Afghanistan: Good Governance
Four decades of continuing fighting and experience with religious autocracy and non-functioning democracy has left Afghanistan broken and divided and the inhabitants of Afghanistan have lost trust in their government and authorities. Therefore one of the greatest challenges for the government of Afghanistan was to resume cooperation with communities across the whole country, confirming its legitimacy and uniting the divided country.
After the fall of Taliban the National Solidarity Programme was launched, financed by the World Bank. Under this programme, with the support of international agencies (People in Need has participated in this programme since 2005) the government aims to help the development of local communities and renewal of due governance. Afghan communities try to identify the areas for development and subsequently plan, manage and monitor their own development projects. Through promotion of good governance this project strengthens local communities so they can independently decide on matters influencing their lives.
Urban infrastructure development
Development of rural infrastructure (Balkh, Nangarhar, Paktia)
People in Need’s local fieldworkers worked with Community Development Committees, were involved in ensuring fair elections, assisted Committee members in evaluation of needs and creation of draft projects addressing inadequacies in local infrastructure. The fieldworkers also ensured that women were also included among Committee members and that their proposals were treated equally seriously as the proposals of others. The length of time from the moment at which the villagers learn about the National Solidarity Programme from our fieldworker until completion of work on a project was usually three years. During this time, People in Need’s personnel trained Committee members in project management, financial documentation and gradually got across the need for meetings and transparent, public participation in budget-related decisions.
A large number of qualified engineers employed by People in Need in rural areas guarantee the quality and relevance of the projects. These workers made visits to individual communities and conducted on the spot surveys, then on the basis of proposals from the locals, the engineers created technical plans for the projects and helped Committees in other technical matters and in monitoring. This ensured compliance with technical requirements for infrastructure projects and also long-term sustainability and utility of the project. Once the implementation stage was complete, People in Need handed over responsibility for maintaining structures or facilities functional to the separate Committees.
Although development of infrastructure is the main aim of the programme, building local capacities is its end goal. In the course of the programme, the separate Community Development Committees received training, long-term aid in building its capacities and technical support. The Committees also received training on the issue of the role of men and women in administration of the community and in resolving conflicts, to prepare them for leading the community in other areas too, gradually taking on more and more responsibility. To reinforce this process, we organised various exchanges and meetings between separate Committees and also with representatives of government institutions that might play a role in supporting rural areas.
Since 2005 NSP projects were implemented in the Paktia, Balkh, Nangarhar and Baghlan provinces. People in Need worked in about another 500 communities in Balkh, Nangarhar and Paktia provinces. Local development programmes are of course integrated into other programmes targeted at nutrition or development of agriculture.