The cooperation between the Departments of Geography Bonn (since 2002) and currently Giessen (since 2007) and Kabul, which was initialized by Prof. Dr. Andreas Dittmann and his German and Afghan colleagues, has shown countless results over the last years, such as the establishment of a curriculum for geosciences as well as an ongoing educational and scientific cooperation. In the context of the first, two Afghan scientists reached their Ph.D. in Giessen (Sardar M. Kohistani and Walid A. Noori), while Sayed Maqbool plans to acquire his PhD here as soon as possible. One example of the latter is presented here.


Capacity Building

Capacity Building or development is the process by which individuals, groups, organizations, institutions and societies increase their abilities to: (a) perform core functions, solve problems, define and achieve objectives; and (b) understand and deal with their development needs in a broad context and in a sustainable manner. (UNDP 1997/1998; UNESCO 2005)


Educational Cooperation: State of Affairs and Obstacles

“Bad technical equipment and out-dated teaching methods at Kabul University show the main differences to the JLU, although there has been noticeable improvement in the last few years.” – Sofizada

  • Infrastructural deficits (e.g. lack of public transport, board a lodging) prevent nationwide access to education
  • Basic and technical equipment as well as up to date teaching material must be provided
  • Internet access is being broadened
  • The supply of Afghanistan as a landlocked country is highly dependent on the good will of its neighbour states like Pakistan

“Education changes so much. More education also means more potential to develop oneself” – Kohistani

  • Shortage of staff; increase in number of students
  • Basic skills (e.g. language, software etc.) especially of older teaching staff in need of improvement
  • For Afghan teaching staff, being associated with the government or "occidental" persons can be a safety hazard
  • General safety situation recently changed for the worse and has never been good in rural areas
  • Future withdrawal of ISAF troops may compromise previous achievements

capacity building kohistani map edu

Source: Dr. Sardar M. Kohistani, JLU Giessen

capacity building sanlis income

Source: SENLIS (2007)

“You hope that you are coming home safe in the evening when you leave home in the morning.” – Sofizada

  • Development of a new Curriculum in cooperation with the Department of Geography at the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen
  • Generation shift intended to be initiated
  • Acceptance of foreign degrees and skill-based pay must be improved
  • Traditional society structures are still of great importance in the university (e.g. role of Islam, perception of women, respect for age)
  • Ethnic, cultural and religious diversity has to be accounted for



  • Survey of the water-related infrastructure
  • Measured building survey of housing conditions
  • Analysis of motifs, origins and reasons of squatter settlement development
  • Compiling maps of squatter settlements
  • Sustainability through research and capacity building at Afghan Universities and joint scientific publications
  • Development of training materials for Afghan universities
  • Symposia with teachers, students and different stakeholders
  • Interdisciplinary classes in urban design

capacity building issa students

Source: Dr. Christine Issa (2010)