DAMAN DISTRICT, Kandahar Province – A short graveled road has changed the lives of residents in Mandisar village, connecting their lives to markets, schools, and health care, and bringing the community together. The all-season road neatly cuts through the landscape, passing through 1.2 kilometers of the village’s farmlands.
Sakhidaad, 25, has recently returned home to Mandisar village from Kandahar city, driving his gray wagon down the newly graveled road. “Before our village road was graveled, no vehicle could come here and we had to walk all the way from Mohmand village, the last village in the district connected to the paved road that goes to Kandahar city,” he says. “It would take us hours to get here from Kandahar city. But now, it takes only half an hour from the capital city.”
Mandisar village, home to some 300 households, is located in a part of Daman district that lies 26 kilometers southeast of Kandahar city, the provincial capital. Construction of the road from the nearby Mohmand village to Mandisar village took six months, spanning January to July 2015. Over 700 households in both Mandisar and Mohmand villages benefit from this road.
Esmatullah Azami, a civil engineer who was involved in the construction of Mandisar Road, recalls the muddy path before the all-season road was built. “When we first came here for the project survey, our car got stuck in the mud and we were forced to use a tractor to pull it out,” he says.
Mandisar Road, now open to traffic throughout the year, was built under the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), the Government of Afghanistan’s flagship program for rural development. NSP operates nationally under the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), and has implemented 2,160 sanitation, irrigation, electricity, and transportation projects in 17 districts of Kandahar Province since 2003. The program is supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), and the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF).
NSP aims to generate a strong sense of ownership and social stability among residents, while enhancing service delivery and security. NSP projects accomplish these goals through empowerment and development activities, in which communities identify, plan, manage, and monitor their own projects. Since 2003, NSP has successfully established Community Development Councils (CDCs) in over 35,000 communities. CDCs manage more than 89,500 rural infrastructure schemes, of which over 77,800 have been completed to date.