FEATURE STORY January 31, 2018

Afghanistan: Improved Roads Connect People to Opportunities and Services in Khost Province

Image

As result of reconstruction of the six-kilometer Patalan road which connects 25 villages, travel times and costs have been reduced by half.         

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/World Bank


STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Close to 15,000 people are benefiting from the reconstruction of a main road connecting 26 villages in Khost Province.
  • The reconstruction was undertaken by the Afghanistan Rural Access Project, which aims to benefit rural communities by improving access to basic services and facilities through all-weather roads.
  • The gravel all-weather road has brought multiple benefits to villagers, including reducing commuting time and transport costs by half.

TANI DISTRICT, Khost Province – With a bright orange vest over his grey clothes, Raz Mohammad is visible from a distance as he shovels gravel onto the road and levels it. He is responsible for maintaining two kilometers of the six-kilometer Patlan main road in Ali Jee village in Tani district, Khost Province.

“I work to maintain the road,” he says. “I am very happy and my financial situation has gotten much better after I got this job here.” Mohammad earns 250 afghanis (about $3.60) a day. It helps him support his family, he says.

Mohammad has been maintaining the road for the past year and a half, after the main road was reconstructed by the Afghanistan Rural Access Project (ARAP), which hired him and two others to maintain two-kilometer stretches from their villages. Each of them was selected after consultation with the Community Development Councils (CDCs) and villagers. 


"The road was not graveled before, but now it is and people can move around with ease."
Nabi Khan
head, Community Development Council, Wali Khan village


Image

Raz Mohammad maintains a 2 killometer section of the word near his village of Ali Jee. The job has provided him and others with a steady income.  

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/World Bank


The gravel road has halved the time taken by villagers to get to their destinations. A two-hour journey can now be done in one hour. Nabi Khan, 40, head of the CDC in Wali Khan village says, “The road was not graveled before, but now it is and people can move around with ease. Before it took them longer to reach their destination.”

The all-weather Patlan main road connects 26 villages between Tani District and Gurbaz District, giving villagers better access to basic services and facilities and markets. Before the road was graveled, villagers faced many challenges. “The main problem was during emergency cases when patients needed to get to the hospital,” recalls Ehsanullah, 26, from Wali Khan village, “but due to the bumps and a lot of mud on the road they couldn’t get there quickly.”

Abdul Hadi, a member of the ARAP Monitoring and Evaluation team, points out that most of the problems, such as not having access to services, was because the road was bumpy and hard to travel on. “Sometimes pregnant patients passed away on their way to hospital,” he says, “but thankfully, now all the problems are solved and it just takes them minutes to take women to the hospital for childbirth.”


Image

Thanks to the Afghanistan Rural Access Project (ARAP), people can access basic services more easily and farmers can transfer their vegetables to local markets on time.

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/World Bank


Positive Impact on Villagers

ARAP’s road reconstruction efforts have had a positive impact on the lives of people in the area. “The project has connected many villages with each other as well as connected them with the market. It has also eased access to basic services and facilities for thousands of villagers in Tani district,” says Abdul Hadi.

Almost 15,000 people in the area have benefited from the six-kilometer road reconstructed by ARAP in 2014. ARAP, which aims to benefit rural communities across Afghanistan by improving access to basic services and facilities through all-weather roads, started its activities in the southeast zone of Afghanistan in 2012.

It is a follow-on project of the National Emergency Rural Access Program (NERAP). The project is expected to increase the number of people living within 2 kilometers of all-weather roads, reduce travel time to essential services, and enable rural communities to access these services more frequently.

ARAP is implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) and Ministry of Public Works (MPW) coordinated by Ministry of Finance (MoF) and supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF).

The reconstructed Patlan road has also eased access to the local markets for farmers. Hazrat Ali, 21, a farmer from Sangi Village, says that the gravel road has made it easier for him to take his produce to the market. “In the past, it was very difficult for us to supply our vegetables to the market, but now it is very easy to carry the vegetables and move on the road,” he says.

Moreover, the improved road conditions have helped reduce transportation costs by half. “Previously, we paid 800–1,000 afghanis (about $11–$15), but now it only costs us around 400 afghanis,” says Ali. 



Api
Api