This case study of IRD's experience in Afghanistan offers a new definition of stabilization, results and outcomes to date, and lessons and recommendations for future stabilization activities.

IRD has worked in Afghanistan since 2004, when it began providing infrastructure quality assurance and monitoring support services to USAID. Since then, IRD has maintained a strong presence in Afghanistan leading and supporting a variety of programs in the areas of relief and stabilization, capacity building, democracy and governance, infrastructure, and agricultural development.

Relief & Stabilization
In 2008, more than 20 percent of Afghans did not have enough to eat because of instability, lack of income, drought, and declining agricultural productivity. With funding from USAID, IRD began implementing the Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Production in Agriculture (AVIPA) program, which distributed vouchers for more than 10,000 tons of high-quality wheat seed and 33,000 tons of fertilizer at a reduced cost to nearly 300,000 vulnerable farmers suffering from prolonged drought. In 2009, USAID expanded AVIPA in scope and size, emphasizing stabilization within an agricultural framework in Helmand and Kandahar provinces and expanding the agricultural vouchers program nationwide. The aim was to stimulate local economies and provide income for rural farmers affected by violence and insurgent activity while increasing agricultural production and productivity and strengthening links between the Afghan government and its people.

The approach developed under AVIPA – tightly integrated cash for work, agricultural vouchers, training and capacity building, and in-kind grant programs – is continuing under USAID’s Southern Regional Agricultural Development (S-RAD) program. S-RAD is helping to increase incomes for at least 25,000 farm families, create thousands of long-term and short-term agricultural jobs, and increase confidence in government among local residents. IRD supported similar objectives under the Afghanistan Stabilization Initiative (ASI)–South by helping create large-scale, short-term job opportunities for both skilled and unskilled Afghans through the cash for work component. IRD is also implementing a grants component of the Stability in Key Areas (SIKA)–East program, another USAID-funded program that is building confidence and stability, and increasing provision of basic services by supporting community-led development and local governance initiatives.

Agricultural Development
S-RAD, like AVIPA Plus, continues to strengthen Afghanistan’s long-term agricultural development through short and long-term activities, including rehabilitation of irrigation systems. This has the added benefit of contributing to the long-term objectives of protecting the environment and increasing farm efficiency and production. S-RAD is also addressing constraints along six crop and livestock value chains identified as having the greatest potential to increase livelihoods and incomes. Business development services and in-kind grants are revitalizing farmer cooperatives and associa¬tions, linking them to “upstream” farm input supply firms and to “downstream” traders, processors, wholesalers, and retailers, establishing enduring linkages between farmers and the private sector.

In 2007, IRD designed the Strategic Provincial Roads program in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan (SPR) in conjunction with USAID to support stabilization efforts in some of the more volatile areas of the country. IRD’s work not only resulted in the successful construction or rehabilitation of over 400 miles of roads, but also helped established a competitive local construction contracting market, improved stability in rural communities, created thousands of jobs, and improved access to markets and government services in remote rural areas.

Project Monitoring & Support
Under the World Bank’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), IRD is helping to track and monitor project execution. Working closely with Afghan ministries of Education, Public Works, Rural Rehabilitation and Development, and others, IRD is building national capacity to manage development aid. IRD provides similar support to USAID under the Engineering Quality Assurance and Logistics Services (EQUALS) program, including a range of engineering, logistical, and technical services for transportation, energy, and water and sanitation infrastructure projects. IRD has enabled hundreds of international and Afghan staff to assist USAID with site inspections, quality assurance and quality control, project evaluations, technical reviews, and technical capacity building.

Democracy & Governance
IRD helped increase community involvement, especially among women and youth, in decision-making and improved access to services and jobs by enhancing the credibility of municipal administrations. Funded by USAID, the Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations (RAMP-UP) was implemented under IRD’s subcontract to Chemonics International from 2010 to 2011.

The Afghan Civilian Assistance Program (ACAP II) works nationwide to support communities that have suffered due to military operations against insurgents. Beneficiaries receive direct in-kind assistance such as household goods, agricultural equip¬ment, and livestock, as well as vocational training or livelihood support. The program also refers families to local NGOs who can provide necessary services. Through increased participation of Afghan counterparts during the assistance delivery processes, ACAP II is strengthening civil society, building local capacity, and establishing stronger relationships between the Afghan government and local communities.

Capacity Building
In 2005 IRD established and operated the Construction Trades Training Center (CTTC) located in Jalalabad City, which was successfully converted into a thriving Afghan-run NGO in 2008 and continues to offer services to the US Army Corps of Engineers and numerous USAID implementing partners and construction companies working in Afghanistan. Through AVIPA Plus, IRD conducted farmer-to-farmer training programs which promoted better agriculture management practices, production technologies, and marketing strategies. Under SPR, IRD collaborated with and strengthened national institutions, especially those that form the backbone of the construction industry in southern Afghanistan. In all of its work, IRD engages and coordinates with Afghan communities and the government to ensure they benefit from all technical and institutional capacity building initiatives.


Afghanistan Civilian Assistance Program

The Afghan Civilian Assistance Program (ACAP) II is a civilian assistance program i... more

Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Productive Agriculture

AVIPA and AVIPA Plus were relief and stabilization programs funded by USAID and imp... more

Capacity Building through Vocational Training

Efforts to rebuild Afghanistan have been hampered by the lack of qualified construc... more

Construction Trades Training Center

Efforts to rebuild Afghanistan have been seriously hampered by the lack of qualifie... more

Engineering, Quality Assurance, and Logistical Support Program

The Engineering, Quality Assurance, and Logistical Support Program (EQUALS) provide... more

Establishing Stability in Southern Afghanistan through Cash-for-Work Activities

IRD community stabilization programming helps meet the unique social and economi... more

Human Resources and Logistical Support in Afghanistan

Among Afghanistan's daunting reconstruction challenges are building the capacity of... more

Southern Regional Agricultural Development in Afghanistan

The Southern Regional Agricultural Development (S-RAD) program works to increase lo... more

Strategic Provincial Roads in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan

The Strategic Provincial Roads Program in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan (SPR) co... more

Supporting Effective Governance for Greater Stability in Afghanistan

Building citizens’ confidence and trust in government are fundamental to achieving... more

Third-Party Monitoring of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund

Project monitoring and reporting in some developing regions can be difficult due to... more

Success Stories

Help and Hope for Afghanistan’s Widows

When Wajma’s husband, Faridullah, was killed in a suicide attack at the Jalalabad a... more

Shop Expansion Helps One Man’s Family

Supporting a large family is never an easy task, but for one man living... more

Dairy Farmer Plans for Expansion

In February 2014, a vehicle-borne improvised explosion in Kabul left nin... more

Counseling Helps War Victims Cope

Few can imagine the pain of losing a loved one after being caught in a v... more

Afghan Villagers Trained to Monitor Local Projects

In Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar, villagers play a critical m... more

Rebuilding Afghan Women’s Livelihoods after Loss

For many women living in Afghanistan’s rural areas, tending livestock is one of the... more

Afghan Hospitals Receive Essential Supplies

“Getting high-quality medicines like this is extremely difficult. These... more

Walking Tall Once More

GHOR Afghanistan – Every year in Afghanistan hundreds of civilians are kill... more

Safeguarding Schools, Safeguarding Children

In eastern Afghanistan, far from district capitals, men fear commuting, wom... more

Sheltered Childhood

“We are schooling girls in our village,” a Pashtun elder from Logar Provinc... more

What All Water Can Bring

The Ramadan dawn comes early with the summer sun; dusk comes late. Heat and... more

Tailoring Help Following Tragedy

Every year hundreds of children in Afghanistan become innocent victims of t... more

Counseling for War Victims

Each year in Afghanistan thousands of civilians are killed or injured. Many... more

Women Rebuild Their Lives After IED

Brothers Azim and Alam had been driving to the bazaar with their father whe... more

Helping Victims of Suicide Attack

When insurgents target US and coalition forces, Afghan civilians nearly alw... more

Giving a Helping Hand

Taxi driver Kamber relies on his hands to earn a living for his family, but... more

Helping Families Recover from Airport Suicide Attack

Shortly after dawn, a Taliban suicide bomber drove up to the airport gates.... more

Helping Civilians after Helicopter Crashes

When international soldiers are killed in Afghanistan, civilians often die... more

Providing Assistance after a Suicide Car Bomb Attack

Each year hundreds of Afghan civilians are killed, injured, or suffer prope... more

Recovering from Loss Caused by Conflict

GHAZNI, Afghanistan – Living near a military base in Afghanistan is dangero... more

Recovering from Conflict, Stitch by Stitch

GHAZNI, Afghanistan – For many Afghan women, earning a living can be tough.... more

Child Afghan Conflict Victim Gets New Life

Five-year-old Muqadas is lucky to be alive. He was shot in the head during... more

A Step in the Right Direction

Each year hundreds of children die or are injured because of the conflict i... more

Back to School After Bomb Blast

Matiullah’s school is close to a U.S. and coalition military base in Kabul.... more

Fruits of Daily Labor

ARGHANDAB, Kandahar – Afghanistan was once known around the world for its pomegrana... more

Rehabilitation for Incarcerated Afghan Youth

Youth incarcerated in juvenile detention facilities are highly vulnerable to Taliba... more

Canal Rehabilitation Rebuilds Agriculture in Southern Afghanistan

Kandahar and Helmand Provinces, AFGHANISTAN - The Southern Regional Agricultural De... more