October 11, 2006 14:05 ET

CIDA: Helping Afghans Rebuild their Lives-Canada Supports Community-Based Development In Afghanistan

VALCARTIER, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 11, 2006) - The Honourable Josee Verner, Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages, announced that Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), will provide over $18 million to help Afghans rebuild needed infrastructure, improve access to basic necessities and strengthen democratic development.

"Afghanistan has made significant progress in its reconstruction, with Canada being a leading nation helping it to achieve this progress," said Minister Verner. "Because of the efforts of our troops and development workers, governance in Afghanistan has been strengthened and poverty has been reduced. It is through their commitment that Afghanistan will stabilize and become safe for reconstruction, allowing it to thrive without the oppression of the Taliban."

The funding announced today will improve the lives of Afghans throughout the country. Canada will provide:

- $13 million in additional support to Afghanistan's highly successful national community development program, the National Solidarity Program (NSP). The program gives rural Afghans a voice in their country's development through the election of Community Development Councils (CDCs). To date, over 13,000 CDCs have been established across Afghanistan, representing more than half of all communities. More than one-third of projects provide access to health care, clean water and education initiatives, improving the lives of thousands of Afghan families;

- $2 million to expand the positive results of the NSP to two more districts in Kandahar, namely Spin Boldak and Khakrez; and,

- over $3.1 million in additional support to the National Area Based Development Programme (NABDP), which is led by the Government of Afghanistan. Working with Canada's PRT, the NABDP will construct or rehabilitate infrastructure in six districts of Kandahar province. The work will include bridge construction and opening of transportation and trade corridors. The improved access to markets, water and other basic services will enhance the lives of over 500,000 rural Afghans.

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 governance; all key elements in stabilizing the country and the region.

"All Canadians can be proud of our accomplishments in Afghanistan, such as ensuring young girls are able to receive an education in safety and security, "said Minister Verner. "Our integrated approach of development, diplomacy and defence is helping the Afghan people stabilize their country, establish the rule of law, and ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a haven for terrorists."



Canada's engagement in Afghanistan, through the complementary and mutually reinforcing efforts of the Canadian Forces, our diplomats, development workers and civilian police, is helping the Afghan people to build a secure, self-sustaining, democratic country. Since September 2006, the Government of Canada has announced the following initiatives:

New announcements

National Solidarity Program ($13 million)

The National Solidarity Program (NSP) is the Government of Afghanistan's mechanism for the development of rural infrastructure. The program seeks to reduce poverty by strengthening community level governance and by providing grants to communities throughout the country to implement projects identified by communities themselves such as reconstruction activities.

CIDA is contributing a further $13 million in October 2006 to support the work of the NSP, implemented through the World Bank-administered Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. Through this program, nearly 5,000 community initiatives have already been completed, improving the lives of thousands of Afghan families. Improvements were made to drinking water and sanitation, irrigation, infrastructure development, income generation, and health clinics.

National Area-Based Development Programme Infrastructure Initiatives ($3.1 million)

Similar to the National Solidarity Program, the National Area-Based Development Programme, which is led by the Afghan government, helps to improve lives of rural Afghans by building rural infrastructure, providing access to services and supporting rural development. This latest funding has been provided to improve access to markets, water and other basic services to over 500 000 Afghans by assisting with the rehabilitation of six vital infrastructure projects in the Kandahar province:

- Shah Wali Kot Bridge, Dand Bridge, Daman Bridge, Arghandab Bridge and the Poge Pass, which will improve market access and allow people to obtain necessary medical and official services more easily.

- Ghorak Check Dams, which will help better conserve water and recharge the traditional systems when the rainy season begins in winter.

Accelerated roll-out of National Solidarity Program - UN-HABITAT ($2 million)

UN-HABITAT was the lead agency working with the Government of Afghanistan in the conception and design of the National Solidarity Program (NSP) and is currently responsible for the program's implementation in nine provinces across Afghanistan. It has managed the implementation of NSP in Kandahar province since 2003 and has reached nearly 400 rural villages. This initiative will establish 40 rural Community Development Councils in Spin Boldak and Khakrez districts and assist with mobilizing and training community members so that each Council is able to produce a Community Development Plan. The initial funding will then support one priority initiative from each council and thereby directly support Afghans in rebuilding their communities.

Recent announcements

Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Kandahar Province ($5 million)

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) seeks to eliminate polio so that no child will ever again suffer permanent polio paralysis. The conflict in southern Afghanistan has stymied vaccination of all children, resulting in a resurgence of the disease, especially in Kandahar and Helmand provinces. On October 5, 2006, Canada announced an allocation of $5 million to immunize over seven million children living in Afghanistan. This announcement comes at a time when regular polio vaccination campaigns are being carried out nationwide in response to an outbreak in the southern region. The GPEI is targeting over seven million children between September 2006 and December 2007.

Microfinance Investment Support Facility of Afghanistan ($12 million)

On September 23, 2006, Canada announced a contribution of $12 million in further support to the successful Microfinance Investment Support Facility of Afghanistan (MISFA). MISFA was launched by the Government of Afghanistan in June 2003 to strengthen the private sector, and to provide lending alternatives and financial services to Afghan citizens. Currently, MISFA funds 12 microfinance institutions that, in turn, provide a range of income generation and enterprise development services, as well as consumer loans to low-income people, particularly women. As of March 2006, the microfinance institutions had served over 193,000 clients in 18 provinces, and provided over $70 million in loans. Canada is the lead donor to microfinance in Afghanistan.

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)