Rebuilding Afghanistan: Weekly activity update 17 - 23 Jul 2005

Irrigation Infrastructure Improvement

USAID is improving Afghanistan’s irrigation infrastructure to increase agricultural productivity. Projects include dams, spillway and diversion channels, intakes, and distribution systems.

The Sar-e Haus Dam, the largest dam in Northwest Afghanistan, provides irrigation for an estimated 600,000 people. USAID recently completed the left dam abutment, which supports the weight of the dam. Reinforcement of the old center spillway is scheduled to begin in August 2005, and the contractor is currently mobilizing. Some difficulties with local politicians appear to be resolved.

Afghanistan Primary Education Program

USAID’s Afghanistan Primary Education Program (APEP) focuses on teacher training, accelerated learning programs for students, and textbook printing and distribution. During the current reporting period, July 3 - 16, 2005, the Teacher Education Program (TEP), completed the training of 425 teacher educators. These teacher educators will form the province-level foundation for nationwide in-service teacher education efforts. The participants, all of whom are teachers in the formal school system, came from Kabul City (212), Kabul Province (30), Parwan (69), Logar (42), Paktia (42), and Kapisa (30).

APEP’s accelerated learning partners are now recruiting mentors (teachers) to help meet the additional instructional and supervision demands of implementing the 4th grade curriculum. At this level, the number of subjects taught increases, and students are observed and tested more frequently. As of June 30, APEP had trained an additional 2,592 mentors for its classes.

APEP is tracking a sample of school-leavers to determine the cause of and impact of students leaving APEP classes. The research is finding that most of the students who leave the program do so as a result of internal migration (families move to other districts or provinces) or as a result of APEP’s efforts to transfer students into the formal school system at the appropriate age (or as space becomes available for APEP students). However, with few exceptions, these students are continuing their education as part of formal school programs in their own districts or in their new place of residence. As of June 30, there remained 169,758 students in APEP’s accelerated learning classes.

APEP has contracted with three Afghan printers to locally print more than six million new textbooks in 68 titles (65 of which are in Dari). USAID is performing frequent inspections to assure the best possible quality. All printers are on or ahead of schedule for their August 2005 deadlines.

Legal and Administrative Training Programs

USAID’s rule of law activity reflects a transition from supporting the creation of a government to ensuring that the new government has the capacity serve as a legitimate alternative to Afghanistan’s violent political past. USAID is supporting Kabul University in establishing a Law School, combining elements of the current faculties of Shari’a and Law & Political Science. At the request of the two Kabul faculties, USAID is now conducting intensive English classes for 33 professors of the law and sharia faculties. Short-term training programs are being conducted at provincial courts, in court administration, computer literacy, and requested legal topics. To date, USAID has trained 25 judges in basic computer literacy and 5 judges in a training-of-trainers computer literacy course. USAID has provided 41 Ministry of Justice officials with English language classes. 26 court professional staff have received computer literacy training.

Security Incidents

Number of Hostile Attacks: For the reporting period of July 19 - July 27, there were four hostile attacks resulting in three persons injured and one killed. Eight people have been kidnapped and subsequently released.

Related Incidents: On July 22 three Joint Election Management Body (JEMB) workers in Nuristan were kidnapped. A well organized force of approximately 80 men dressed in ANA uniforms, but wearing Pakul headdress, surrounded the village of Kotya. There was a physical struggle/fight which resulted in 3 men being abducted. They include a JEMB Chairperson, a JEMB registration officer, and an unnamed civilian. All three individuals were released the next day.