FEATURE STORY July 24, 2018

Afghan Villagers Accelerate Development Through Community Collaboration

Before the construction of the micro-hydro-power station, villagers in Dangan-e-Nishrab village in Bazarak Districk of Panjshir Province had to walk miles to get water from a water well. However, the situation has changed for better after a rural development project supported rehabilitation of a 1000-meter irrigation canal and construction of a water reservoir and a micro-hydro-power station which provides 14.6 kilowatt of clean energy throughout the year, helps farmers reduce water wastage and provides safe drinking water in houses.

World Bank Group


STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Community Development Councils have been at the center of the successful implementation of National Solidarity Programme development projects and will be strengthened under the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project.
  • The project is set to build on the legacy of the National Solidarity Programme, which has benefited thousands of communities across Afghanistan.
  • Citizens' Charter aims to improve the government’s delivery of core infrastructure, emergency support, and social services to participating communities through the strengthened Community Development Councils.

BAZARAK DISTRICT, Panjshir Province – Local villagers are watching the news on TV, their faces visibly exhausted. It is 2 pm, a time when farmers relax after six hours of work in the fields. Amir Shah, 27, laughs loudly at a scene on TV while pouring black tea for his friends.

Amir Shah and his fellow villagers are enjoying the fruits of their labor. . “,” says Amir Shah, a farmer and chairperson of the Community Development Council (CDC) of Dangan-e-Nishrab village.

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The Citizens’ Charter aims to improve delivery of core infrastructure, emergency support, and social services to participating communities through strengthened Community Developmet Councils across Afghanistan. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank
 
Amir Shah recalls that before its CDC was established, Dangan-e-Nishrab village, located in Bazarak district, Panjshir province, had no electricity, safe drinking water, or organized irrigation canals. The 250 families in the village suffered economically.

Nazir Ahmad, another resident and an elected member of Dangan-e Nishrab’s CDC, agrees that they were difficult times. “There were lots of problems,” he says. “We were weak economically, had few facilities, and used lanterns for light in our homes.”

The CDC was established after the village came under the coverage of the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) in 2003. NSP aimed to enhance service delivery and security while empowering communities to lead their own development. NSP worked . .


"Under the Citizens’ Charter, we would like to improve the good relations between people and government, reduce poverty, and bring villages and cities closer."
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Shafiqullah Sultani
Citizens’ Charter Provincial Manager, Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development

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National Solidarity Programme worked in Panjshir province between 2003 and 2016, during which it set up 235 CDCs, which implemented more than 800 development projects in sectors such as roads, drinking water, agriculture, and electricity. 

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank


Projects Met Essential Needs

Dangan-e Nishrab’s first four sub-projects, started under the first phase of NSP, built irrigation canals and a water reservoir on a total grant of 1.8 million afghanis (about $25,000). .

Safe drinking water was piped to every home from the water reservoir. “In the past, we used to bring our drinking water from the stream,” says Muhammad Khuram, 45, a teacher and CDC member in Dangan-e-Nishrab. “.”

It was under the fifth sub-project, in the third phase of NSP, that the micro-hydropower station was built on a grant of 2.3 million afghanis (about $32,000). .

For the sixth sub-project, the villagers received a Maintenance Cash Grant (MCG) of 640,000 afghanis (about $9,000), which helped maintain the canal infrastructure built in the earlier phase of NSP. .

NSP, implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), was supported by the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF), and International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.

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View of Dangan-e-Nishrab village in Bazarak district of Panjshir province. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank
 
Hope for a Better Future

The Government of Afghanistan’s Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (Citizens’ Charter) succeeded NSP in January 2017 with funding from the government, the ARTF, and IDA. In effect a social contract between the government and CDCs, the Citizens’ Charter aims to improve delivery of core infrastructure, emergency support, and social services to participating communities through strengthened CDCs. of Afghanistan, including four large municipalities, with services including universal drinking water access.

In Panjshir province, the Citizens’ Charter will be implemented in three phases. In the first phase, the project will cover 65 communities in three districts: Shutul, Onaba, and Abshar. “,” says engineer Shafiqullah Sultani, Citizens’ Charter Provincial Manager in Panjshir province. “Under the Citizens’ Charter, we would like to improve the good relations between people and government, reduce poverty, and bring villages and cities closer.”

Dangan-e Nishrab villagers, who still benefit from the projects that their CDC implemented under NSP, are hopeful about the Citizens’ Charter. “Continuity of NSP will help us a lot and will provide us with more facilities,” says Nazir Ahmad, who had just heard about the Citizens’ Charter on television. His neighbor, .

like Dangan-e-Nishrab to improve further access to basic services. .



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