MCG Article
Development Projects and Rural Economic Growth Posted Date: 11/09/2016

Through the Maintenance Cash Grant (MCG) Initiative, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) could manage to create job opportunities for a large number of villagers in order to enable them to solve their economic problems. Plenty of problems notwithstanding, the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) has been able to establish Community Development Councils (CDCs) with the help of villagers across all 34 provinces of Afghanistan. Having disbursed a sum of AFN 80,870,803,439 the MRRD/NSP had an opportunity to extend its coverage to 86% villages of Afghanistan so far. In addition, through implementation of 89,619 infrastructure projects, this community-driven development program has been able to facilitate grounds for rural development, capacity enhancement and job creation during project implementation. By executing rehabilitation and income generation projects, the MRRD/NSP indeed alleviated poverty as well as plying an important role in strengthening rural economy.

From many years, the economic schemes of our country have depended on agriculture sector as most of Afghan residents have been employed in this field across Afghanistan. It’s with great regret that most of our farmers have been affected due to civil strife, natural disasters and recurrent droughts that have hit the country in the past four decades. Most of our country’s agricultural infrastructure including gardens, meadows and horticulture activities has fallen into ruins as agricultural and livestock activities came to a standstill for several years. Fortunately, once the destructive conflicts and unpleasant conditions have been replaced with peace and stability, our country people that had abandoned their houses and villages had an opportunity to return to their country again.

Once returned, the people could not rehabilitate their communities with empty pockets as rehabilitation and development need a strong economy. The MRRD/NSP -whose objective is to lay the foundation for a sustainable form of inclusive local governance, rural reconstruction and poverty alleviation- has simultaneously been established in order to assist the villagers in resolving certain problems.

Fortunately, the MRRD/NSP has been able to rehabilitate the country’s infrastructure in various sectors such as transport, water and sanitation, irrigation, power, livelihoods, education, etc to a great extent since its inception. The MRRD/NSP consistent efforts strengthen inter-community solidarity and establish cohesive linkages between neighboring villages. Through implementation of agricultural projects, the country’s agriculture has further improved. Following construction of rural roads connecting villages with district centers and cities, the farmers now have an opportunity to transport their agricultural products to the national and international markets without delays which plays a prominent role in strengthening the community economy. The rehabilitation of pastures has had a major impact on the lives and economy of stockbreeders. The execution of thousands of projects in different sectors e.g. 6,440 in Education, 22,208 projects in Transport, 159 projects in Health, 2,520 projects in livelihoods, 16,693 projects in irrigation, 7,782 projects in Energy and 4,899 projects in rural development has had a positive impact on rural economy so far.

Hence, the implementation of public utility projects including micro hydro power stations, public baths, diesel-powered mills, income generation initiatives, etc has led towards relative rehabilitation of community economy by experiencing a tangible increase in industrial and agricultural products.

In order to ensure the sustainability of the MRRD/NSP-funded projects and strengthen the rural economy, the National Unity Government has recently announced the Maintenance Cash Grant (MCG) Initiative under the “National Employment Generation Program for Peace”. The projects that are semi-functional or dysfunctional are being rehabilitated under the supervision of the MCG Initiative. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of rural residents will be provided with the short and long-term employments during the project implementation. It is worth mentioning that around 4,544,006 labor days have been created since the start of the MCG Initiative in the selected provinces of Afghanistan.

In conclusion, it shouldn’t be remained unsaid that the MRRD/NSP is committed to playing a pivotal role in ensuring socio-economic growth at community level by executing thousands of development projects. This initiative not only enabled villagers to enjoy basic human needs, but also brought about equal socio-economic welfare amongst villagers in rural areas across the country.   





The MCG Project Provided my Family’s One-Month Expenditures Posted Date: 11/09/2016


The “National Employment Generation Program for Peace” designed to strengthen the economic potential of the vulnerable rural inhabitants by creating job opportunities, was formally announced by the National Unity Government in late stages of the last year. To promote both long and short-term employment opportunities and rehabilitate the development projects already executed through the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development has initiated the Maintenance Cash Grant (MCG) Project within the framework of this foremost development opportunity, arisen with the help of International Community.  

It should not remain unsaid that the MRRD has implemented thousands of infrastructure projects in various sectors including transport, water and sanitation, irrigation, power, livelihoods, education, etc in a bid to support the socio-economic growth and facilitate social welfare services across 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the past few years. The MRRD through the NSP has so far been able to execute 80,792 development projects at a sum of more than AFN 81,408,548,905. These projects include the construction of roads, bridges, health clinics, social buildings, water supply networks, irrigation canals, school buildings, protection walls, retaining walls, etc. Upon successful completion of these projects, considerable changes have been brought about in rural areas of Afghanistan.

In order to ensure their sustainability, these projects are in need of maintenance which is being conducted through the MRRD/NSP under the MCG Project. The main objective of the MCG Project is to improve the rural economy by offering jobs to villagers as thousands of people are currently busy working for this income-generating project in various Afghan provinces.

To better elaborate on certain greatest achievements of the National Unity Government, we can take a notice of Alhindi Nawabad Community Development Council (CDC), Andkhoi district of Faryab province. Composed of 249 families, this village is located some 2 km from the district center.

Said, Muhamad Alim 42, a resident of Alhindi Nawabad Village, and one among many workers who is working for his village road project: “We are utterly satisfied with the MCG Project being executed through the MRRD/NSP. I have been busy working for this project for more than ten days. I was unemployed before. On a daily basis, I was going to the district center to find work in the past. However, I could only find work for one or two days, whereas I would remain unemployed for the rest of the week. I am very happy now as I construct my village road and meanwhile provide my family with basic food items to last one month at least. Upon completion of the road maintenance project, I will be able to travel calmly to another place for finding work because the wages I receive can cover the expenditures of my family for a period of one month.”

“A sum of AFN 640,000 has been allocated for our community under the MCG Project. We could manage to repair our village road 3,000 meters in length and clear a 678-meter irrigation canal with the help of the money we received. A large number of needy villagers, that are unemployed in this part of the season, have been offered jobs during the execution of the MCG Project”, revealed Fakhrudin, the Alhindi Nawabad CDC Head.

 





Part of MRRD Minister Eng. Naseer Ahmad Durrani’s speech during Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) Meeting Posted Date: 11/09/2016

“One of the flagship programs of the Afghan government is the National Solidarity Program – a name widely known to you all. Under NSP, we have not only managed to deliver services to the Afghan people, but have in essence built the fundamental institutions for service delivery that will serve us for many years to come.

 

CDCs are not only able to prioritize, plan and implement projects efficiently and effectively, they are also capable of doing analysis of socio-economic realities in rural areas. This analysis clearly highlights the socio-economic differentiation within rural communities, with roughly half of the population in villages living in poverty. The CDC can also draw village resource maps, economic profiles, seasonal calendars to illustrate work availability or the lack of work opportunities, and an income and expenditure analysis of villagers.  Based on an analysis made by CDCs, which was presented in the CDC National Consultative Conference held in November 2015, the analyses classified our rural communities into 3 main categories:

i)                    families who can afford a meal once a day –send their children up to class 3 and 6

ii)                  families who can afford a meal twice a day – send their children up to class 12

iii)                families who can afford a meal thrice a day – send their children up to the undergraduate level or above

 

During the past decade, we have established over 35,000 Community Development Councils (CDCs) that have been working extensively to prioritise, plan and implement over 90,000 projects– having reached over 17 million beneficiaries of our rural population in the sectors of transport, energy, irrigation, water supply and sanitation, rural enterprise development and other rural infrastructural projects. These programs have helped generate over 243.3 million labor days.

 

MRRD has generated over 6.5 million labor days. Another 8.5 million labor days are ongoing through completion of 10,565 projects and implementation of the first phase of MCG.

Under the NSP structure, the Maintenance Cash Grants sub-program has already disbursed USD35 million to over 3,700 communities across 45 districts in 12 provinces. This first phase will generate an estimated 4 million paid labour days, benefitting approximately 181,000 families.

The communities were selected on the basis of seasonality, remoteness, security levels, completion of work for the NSP block grants, and under-employment rates.

The feedback from the field to-date indicates that the MCG is very well-received in the villages, with the paid labour providing vital income for families at a time of rising food prices and food insecurity. We will shortly be expanding to the remaining 22 provinces of Afghanistan using the funds generously committed by EU, the US, UK, Germany and Italy. These will bring about 12.2 million additional labour days – benefitting around 555,000 families.

It is important to realise that Afghanistan’s stability is linked to the stability of our rural communities. And rural stability is in turn linked to rural development. We need to scale up our interventions in rural development if we are to see Afghanistan stable.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasise that both the Citizens’ Charter NPP and the Jobs for Peace program are essential to the country to bring vital services and increased income to its population. The Maintenance Cash Grants has clearly demonstrated the immediate impact for poor families through paid labour and the Citizens’ Charter will deliver the services to ensure a healthy and productive population for generations to come.”





The role of Irrigation Canals Clearance in Economic Growth Posted Date: 11/09/2016

Following the introduction of the Maintenance Cash Grant (MCG) Project under the National Solidarity Programme of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD/NSP), the clearance of irrigation canals as part of the project has pragmatically initiated in Badakhshan and Takhar provinces.  The MCG Project, one of the major components of the “National Employment Generation Program for Peace” not only facilitates grounds to rehabilitate the public utility projects, already executed through the MRRD/NSP, but also arises both short and long-term employment opportunities for the villagers during the implementation process.

 In accordance with the designed plan, the clearing process of an irrigation canal under the MCG Project has lately started in Faizabad, the center of Badakhshan province in an attempt to structurally nurture lands to boost agricultural productivity to a certain, desirable extent. The Shahr-e-Jadid Faizabad Canal originates from Chata village and is divided into two parts in Sangmahar community. One part of this canal extends down the Chata Wabsity village, Argu district, while it is other part benefitting five communities extends down the Dasht-e-Qara Town. More and more, this irrigation canal plays an important role in ensuring the greenery and vegetation of Faizabad City and its nearby localities.

Properly monitored by authorized engineers, the clearing process of Shahr-e-Naw irrigation canal started in late March 2016, considering a thorough site survey and systematic classification. A large number of local residents have been provided with lucrative activities during the implementation of the canal clearing project in the light of a proper mechanism involving monitoring, evaluation and attendance management.

The total length of the canal is 22.453 km and its overall clearance volume is 35,110 square cubic meters. The residents of 27 communities are engaged in the canal clearing practice; 20 of which belong to localities located across Faizabad City, while seven of them belong to vicinities located in Argu district. Having benefitted 37,532 individuals directly and around 187,660 individuals indirectly, the completion of canal clearance project facilitated the proper irrigation of 1,850 hectares of land leaving a positive impact on 5,931 families residing in the region.  

As part of remunerative activities and infrastructure planning, another two irrigation canals in shahr-e-Naw and Shar-e-Kuhna communities, Rustaq district of Takhar province are being cleared under the MCG project.

Benefitting seven communities comprised of 1,441 families, the Shahr-e-Naw canal 8.2 km in length is providing water to 2,197 jirabs of land in the region. In addition to playing a pivotal role in maintaining environmental greenery, the canal clearance project creates job opportunities for village residents across Takhar province.

Cleared by local labor belonging to eight communities, the Shahr-e-Kuhna canal 7.2 km in length is directly benefitting 1,472 families by irrigating some 3,000 jirabs of agricultural land as well as giving the whole area a natural beauty.

 The execution of the MCG project under the auspices of the MRRD/NSP is a positively reflective stride towards the betterment of rural socio-economic growth. The sustainability of certain initiative in fact indicates a bright future with a hope of moving towards community welfare and development. As such, the National Unity Government of Afghanistan not only fights unemployment by offering jobs to people, but it is also fully committed to upholding the progress made in terms of economic and development infrastructure over the past more than one decade.