Transformative learning and mind-change in rural Afghanistan

This article presents results of a quantitative/qualitative enquiry into ‘transformative learning’ and ‘mind-change’ dynamics among rural community representatives participating in the Government of Afghanistan’s National Solidarity Programme [NSP]: a community-driven, nationwide initiative to rehabilitate the country’s infrastructure. Drawing on frameworks for ‘transformative learning’ proposed by Mezirow (1990) and Freire (1993), and ‘mind-change’ proposed by Gardner (2004), it is argued that NSP catalysed transformative development learning through (1) its responsiveness to the expressed needs and interests of project participants; (2) engagement of community representatives as active development partners; (3) delegation of project management responsibility throughout all stages; (4) provision of social space for reflection and critical analysis; (5) opportunities to achieve project outcomes that are meaningful, attractive, and profitable; and (6) programme features compatible with the social and cultural realities of rural Afghanistan.