Selected World Bank Achievements in Afghanistan
Education: The World Bank is helping to rehabilitate primary schools and train teachers, while giving technical assistance to strengthen the Ministries of Education and Higher Education. The Bank’s Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP) gives funds to communities to rehabilitate or construct school buildings and access teaching and learning materials. Funds are directed through School Management Shuras (councils), now functioning in more than 14,400 schools. Since 2002, a total of 1,347 schools have been constructed. In addition, 16,587 schools have received a total of $37.2 million in Quality Enhancement Grants under EQUIP I and II for the purchase of school supplies, laboratory equipment, and other materials that help strengthen the learning environment.
The Skills Development Program revived two key institutions in Kabul: the National Institute of Management and Administration (NIMA) that prepares young professionals to acquire junior level jobs in the public and private sectors; and the National Institute of Music that trains gifted young musicians, establishing a nurturing platform for music in the country. Moreover, 15 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools and institutes selected nationwide received a recognition grant of $30,000 to scale up and/or replicate good practices in delivering skills. Subsequently, these beneficiaries received supplementary technical assistance for the preparation and implementation of Business Development Plans and five-year business plans for their institutes. In partnership with the International Labor Organization and an international certification agency, TVET graduates will receive internationally recognized certification of their skills. To date, 1,518 NIMA graduates have received an International Certificate from the University of Jyvyskala, Finland, and Ball State University, USA.
Health: Over the past decade, Afghanistan has made steady progress in the health sector. The number of health facilities in 11 target provinces nearly tripled from 148 to 432. Around 20,000 community health workers—half of them women—were trained and deployed throughout the country, increasing access to family planning and boosting childhood vaccinations. The number of facilities with trained female health workers rose from 25 percent to 74 percent today. The number of functioning health facilities increased from 496 in 2002 to more than 2,000 in 2012, while at the same time the proportion of facilities with female staff increased.
Bringing most of the efforts in public health service delivery under one umbrella in Afghanistan, the World Bank’s System Enhancement for Health Action in Transition (SEHAT) Project aims to support the implementation of the Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) and Essential Package of Hospital Services (EPHS) through contracting arrangements across the country. SEHAT also supports efforts in strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Public Health at central and provincial levels to effectively carry out its stewardship functions.
Rural Development: The National Solidarity Program (NSP), the Government of Afghanistan’s flagship rural development program, is empowering rural communities by facilitating democratically elected Community Development Councils (CDCs). To date, over 34,400 CDCs have received more than $1.53 billion in block grants; and implemented over 86,000 rural infrastructure sub-projects in their respective villages. About 80 percent of the projects involve infrastructure such as irrigation, rural roads, electrification, and drinking water supply, all critical for the recovery of the rural economy. More than half the projects have been completed.
Improving access to basic services and facilities through secondary and tertiary roads, the Afghanistan Rural Access Project will increase the number of people living within two kilometers (km) of feeder roads and reduce travel time to essential services. To date, more than 13,000 km of rural roads and related drainage structures have been upgraded or rehabilitated under these programs through four projects financed through IDA, ARTF, and other funds.
Customs: The Customs Reform and Trade Facilitation Project assisted the Afghan Customs Department (ACD) to migrate to the web-based ASYCUDA World system, an automated system for customs data. This system is now fully operational in 14 computerized ACD offices, with the Khost Custom office made operational recently. Migration from ASYCUDA++ version to the newer web-based ASYCUDA World platform has been completed in 13 sites, including international and national transit covered. Work is underway to cover the one remaining large office in Farah before June 2015.
Horticulture and Livestock: Building on the 5,300 hectares of fruit orchards established since 2009 through its predecessor, the National Horticulture and Livestock Project (NHLP) has financed the establishment of another 5,300 hectares of new orchards, about a third of which are in new provinces. In addition, demand from target beneficiaries for kitchen gardening support has been very high, and the entire annual program was amply exceeded. Through this project, 40 percent of the young cattle and young sheep and goat population have already been vaccinated. On the production side, the delivery so far of extension messages has been carried out along with distribution of improved technology packages to 31,540 beneficiaries in 138 districts of 19 provinces.
Irrigation: With over 85 percent of rural population relying on agriculture, irrigation remains a pressing need in rural Afghanistan. The Irrigation Restoration and Development Project (IRDP) is ensuring irrigation of some 300,000 hectares of land by rehabilitating irrigation systems and building a limited number of small multi-purpose dams. In the irrigation component, 82 percent of the target 45,000 hectares of incremental irrigated area have been achieved. In the small dam component, the completed pre-feasibility study had selected seven dam sites in the northern provinces. The feasibility study reports for six dams have been submitted while the seventh site has been dropped, due to inaccessibility.
Rural Enterprise: Since its inception, the Afghanistan Rural Enterprise Development Project (AREDP) has mobilized 68,000 rural poor—almost half of whom are women—in 3,590 village Savings Groups (SGs), which have collectively saved over $3.37 million. Federated in 361 Village Savings & Loans Associations (VSLAs), they have issued over 27,000 loans to SG members with a repayment rate of about 95 percent.
On average, each VSLA has $6,500 as loan-able capital, which will be further boosted with a seed grant injection in the coming months. This improves access to finance for group members who cannot access such funds from commercial banks or microfinance institutions. AREDP also works towards strengthening market linkages and value chains for rural enterprises by providing technical support to over 1,393, Enterprise Groups (63 percent female) and 513 (13 percent female) Small Medium Enterprises that have been selected for their potential as key drivers of rural employment and income generation. A total of 6 Provincial Situations Analysis (PSA) have been completed and 10 PSAs are underway. AREDP uses Community Development Councils as an entry point into communities and is currently working in 20 districts of five provinces: Parwan, Bamyan, Nangarhar, Balkh, and Herat.
Market Development: The Afghanistan New Market Development Project is piloting a business development program in the four urban centers of Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad and Herat, which are the major hubs of economic activity. The project aims to help enterprises gain market knowledge, improve product quality, boost productive capacity, acquire new technologies, and develop and implement business plans to increase their presence in both domestic and export markets. The Facility for New Market Development, managed by GIZ IS, is operational in the four cities and has received 947 applications, while 421 agreements for a total value of $11.8 million have been signed. The funding for the Facility is now fully committed.
Telecommunications: The Afghanistan Information and Communication Technology Sector Development Project is helping expand telecommunications connectivity, giving Afghans greater access to telephone and Internet services. It supports the government’s use of mobile technologies to improve public service delivery in strategic sectors. A total of 900 Afghans have been trained under the IT skills development program, which will train 1,500 Afghans by its conclusion. The government will also be launching a mobile government services platform soon, which will allow any citizen with a mobile phone to access a set of public services. Services will begin with two networks, and expand to include most mobile phone users in the coming year. The Innovation Support Program awarded 11 local innovators for their ideas on how mobile technologies could help address nine challenges in various sectors including agriculture, education, and health. A newly established ICT business incubator has been supporting a handful of startups to develop their business models and access mentors while providing them free high quality facilities.
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2015