By: Louisa Bargeron and Lars Anderson
During the USAID delegation to Afghanistan, Administrator Rajiv Shah, Mission Director Earl Gast, and Alex Their, head of the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan, visited the Hesa Awal Community Development Council (CDC)—an initiative made possible through Afghanistan’s National Solidarity Programme (NSP)—located in Dakoy Payan Village, Kabul. Also present was Deputy Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak for Programmes, Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Created in 2003, the solidarity program develops the ability of Afghan communities to identify, plan, manage and monitor their own development projects. NSP empowers communities to manage resources transparently during all stages of the project-cycle and make decisions affecting their own lives and livelihoods. In Hesa Awal, the CDC serves 482 families totaling 2,802 people. Sometimes the men and women of this village come together, at the same time, to discuss what matters to them most and on this day the villagers agreed that their clinic was a top-priority. The clinic serves an average of 70 patients a day, most of them children and soon-to-be mothers. For parents, the biggest impact has been the enhanced quality of maternal health care, as well as the improved health of their children as a result of vaccinations.
Administrator Shah was enthusiastic with the development council’s capacity to come together on a weekly basis and connect with the people to address local issues. Shah noted how much of a huge difference and positive impact this program has had on the community, most notably the CDC’s work in establishing a well-stocked and run clinic and completion of a local road project, which combined, cost less than sixty thousand dollars.
Minister Barmak reinforced the NSP’s goal of fostering a sense of local ownership and leadership and was grateful for USAID‘s support.
Both Earl Gast and Alex Thier recognized the programs proven results in connecting the local government to the provincial level.
The CDC, supported by USAID, is the largest component of Afghanistan’s National Solidarity Program.