Tarakhil Power Plant Achieves Full Energy Output: On December 8, more Afghans in the capital city of Kabul gained access to locally produced power from the USAID-funded Tarakhil Power Plant. Engineers activated the plant's third and final power block, rendering the plant fully capable of producing the 105 megawatts of energy it was built to deliver.
In August 2009, President Hamid Karzai, Minister of Energy and Water Ismail Khan, and U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry cut the ribbon to celebrate the first megawatts of electricity generated by the new plant. Now, Tarakhil is producing power at maximum capacity and can provide electricity to more than 500,000 residents. Just in time for the long, cold winter, Kabul residents will have access to the electricity needed to heat and light their homes and businesses.
The plant's future is in good hands and it will continue producing power for many years to come. Currently, Afghan engineers from Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (Electrical Utility Corporation of Afghanistan) are taking a two-year training course that teaches them every aspect of the plant's operation, from maintaining machinery to operating the computer monitoring system. According to the project manager, the Afghan engineers who will ultimately take charge of the plant "will know everything there is to know about the equipment, from the rags used to oil it to the robotic crane to repair it."
English-language Training Advances University Faculty and Staff: Professors and employees of Kabul University recently began an eight-week intensive English course. The program provides English as a Second Language (ESL) to help faculty members make more effective use of academic resources that are published in English. University professors currently face challenges preparing up-todate lesson materials for their classes because they often have to use textbooks published in English.
Currently, 45 university professors and staff, including 25 women from faculties such as Law and Political Sciences, Psychology, Science, Language and Literature, and Fine Arts, are enrolled in English classes provided by USAID through Afghan eQuality Alliances (AeQA). Developing proficiency in foreign languages is one major emphasis of the recently inaugurated Ministry of Higher Education Strategic Plan. USAID is offering similar English classes for faculty lecturers at Kabul Polytechnic University, Hirat University, Balkh University, Nangarhar University, and Sheik Zayed University in Khost.