Shoveling Snow Builds Relationships

Men from Eskin at work on the road-clearing project.
Men from Eskin at work on the road-clearing project.
Cooperative snow removal project connects villagers with the government.
Traditionally a stronghold for the insurgency in Kapisa Province, Eskin is a small village in a valley that more than 2,000 families call home.  Tough mountainous terrain and restricted access have limited the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s presence in this area.  The road is the only way to reach the district center where Eskin valley villagers can access critical resources, including health services, markets and local government institutions.
However, a February snowstorm blocked the only route linking Eskin to the district center in Alasai, severing Eskin villagers from the world outside their valley.  Following a request from the community, USAID’s Local Governance and Community Development project (LGCD) funded efforts to provide 140 local men with snow shovels and compensate them for 10 days work to clear the valley’s 11-kilometer access road.  The success of the project went well beyond snow removal.
Alasai District government officials visited the project site and shoveled snow alongside the local men to show their support and concern for the village.  The impact of the snow clearing went beyond simply providing these men with a much-needed source of income in a difficult season; it provided a unique opportunity for the community to meet and discuss future development initiatives with their local government representatives.
A few weeks after the snow clearing, the people of Eskin announced that they would no longer tolerate a Taliban presence in the valley and would fight to protect future reconstruction and development efforts.
Though small in scale, the snow clearing activity demonstrated to Eskin residents that the government could respond to their grievances.  LGCD continues to work throughout Afghanistan’s most volatile provinces to improve stability through strengthened governance, linking local populations with sub-national government structures to provide better service delivery in response to constituents’ needs.

Last updated: December 31, 2014

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