Rebuilding Afghanistan: Weekly progress update 11 - 18 Jun 2003

News and Press Release
Originally published
Rebuilding the Kabul-Kandahar Highway

Program Goals

- Establish secure working environment along entire road corridor.

- Demine areas three weeks in advance of construction contractor work.

- 389 kilometers (from KM 43 to KM 432 from Kabul) of first layer pavement completed by 12/31/03.

Recent Progress

ROAD SECURITY: Vehicular patrols and guard teams (up to 700 persons) deployed along the project corridor. With security in place, constructors are beginning to set up work camps.

DE-MINING: UN de-mining work has resumed in Sections B and C. UN is beginning de-mining checks for contractors' work camps and materials borrow pits in other areas except within Section "E" between Qalat and Murkur. UN/Kabul hopes to get UN-HQ clearance to start working in Section E by 6/20/03.

MOBILIZATION: Contractors have accelerated equipment deliveries, with Kabul air arrivals almost daily. Camps and materials production sites are being located/established as soon as mine clearances effected.

ROAD REHABILITATION: Work on Section B continued with more than 500 workers involved in equipment erection, culvert improvements, bridge works. Contractors are readying grading equipment and aggregate screening/production which is expected to begin by June 28.

PAVING ACTIVITIES: Section B paving design has been completed. This contractor received its first bitumens deliveries and its mixing plant passed production quality tests. Contractors are arranging asphalt supplies and an asphalt 'buffer stock'. Initial paving activities are on track to begin in early July for Section B.

Strengthening the Afghan Government

Program Goals

- Improve Afghan government's access to sources of revenue through Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) contributions and customs operations improvements.

- Support the Bonn process, specifically the Constitutional process, the June 2004 elections, and the Human Rights and Judicial commissions.

- Establish a free and independent media in Afghanistan.

- Build up Afghan government's infrastructure and improve its operations for legitimate government functions.

Recent Progress

$20 million ESF sent at end of May to World Bank-managed ARTF to pay TISA's operating expenses.

A Central Bank payments system is now functioning in six provinces (no such system existed previously); payment system functioning for all 32 provinces by later this summer.

Afghanistan's first ever private radio station, Arman FM 98.1, went on the air in mid-April with support from USAID. The station broadcasts music, entertainment, and education.

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 to increase water use efficiency by 50% and agricultural productivity by 20%.

- 1000 km of improved village feeder roads.

- 1000 village agricultural market centers.

Recent Progress

Afghanistan is headed for a very good harvest, "probably the best in 25 years" according to the UN's FAO. The harvest season for cereals is from June to October for crops planted in the Fall of 2002. Key factors leading to this harvest are increased rainfall, increased acreage planted, and productivity improvements from donor assistance. USAID provided 5,000 mt improved seed and 9,000 mt fertilizer in 13 provinces to 100,000 farmers. Participating farmers increased production six-fold.

Expanding Educational Opportunity

Program Goals

- 1,000 schools rehabilitated or constructed

- 15 million textbooks printed and distributed for 2003 school year

- 30,000 classroom teachers trained

- 60,000 students integrated in school at age-appropriate levels through accelerated learning programs

Recent Progress

15 million textbooks were printed by USAID in Spring 2003. Textbook distribution is complete for schools in areas where school year begins in March; distribution has now begun for areas where school year begins in September.

Increasing Access to Basic Health Care

Program Goals

- 400 health centers renovated or constructed in needy areas

- 13 million women and children with access to basic health care through grants to NGOs to operate clinics

- 3,300 new community health workers trained; 180 midwives trained; 4860 clinic staff trained

- Make oral rehydration salts, iodized salt, contraceptives, mosquito nets, and other health products available at reasonable prices using existing trading and marketing system

- Develop public health education program with the Ministry of Health (MOH); strengthen MOH capacity at the national, provincial and district levels for guiding health care

Recent Progress

USAID distributed request for applications (RFA) to over 100 NGOs in Afghanistan so they can apply for grants to provide basic health care services in needy areas

USAID launched a water purification solution product called Clorin, to help combat the child mortality rate due to diarrhea. Clorin is a chlorine compound used to treat water in households at the time of use and will cost families approximately 30 cents (US$) per bottle. Clorin is manufactured in Afghanistan, boosting the local economy.

USAID Basic Health Provision Fact Sheet
Period: June 2002 - May 2003
  • 191,724 persons treated at clinics (75% of whom are women and children)
  • 89 clinics assisted in 17 provinces (there are 32 provinces in Afghanistan)
  • $2.3 million to NGOs to operate clinics
  • 16,685 women received health education
  • 860,000 women and children vaccinated
  • 6,728 births attended
  • 25,526 women and children receiving supplemental feeding
  • 3.8 million people with access to basic health care (clinic catchment area)