FEATURE STORY

Afghanistan: Water Supply Maintenance Provides Short-Term Jobs in Karmalik Village

April 17, 2017

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Shiny new pipelines connect the water storage tank which provides sufficient drinking water for all the residents of Karmalik village in Dehdadi district of Balkh Province. Every house in the village has access to water.

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy / World Bank

Story Highlights
  • Access to clean drinking water has been restored in a village in Balkh Province as result of a maintenance cash grant scheme under the National Solidarity Program.
  • The grant enabled villagers to fix a ruptured water supply network as well as created opportunities for short-term work in the sub-project.
  • More than 500 sub-projects have been undertaken under the scheme in Balkh Province, benefiting almost 143,000 families.

DEHDADI DISTRICT, Balkh Province – Shiny new pipelines connect the water storage tank to the tanker parked beside the main road of Karmalik village. The tanker provides sufficient drinking water for all the residents of the village. Abdul Ahad, 45, is responsible for making sure every house in the village has access to water. Every day he checks the pipes and turns on the water pump to ensure the water storage tank is filled.

“When the water supply was disrupted, things were very difficult for us. Now, everything is back to normal and all the villagers have access to water,” says Abdul Ahad, a member of the Community Development Council (CDC) in Karmalik village. The village main road was being paved recently, making it easier for locals to transport goods, but the road works ruptured the existing water supply network.

The village’s original water supply network had been developed by the National Solidarity Program (NSP) in 2009. With the supply system collapsing, households could no longer access drinking water through their pipeline system. The villagers could not afford to restore the system using private resources and ended up depending on traditional sources of drinking water. “We used to bring water from wells and streams. This was hard as well as unhygienic because stream water is not very clean,” says Aqela, 50, a resident of Karmalik village.

Aqela points out that not having access to sufficient piped water aggravated hardship as well as health concerns for many in the village, especially the women. To conserve water, people took to washing clothes and dishes in muddy streams. “But now we can wash clothes and dishes at home. Every time we need water, we just turn on the tap in our homes and have access to clean water,” she says, smiling.

The village water supply network was restored by a Maintenance Cash Grant (MCG) awarded by NSP. “We are very thankful to the MCG because it has helped us with a basic need—restoring our water supply. We have access to drinking water in our homes now,” says Abdul Ahad.

Work on restoring the water supply network, at a budget of 640,000 afghanis (about $9,600), started in April and was completed in June 2016. Thanks to this quick turnaround, some 700 families in the Karmalik village have access to safe water now, says Dad Mohammad, 52, a village resident.


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The village water supply network was restored by a Maintenance Cash Grant (MCG) awarded by National Solidarity Program. 

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy / World Bank

" We are very thankful to the maintenance cash grant scheme because it has helped us with a basic need—restoring our water supply. We have access to drinking water in our homes now.  "

Abdul Ahad

Member, Community Development Council, Karmalik village

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The impact of the MCG scheme is visible in other parts of Balkh Province as well. Under the scheme, 571 different sub-projects relating to repairs/ maintenance of existing roads, culverts, canals, water supply, and power supply have been undertaken in 504 villages in eight districts in the province. 

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy / World Bank

Villagers Enjoy Tangible Benefits

The MCG is a sub-program under NSP, launched by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) in November 2015. It is supported by the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). Besides ARTF, the NSP has been supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) and other bilateral donors as well.

NSP aimed for socio-economic development and improved local governance of rural communities through strengthened CDCs. It accomplished these goals through empowerment and development activities, in which communities identified, planned, managed, and monitored their own projects through their CDCs.

The impact of the MCG scheme is visible in other parts of Balkh Province as well. Under the scheme, 571 different sub-projects relating to repairs/ maintenance of existing roads, culverts, canals, water supply, and power supply have been undertaken in 504 villages in eight districts in the province. The MCG helped increase food security for one to two months for nearly 143,000 families in the province through the generation of 57,000 short-term labor days.

Fazl Ahmad, 24, a resident of Karmalik village and daily wage laborer, is thankful for the work when he needed it most. “I was searching for work and the MCG sub-project came to our village,” he says. “I earned almost 2,500 afghanis (about $40) and was able to invest this amount to support my family during this lean season.”

At the initiation of the Government of Afghanistan, NSP, through which more than 35,000 CDCs throughout the country have played a major role in implementing rural projects and resolving conflict and problems in their communities, has been replaced by the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (CCAP). The objective of the CCAP, in effect a social contract between the government and CDCs, is to improve the delivery of core infrastructure and social services to participating communities through strengthened development councils. These services are part of a package of minimum service standards that the government is committed to delivering to citizens.