Development projects like these are key to bringing long-term stability to the southern provinces, said Minister Zia. "Development and security are complementary," he explained. "Terrorism is actually benefiting from the chronic poverty that prevails in Afghanistan."
The announcement brings the total number of MRRD development projects in the southern provinces to 346 since January 8, when the Ministry took advantage of improved security in the area by surging development aid into the previously neglected region. In addition to the 1747 MRRD implemented projects through National Solidarity Program (NSP). Today's new announcements include the construction of mosques, which are fully funded by the Policy Action Group.
The balance of the projects, the majority of which are Canadian funded - include the construction of irrigation and drinking water systems, as well as roads, clinics and schools. All are locally initiated or the result of extensive community consultations, and are designed to improve rural livelihoods by fostering economic growth and providing immediate employment opportunities in the mainly agrarian region. (1)
During today's visit to the province, Minister Zia met with a local Shura - a council of elders - to discuss the projects. Elders confirmed the link between development and security.
"The reason for the insecurity is poverty," said Abdul Nabi, head of the local Shura. "If the people had money and job opportunities, I am sure that peace would come and the fighting would stop."
MRRD is working to rebuild rural Afghanistan through its various national programmes such as the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), National Area Based Development programme (NABDP), Water and Sanitation Programme (WATSAN), National Rural Access Programme (NRAP), and Micro-Finance Facility for Afghanistan (MISFA).
(1) Of the 346 projects which are being implemented by MRRD in the southern provinces since January 2007. 282 projects target specifically the Kandahar province, of which 265 are entirely funded with CIDA contribution, excluding the mosques which are funded by Policy Action Group funds. As of today, 177 of those projects are completed, with the remaining ongoing or soon to start. In sum, CIDA's projects completed and ongoing since January 2007 account for 341,000 labour days worked across 14 districts
For further information please refer to MRRD web-site: www.mrrd.gov.af or contact Akhtarjan Kohistani at firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: 0700 93 1984