Clean Neighborhoods Boost Access to Services in City Development Program

March 22, 2017


Residents of Qala-e-Sultan neighborhood enjoy walking in clean and paved lanes thanks to the Kabul Muncipal Development Project (KMDP). Moreover, the new drainage system ensures a healthier environement.

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

  • A neighborhood in Kabul city is enjoying the benefits of a clean environment with recently paved lanes and a functional drainage system as a result of a city development program.
  • Thousands across the capital city are benefiting from the Kabul Municipal Development Program, which aims to improve residents’ access to basic municipal services.
  • The clean surroundings are also helping to boost business for traders and vendors in the upgraded areas.

KABUL CITY – Vendor Ewaz, 65, is arranging vegetables in neat piles on his cart and spraying water on them to keep them fresh. He nods to the beat of the music playing on the radio hanging on his vegetable cart, located in one of the many lanes in district 13 Kabul.

Ewaz is pleased with his spot in the lane, especially after the area was cleaned up. “Before the lanes were paved in this area, the air was too dusty and I was not able to save my vegetables for more than a day,” says Ewaz, smiling. “Now our lanes are clean and smooth. I can push my cart easily. Our lanes are a model of cleanliness in this area.”

Nearly 2,500 people live in Qala-e Sultan Gozar, one of the oldest residential areas in Kabul city, where most of the residents are poor. Until recently, there were no paved streets and lanes, no functional drainage in the area, and residents had to live with limited access to markets, schools, and even health facilities.

All this has changed since Kabul Municipality (KM) paved nearly all the lanes of Qala-e-Sultan Gozar with concrete. The work, carried out under the Kabul Municipal Development Program (KMDP), took about nine months and was completed in July 2016. The result is eight paved lanes totaling 3 kilometers and a 2-kilometer long drainage system.

The implementation of the project has proved significant in serving the needs of a city that has expanded tenfold over the past 15 years. Air pollution because of dust from dirt roads has also decreased after the lanes were paved.

Residents, like Mohammad, 17, a 9th grade student, find that they are able to go about their daily lives more efficiently. “Before the lanes were paved, I had to walk a long way to avoid the dirt and mud on the unpaved roads,” he says. “But now I don’t have to take the side streets because our own street has been paved. I reach school on time now.”

With a $110 million grant from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), KMDP aims to increase access to basic municipal services in selected residential areas of Kabul city; redesign Kabul Municipality’s Financial Management System to support better service delivery; and enable early response in the event of a relevant emergency. 


Students in the Qale-e-Sultan neighborhood can now use the newly paved streets close to their school. They find it easier to access services because of this big change in their locality.

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

" Now our lanes are clean and smooth. They are a model of cleanliness in this area. "


vegetable vendor, Qala-e-Sultan Gozar, Kabul city

KMDP is expected to benefit over 770,000 people throughout the capital city through services provided in some 1,770 hectares of government-owned land. So far, there are more than 529,575 direct beneficiaries (over 294,223 from upgraded roads and more than 235,352 from trunk roads) and over 209,504 indirect beneficiaries, 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.

To date, some 1617.91 hectares have been upgraded, reaching almost 90 percent of the targeted area. KMDP had built about 18.78 kilometers of trunk roads. The upgraded areas have benefited from the construction of some 247.29 km of neighborhood roads and about 331.73 km of community drains. 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.

Local councils bring community together

The construction projects and the formation of local councils (Gozar Shura) by KMDP have inspired cohesion and cooperation in the communities. Community members meet regularly to discuss road maintenance and other issues related to their communities.

Ali, 45, head of the local council , represents the community in government-related affairs. “Now that the roads and lanes are paved, the community has raised funds for maintaining and keeping them clean,” he points out. “We have hired a company, which keeps our neighborhood clean now.” 

The local council also promotes women’s participation in community affairs. “Before the implementation of the KMDP project, only the men gathered to discuss community issues. KMDP staff have been encouraging women to take part in decision making in the community.” says Mariam, 29. “This basically allowed me to become a member of the council along with four other women in the Qala-e-Sultan area.”

The council has also brought the community together. “Neighbors did not even know each other before,” Mariam says. “The formation of the council not only enabled us to know each other but also to work with each other and unify the community.”