EU). Established in 2010, the new European External Action Service (EEAS) led the EU’s engagement with the United States on a range of counterterrorism issues, including terrorist finance, capacity building in third countries, and transatlantic counterterrorism cooperation. EEAS officials, along with counterterrorism officials from the European Commission and the EU Counterterrorism Coordinator’s office, participated with their U.S. counterparts in biannual discussions in June and November. Specific developments included:
• In January, the United States and the EU sponsored an experts meeting on countering violent extremism work in Pakistan and with Pakistani diaspora communities.
• In March, the United States and EU held a joint experts conference on explosives. Participants discussed improving information exchange, mitigating the homemade explosive threat posed by chemical precursors, K-9 explosive detection capabilities, threats to transportation and air cargo, and research and development.
• In April, the European Parliament approved a new Passenger Name Record agreement with the United States, which entered into force on July 1, 2012.
• In September, the EU committed to assisting in establishing the International Center for Justice and the Rule of Law – Tunisia.
• In October, as a co-chair of the Global Counterterrorism Forum Working Group on the Horn of Africa, the EU sponsored a workshop for Financial Intelligence Units from 11 African countries that focused on countering terrorist financing. U.S. officials from the Departments of State and Treasury participated.
• In November, the EU held a conference in Brussels regarding their external countering violent extremism programming plan for 2013. U.S. officials from the Department of State, USAID, and DHS participated.
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE was chaired by Ireland in 2012 and concluded the process of consolidating the organization’s counterterrorism mandate and focused efforts on promoting a rule of law-based counterterrorism approach. In November, an OSCE Rule of Law Conference on counterterrorism featured a wide-ranging discussion about how to both best respect human rights in law enforcement counterterrorism actions and promote the implementation of the Global Counterterrorism Forum Rabat Memorandum of Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector. U.S.-funded border security training in Central Asia, particularly through the OSCE’s Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe, also contributed to the capabilities of border and customs officials to counter threats. Through the OSCE’s Transnational Threats Department and its Action against Terrorism Unit, the United States continued to support additional initiatives aimed at critical energy infrastructure protection, travel document security, cyber-security, non-proliferation, and promoting the role that women play in countering violent extremism, particularly in Central Asia and South East Europe.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO leads ISAF stability operations in Afghanistan. ISAF conducted operations to degrade the capability and will of the insurgency, support the growth in capacity and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces, and to facilitate improvements in governance and socio-economic development to provide a secure environment for stability. For details regarding ISAF contributions by country, see: http://www.isaf.nato.int/troop-numbers-and-contributions/index.php.
NATO’s new Policy Guidelines on Counterterrorism were endorsed in May at the NATO Chicago Summit. The guidelines called for the development of an implementation action plan, which is intended to identify initiatives to enhance the prevention of, and resilience to, acts of terrorism with a focus on improved threat awareness, adequate capabilities, and enhanced engagement with partner countries and other international actors in countering terrorism. Under Operation Active Endeavor, NATO conducts maritime operations in the Mediterranean to demonstrate NATO’s resolve to deter, defend, disrupt, and protect against terrorism. NATO also focused on the protection of critical infrastructure, including energy infrastructure, as well as harbor security and route clearance. Many of these challenges are being addressed by NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division.
• NATO-Russia Council (NRC). Founded in 2002, the NRC provides a framework for security cooperation to address shared challenges, including NATO-Russia counterterrorism cooperation. Through the NRC’s Science for Peace and Security Committee, NATO Allies and Russia are working on the STANDEX (“Stand-off Detection of Explosive Devices”) project, which is designed to detect and counter a terrorist threat to mass transit and other public spaces.
The African Union (AU). In 2012, the AU Commission (AUC) provided guidance to its 54-member states and coordinated limited technical assistance to cover member states' counterterrorism capability gaps. The AUC established a Sub-Committee on Terrorism, in part to coordinate submissions to terrorist-related lists, both from the UN and other partners as well as possible AU-originated designations. The AUC participated in the July High-Level Conference on Victims of Terrorism, organized by the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Madrid, Spain.
The African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACRST), an AU institution based in Algiers, served as a forum for discussion, cooperation, and collaboration among AU member states. The ACRST also served as the AU’s central institution to collect information, studies, and analyses on terrorism and terrorist groups; and to develop counterterrorism training programs. In April, the ACRST hosted 40 government officials, members of religious organizations, and representatives of civil society from eight member states for a seminar on developing and implementing counter-radicalization and de-radicalization programs. The AU's Special Representative on Counterterrorism Cooperation and Director of ACSRT led assessments of counterterrorism capacity in Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, and Burkina Faso.
The AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) conducted counterterrorism operations against al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, and al-Shabaab. AMISOM’s forces have pushed al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu, as well as other territory in southern Somalia. AMISOM consists primarily of troops from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, and Djibouti.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). In 2012, the United States worked closely with ASEAN and called for increased international cooperation in countering terrorism and bolstering the capabilities of member countries to address terrorism and other transnational criminal threats, as noted in the November 2012 Joint Statement of the Fourth U.S-ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting. The United States and ASEAN engaged on counterterrorism and other law enforcement capacity-building efforts at the annual Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime, held in September 2012.
The United States actively participated in counterterrorism-related activities of the 27-member ARF, including the annual meeting on counterterrorism and transnational crime (CTTC) and provided substantial support in capacity building through ARF institutions. The United States has encouraged inter-and intra-forum information sharing and supported the CTTC work plan, which focuses on illicit drugs; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism; cyber-security and countering terrorist use of the internet; and counter-radicalization. The United States, Australia, and the Philippines conducted a workshop on preparedness and response to a biological incident in September 2012 and the United States also co-hosted with Vietnam an ARF workshop on Proxy Actors in Cyberspace in March 2012.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). In 2012, APEC reaffirmed its commitment to the comprehensive Counterterrorism and Secure Trade Strategy, adopted in 2011, which endorsed the principles of security, efficiency, and resilience; and advocated for risk-based approaches to security challenges across its four cross-cutting areas of supply chains, travel, finance, and infrastructure. The United States served as the 2011-2012 Chair of the APEC Counterterrorism Task Force and directly led initiatives to build the capacity of APEC members to counter terrorist financing, improve aviation and bus security, and counter terrorist threats against the food supply. The United States also served as the Chair of the APEC Transportation Working Group Sub-Group for Maritime Security and directly led initiatives to build APEC member maritime and port security capacities through enhanced implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. Through actively facilitating engagement across APEC fora, the United States was able to enhance overall effectiveness in such areas as trade recovery by fostering an APEC project proposal and facilitating engagement with the World Customs Organization. The United States also enhanced APEC achievements by bringing additional resources to bear such as by facilitating International Maritime Organization sponsorship and funding for U.S.-sponsored APEC maritime security initiatives.
Organization of American States Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (OAS/CICTE). In 2012, the CICTE Secretariat conducted 155 activities, training courses, and technical assistance missions which benefited more than 9,946 participants in five thematic areas: border control; critical infrastructure protection; counterterrorism legislative assistance and terrorist financing; strengthening strategies on emerging terrorist threats (crisis management); and international cooperation and partnerships. The United States has been a major contributor to CICTE’s training programs and has directly provided funding and expert trainers for capacity building programs focused on maritime security, aviation security, travel document security and fraud prevention, cybersecurity, counterterrorism legislation, and efforts to counter terrorist financing.
A matrix of the ratification status of 16 of the international conventions and protocols related to terrorism can be found here: https://www.unodc.org/tldb/universal_instruments_NEW.html
COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM (CVE). CVE programming seeks to (1) provide positive alternatives to those most at-risk of radicalization and recruitment into violent extremism; (2) counter violent extremist narratives and messaging; and (3) increase international partner capacity (civil society and government) to address the drivers of radicalization. CVE activities put particular emphasis on building capacity at the local level.
The President and the Secretary of State established the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) in 2010 to lead an interagency effort to coordinate, orient, and inform government-wide foreign communications activities targeted against terrorism and violent extremism, particularly al-Qa’ida (AQ) and its affiliates and adherents. CSCC, based at the Department of State, collaborates with U.S. embassies and consulates, interagency partners, and outside experts to counter terrorist narratives and misinformation and directly supports U.S. government communicators at our U.S. embassies overseas. CSCC’s programs draw on a full range of intelligence information and analysis for context and feedback. CSCC counters terrorist propaganda in the social media environment on a daily basis, contesting space where AQ and its supporters formerly had free reign. CSCC communications have provoked defensive responses from extremists on many of the most popular extremist websites and forums as well as on social media. In 2012, CSCC produced over 6,000 postings, 64 videos, and 65 graphics, and data suggests its videos have been viewed over 2.1 million times. Informed by its strong relationships with partners in the intelligence community, CSCC also engages in a variety of projects directly supporting U.S. government communicators working with overseas audiences in critical regions in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, as well as amplifying the voices of survivors and victims of terrorism through a Resilient Communities Grants program.
In general, CVE programming more closely resembles programs for curtailing recruitment into militias or gangs than traditional public diplomacy or development programming. It requires knowledge of where youth are most susceptible to radicalization and why that is so. We ensure that our areas of focus align with the areas of greatest risk by working with foreign partners and other U.S. government agencies to identify hotspots of radicalization and to design programming. Key areas of programming include:
• Community Engagement. Through small grants to U.S. embassies and consulates, the Department of State implemented projects that focused on activities that link at-risk youth with responsible influencers and leaders in their communities. These activities include youth sports leagues, leadership development, and problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills. Grants have also supported the establishment of youth support groups for youth in prisons, and amplifying narratives from victims of terrorism and former terrorists that portray the negative effects of violent extremism. Programming supported community and law enforcement leadership linkages to identify and eliminate problems within the community. Credible influencers – both local leaders and government actors – provided educational, technological, and community development training to help develop communities that are resistant to violent messaging, thus empowering participants to strengthen the social fabric of their countries.
• Engaging Women. CVE programming places particular emphasis on engaging women; women are uniquely positioned to counter radicalization both at home and in their communities and are therefore a vital component of our efforts. We continued to support the networking of CVE women activists. Lastly, we sought to amplify the voices of victims of terrorism who can credibly articulate the destructive consequences of terrorism, and can thus help to dissuade those contemplating such acts.
• Prison Disengagement. We have worked to identify and address key nodes of potential radicalization. One priority area for us has been prisons. Many incarcerated terrorists will eventually be released, and we have been working to take steps to decrease the likelihood that they will return to violence after they are released. There are also real concerns about potential radicalization inside prisons; effective prison management and good correctional practices can help reduce these risks. To deal with this challenge, we worked with the UN’s Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the International Center for Counterterrorism (ICCT), a Dutch NGO, to develop an international initiative on prison rehabilitation and disengagement. More than 35 countries, multilateral organizations, and leading independent experts have participated in this initiative, which provided policymakers, practitioners, and experts a chance to compare notes and develop good practices in this critically important area. These good practices were codified and approved in the GCTF’s July 2012 Rome Memorandum.
In addition, we continued to be engaged in the following broader U.S. government and multilateral CVE initiative:
• Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) CVE Working Group. The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) provides a platform for counterterrorism policymakers and experts to work together to identify urgent needs, devise solutions, and mobilize resources for addressing key counterterrorism challenges. GCTF's CVE Working Group, one of five expert-driven groups, started to examine the following areas: (a) using institutions to counter violent extremism; (b) measuring the impact of CVE programs; and c) countering the violent extremist narrative. On December 14, at the GCTF's Third Coordinating Committee and Ministerial meetings in Abu Dhabi, the GCTF inaugurated Hedayah, the first-ever International Center of Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism, with its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. More information on Hedayah can be found here: http://www.thegctf.org/
CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAMS. As the terrorist threat has evolved and grown more geographically diverse in recent years, it has become clear that our success depends in large part on the effectiveness and ability of our partners. To succeed over the long term, we must increase the number of countries capable of and willing to take on this challenge. We have had important successes in Indonesia and Colombia, but we must intensify efforts to improve our partners' law enforcement and border security capabilities to tackle these threats. Our counterterrorism capacity building programs – Antiterrorism Assistance Program, Counterterrorist Finance, Counterterrorism Engagement, the Terrorist Interdiction Program/Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System, and transnational activities under the Regional Strategic Initiatives – are all critically important and work on a daily basis to build capacity and improve political will. For further information on these programs, we refer you to the Annual Report on Assistance Related to International Terrorism, Fiscal Year 2012: //2009-2017.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/rpt/206686.htm.
REGIONAL STRATEGIC INITIATIVE. Terrorist groups often utilize porous borders and ungoverned areas between countries. The Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism created the Regional Strategic Initiative (RSI) to encourage Ambassadors and their Country Teams to develop regional approaches to counterterrorism. RSI operates in key terrorist theaters of operation to assess the threat, pool resources, and devise collaborative strategies, action plans, and policy recommendations. In 2012, RSI groups were in place for Southeast Asia, East Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, Iraq and its Neighbors, South Asia, Western Hemisphere, Central Asia, and the Trans-Sahara.
Examples of RSI programs approved and funded in 2012 include the Resident Legal Advisor programs in Malaysia, Mauritania, and Mali/Niger; ongoing support for the Terrorism and Transnational Task Force within the Indonesian Attorney General's Office; border security initiatives in the Eastern Mediterranean; the Ugandan Police Force Community Policing Outreach program; an anti-kidnapping for ransom workshop for countries of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP); and the provision of vehicles to the Ministry of Interior of Tunisia.
The United States continues to build a long-term partnership with Pakistan, as we believe that a stable, secure, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan is in our long-term national security interest. To support this partnership, the United States has provided civilian and security assistance totaling more than US $4 billion since 2009, including about US $1 billion in emergency humanitarian assistance. In addition, since 2002 the Department of Defense has reimbursed approximately US $11 billion in Coalition Support Funds for Pakistani expenditures in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. security assistance to Pakistan is targeted to support Pakistan’s counterterrorism and counterinsurgency needs.
Composition and levels of assistance, including security and other assistance. Since the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (Kerry-Lugar-Berman, KLB) was passed in October 2009, the United States has disbursed over US $3 billion in civilian assistance to Pakistan, including over US $1 billion of emergency humanitarian assistance following floods and conflict. We continue to focus on five sectors determined in consultation with the Pakistani government in 2011: energy; economic growth, including agriculture; stabilization; education; and health. Emphasis on improving democracy, governance, and gender equity are integrated across the portfolio.
Since the passage of the KLB Act, U.S. assistance has added 400 megawatts to Pakistan’s electricity grid; 650 km of roads have been constructed in Pakistan’s border regions, enabling trade, security, and mobility; 4,500 police and 800 prosecutors across Pakistan have been trained; approximately 10,000 Pakistanis have received scholarships to attend Pakistani universities; and over 7,200 healthcare providers, including 4,300 female health workers, have been trained to improve the quality of family planning at public sector facilities.
($ in thousands)
Economic Support Fund
Foreign Military Financing
Global Health and Child Survival - USAID
International Military Education and Training
International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement
Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs
Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund
Food for Peace
Energy. Chronic energy shortages severely limited Pakistan’s economic development. Energy is our top assistance priority, supporting our goal of job creation, security, and political stability in Pakistan. We continued to fund major infrastructure rehabilitation projects and provided technical assistance to Pakistani energy companies to improve their performance and reduce energy costs.
Economic Growth. Through a range of programs and public-private partnerships in agriculture and skills-building for Pakistani micro-entrepreneurs, U.S. assistance helped Pakistan create jobs for its oversaturated labor market. In 2012, the United States also announced the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative (PPII), a US $40 million capital commitment to small- and medium-sized Pakistani enterprises to provide much-needed liquidity to their ventures.
Stabilization. The United States supported Pakistan’s efforts to ensure its territory is inhospitable to violent extremists by strengthening governance and civilian law enforcement capacity and promoting socio-economic development, particularly in border areas and targeted locations vulnerable to violent extremism. Our efforts included road construction, small community-based grants, police and governance training, and providing equipment to civilian law enforcement.
Education. U.S. education programs focused on increasing the number of students who enroll in and complete courses in primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions; and improving the quality of that education for the Pakistani workforce. This furthers economic growth, which is integrally linked to improvements in basic and higher education systems. We are also committed to building bridges between Pakistani and American students and professionals through exchange programs.
Health. The provision of basic health services in Pakistan is inconsistent, particularly for rural populations. U.S. health programs support the Government of Pakistan in delivering high-quality, cost-effective healthcare, particularly in the area of maternal and child health and including healthy birth spacing. U.S. assistance is also used to assist the Government of Pakistan construct health clinics and hospitals and fund the acquisition of medical materials, including contraception.
Humanitarian Assistance. In 2010 and 2011, the United States was the largest bilateral donor of flood assistance. In 2011, we relied on existing KLB-funded implementation partners to immediately begin assisting those in need. In June 2011, the United States provided US $190 million to the Citizens’ Damage Compensation Program (CDCP), a Government of Pakistan vehicle designed with the World Bank to provide direct assistance to more than one million families affected by the 2010 floods. The U.S. contribution leveraged over US $500 million to CDCP. Since October 2009, over US $1 billion of emergency humanitarian assistance was provided to Pakistan in response to floods and conflict, above and beyond bilateral KLB assistance.
International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement. During 2012, Pakistan took important steps to counter violent extremists operating in the border region. These steps included intensifying support to civilian law enforcement and border security agencies. The United States directly supported Pakistan’s efforts to build the capacity of its civilian law enforcement and border security agencies by providing training, equipment, infrastructure, and aviation assistance. U.S. assistance built police capacity to hold areas cleared by Pakistan’s military, to protect local populations from militant attacks, and to maintain law and order. Collectively, these efforts enhanced the counterinsurgency, law enforcement, and counternarcotics capacities of Pakistan’s civilian law enforcement and border security agencies. Improved security will, in turn, facilitate economic development, which is necessary for long-term Pakistani stability and progress.
Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining, and Related Programs (NADR)/Export Control and Related Border Security. The United States provided assistance to strengthen Pakistan’s export control system to prevent transfer of weapons of mass destruction and related technology. NADR/Export Control and Related Border Security funds were used for nonproliferation export control training addressing legal/regulatory reform, export licensing systems, customs enforcement, general inspection, weapons of mass destruction detection training for border control personnel, and procuring specialized radiation/chemical detection equipment. The United States also provided assistance to build Pakistani law enforcement capacity to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist threats. Specifically, the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program provided training and equipment to Pakistani law enforcement to build its capacity to secure land borders and more effectively conduct terrorism-related investigations, including through improved police-prosecutorial cooperation. The State Department provided ATA assistance with the goal of institutionalizing such assistance within Pakistan’s law enforcement training structure. NADR/Global Threat Reduction Programs (GTR) provided assistance to Pakistan to prevent terrorist access to biological expertise, materials, and technology. GTR engaged scientists to reduce bio-security threats against the United States by supporting pathogen security, safe and secure laboratory conduct, and disease detection and control.
Foreign Military Financing (FMF). FMF promotes the development of Pakistan's long-term counterinsurgency and counterterrorism capabilities to promote security and stability throughout the country, particularly in the conflict affected areas on the western borders with Afghanistan; improves Pakistan's ability to lead and/or participate in maritime security operations; and supports the transformation and modernization of Pakistan's military into a more professional and capable force to meet Pakistan's legitimate defense needs. Since 2011, the bulk of FMF assistance has been restricted from execution due to provisions contained in the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation. During that period, however, we delivered significant assistance, including new and upgraded F-16s to the Pakistan Air Force which are being used to support counterterrorism efforts throughout the border region. In addition, we delivered one Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate which has been consistently used by the Pakistan Navy to support its participation in Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 (counterterrorism operations) and CTF 151 (counter-piracy operations). Funding from FY 2011 through FY 2013 will be directed towards enhancing Pakistan’s counterinsurgency and counterterrorism capabilities in the areas of precision strike, battlefield air mobility/combat search and rescue, battlefield communications, night vision, survivability, countering improvised explosive devices, and border control.
International Military Education and Training (IMET). Pakistan’s IMET program supported professional military education for Pakistan’s military leaders, emphasizing respect for the rule of law, human rights, and democratic values, including civilian control of the military. IMET also supported effective management of Pakistan’s defense establishment through training in logistics, defense acquisition, and resource management. As required as part of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation, a significant portion of this funding supports training related to counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations in Pakistan.
Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund/Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund. The Department of Defense’s Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund and the Department of State’s successor program, the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF), assist the Government of Pakistan in building and maintaining the capability of its security forces to conduct counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations throughout the frontier regions that are in our mutual interest. PCCF has enabled us to provide critical equipment and training to improve capabilities for the Pakistan Army, Air Force, and Frontier Corps, including counter-improvised explosive devices, night operations, and precision strike. In addition, better equipped security forces will continue to facilitate Pakistan’s efforts to support our shared interest in ensuring a stable, secure, and prosperous region as we approach the transitions of 2014.
Measures to ensure that assistance has the greatest long-term positive impact on the welfare of the Pakistani people and their ability to counter terrorism. Roughly half of U.S. civilian assistance is implemented via Pakistani partners, including the Government of Pakistan and private sector actors when practicable. This is done to strengthen local capacity and increase sustainability, providing the greatest possible long-term impact of U.S. assistance on the welfare of the Pakistani people. Increasingly, the Administration is also implementing public-private partnerships in health and economic growth programs to engage the private sector as a long-term partner in Pakistan’s development.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have a strong bilateral relationship. Multiple high-level visits in 2012 deepened this relationship at the personal and institutional level and enabled senior officials from both countries the chance to discuss means of improving coordination. In 2012, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon, then-Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John O. Brennan, director of FBI Robert Mueller III, and Deputy Secretary of Treasury Neal Wolin, each visited Saudi Arabia, meeting with King Abdullah and other Saudi officials.
Like other countries in the region, Saudi Arabia sought to find meaningful economic and civic opportunities for its people, over 65 percent of its population is under 25 years old. The King has clearly enunciated an economic development agenda, and Saudi Arabia made progress in addressing economic sources of social discontent, such as housing scarcity, a low public sector minimum wage, and the lack of a private sector unemployment benefit. The King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue continued to promote tolerance and respect for diversity through its dialogue and awareness-raising programs. In October, as an extension of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote tolerance and dialogue, the Saudi government, in cooperation with the Governments of Spain and Austria, launched the King Abdullah International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna to offer a permanent platform for dialogue between the world’s major religions.
The United States continued to support the Saudis in the reforms they are undertaking by facilitating Saudis studying in the United States and other educational exchanges; by encouraging increased bilateral trade and investment, and urging Saudi Arabia to take actions necessary to attract job-creating partnerships with U.S. companies; and by targeted programming in such areas as judicial reform, local governance, and women’s entrepreneurship. The United States encouraged the Saudi government to take concrete steps to increase opportunities for civic participation; in September, the Saudi government held municipal council elections (delayed since 2009); also in September, King Abdullah announced that women would be allowed to participate in future elections (expected in 2015) and that women would be appointed to future sessions of the Consultative Council.
U.S.-Saudi collaboration was not confined to bilateral issues: with political upheaval across the region throughout the year, we consulted closely with the Saudi government on regional stability, including in Yemen, Syria, and Egypt. Working both bilaterally and multilaterally through the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League, the Saudi government provided leadership in promoting peaceful transitions. As part of its strategy to support these transitions and to promote stability throughout the region, the Saudi government significantly increased the scope of its economic and development assistance.
Four of the five broadcast entities under the supervision of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBC) – the Voice of America (VOA), the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa, and Afia Darfur), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Radio Free Asia – provided programming for Muslim audiences in 2012.
• Eighteen of RFE/RL’s broadcast languages – almost two-thirds of the total – were directed to regions with majority-Muslim populations, including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Albania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Additional broadcasting regions in the Russian Federation included the majority Muslim populations of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and the North Caucasus.
• VOA has been particularly successful in reaching non-Arabic-speaking Muslim audiences, with strong performances in Nigeria, Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Tanzania.
• The Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) broadcast throughout the region to a Muslim population estimated at 315 million.
• VOA and RFE/RL provided news and information to Afghanistan and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region in Dari and Pashto. Together, RFE/RL and VOA reached nearly 75 percent of Afghan adults each week.
• Radio Free Asia broadcast to the more than 16 million mainly ethnic Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of northwestern China and Central Eurasia.
The BBG used the latest communications technologies to avoid jamming and to reach new audiences through digital and other communications tools, such as webchats and blogs.
Arabic. Broadcasting through a network of five bureaus/production centers in the region, a network of regional correspondents, and its main studios in Virginia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) broadcast throughout the region to a Muslim population estimated at 315 million. This represented 92 percent of the region’s population and 20 percent of the world’s Muslim population. The networks provided a unique, local perspective of breaking news, current events, and topics that are not readily found in domestic media, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the role of women in society and politics. In 2012, MBN focused its coverage on the building of democratic principles throughout the region.
Leading up to presidential elections in Egypt, Alhurra joined with Cairo’s top rated Al Hayat TV-2 to co-produce and simultaneous broadcast a series of high-profile interviews of Egyptian presidential candidates. The network’s coverage continued through the transfer of power from the military to the newly elected president and through the demonstrations and debates over the national referendum regarding the adoption of a new constitution. Alhurra’s local news coverage was supplemented by in-depth analysis and panel discussions regarding controversial sections of the proposed constitution including the powers of the president, the role of the judiciary, and the army. Alhurra’s flagship talk show Free Hour aired live from Cairo in the week leading up to the vote, and the weekly talk show Hiwar Cairo expanded to two hours.
In Libya, Alhurra and Radio Sawa continued to cover the transition to democracy though its newscasts, special event programming, and as a special topic on current affairs programs. Topics included the security situation in Libya and the debate over federalism and the formation of the national army. Radio Sawa’s coverage was bolstered by the installation of FM transmitters in Tripoli, Benghazi, and Misratah, the country’s three largest cities.
Also in 2012, MBN re-launched its Alhurra and Radio Sawa websites, featuring a cleaner and more user-friendly experience. The sites promoted greater audience interaction by allowing readers to easily post comments on stories and share reports. Through its reinvigorated digital presence and integration with on-air promotion, Alhurra’s Facebook followers have grown to more than 830,000 and Radio Sawa to more than 775,000.
Radio Sawa’s network of stations, broadcasting 24/7, is designed to reach the Arabic-speaking population under the age of 35. It broadcast 325 newscasts per week about the Middle East, the United States, and the world. According to international research firms such as ACNielsen, Radio Sawa had a weekly reach of 13.4 million people in countries where its audience has been measured.
Radio Sawa broadcast on FM in:
• Morocco (Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, Meknes, Marrakesh, Agadir, and Fes)
• Jordan (Amman and Ajlun – also extending SAWA’s reach into southern Syria)
• West Bank and Gaza (Jenin and Ramallah)
• Kuwait (Kuwait City)
• Bahrain (Manama)
• Libya (Tripoli, Benghazi, and Misratah)
• Qatar (Doha)
• United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai)
• Iraq (Baghdad, Nasiriya, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk, Sulimaniya, Fallujah, Ramadi, Al-Hilla, Tikrit, Amara, Najaf, Samawa, and Erbil)
• Lebanon (Beirut, North Lebanon, South Lebanon, and Bekaa Valley)
Radio Sawa also broadcast on medium wave to Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan; and was available on the Arabsat, Nilesat, and Eutelsat satellite systems.
Iraq. Every week, 67 percent of Iraqi adults – some 12.4 million people – listened to or watched one of the four BBG broadcasters serving the country: Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa, RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq, and VOA Kurdish. Alhurra reached 49 percent of the Iraqi population weekly and Radio Sawa remained the number one radio station among adults. Radio Free Iraq, with 16 percent weekly reach on radio and the internet, was among the top five radio stations for news. VOA Kurdish reached 7.1 percent of Kurdish-speaking Iraqis weekly.
Radio Free Iraq connected with its audience through in-depth reporting on political developments, religious tolerance, Iraqi music and literary traditions, women, youth, and sports. While radio was Radio Free Iraq’s primary platform, iraqhurr.org gained online users. The Service also had a mobile version of its website and was active on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Radio Free Iraq’s SMS service increased public interactivity. Listeners’ feedback sent in via SMS, as well as via voice mail service, was used to enrich radio programming.
Kurdish. VOA’s Kurdish Service has been the only international broadcaster to Iraq’s Kurds in their main dialects, Sorani and Kurmanji. Although the primary target audience was the Iraqi Kurd population, the Service expanded its coverage to reach Kurds in Turkey, Syria, and Iran. The Service broadcast three hours of radio programming seven days a week via short wave and FM transmitters in the cities of Sulaimania, Kirkuk, Mosul, Erbil, and Baghdad. Postings on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter increased the number of visitors to the service’s Sorani and Kurmanji sites. VOA Kurdish expanded its audience by introducing one of its daily radio shows via satellite TV. A 2012 survey indicated an audience increase in the weekly listening rate to over eight percent of Kurdish adults in Iraq.
Iran. Although the Government of Iran worked to jam satellite television signals, audience numbers in Iran increased in 2012. New Gallup data showed that VOA Persian’s TV weekly audience grew to 21.4 percent, up from 6.5 percent in 2011. The return of the VOA signal to the popular Hotbird satellite is believed a key factor. With the addition of radio and the internet, VOA’s total audience reach in Iran is estimated at 22.1 percent. Under the leadership of a new management team, the Persian Service expanded its prime time programming to six hours daily, and revised its lineup to include several new shows that highlight life in the United States and allow greater audience participation. The Persian Service also produced a two-hour star-studded concert, recorded live, in celebration of Nowruz (the Persian New Year). VOA Persian provided audiences with unrivalled coverage of major U.S. events, including the State of the Union address and the 2012 elections.
RFE/RL’s Radio Farda broadcast newscasts at the top of each hour, followed by reports, features, interviews, and regular segments on youth, women, culture, economics, and politics.
Radio Farda regularly debunked false claims by Iranian state media. In early 2012, when state television falsely claimed that the EU had ignored a request by Tehran for preparatory talks ahead of a key nuclear negotiation, Radio Farda landed an exclusive interview with an EU spokesperson, who told listeners that the EU had already responded to Iran’s request. Radio Farda’s report quickly gained traction on social media and the internet, forcing state-run media to correct its earlier story.
New Radio Farda programs directed attention to the plight of political prisoners. A prisoner released by Iranian authorities told Radio Farda that fellow inmates in Tehran’s notorious Evin and Gohardasht prisons followed the daily series “Visit” closely. A second series, “Solitary Confinement” generated interest, particularly within the Iranian journalism community, since many Iranian journalists have been subjected to solitary confinement in prison.
Radio Farda received over 100,000 messages via SMS, email, and voicemail annually, and has one of the most popular Iranian news pages on Facebook with almost 215,000 fans. Radio Farda’s popular satire show, Pas Farda, has its own Facebook page with over 80,000 fans. Radio Farda’s strategies to fight internet blockage by the Iranian regime are proving successful. From June 2011 to May 2012, Farda’s website logged nearly 160 million page views.
Radio Free Afghanistan. Afghanistan was the only country in RFE/RL’s broadcast region where U.S. government-funded broadcasters were the dominant media outlets.
• In June, a Radio Azadi report on complaints by local villagers about an official from Badakhshan province resulted in President Hamid Karzai firing the official and criminal proceedings being opened against him.
• The Service’s call-in shows provided an important platform for discussion and debate as well as a means of communicating needs and concerns to Afghan officials.
• Every day the service received between 500-600 voice mails and messages from listeners.
• More than 400,000 Afghans received news twice a day from Radio Azadi on their mobile phones and send citizen journalism reports to the station, via a subscription-based SMS news service RFE/RL launched in 2010 in partnership with local mobile phone service provider Etisalat Afghanistan.
VOA’s Afghanistan Service provided radio and television programming to Afghan audiences, reaching a combined radio and television audience of 13 million people (five million via TV and eight million via radio), or 60 percent of the adult population. Ashna broadcast nine hours daily to Afghanistan (four hours Dari and four hours Pashto for radio, and one half-hour each of Dari and Pashto on TV). VOA’s television service, TV Ashna, has become especially popular in urban centers. In Afghanistan’s top five cities, TV Ashna reached 62 percent of adults weekly, while its total “all-media” audience was over 71 percent; almost half of all adults watch the newscast at least once a week. Special radio programming and segments covered Eid, Ramadan, and the Haj, with correspondent reports on prayers in mosques in both Afghanistan and Washington. In addition to news of Afghanistan, Ashna provided news and views from the United States.
Urdu. VOA Urdu’s flagship show, “Sana Ek Pakistani” provided a peek into America, its people, culture, politics, sports, food, and government. Urdu has a weekly TV Show, Zindagi (Life) 360, directed towards the youth of Pakistan. A weekly program, Café DC, looked at important personalities in the DC area, including members of congress and executive branch officials. In addition, Urdu does a daily “News Minute” on three different channels. Another weekly 30-minute program, “Access Point”, was available on the internet. The Service provided an interactive capability through Facebook and Twitter, and audiences were invited to send their observations, suggestions, and questions to VOA. Every TV and radio reporter has a Facebook page and responded to viewers comments. The Service also provided interactive programming with Pakistani-Americans and Pakistani college students.
The Pakistan/Afghanistan Border Region. VOA’s Deewa Radio’s daily nine-hour broadcast to approximately 40 million Muslims in Pakistan, and the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, provided accurate and timely news in an area dominated by state-controlled media and Taliban-run Mullah Radio. The Service launched a one hour “Radio on TV” broadcast, providing news, analysis, health, and other issues relevant to internally displaced persons (IDPs). Daily talk shows enriched the audience’s understanding of U.S. perspective towards Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Muslim world by engaging top experts with U.S. think tanks and universities. For example, Deewa’s daily program ‘Sweet Woman’ is engaging educated girls and household women on issues ranging from women rights to the arts.
Deewa’s network of 27 stringers report provide extensive daily coverage of the Federally Administered Tribal Area, including live reports from camps that house internally IDPs.
With its extensive network of local reporters, RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal (Torch) provided breaking news and in-depth coverage on medical, educational, and cultural issues affecting the region's youth, including the impact of the destruction of schools by terrorists and the need to ensure that children are vaccinated for polio. The Service emphasized interaction with its audience through regular call-in shows.
Bangladesh. VOA’s Bangla Service reported on events in both Bangladesh and the United States, and provided coverage of Ramadan/Eid celebrations in Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, and in the Bangladeshi-American community in the United States. Bangla Service coverage of U.S. events included remarks by President Obama, members of Congress, administration officials, and Muslim leaders. The Service produced a special web feature on the haj that included remarks from those participating in the pilgrimage. VOA Bangla also covered the Ahmadiya Community’s Annual Conference in Pennsylvania; the Islamic Society of North America’s annual conference in Washington, DC; and the Bishwa Iztema congregation in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Kazakhstan. RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service was delivered primarily through its internet platform but also provided two daily hours of radio programming. The web strategy attracted a younger audience to this bilingual (Kazakh and Russian) site, providing opportunities for interactivity and exploration of new genres such as video reporting. In early 2012, the Kazakh Service distinguished itself with its coverage of the deadly unrest in the town of Zhanaozen, where in December 2011, police killed at least a dozen protesting oil workers. The Service got a correspondent into Zhanaozen before the Kazakh government imposed a media blackout. The coverage of the tragedy became a primary source for media outlets including The New York Times, BBC, and Reuters.
Kyrgyzstan. RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service (Radio Azattyk) was one of the most trusted sources of news and information in Kyrgyzstan, especially during periods of political turmoil. The Service’s two TV shows were broadcast during prime time hours on National TV with a combined weekly reach of 25 percent of the population.
Tajikistan. RFE/RL’s Tajik Service was the largest independent media outlet in Tajikistan and the top international broadcaster in the country. The Tajik Service was repeatedly criticized by the Tajik government for its coverage, and access to the Service's website was temporarily blocked by the government in late December.
Uzbekistan. In June, the Uzbek Service launched "Liberty Online," an internet-based audio talk show that used Skype and Facebook to involve interview subjects and listeners in a live discussion. Between May 2011 and May 2012, the number of users of the Service’s YouTube page rose from 35,000 to 537,000, while the Service’s mobile site saw a tenfold increase during the same one-year period. VOA’s Uzbek TV program and daily 30-minute radio broadcast featured interviews with U.S. and international sources on topics including terrorism, religious extremism, and U.S.-Uzbek relations. The Service launched uzmobil.com, distributing VOA news to mobile phone subscribers. Reports were also accessible on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
Turkmenistan. RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service is not allowed to have a bureau or accredited journalists within the country, but despite these restrictions, the Turkmen Service increased its online traffic through new-media techniques including blogging and social networking on Facebook and Twitter. In June, after reporting that Turkmenistan's universities only had space for 6,000 incoming students, the Service created a webpage that compiled information from NGOs, embassies, and university officials in several countries with information for Turkmen students on studying abroad.
China. VOA Chinese included daily Mandarin and Cantonese broadcasts via satellite television, radio, online, and mobile channels. These broadcasts delivered news about the world and the United States, including religious and legal issues affecting China’s estimated 22 million Muslims.
Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) Uighur language service broadcast two hours daily, seven days a week, and was the only international radio service providing news and information in the Uighur language to the potential audience of more than 16 million Uighur Muslims in Western China and Central Eurasia. Consistent with RFA's mandate, the Uighur service acted as a substitute for indigenous media reporting on local events in the region. Its programs included breaking news, analysis, interviews, commentary, a weekly news review, and feature stories.
Despite the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region’s (XUAR) continued media blackout enforced by Chinese authorities, RFA broke news with local eyewitness and citizen journalist input.
RFA's Uighur service website updated news in all three writing systems used to convey the Uighur language: Arabic, Latin, and Cyrillic. The site streamed the daily RFA broadcast in Uighur and offered ongoing coverage of events in the XUAR in text, image, and video. In a radio and online multimedia series, RFA reported on Uighur men who have been missing since the 2009 unrest. The service won a top award at this year’s New York Festival for its breaking coverage of the jailing of four Uighur youths in the aftermath of a deadly incident. RSS feeds were available, making it possible for people to automatically update their newsreaders or web pages with RFA news content. RFA also offered a mobile version of its website as well as Uighur Twitter and Facebook pages. Despite Chinese censorship, research indicated that Uighur listeners and web users considered RFA an important resource in a controlled media environment.
Indonesia. VOA’s 2012 weekly audience in Indonesia was more than 21 million people. VOA Indonesian TV news products were regularly seen on eight of Indonesia’s 11 national stations, in addition to more than 30 local and regional stations. The Service produced a weekly TV segment on Islam in the United States for ANTV’s Wisata Hati, a popular early morning Muslim-oriented program. During the month of Ramadan, VOA produced a special TV series on Islam in the United States, carried by several national stations. The Service produced more than eight hours daily of original radio programming for a network of more than 300 affiliate FM stations. Radio programming included five-minute Headline News reports that aired 32 times a day, seven days a week. The Service’s Facebook page surpassed one million fans by the end of 2012. In November, the Service held two conferences attended by more than 200 radio, TV, and web affiliates; and it participated in two major off-air events; UrbanFest with 50,000 attendees, and the Media Festival sponsored by the Alliance of Independent Journalists.
The Russian Federation. VOA’s Russian Service has systematically addressed issues related to Islam in key areas. A special section on the Service’s website, dedicated to coverage of developments in the North Caucasus region, was regularly updated with reports, interviews, and video features.
Tatarstan/Bashkortostan. The Tatar and Bashkir communities are the two largest Muslim communities in Russia. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Tatar/Bashkir Service was the only major international broadcaster in the Tatar and Bashkir languages and provided listeners with objective news and analysis. The service’s web page was a virtual meeting place for people to discuss these issues. VOA Russian also targeted these communities, who largely rely on Russian language for their news and information. Since May 2010, there were over 100,000 visits to VOA’s Russian website for Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.
North Caucasus. Broadcasting in the Avar, Chechen, and Circassian languages, RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service reported the news in a region where media freedom and journalists remained under threat.
Turkey. VOA’s Turkish Service, updated with top news seven days a week, offered English teaching programs, a daily web radio program, video and audio clips, and the ability for users to post comments. It was accessible by web-enhanced mobile phones and similar devices, and content was distributed on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. The Service provided 15-minute live TV news and analysis broadcasts four times per week to its TV affiliate, TGRT News Network in Turkey (one of the top five all-news networks in Turkey). VOA Turkish also produced a weekly 30-minute magazine show that was aired on TGRT.
The Balkans. VOA’s Balkan services explored the life of Muslims in the United States, multi-ethnic and religious tolerance in the Balkans, and terrorism, including manifestations of that threat in the Balkans. More than 4.7 million adults watched or listened weekly to VOA programs in Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia, Serbia, and Macedonia.
VOA Bosnian featured reports on the sentencing of Bosnian-born U.S. citizen Adis Medunjanin in the 2009 al-Qa’ida plot to bomb the New York subway system, and the trial of Mevlid Jasarevic, jailed for the 2011 terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo; interviewed Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia; and presented commentary and analysis from U.S. terrorism experts.
VOA Albanian covered the sentencing of Albanian citizen and Brooklyn resident Agron Hasbajrami for attempting to provide material support to terrorists.
Azerbaijan. VOA Azerbaijani daily TV and Web programming focused on the country’s political dynamics as the authorities increased their pressure on political activists and civil-society groups. It regularly programmed reports and interviews targeting the large Azeri population in northern Iran. When it was banned from FM airwaves, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijan Service (Radio Azadliq) lost more than half of its reach in Baku. It has turned to the internet and to satellite television to reconnect with listeners.
• In the first half of 2012, Azadliq’s website garnered more than 2.5 million visits, 80 percent of which came from within Azerbaijan.
• In May, the Service launched a new weekly 15-minute program that appeared within a partner’s program on TurkSat as well as on HotBird.
• The Service began providing live video coverage using the Livestream platform Bambuser, which allowed journalists to cover events even when an internet connection was unavailable. The Service also published a weekly newspaper distributed at Baku subway stations.
• The Service launched a six-month project in January 2012 to enhance its Corruption Meter initiative with a series of weekly debates broadcast live on social media, radio, and the internet.
Nigeria. VOA’s Hausa Service has provided extensive coverage of Boko Haram’s terrorist activities in Northern Nigeria, including reporting and discussion on attacks and bombings of military check points, schools, police stations, banks, and markets. VOA itself was threatened by Boko Haram as a result of its coverage.
Somalia. VOA’s Somali Service produced a weekly Islamic affairs program that covered political, economic, and social changes in Muslim majority countries. Issues covered included the joint military offensive by the Somali government and AU against al-Shabaab; Syria; elections in Egypt, and the September 11 attack on Benghazi.
Swahili. VOA’s Swahili Service broadcast to large Muslim populations in Tanzania and Kenya, and to Muslim communities in Uganda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
French to Africa. VOA’s French to Africa Service provided extensive coverage of the fundamentalist-driven conflict in Mali and its effect on the sub-region. Additionally, weekly Religion Magazine programs have been dedicated to discussions with Muslim scholars and experts on Islam, the role of women, sectarian differences within Islam, and interfaith dialogues with religious figures.
In 2012, USAID’s contributed US $654,500,000 to basic education in Muslim majority countries. Approximate amounts for each region were:
• USAID/Asia Bureau: US $363 million; approximately US $320 million of this sum was allocated to predominantly Muslim countries or Muslim majority populations within a country. Countries included Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines (Mindanao), and Tajikistan.
• USAID/Middle East Bureau: US $153 million for Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Yemen, and the West Bank and Gaza.
• USAID/Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs: US $105 million.
• USAID/Europe and Eurasia Bureau: Education assistance for Kosovo totaled US $1,510,000.
• USAID/Africa Bureau: US $272 million; US $75 million was used for Muslim populations in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, and Tanzania, and on regional programs in several other countries.
Bangladesh. USAID focused on early childhood development to improve enrollment, retention, and performance in primary schools. The Promoting Talent through Early Education Program developed a pre-school curriculum and increased learning skills and access to educational opportunities for 39,710 preschoolers. Over 2,800 primary school teachers were trained in interactive teaching methodologies that included health, nutrition, and sanitation components. In addition to teacher training, the program trained school administrators to ensure that curriculum and teaching improvements were institutionalized. The US $8.3 million Bangladeshi version of Sesame Street was the most widely viewed children’s television show in the country, reaching over 10 million Bangladeshi children weekly.
India. While not a Muslim majority country, India has a large Muslim population. USAID’s basic education activities helped provide quality education to disadvantaged children including Muslim minorities and promoted the use of technology to improve teaching and learning in the classroom and interventions that link education to employment. The Madrassa Education Program came to a close in 2012 and helped enroll over 51,000 disadvantaged students. More than 200 teachers and 110 administrators were trained in modern pedagogic concepts and effective teaching methods resulting in madrassa leaders assuming new roles in education for youth, particularly girls. A noteworthy achievement has been the mobilization of community support groups and volunteers through training, resulting in formal communication channels being institutionalized between parents and madrassas. In addition, USAID/India’s Youth Skill Development Initiative provided education in basic life and employability skills to deprived out-of-school youth, such as computer usage, spoken English, and customer relations. Over 38,000 youth were trained in the states of Delhi, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra. Seventy-five percent of the trainees received employment and many opted for further studies.
Designed as a public-private initiative, the program has leveraged resources from non-USAID sources such as the Centre for Civil Society, the India Islamic Cultural Centre, and Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Kishanganj. Finally, USAID/India implemented a program in over 500 madrassas in Hyderabad, West Bengal, and Andra Pradesh that introduced formal curricula, enrolled and retained out-of-school children, improved the quality of education, and prepared madrassas to meet government standards. Over 50,000 Muslim children were provided with formal education in the two states.
Indonesia. The Decentralized Basic Education initiative expanded the dissemination, replication, and sustainability of best practices. Funds provided by local governments and schools resulted in 75 district governments officially budgeting for Basic Education programs in more than 2,000 schools across 24 districts. The program benefited nearly 30,000 educators, 2,000 administrators, and 200,000 students. USAID also supported Jalan Sesama, a Sesame Street Workshop that reached 7.5 million children. The Opportunities for Vulnerable Children Program assisted children with special needs to attend inclusive education programs.
Kyrgyzstan. USAID’s education programs benefited more than 80,000 students and 4,000 teachers across the country. The model for school financing and increased accountability continued to spread to schools and administrative units beyond the USAID project areas. Assistance also supported the American University of Central Asia and a Development Credit Authority student loan program that increased access to higher education and vocational training for students, particularly those from rural areas, by creating a replicable, private sector tuition financing model.
Philippines. USAID education program assistance reached more than 387,000 learners and 10,300 teachers and administrators in Mindanao. To improve access to education, 385 classrooms were constructed and repaired. Programs also supported 729 Parent-Teacher-Community Associations and distributed more than 700,000 learning materials. The National Achievement test scores of students in U.S.-supported schools increased by 14 percent, and marked improvements were observed in all skill sets, including reading fluency.
Tajikistan. The USAID Safe School Program assisted the government with anti-gender based violence training modules that were adapted and integrated through the national teacher training institutes. In collaboration with the Tajik government, the School Dropout and Prevention Program began to address school drop-out in three regions; and in collaboration with the Tajik government and the World Bank, USAID-supported school financing and management systems were rolled out nationwide in 68 districts. A new activity promoting positive youth engagement in three high-need regions of the country was launched; through civic education courses, youth development activities, and community development grants, this initiative will reach 900 disadvantaged youth.
Egypt. Over the past year, 44 public primary schools in two districts have worked with the Technology for Improved Learning Outcomes (TILO) team to integrate an intensive technology and training model to improve student learning outcomes through the effective use of technology. Ministry of Education (MOE) officials decided to take an initiative to spread TILO to other districts, and conducted an internal assessment to identify gaps within the system that would need to be addressed before they start implementing the expansion strategy. By September 2012, 525 teachers were trained in 105 schools. Based on the demonstrated impact of the USAID early grade reading package, which improved students’ reading fluency by 91 percent, the MOE decided to scale up to all primary schools in Egypt. It now benefits 15,000 primary schools nationwide, benefitting 1.4 million grade one students.
USAID/Egypt continued to provide technical support for the 6-of-October Science, Technology, and Math (STM) School for Boys, to reinforce STM pedagogy and increase awareness of relevant teaching and learning approaches. The MOE and science and mathematics educators will participate in U.S.-based and in-country training, technical assistance and strategies instruction. In March 2012, three U.S.-based active STM teacher trainers representing science, engineering, math, and humanities conducted a six full-day training workshop to provide the Egyptian science and math teachers with a rich understanding and familiarity with inquiry and project-based learning pedagogy. In April/May, 25 STM teachers and MOE Science and Math specialists participated in a two-week U.S.-based training to deepen their understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education in the United States and consolidate and build on the knowledge and skills they developed as a result of the training and technical assistance. Additionally, the STM Student Assessment Framework was finalized and endorsed by the MOE, the Ministry of Higher Education, and the Supreme Council of Universities. Accordingly, the Egyptian STM students will be admitted to universities based on a special STM assessment system, which will be informed by the STEM best practices in the United States instead of the traditional secondary school national exam (the Thanaweya Amma).
Finally, due to the Education Support Program (ESP), Egyptian schools have witnessed changes relating to two very important elements of the country’s human resources that support education. The first element was a redefinition of the role that school Boards of Trustees play in promoting citizenship, governance, and community participation. The second element was the hiring of thousands of young Egyptians by the Ministry of Education as new assistant teachers. Through ESP, 25,000 Boards of Trustees received an MOE-endorsed training package and 75,000 newly hired teachers will receive the Professional Academy for Teachers certified training package by March 2014.
Iraq. In 2012, USAID partnered with the Iraqi Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) to carry out assessments and analyses on: a) student performance in reading and mathematics, pedagogic practice, and school management in the primary grade level; b) in-service teacher training centers; c) Iraq’s education management capacity; and d) Kurdistan’s basic education systems, including focus on school management, teacher, parent and community concerns. A key component of the surveys and assessments, in addition to getting data and information to make decisions, was to build the capacity of the MOE to implement the surveys. The United States worked work closely with the ministry in all stages of the survey process and trained MOE staff to adapt the survey instruments; design the sample size; participate in assessor training; and administer the survey, data entry, data cleaning, analysis, and policy dialogue. Results highlighted the need to increase: the number of instructional hours per year; children’s access to reading materials, both at school and at home; and parental involvement in primary schooling. The existing education system is too centralized to efficiently address the education needs of all Iraqis. As a result, the MOE will embark on a visioning exercise to discuss how to produce a well-informed and widely owned design for a high-quality, modern education system for Iraq. The survey produced baseline data that will inform the MOE’s education policy reforms and development and enable monitoring of the progress of education activities.
Jordan. USAID oversaw an Education Reform Support Program (ERSP) that directly supported the Government of Jordan’s Education Reform for a Knowledge Economy (ERfKE) program. This project provided technical assistance for early childhood education through kindergarten renovations, thus developing a quality assurance framework. ERSP provided professional development opportunities for teachers, youth activities, data for informed decision making, and the development of an online curriculum for the exam administered at the end of secondary school. Jordan also has a School Construction and Rehabilitation project that aims to build 28 new schools and renovate 100 schools by September 2013. This is in direct support of ERfKE to reduce over-crowding, double shifted schools, and rented school facilities. The Community Mobilization Project works in the communities where USAID is building and renovating schools to establish community-parent-school coalitions to enhance parent involvement in schools and maintain the positive effects of the school construction and rehabilitation. A Monitoring and Evaluation Partnership Project works with the National Counsel for Human Resource Development (NCHRD), the external body that implements studies to evaluate the effects of ERfKE. USAID is providing capacity building for NCHRD and opportunities to enhance the relationship between NCHRD and the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Monitoring and Evaluation unit. The Learning Environment Technical Support Project is a research-based project to improve the learning environments at 320 at-risk schools addressing violence, vandalism, health matters, and other issues that impede student progress.
Lebanon. USAID supported the Developing Rehabilitation Assistance to Schools and Teacher Improvement (D-RASATI) project, which developed a comprehensive school assessment instrument for gathering information on physical facilities, student-staff ratios, and available equipment available, for example. For the first time, information was gathered for all 1,281 public schools in Lebanon. The project also developed an Information and Communications Technology strategy and created standards for school health and safety in the Effective School Profile for the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Specialized engineering assessments were completed for 30 schools; the results showed clear risks to student health and safety. As a result, the Council of Ministers allocated US $5 million for repairs in schools with dangerous structural conditions, supplementing D-RASATI efforts.
Nineteen schools were provided with resin tables and eye wash stations for science laboratories. MEHE established a new procurement process following the model based on the science lab equipment procurement process. A proficiency test for 4,065 teachers who use English as the language of instruction was administered, establishing the baseline for necessary training activities. The project developed the progress scale teacher observation tool for unbiased assessments that identify strengths and areas for additional training and mentoring. Finally, training manuals and modules for teacher training in English, math, biology, chemistry and physics were developed, and 68 teacher trainers received training on the methodology of teaching subject matter in English, math, and science.
Morocco. USAID’s Improving Training and Quality Advancement in National Education project worked with the Ministry of National Education to improve the quality and relevance of education in middle schools and to reduce school dropout rates. Through support to teacher training institutions, a new cadre of high-quality middle school teachers was trained to provide the youth with skills to succeed in today’s changing environments. The project is building the capacity of ministry staff in areas of monitoring and evaluation, use of data for education decision making, and e-learning. The project also works with middle school youth to determine factors that youth themselves identify as the main causes leading them to drop out of school. USAID’s civil society program engaged civil society in education improvement at the school level. Given that low quality of education and academic failure in middle school are the main reasons for students dropping out, improving education quality is leading to more students staying in school and enhancing skills and knowledge.
USAID/Morocco has also carried out early grade reading and math assessments. Survey results indicated sub-par reading levels in the lower grades, especially in rural areas. The classroom observation of math and reading instructional practices indicated that teachers rarely focused on some of the crucial foundational skills and exercises necessary to develop good reading and mathematics abilities.
West Bank and Gaza. In close coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE), USAID focused on the professional development of teachers and administrators, increasing access to education by constructing and renovating schools and classrooms, and equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in the Palestinian labor market. Programs supported the production of a new series of Sesame Street television shows, radio episodes targeting teachers and parents, and the launch of the Shara’a Simsim (Sesame Street) website. USAID partnered with the National Institute for Educational Training to design and accredit the new Principal Leadership Program. Through partnership and dialogue, the MOEHE has embraced a decentralized education system model and delegated decision-making authorities to the district and local levels. One-hundred and 12 classrooms were constructed or rehabilitated at eight schools, while 11 youth centers were renovated in the West Bank, with 3,000 students benefiting from increased access to education facilities.
Yemen. USAID worked to strengthen the capacity of communities, schools, and the Ministry of Education to sustain educational improvements. Education program activities included school renovations, adult literacy support, support to increase community participation in school management, and professional development for teachers in reading, writing, and mathematics. The program established baseline data on target student competencies in math and science.
Afghanistan. USAID’s basic education program, totaling US $97,000,000, continued to extend access to quality education to all Afghans by improving the government’s service provision capacity, targeting educational access for girls, training teachers, and helping to establish vocational education opportunities. Critical support to the Ministry of Education’s operating fund ensured an adequate number of teachers to support increased enrollment. Approximately 850,000 Afghan children, including 256,000 girls, benefitted from U.S. programs in the education sector. Of these, 7,000 students, nearly all girls, were supported in secondary schools, greatly increasing the number of students able to matriculate into higher education programs. The USAID-supported International School of Kabul, which provides an American-style education, enrolled 375 students, 80 percent of whom are Afghans and 38 percent of whom are female. Projects expanded access to education by establishing new schools applying the nationally-approved curriculum, and focused on the professional development of teachers, particularly female teachers. USAID provided 18,567 teachers with complete in-service training to improve their classroom performance and further their professional development. There were also 11,000 education administrators trained to improve school management and performance. USAID’s pre-service teacher education program awarded Master of Education degrees to 21 teachers. In 2012, 13 million textbooks were printed as a component of a new three-year, on-budget agreement with the Ministry of Education. USAID’s community-based education program, which is transitioning to a new on-budget program aligned with the Ministry of Education, supported approximately 40 supervisory staff, who supported the more than 60,000 students in rural community schools.
Kosovo. USAID continued its basic education program, a five-year US $9,791,000 initiative designed to benefit all public primary and lower secondary schools in Kosovo, grades one through nine. The project has three components: to enhance school management capacities in a decentralized environment, strengthen the assessment of learning outcomes, and improve in-service teacher development. In 2012, 118,000 students benefited from the project activities; of these, 61,360 were girls. The project trained 3,735 teachers, 707 members of school boards and student and teacher councils, and 45 Ministry of Education and Science officials. The project also adapted an early grade reading assessment to the Albanian language. The project established partnerships with 15 local and international partners and closely collaborated with local municipalities and communities to refurbish 52 classrooms. Collaboration and cooperation with donors and the private sector includes partnerships with the Teacher Training Project of Deutsche Gessellschaft fur Zuzammenarbeit and the EU, with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency-supported Education Technology program. Intel and Microsoft will integrate technology in classrooms.
Djibouti. Basic education funding in 2012 continued to assist the Ministry of Education (MENFOP) in achieving its education-for-all goal for all school-aged Djiboutian children. USAID’s basic education program focused on improving the education system through decentralized teacher training, strategic planning and budgeting, enhanced community participation, improving the Education Management Information System (EMIS), and increasing learning for out-of-school youth. Host country strategic information capacity was improved through the establishment of a software application that accurately captures statistical data. EMIS focused on building the capacity of MENFOP staff at national and regional levels; decentralized planning deepened MENFOP skills both at central and regional levels to collect and analyze education data. Under the community mobilization component, 50 school improvement projects were implemented by Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs), and 101 PTAs benefitted from training that focused on improving reading in primary education and enhancing gender equality. Assistance also focused on activities that improve children's reading abilities and learning outcomes. It introduced the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) tool to assess reading skills and determine a baseline for future programming. EGRA experts introduced the tool to more than 433 teachers through school-based trainings emphasizing the need to develop relevant strategies to cope with children’s reading difficulties in grades two, three, and five. To address Djibouti's chronically high unemployment rate and enable the Djiboutian people to leverage their own skills for continued economic growth, the program supported MENFOP in its efforts to prepare school drop-outs to transition to the workforce. The project provided vocational and professional education training for 112 female out-of-school youth, focused primarily in the hotel and food service sector. The USAID education project supported the Girls' Scholarship Program (GSP) which had a significant impact on girls’ retention in middle and secondary school and in achievement rates for underprivileged male and female youth. In FY 2012, 539 girls received scholarship packages. In addition to school supplies, tuition, and transportation fees, the GSP conducted mentoring sessions on HIV/AIDS and other important topics to support beneficiaries’ academic success and social development. The program promoted community service and the beneficiaries were required to help other students in their communities by volunteering at local libraries and tutoring school children to improve their reading and writing skills. USAID also worked in close coordination with the U.S. military on the rehabilitation and refurbishment of primary school infrastructure.
Education activities also supported the enhancement of English language training in middle schools through the development of appropriate pedagogical materials and curricula. USAID provided significant support to MENFOP in the review and development of middle school English textbooks and provided training to middle school teachers to improve the production of materials. In collaboration with school pedagogical advisors, technical assistance helped develop a Grade 10 textbook to support secondary schools on curricula reform.
Ethiopia. USAID implemented a nationwide program aimed at improving the reading skills of all students in Ethiopia; the Muslim student population is estimated at 35 percent of the total 18 million primary school students. USAID-supported activities in the Somali, Afar, Benishangul, Gumuz, and Oromia regions included teacher training to improve the quality of primary education; training for Parent-Teacher Associations and community members to increase parent and community involvement in school management; grants to schools to enhance learning and teaching and to build the capacity of education officers to plan and manage the education system; establishment and expansion of alternative basic education centers to provide non-formal primary education to children, especially girls; and adult literacy classes for illiterate adults. Materials, tutoring, counseling, and training were also provided to support and help young Muslim women succeed in both high school and universities.
Kenya. USAID’s Education for Marginalized Children program concentrated on the predominantly Muslim North Eastern and Coast Provinces, reaching nearly 377,000 children in both provinces. Approximately 250 Early Childhood Development Centers were supported and over 13,000 teachers were trained in child-centered teaching and early grade reading methods. USAID/Kenya’s Education & Youth Office also oversaw the Garissa Youth Project, which provided livelihood and workforce readiness programs for ethnic-Somali youth at-risk of al-Shabaab recruitment. The Garissa program partnered with USAID’s Office of Military Affairs to pilot the District Stability Framework, a tool to gauge the level of instability within Garissa and to help coordinate an interagency response, as well as coordinate action by the youth themselves through a US $800,000 youth fund. This was the first pilot of the framework outside of Iraq, Afghanistan, or Yemen.
Mali. In support of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP), USAID/Mali’s basic education program focused on supporting moderate Islamic schools and improving the quality of primary education for Mali's predominantly Muslim population. In 2012, US $2.2 million TSCTP and US $1 million Basic Education funds were allocated to serving out-of-school youth with vocational training, remedial academic skills, and civic engagement.
Nigeria. While education indicators were poor nationwide, they were worse in the predominantly Muslim north, where poor education contributed to the marginalization of Muslim communities. An estimated 10 million children were not enrolled in school, and with no vocational skills have little hope of ever joining the formal workforce. USAID implemented interventions that targeted both access to education services for the vulnerable, increased quality for those in school, and strengthened systems for increased accountability and transparency. In FY 2012, USAID worked in Islamic and Quranic schools benefitting 79,766 pupils (45,003 male and 34,763 female), out of which 15,190 (9,350 male; 5,840 female) were identified as orphans and vulnerable children. The vulnerable children received support materials to allow them to attend school. A total of 200 of these children acquire vocational and life skills annually by participating in the skills program.
Senegal. One of USAID’s largest education programs helped 50,000 vulnerable children gain access to a quality education or professional and vocational training. This was achieved by improving the living and learning conditions of children through construction and renovation of Quranic schools, and providing children with an education that will allow them to either continue in the formal schooling system or join the professional workforce. In collaboration with Senegal’s Ministry of Education, USAID introduced an educational program aligned to the elementary education curriculum that teaches children basic skills in French, math, science, history, geography, and life skills. The “community daara” model developed and implemented by USAID for the past four year includes: 1) a three year educational program that teaches French and Math skills; 2) renovation of the daara’s learning space using a standardized classroom model, blackboards, school desks and/or mats, gender separate toilets and access to water where there is none; 3) a management committee comprised of community members to help govern, manage, and increase resources to the daaras; and 4) support and monitoring from education authorities and community-based organizations. To date, more than 17,000 children, ages six to 12, in 350 daaras have benefitted from the program, and there was evidence that 50 to 60 percent of the children were achieving desired levels of competencies in the subjects taught. Improvements in the living conditions of the daaras were seen in the better nutrition, clothing, and hygiene of the children.
Somalia. A dual approach was taken in Somalia. For those enrolled in schools – 20 percent of school-aged children – USAID provided learning materials, improved the physical and sanitary environments of schools, and the quality of teachers and administrators. Achievements for in-school children included the rehabilitation of 102 classrooms and the construction of 68 new classrooms in 25 schools in Somaliland, Puntland, and South Central Somalia; the training of 505 teachers and 43 head teachers in improved teaching practices; the training of 351 Community Education Committee members on improved school management techniques; the distribution of 11,221 school kits and teaching/learning charts; the rehabilitation of three health centers; the training of 296 health workers and eight community health committees; the construction of numerous latrines, water tanks, shallow wells, and hand-washing facilities and the associated water quality testing and training; and the airing of three health promotion programs. As an integral part of improving school environments, improvements in water and sanitation infrastructure were funded in schools and their communities. Part of the rationale for this was the finding that the lack of sanitary facilities for girls was preventing many of them from attending school. As a result, 9,130 people (5,444 male and 3,686 female) were provided with access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities and better knowledge of good hygiene practices. For the remaining 80 percent of school-aged children not enrolled in school, an interactive radio instruction program using distance learning techniques through radio-based programs was employed for those most at-risk, primarily women and girls, youth, internally displaced persons, and illiterate urban youth. Through this initiative, USAID helped enroll an additional 1,337 new learners, trained 1,513 educators, and distributed 102,861 text books and learning materials.
Tanzania. USAID assistance supported improving student outcomes in reading in the early primary grades in underserved, primarily Muslim communities in Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania, through better classroom instruction in foundational subjects and better planning and management for reading instruction. USAID’s public-private partnerships with Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, and two local internet service partners, UhuruOne and Zantel, leveraged US $45 million in matching funds and contributed directly to improving lower primary education in reading in Mtwara and Zanzibar. USAID is leveraging US $100 million in Global Partnership for Education (GPE) funding to scale up this innovative reading program to all grade one to four students in Tanzania. The education program emphasizes reading in the local language (Swahili) for grades one to four, and integrates math, English, and science instruction into its reading program through a “reading across the curriculum” approach. The Mission is strengthening policies, information and management, and Education Management Information System (EMIS) development and application. The Mission has completed its design of the computer-based EMIS that has been installed on computers which are being delivered to every primary school in Mtwara and Zanzibar. Teachers and administrators are being trained on data entry and analysis, including indicators pertinent to education quality, student performance, and reading achievement.