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.
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.
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.
The Afghan Civilian Assistance Program (ACAP) II is a civilian assistance program i... more
AVIPA and AVIPA Plus were relief and stabilization programs funded by USAID and imp... more
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Efforts to rebuild Afghanistan have been seriously hampered by the lack of qualifie... more
The Engineering, Quality Assurance, and Logistical Support Program (EQUALS) provide... more
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