June 29, 2010 - The World Bank approved a $40 million grant to the Government of Afghanistan today to support the Third National Solidarity Program (NSP III). NSP III builds upon the achievements of the first two phases of the NSP, widely recognized as one the most successful development programs in Afghanistan.
WORLD BANK'S ROLE, WORKING WITH PARTNERS
In addition to World Bank financing, the National Solidarity Program has been supported by some 20 donors who contribute to the World Bank administered Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), to the Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF) or support the program bi-laterally. NSP III is a $1.5 billion program which will be implemented over the next five years.
Under NSP III, the roll out of elected Community Development Councils (CDCs) to every rural community in Afghanistan will be completed. These Councils, made up of both men and women, determine the use of small grants to build essential infrastructure depending on the particular needs of the village.
By channeling resources to democratically-elected CDCs, the program not only increases the access of rural communities to basic services and infrastructure, but also fosters participatory involvement and accountability in village level development.
The National Solidarity Program (NSP), a community-led reconstruction and rural infrastructure initiative, has made significant achievements in empowering communities, improving community relations, and increasing public faith in the system of government.
Despite a challenging environment the program is making significant progress in building community institutions in rural Afghanistan. Since the inception of the first NSP program in 2003, 17 million rural people in all 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces have benefitted from improved infrastructure such as access to water, electricity and roads through the NSP.
Some 22,000 communities have successfully elected Community Development Councils (CDCs). Over 40,000 village level projects have been completed. Another 10,000 sub-projects are nearing completion. From 2003 until June 2010, NSP has disbursed over $700 million directly to communities.
Abdul Manan, Sara-e-Takht village, Nahar Saraj district of Helmand province: "The (National Solidarity) Program has so far constructed seven culverts in our village. Following the completion, we easily take our agricultural products to the markets as well as bring fertilizer, seeds, and other necessary items from city. We also commute from village to village through these culverts."
Muhammad Yaseen, a farmer and resident of Chita village, Faizabad of Badakhshan Province: "With the construction new water-intake, there has been an increase in the irrigation water level. Before construction most of the water was wasted before reaching the fields. Due to severe drought in the past, our agricultural lands had been adversely affected. Now with the construction of a well-built water-intake, we are able to cultivate."
Muhammad Daud, Community Development Council head, Qala-e-Sardar village, Kama, Nangarhar Province: "The construction of the retaining wall not only saved our agricultural lands from being swept away, but also created a golden opportunity to re-cultivate the lands that had previously been unused."