April 2014—In Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar, villagers play a critical monitoring role for local development projects. However, many of these representatives, who are elected to serve for their District Development Assemblies, do not have monitoring experience.
To overcome this challenge, USAID trains members of these assemblies in community outreach, planning, budgets, timelines, procurement, and environmental and disaster management to implement and monitor projects in their districts. These projects include rehabilitation of water reservoirs and construction of culverts, drainage canals, and gabion and protection walls.
“Before the training, I didn’t know how to plan, manage, monitor projects and write project reports, but now I have a better understanding of these issues,” said Haji Mohammad, head of the Arghandab District Development Assembly. “Members of the District Development Assemblies act as the residents’ eyes and ears. When they plan and manage the projects well, it is a great service to local people,” he added.
Following the training in November 2013, Mohammad visited project sites, monitored the construction of culverts for quality, and reviewed project timelines in his district.
Equipped with the necessary skills, members of District Development Assemblies can play an active role in building trust between the government and the public.
The USAID SIKA (Stability in Key Areas) South program, or Subat as it is known in the south, started in Kandahar in mid-2012 and is now active in Hilmand, Uruzgan, Zabul and Nimroz. The program helps local authorities identify sources of instability, promote community-driven development, and provide basic services using good governance tools. Community leaders participate in a series of forums to improve their capacity to plan, implement and monitor development projects.
Last updated: January 20, 2015