March / April  2006




March/April Contents 

 Real Issues
 Malnourishment in
 South Asia


 South Asian issues
 Getting to know the
 past better



 News from elsewhere
 New animal species
 found in Indonesia

 Veggie chemical
 repairs DNA damage


 Bhera - the town that
 time forgot
- Part II

 World Bank in
 South Asia
 Grant to Afghanistan

Land management in

Urban services in


 Tollinton Market



 South Asian










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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 resources
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 activities.

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.




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