DAMAN DISTRICT, Kandahar Province—Sitting on the floor of the mosque in his village, Atta says that he is pleased that the lives of district residents have improved. They no longer face risky road conditions caused by the heavy rains that signal the start of spring in Kandahar province.
The cause of Atta's satisfaction is the paved four-kilometer (km) main road connecting three villages in the district to the Kandahar–Kabul Highway.
“When the road was not paved, the dirt road would flood when it rained,” recalls Atta. “We had problems doing anything because of this—like getting to funerals and weddings, moving our sick ones to hospital, or getting the children to school.”
The road rehabilitation project, carried out by the Afghanistan Rural Access Project (ARAP), included resurfacing the road with concrete and building seven meters of bridges. The project was wholeheartedly supported by the residents, Atta says, to the extent that many “residents happily donated some of their ancestral lands to help broaden the road.”
Atta recounts the incident in 2015 that triggered the request to the Daman Community Development Council (CDC) to address the appalling road conditions. “A recently married relative came to visit us,” he says. “It was the beginning of winter and the bad road condition made the journey more difficult for him.”
His relative made the journey on foot from Qalat city in Zabul province, a journey of more than two hours by car. “He couldn’t move his hands and legs, he was so cold,” Atta recalls, and was barely able to speak when he finally arrived several hours later.
Atta realized that they could not reach a doctor quickly because of poor road access. The hospital was about an hour away by car and the taxi fare would have been prohibitive at 1,000 afghanis *(about $12), a cost out of reach for many rural families in Daman, says Atta.
Although his relative recovered, women and children would not have survived the road under those conditions, he says. The Daman CDC then proposed a road rehabilitation project, which began in late 2016 and finished in June 2017, to ARAP for approval. It was carried out to international safety and quality standards.
ARAP is implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and Ministry of Transport. It is supported by the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors, and the International Development Association (IDA), In Kandahar province, five road rehabilitation projects have been carried out—two in Daman district and three in Boldak district. A total of 38 km of road has been rehabilitated, benefiting about 12,700 people.