Rebuilding Afghanistan: Weekly activity update 25 Sep - 2 Oct 2003

News and Press Release
Originally published
Strengthening the Government

Program Goals

- Support the Bonn process: the Constitutional, Human Rights, and Judicial Commissions; the June 2004 elections; and a free and independent media.

- Improve government access to revenue (e.g., customs).

- Build capacity to carry out other legitimate government functions and support; reconstruction of health, judicial, education, economic, agricultural and transportation infrastructure.

Recent Progress

Preparations continue for the Constitutional Loya Jirga (CLJ):

- The registration process for electors for CLJ participants is now underway nationwide.

- Renovation of the Polytechnic Institute in Kabul, site of the CLJ, began this past week.

- All mechanisms are in place for publication and nationwide distribution of the draft constitution, once it is released by President Karzai, which is expected in the coming week.

Expanding Educational Opportunity

Program Goals

- 1,000 schools and at least 18 provincial women's centers rehabilitated or constructed.

- 10 million textbooks printed and distributed for 2003 school year.

- 30,000 classroom teachers trained.=A7 60,000 students enrolled in accelerated learning programs to reach their appropriate age level.

Recent Progress

On September 29th, an opening ceremony for programs in accelerated learning and teacher training took place in Jalalabad, in Nangarhar province. Program representatives and the Governor of Nangarhar, the Provincial Head of Education, and local education authorities attended the ceremony and toured accelerated learning classrooms. Details of each program are as follows:

- The accelerated learning program helps students who have not been in school (many of whom are girls) reach their appropriate age level. Over 5,000 boys and girls are currently enrolled in this program in Nangarhar. USAID trains the accelerated learning teachers, pays their salaries, and provides teaching materials. Communities are required to provide classroom space. The program has also started operation in Baghlan province, with approximately 5,000 more students now enrolled.

- The teacher training program is a distance education program, with classes broadcast by radio. Nangarhar and Kunduz are pilot provinces for this program. Radio classes are now starting to be broadcast. Although teachers will not formally enroll in these classes, expectations that many teachers will tune in regularly are high as initial baseline surveys indicated 95% of teachers in the pilot provinces listen to the radio on a regular basis.

Revitalizing Agriculture/Creating Jobs

Program Goals

- 100% increase in average productivity for 500,000 farm families through improved technologies, better infrastructure, and access to markets.

- 615 irrigation projects repaired/constructed to increase water use efficiency by 50% and agricultural productivity by 20%.

- 1000 km of improved village feeder roads rehabilitated.

- 1000 village agricultural market centers built.

Recent Progress

- The October 31 project completion date is nearing for Ghorband River irrigation improvements in the Shomali Plain, north of Kabul. These high impact repairs will provide irrigation to 18,000 hectares of agricultural land. The project has provided more than 17,800 person-days of work to the surrounding community, worth more than USD $62,800 in wages paid.

- The contractor for the Zana Khan Dam project in Ghazni province began work this week. Workers have begun the process of close inspection and repair to the stone masonry of the dam.