FEATURE STORY March 13, 2018

Kabul Residents Take Pride in Upgraded Neighborhoods

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Supported by a $110 million grant from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), the Kabul Municipal Development Program is expected to benefit over one million people throughout the capital city of Kabul with improved services and infrastructure. 

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank


STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Residents in a neighborhood in Kabul City are taking pride in the recent upgrades that have increased their quality of life and are keen to keep the environment clean.
  • The upgrades, carried out under the Kabul Municipal Development Program, included paving streets, installing drainage systems, and implementing a garbage collection system.
  • The program is expected to benefit over one million people throughout the capital . Three quarters of the beneficiaries today are women and children.

KABUL CITY – The sidewalks are full of pedestrians at rush hour, mostly girls on their way home from school. Amid this crowd, Shakila, 48, is walking toward a kindergarten with her young daughter. Her bright, colorful umbrella shields them from the glaring sun.

“Just a year ago, rush hour was incredibly dusty,” says Shakila, a kindergarten teacher. “I used to keep my children at home. Sometimes the air was so bad that even wearing a mask didn’t help.”

It takes her an easy 10 minutes to walk from her home in the Sarak-e-Azam area in Kabul’s district 11 to work every day. “It is good now, there is no dust and I can take my children out,” Shakila says.

Islamuddin, 28, another Sarak-e-Azam resident who has a grocery store in the area, is just as pleased with the change from the dirty, dusty streets. “The streets always used to smell so bad due to the standing water. It would waft into our homes,” he recalls. “It was shameful, especially when we had guests. Now, instead, our environment is clean and there is no standing water.” 


"Our project has given a sense of ownership to the people. Residents are now paying attention to their streets, especially to maintenance."
Mohammad Arif Asifi
KMDP community mobilizer, Kabul city

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With support from the Kabul Municipal Development Program, the newly paved streets and proper drainage in the area make it more convienent for residents to go about their daily lives. 

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank


The improvement in the quality of life in Sarak-e-Azam is the successful outcome of the work carried out by the Kabul Municipal Development Program (KMDP), which modernized the area and established an organized garbage collection and drainage system.

Some 9,000 residents are benefiting from the development project, which was completed in 2016. KMDP worked closely with the community during project implementation. “Our project has given a sense of ownership to the people,” says Mohammad Arif Asifi, KMDP community mobilizer. “Residents are now paying attention to their streets, especially to maintenance.” To maintain the environment, households contribute 120 afghanis ($1.75) a month for three garbage collectors, while KMDP has provided equipment for maintenance. 


Healthier and Safer Environment

KMDP, which operates under Kabul Municipality, aims to increase access to basic municipal services in selected residential areas in Kabul city; redesign the municipality’s Financial Management System to support better service delivery; and enable early response in the event of a relevant emergency.

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Some 9,000 residents in the Sarak-e-Azam area in Kabul city’s 11th district are benefiting from the development project, which was completed in 2016. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

Supported by a $110 million grant from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), KMDP is expected to benefit over one million people throughout the capital city through services provided in some 3,020 hectares of government-owned land. To date, more than 530,000 people have benefited directly and over 200,000 indirectly, including students and staff of several schools and institutions of higher education. About three quarters of the beneficiaries are women and children. In addition, more than 1.5 million man-days of temporary employment have been generated from KMPD projects.

Some 2,300 hectares have been upgraded to date. The project has built about 24 km of trunk roads, while upgraded areas have benefited from the construction of about 337 km of neighborhood roads, about 457.7 km of community drains and 25.73km of water supply pipes. Work has been executed to high standards, as the technical designs are subject to quality assurance and quality control procedures on par with international standards.

As a result, upgraded neighborhoods, like Sarak-e-Azam, have become healthier and safer to live.

After the streets were paved, households were encouraged to install a lamp in their yard. The lighting has not only brightened the area, but also reduced security concerns, especially for those who drive at night. “Even though I am from the area, I didn’t drive or take passengers during the night because of security concerns,” says driver Din Mohammad, 45. “Now you can see to the very end of the street because of the lamps.”



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