Walking on the Brighter Side

A section of completed sidewalk in a densely populated sub-district in Kandahar.
A section of completed sidewalk in a densely populated sub-district in Kandahar.
A sidewalk project improved pedestrian safety and the municipality’s image in the densely populated city
CHALLENGE  The turmoil of the past 30 years has taken its toll on Afghanistan. Due to the destructive forces of war, nature, and neglect, sidewalks in Afghan cities are falling apart. In Kandahar, the municipality lacked the resources to address infrastructure development. But without rehabilitation, the city’s residents would continue to see their safety compromised. The degradation of pedestrian footpaths directly impacts the quality of life and traffic safety.
INITIATIVE  After a series of meetings with the government and community leaders, USAID, and its implementing partner Central Asia Development Group, determined that a 15 km sidewalk reconstruction project in six densely populated urban sub-districts was viable. Local leaders agreed to the importance and urgency of this project, which would reduce health hazards and improve security for the residents of the city.
This initiative was the third of a series of projects that focused on sidewalk reconstruction in Kandahar city. The previous sidewalk projects, implemented in different sub-districts, rehabilitated 50 km of walkways.
RESULTS   More than 700 laborers contributed their work and skills to improve their city and earn an income. Their wages, totaling $390,000, bolstered the local economy with an important cash injection. After the sidewalks were emplaced, the amount of dust and pollutants in the air decreased, reducing health hazards to the local communities. Additionally, pedestrian safety improved as vehicular traffic was confined to the roads. Business owners benefited from cleaner storefronts that were more inviting to customers. Finally, the city residents saw the municipality’s visible efforts to improve their quality of life. “This project has brought great improvements to the city,” said one local businessman.
This USAID-funded project provided urgently needed temporary employment in economically-depressed Kandahar, but more importantly, it provided long-term improvement to the quality of life for all of its citizens.

Last updated: January 12, 2015

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