World Bank Provides Further Grant
Support to Afghanistan’s National Solidarity
WASHINGTON, March 14, 2006 $B(!(B The World
Bank today approved a US$40 million grant to continue supporting the
Afghanistan National Solidarity Program (NSP),
which has reached about 8.5 million Afghans in rural communities with
for reconstruction and development activities.
The additional financing to the Emergency National Solidarity Project is
designed to provide community-led reconstruction and development of rural
infrastructure. The grant will finance sub-project choices by villagers such
as physical infrastructure, direct asset transfers for vulnerable women and
disabled people, and the use of block grants for income-generation
The NSP was established in 2002 to develop the capacity of Afghan
communities to identify, plan, manage, and monitor their own development
projects. NSP promotes a new development model whereby communities are
empowered to make decisions and manage resources during all stages of the
project cycle. So far the program is under implementation in 193 districts
in all of the country's provinces.
"The National Solidarity Program is an effective mechanism to transfer
resources to the communities and to use them in a consultative, responsible,
and transparent manner," said Norman Piccioni, World Bank Lead Rural
Development Specialist. Communities participate actively in the
identification, selection, and implementation of the projects. This deep
community involvement in decisions that directly affect them has resulted in
rapid and measurable impact for the projects as well as longer-term benefits
for building local governance.
The Emergency National Solidarity Project, which was approved by the World
Bank's Board on December 23, 2003, is the backbone of the National
Solidarity Program. The program is co-financed by several donors through the
World Bank-managed Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) (US$98
million) and bilateral arrangements.
A critical aspect of this program is the process of decision making
surrounding the use of the grants. Community Development Councils are
elected through secret ballot building the foundation for solid local
governance, consultation, and the legitimacy of local leadership. These
councils then lead a participatory process in the community to decide how
the funds will be used.
By February 2006, implementation of the program had reached over 8.5 million
Afghans (around 45 percent of Afghanistan's estimated 18.8 million rural
inhabitants). Around 10,471 communities had elected Community Development
Councils, and over 14,000 community projects have been financed, of which
more than 4,500 projects have been completed. Around 88 percent of the
projects involve infrastructure such as irrigation, rural roads,
electrification, and drinking water supply, critical for the recovery of the
rural economy, stability, and governance.