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FEATURE STORY

All-weather Road Links Kandahar’s Rural Communities to Better Living Standards

August 10, 2016

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The construction of the all-weather road, paved the 4.5-kilometer long and 5-meter wide road, and built half-meter sidewalks on each side, with 11 culverts lining sections of the road.

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

Story Highlights
  • Residents of a cluster of rural communities in Kandahar Province are seeing tangible benefits from the construction of an all-weather road linking their villages to the provincial capital.
  • The construction of the road was carried out under Afghanistan Rural Access Project (ARAP), implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.
  • ARAP, which seeks to benefit rural communities by improving access to essential services and facilities through all-weather roads, is supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF).

DAND DISTRICT, Kandahar Province – Sunlight penetrates the cracks between patches of dark clouds, lighting half of Deh Ghulaman village. Sayed Mohammad, 45, sits on a small rug and leans against a wall, watching a tractor plow the field. A bit further on, a young man is sowing seeds.

Sayed Mohammad, a farmer in Deh Ghulaman village, is thankful that life has improved because he now enjoys a better income and quicker access to essential services and facilities. This he attributes to the construction of an all-weather road connecting his village and three others to Kandahar city, the provincial capital. “Thank God, our village road is now paved and, as a result, our situation has improved,” he says.

The farmers in these villages are no longer in the hands of middlemen, selling their produce directly in the markets. “In the past when the road was unpaved, we could not take our agricultural products to the market in time,” says Sayed Mohammad. “Shopkeepers used to come to the village and buy our products at half the market price. Now we go to the market ourselves and sell them at the market price.”

The road, paved in 2013, passes through the villages of Deh Ghulaman, Rohabad, Rawani, and Khaaja Ali. Together these four villages are known as Chahr Deh and are located southeast of Dand district in Kandahar city. The road connects Chahr Deh with the center of Kandahar city, the provincial capital of Kandahar Province, 20 kilometers away.

Not only has the all-weather road helped improve the economic situation of the local population, it has also helped save lives. Sayed Mohammad recalls a tragic memory before the road was paved. “One day, when the road was bumpy and unpaved, we had a sick person who required urgent medical care,” he says. “We decided to take him to the health center by tractor. Unfortunately, the tractor took a long time to reach the health center and the patient lost his life along the way.” 


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The road, passes through the four villages are known as Chahr Deh located southeast of Dand district in Kandahar city. The road connects Chahr Deh with the center of Kandahar city, the provincial capital of Kandahar Province, 20 kilometers away. 

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy / World Bank

" Our village road is now paved and, as a result, our situation has improved.  "

Sayed Mohammad

Farmer, Deh Ghulaman village

Image

In the past when the road was unpaved, farmers could not take their agricultural products to the market in time, now they go to the market themselves and sell their produce at the market price.

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy / World Bank

Faster access to essential services

Today, Chahr Deh residents have faster access to health care and other essential services. Since the construction of the all-weather road, residents can travel easily and quickly to a health center in nearby Rawani village. The villages have seen an increase in traffic since the road was paved.

The construction of the all-weather road, which took four months to complete, was built at a cost of 28 million afghanis (about $408,000) under the Afghanistan Rural Access Project (ARAP), implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD). The project paved the 4.5-kilometer long and 5-meter wide road, and built half-meter sidewalks on each side, with 11 culverts lining sections of the road.

ARAP is a follow-on project of the National Emergency Rural Access Program (NERAP). It is supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). It aims to benefit rural communities across Afghanistan by improving access to basic services and facilities through all-weather roads. 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’s Kandahar zone covers the five provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Nimroz, Uruzgan, and Zabul. In Kandahar Province alone, several road sections have been paved, connecting Panjwayi, Daman, Arghandab, and Dand districts to Kandahar city.

Villagers enjoy multiple benefits

The 16,000 residents of the Chahr Deh villages have benefited directly from the all-weather road, while indirect beneficiaries include the 150,000 residents of Dand district.

Mohammad Moosa, 65, an elder in Deh Ghulaman village, points out the many positive impacts the road has on the lives of residents. “One example is the shuttle fare, which has decreased from 200 afghanis to 120 afghanis, a 40 percent drop,” he says. He also adds that Chahr Deh villagers, who are mostly farmers, have been able to expand the types of crops they grow because transport to the markets has become much easier. Farmers in Chahr Deh grow crops, such as wheat, grapes, pomegranate, melon, and watermelon.

Paving Chahr Deh Road has also benefited students at Brak Nika High School, which is located on the road. Previously, muddy routes to the school and the dusty air in the dry season denied the students an environment conducive to studying and learning, issues that have now been resolved.


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