October 23, 2006 07:00 ET

CIDA: Canada Delivers Emergency Aid and New Reconstruction to the People of Kandahar

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 23, 2006) - The Honourable Josee Verner, Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages, announced here today that Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), will provide nearly $5 million for emergency food aid for tens of thousands of the most vulnerable families in Kandahar Province, who face acute food shortages and internal displacement as winter approaches. The Minister also announced nearly $6 million to finance reconstruction and repair of roads and bridges in Kandahar, as well as to help build rural community services such as clinics and agricultural supports for Afghan farmers and villagers.

"With emergency food aid going to Kandahar Province, Canada is demonstrating yet again its commitment to supporting the Afghanistan Government in its efforts to protect its most vulnerable citizens-women and children," said Minister Verner.

The emergency aid funding announced today will assist the World Food Program (WFP) to deliver food aid to 12,000 vulnerable families from Panjwai and Zherai Districts, who were displaced from their homes during the NATO-led Operation Medusa against anti-government groups. With this funding, WFP will provide 4,400 tonnes of food to vulnerable Afghans throughout the Kandahar region, which has been highly effected by drought.

The Minister made the announcement while on a visit to Afghanistan, during which she met with Canadian Forces and CIDA aid workers with the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team, as well as with Afghan cabinet ministers in Kabul.

"The citizens of Kandahar deserve a better quality of life," said Minister Verner. "This is why Canadians and Afghans are resolute in achieving stability and development in Kandahar. By channelling our support to Afghan national programs for rural reconstruction in the south, the citizens of Kandahar will greatly benefit from improved access to basic services."

The reconstruction funding announced today will enable Afghan
national programs to deliver the following projects:

- $3.4 million to support the National Area-Based Development
Programme (NABDP), an Afghan Government-led initiative implemented
by the United Nations Development Programme. The NABDP focuses on
building and rehabilitating schools, government offices, irrigation
channels, water wells, health clinics and other critical services
in rural communities across the country. These new funds will
enable the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD)
to deliver priority reconstruction projects in all seventeen
districts of Kandahar Province, each financed up to $200,000;

- An additional $500,000 each, for both Panjwai and Zherai Districts,
will be provided through the United Nations to enable the MRRD to
deliver further reconstruction efforts and help these two Districts
respond to priority needs of communities who are still recovering
from the recent intense conflict;

- $1.5 million to the Afghan Government-led National Rural Access
Program (NRAP), also implemented by the UN Development Programme,
that focuses on improving a road access network that connects rural
households and communities to essential services, while providing
badly needed employment for the vulnerable and poor. The funding
will enable repairs to critical roads that improve access
throughout rural Kandahar, directly benefiting thousands of Afghans
throughout the southern region;

- CIDA is recruiting seven local Afghan professionals to support
provincial development planning in Kandahar. This newly established
Secretariat Support Team will facilitate collaboration and
priority-setting by the Kandahar Provincial Development Committee,
the key governance and development body of the provincial

Canadian support focuses on Afghan National Programs that ensure local ownership, accountability and community-based engagement. Through these programs, including the National Solidarity Program (NSP), NRAP and NABDP, grass-roots community groups set priorities, plan and implement village projects. This is democracy in action at the local level, and this local ownership ensures the projects' long-term stability; fewer than one percent of NSP projects in Kandahar have been attacked by insurgents.

National programs are establishing access to basic services across Afghanistan, with 118 construction projects in 25 provinces, completed by NABDP in 2005 alone. Since 2002, NRAP has provided 288 million days of wage labour to about 400,000 Afghans. To date, construction and rehabilitation has included 1,290 kilometres of roads in 29 provinces, six bridges, 2,000 metres of retaining walls, 28 small irrigation projects, 39 schools, 3 health clinics, 43 drinking water facilities and 204 dug water wells with hand pumps.

Today's announcement is part of Canada's total contribution of nearly $1 billion over 10 years aimed at reconstruction, reducing poverty and strengthening Afghanistan's governance; all key elements in stabilizing the country and the region.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Pascale St-Pierre
    Press Secretary
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534 (electronic version of document)