Paved market access and new pedestrian safety measures restore business and public confidence in Kandahar Province’s Maiwand bazaar.
18 JULY 2013 | KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN
“There was so much dust and traffic. Trucks and cars would drive so fast and park right in front of the shops,” explains Javid Mohammed, a Maiwand bazaar shopkeeper. “There were many accidents.” For years, the simple task of shopping could be a dangerous affair for customers in the Maiwand bazaar. The risk of being struck by cars and trucks driving along the main highway or parking directly in front of shops was very real. Business in the bazaar suffered and many shops were forced to close their doors.
In 2012 USAID partnered with Central Asia Development Group, local GIRoA authorities and over 340 Maiwand District residents to improve customer, supplier and shopkeeper access and safety in the bazaar. Over a period of seventeen weeks, the community-based laborers and masons paved pedestrian access pathways throughout the marketplace, renovated 900 meters of concrete roadside drainage ditches and installed 75 cement posts designed to prevent cars and trucks from parking in pedestrian areas facing the bazaar shops. In addition, community members leveled and graveled an 1,820 square meter parking lot for customers and suppliers.
Mr. Javid and others in the community are pleased with the change. When asked about the new conditions in January 2013, he described a safe, business-friendly environment. “Cars and trucks no longer stop in front of the shops, and there are fewer accidents because the people can walk on the paved pathways. People feel safer shopping. I feel safer.” In addition to the benefits of enhanced safety and access, public confidence has also increased as a result of the project. Business is improving and shopkeepers have taken the infrastructure revitalization as a sign that the government is invested in the bazaar’s future. “This is government land and we rent our plots,” Mr. Javid says. “With all of the new improvements, we don’t believe the government will be moving us from this location.” Recently, some shopkeepers have even replaced wood-framed stalls with concrete structures, a sign of confidence in government cooperation and the future of the improved bazaar.
Last updated: January 08, 2014