CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

May 20, 2010 11:58 ET

Minister Oda Concludes Visit to Afghanistan: Measured the progress of Canadian Aid Projects

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN--(Marketwire - May 20, 2010) - Today, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation and Vice-Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Afghanistan, concluded a visit to Afghanistan where she monitored the success of Canadian aid in reaching benchmarks for irrigation projects, agricultural programs and education.

"The one message I heard very clearly over the past few days in the discussions in both Kandahar and Kabul is that Afghans are seeing the results of Canada's effort," said Minister Oda, whose last visit to Afghanistan was in January 2009. "I was also able to emphasize that Canada will continue to deliver development programming and humanitarian aid after 2011."

While in Kandahar, Minister Oda reviewed progress on key development initiatives that support the goal of improving access to education, as well as improving the ability of the Government of Afghanistan to deliver core services to its people. 

At the Arghandab Valley community centre, the Minister was updated by Governor Toorylai Wesa on the significant progress being made on the rehabilitation of canals running through the Arghandab valley and the heart of Kandahar province. The canal system rehabilitation is part of the Dahla Dam signature project that will enable the effective flow of irrigation water to the province's key agricultural areas. In the past few months 85,000 cubic metres or the equivalent of 4,500 standard-sized dump trucks full of silt has been removed from the canals, which reach over 80 percent of Kandaharis. 

Minister Oda also monitored the significant economic growth and agricultural programming that builds on the irrigation projects. To help re-establish a robust agro-economy in Kandahar province, Canada is supporting the distribution of livestock and is providing training, aiming to increase the production of meat and dairy products. Canadian support has also helped to build greenhouses and nurseries that lengthen the growing season in Kandahar.

At the tail end of the Arghandab irrigation system, the Minister viewed the land at Tarnak Farms (formerly an al-Qaeda training camp) that is now being rehabilitated. Once complete, it will serve as a hub for agricultural development in southern Afghanistan where training in agricultural expertise, plant production, animal husbandry, agricultural economics, business and marketing, and rural development can be delivered.

Canada is the lead donor to Afghanistan's national education sector through the Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP) and is working with Afghanistan's Ministry of Education to increase the access to and improve the quality of basic education. While in Kandahar, the Minister participated in a roundtable discussion on education.

One of Canada's signature projects in the region is the construction of 50 schools. In her briefing, the Minister was told that 16 are complete, 27 are under construction and the remainder are largely contracted. The Minister's visit to Kabul also enabled her to meet with the Afghan Minister of Education, Farook Wardak, as well as the Ministry's Director General of Teacher Education, Susan Wardak.

In Kabul, Minister Oda met with the UN's Special Representative to the Secretary-General, Staffan de Mistura, Afghan Minister of Finance Omar Zakhiwal, Afghan Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Mohamannad Asif Rahimi and Afghan opinion leaders. She also participated in a roundtable discussion on humanitarian assistance, and received updates on the upcoming Peace Jirga and Kabul Conference.

Meetings with the Afghan Deputy Minister of Public Health, Dr. Nadera Hayat Burhai, and with implementing partners offered the Minister an opportunity to discuss aid effectiveness, maternal and child health initiatives and polio eradication efforts. The success of the polio campaign and continued work were outlined.

Canada's aid in Afghanistan will amount to $1.9B over the ten-year period ending in 2011, making Canada one of the largest donors. In the 2008/2009 fiscal year, Canada disbursed approximately $224M in development and reconstruction funding in Afghanistan.

Backgrounder

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS:
NATIONAL AND IN KANDAHAR PROVINCE

Canada is focussed on a targeted set of objectives in keeping with proven Canadian strengths and consistent with Afghan objectives and the efforts of the international community.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is helping the Government of Afghanistan provide jobs, education, and essential services, like water to its people; provide humanitarian assistance to people in need, including refugees; and, build Afghan institutions that are central to our Kandahar priorities and support democratic processes such as elections.

NATIONAL

ECONOMIC GROWTH

Change Management Project
Current Phase:
2010-2011
Project Budget: $1.95 million
The Change Management Project aims to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) to deliver on its National Agriculture Development Framework. It supports the creation and implementation of a Policy and Analysis and Legal Advisory Department (PALAD) within MAIL, the improvement of gender mainstreaming and integration within PALAD and the larger MAIL institutions, and provides support for Afghan advisors within the ministry.

EDUCATION

Teacher Certification and Accreditation
Current Phase:
2010-2020
Project Budget: $10 million
Working with the Afghan Ministry of Education, the project will develop training packages for the Ministry of Education's Teacher Education Department, update and standardize the teacher training curriculum, establish an accreditation system for teacher training institutions and develop a system for teacher certification.

Turquoise Mountain
Current Phase:
2009-2011
Project Increase: $4 million
Key activities of this project includes operating schools of traditional arts, providing literacy, vocational and business training and restoring cultural buildings, shops, and infrastructure. This funding builds upon existing support for Turquiose Mountain and also provides 10 Kandahari students with three-year scholarships to attend Turquoise Mountain classes in Kabul.

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

Humanitarian Action Plan
Current Phase:
2010
Project Budget: $20 million
This project supports the delivery of humanitarian assistance in response to the Government of Afghanistan's Humanitarian Action Plan. A list of projects already supported by this initiative are:

  • World Food Programme ($13 million) – This project enhances resilience and food security in Afghanistan. With planned assistance to 5.2 million people in 2010 and 7.3 million in 2011, WFP will provide relief food assistance, build government capacity to assess, prepare and respond to food crises while supporting improved health and education, particularly for women and girls.
  • United Nations High Commission for Refugees ($3 million) - This project delivers general humanitarian assistance such as support for the provision of health services, mine action, food and non-food aid.
  • World Health Organization Health Cluster ($1 million) - This project improves access to essential emergency preventive and curative healthcare for the most vulnerable people affected by disasters, including underserved provinces, and people living in conflict zones beyond the reach of established systems, with a focus on women and children.

Mine Action
Current Phase:
2010
Project Budget: $2 million
This project adds new sites for de-mining to the United Nations Mine Action Service and Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan's existing work in Afghanistan. The proposed additional working sites are located on downstream sub-irrigation areas and near Tarnak farms. It is estimated that clearing these lands will create 150-200 jobs and will benefit a further 3000 people in the region.

Emergency Micro-Nutrients Initiative
Current Phase:
2009-2010
Project Budget: $632,000
This one-year project distributes micro-nutrients (vitamin A and zinc supplements) to children under five and pregnant and lactating women to reduce high morbidity and mortality rates. Almost all of the funding for this initiative, which began in July 2009, has been dispersed.

KANDAHAR PROVINCE

AGRICULTURE

Kandahar Regional Agriculture & Rural Development Institute at Tarnak Farms
Current Phase:
2010
Project Budget: $4.7 million
The Government of Canada is funding the establishment of the Kandahar Regional Agriculture & Rural Development Institute (KRARDI) at Tarnak Farms. This is a sub-component of Phase II of the Integrated Alternative Livelihood Program — a $12 million program that is helping to create new livelihood opportunities for Afghans. The project will establish the institute, develop teaching materials in Pashto and train staff. It will also develop a Master Plan for Tarnak Farms and recommend projects to re-establish the location as a hub for agricultural development for Kandahar province.

Horticulture Export Development Project
(Kandahar Local Initiatives Program)
Current Phase:
2009
Project Budget: $1.1 million
The project improves the production, processing and marketing of raisins and pomegranates. Activities include expanding the adoption of improved production methods for raisins and pomegranates, strengthening farmer-trader links and developing a strategy for building sustained links between local firms and international companies.

Rehabilitation of Agricultural Infrastructures in Kandahar
(Kandahar Local Initiatives Program)

Current Phase: 2009-2010
Project Budget: $586,000
Canada is funding the rehabilitation of two irrigation canals and several dykes linked to the Dahla Dam irrigation system. The canals irrigate land used for crops such as orchards, vineyards and vegetables. Once the rehabilitation is complete, 3,900 families will benefit from the land irrigated by these canals.

Poultry Raising Program for Improving Alternative Livelihoods
(Kandahar Local Initiatives Program)
Current Phase:
2009-2011
Project Budget: $485,000
This project promotes community-based poultry production as an alternative source of sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable men and women in target rural communities in Kandahar. Project beneficiaries are 300 men and women.

Economic Growth Opportunities Assessment in Panjwayi
(Kandahar Local Initiatives Program)

Current Phase: 2010
Project Budget: $318,000
This project is a community-based assessment of economic growth opportunities in Panjwayi district, the results of which are shared with the Afghan Government and the donor communities to ensure that projects implemented in that district are aligned with needs expressed by the communities.

Economic Growth Opportunities Assessment in Dand
Current Phase:
2010
Project Budget: $235,000
This project is a community-based assessment of economic growth opportunities in Dand district, the results of which are shared with the Afghan Government and the donor communities to ensure that projects implemented in that district are aligned with needs expressed by the communities.

Animal Husbandry and Livelihood Security for Women
(Kandahar Local Initiatives Program)
Current Phase:
2009-2011
Project Budget: $145,000
This project promotes food security and enhances women's self-reliance and confidence through the raising of goats, training in milk production and marketing their products locally to supplement household income. Approximately 165 vulnerable women and their households will benefit from this project.

EDUCATION

School Boundary Walls
(Kandahar Local Initiatives Program)
Current Phase:
2010-2011
Project Budget: $645,000
This project builds boundary walls at 13 schools in Kandahar, an essential measure for student security. 

Gender and Education Initiatives
(Kandahar Local Initiatives Program)

1. Computer Training for High School Girls
Current Phase:
2009-2010
Project Budget: $19,840
This project supports computer training for up to 200 high school girls.

2. Women's Rights
Current Phase:
2009
Project Budget: $51,324
This project helped to increase awareness of women's rights with a special focus on women's roles in elections and in public life in Kandahar province.

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

Wheat Seeds and Fertilizer Distribution in Kandahar with Mercy Corps
Current Phase:
2009-2010
Project Budget: $1.7 million
The project's first phase, the distribution of the seed and fertilizer, was completed in January 2010. Phase two, which is ongoing, is to train farmers and Kandahar Agricultural faculty members and also see the rehabilitation of irrigation canals. Phase two runs until December 2010.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Jessica Fletcher
    Press Secretary
    819-953-6238
    or
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534
    media@acdi-cida.gc.ca