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FEATURE STORY

All-weather Road Lifts Burden of Rural Life in Balkh Province

August 26, 2015

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The gravel road has transformed the work and life of the villagers

Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

Story Highlights
  • The work and lives of residents in a cluster of villages in Balkh Province have improved significantly after the construction of a graveled road, giving them access to markets and health services.
  • The construction of the all-weather road was carried out under the Afghanistan Rural Access Project, implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.
  • The project, supported by the World Bank and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), aims to benefit rural communities by improving their access to basic services and facilities through all-weather roads.

Balkh district, Balkh Province – The lush fields around the village, the gurgling water, the wheat plants, and mud houses paint a rural idyll. The villagers of Temor Sarai are busy with their daily routine—the women giving water to their cows and the farmers working in their fields. Abdul Malik, 19, is out in the field, helping his father weed so that they can reap a good harvest this year.

Malik, a middle school student, is one among the hundreds of residents living in Temor Sarai village, northwest of Mazar-Sharif city in Balkh district, Balkh Province. He is thankful for the day gravel was put on the village’s dirt track. The work and life of the villagers have been transformed ever since, he says.

“Prior to this, we faced so many problems carrying our agricultural products on our shoulders to the main road that connects Mazar-e-Sharif to Sheberghan, the capital in neighboring Jowzjan Province. Now the truck comes to our farm and we load it right here,” says Malik. “When there was no road, we could not sell our produce in the city market, but now it is very easy.”

The Temor Sarai road passes through Temor Sarai and the nearby villages of Baba Yosuf, Deh Qaazi, and Chaar Sang. The all-weather gravel road extends from the Mazar-e-Sharif-Sheberghan main road and has facilitated travel and freight for the residents of these villages. Local businesses, such as the five water mills in Temor Sarai, have drawn more customers since the gravel road was built.

“Ever since the road was built, the transport costs of commodities have fallen. Residents can easily take their agricultural products to the market,” says Mawladad Ahmadi, 55, head of Temor Sarai Community Development Council. “If somebody gets sick, it is so easy to take him or her to the hospital now.”


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Visits to the hospital are smoother and faster on the paved roads.

Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

" “Ever since the road was built, the transport costs of commodities have fallen. Residents can easily take their agricultural products to the market.”  "

Mawladad Ahmadi

Head, Temor Sarai Community Development Council

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Today travel to and from the village has eased since there are cars and trucks traveling in and out of the village.

Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

The Temor Sarai road was built between March and November 2011. Funding support for the construction of the 2.5-kilometer long and 6-meter wide road was provided through the Afghanistan Rural Access Project (ARAP), under the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD). ARAP, supported by the World Bank and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), aims to enable rural communities across Afghanistan to benefit from improved access to basic services and facilities through all-weather roads.

To date, construction of 732 kilometers of tertiary roads and 825 meters of tertiary bridges have been completed. At the same time, maintenance of over 3,000 kilometers of tertiary roads and periodic maintenance of some 230 kilometers of tertiary roads have been carried out.

Road maintenance work, to ensure that roads are kept in good condition, is one of the new sub-projects undertaken by ARAP. The Temor Sarai road is maintained through the MRRD’s maintenance program with funding support from ARAP, according to Khawja Hafizullah Emran, an ARAP senior engineer in the northern region.  “This road project has benefited around 4,000 people directly and another 40,000 indirectly in the surrounding area,” he says.

Mohammad Shafiq, 40, resident of Temor Sarai village, is one such direct beneficiary. He recalls the difficult times before the road was built. “My mother was sick and I searched for a donkey in the village to carry her to the main road, but I was not lucky to find one. So I carried her on my back toward the main road. It was raining and the path filled with mud. We ultimately put her in a handy cart and, with the help of fellow villagers, we managed to carry her to the main road. That was how life looked with no road,” he recounts. “Today there are cars and trucks traveling in and out of the village. This shows how much the Temor Sarai road construction has benefited the villagers.”

 


All-weather Road Lifts Burden of Rural Life in Balkh Province

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