A mayor is working with USAID to develop his district’s municipal infrastructure and stimulate the local economy
18 DECEMBER 2011 | URUZGAN, AFGHANISTAN
The efforts to turn back the tide of poverty, crime, and insurgency have paid off with reduced crime rates and new businesses opening, leveraging the renovated facilities and improved customer access.
Mayor Abdul Khaliq was in a terrible predicament last year. As the mayor of Dehrawud District in Uruzgan Province, he was urgently searching for a way to address the economic hardship, crime, and insurgency plaguing his community. “These are my people,” said the mayor. “It is my responsibility to protect them and take care of them.”
The district is home to approximately 30,000 residents and has an agriculture-based economy. Like many districts in Afghanistan, Dehrawud suffers from severe poverty. Employment opportunities are scarce for the thousands of poor and uneducated residents, and mere survival is a daily challenge. Seeing no alternatives, many of these impoverished men resort to theft or join the insurgency in a desperate attempt to support themselves and their families.
In 2010, Mayor Khaliq and his office collaborated with USAID and its implementing partner, Central Asia Development Group, to execute a series of municipal infrastructure development projects. The goal was to stabilize the district by providing short-term employment and an influx of cash to local residents. In the long term, the developed infrastructure would also improve the district’s business climate and enhance economic opportunities for its residents.
The mayor’s efforts to help his community have paid off. Local laborers have completed extensive renovations to sidewalks, roads, drainage canals, and protection walls. The crime rate is down and many new businesses have opened at project locations, taking advantage of the renovated facilities and improved customer access. According to Mayor Khaliq, “Men now line up outside USAID project offices to get work.”
All over Afghanistan, projects like these implemented in Dehrawud District are seeing similar results. Thanks to proactive leaders such as Mayor Khaliq, USAID and the Afghan government are enabled to improve lives, give people hope, and stabilize Afghanistan, one district at a time.
Last updated: January 12, 2015