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Communities creating better future - Embassy of Finland, Kabul : Current Affairs


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Communities creating better future

During my visit to the Northern Afghanistan, I was very impressed by the proactive approach the communities have when developing their surroundings and women’s role in these activities. Finland supports provision of basic services in Afghanistan through the Citizens’ Charter program managed by the World Bank. The program has brought water points, quality education and health care services to rural areas. Recently, also urban communities have been included. The underlying thought is democratic representation of all community members and their participation in decision making. In 2018, Finland’s support to the program was 2.5 million euros.

Text: Lotta Valtonen

Photo: Lotta Valtonen
Community Development Council Meeting
In the Northern Afghanistan, in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, a community development council called “Aryana 4” was established in October 2017. A woman was selected as the deputy chairperson of the council. Also, half of its twenty members are women. During our meeting, the deputy told how the council had conducted a mapping of the households’ economic situation, so that support could be targeted towards the most in need. For the poorest and illiterate women, free literacy courses were provided, for instance.

Photo: Lotta Valtonen
Girls with Aryana 4 Sign
The Aryana 4 community had organized a beautiful reception when we entered the village. The children welcomed us with English signs. Some knew English and said “Welcome, how are you!”
Photo: Photographer unknown
Inauguration Ceremony
We managed to take part in the inauguration of a new street, together with city mayor. The community council had gathered money from the community members and could thus cover their 25 % share of the around 70 000 EUR road improvement project. The community had listed and prioritized the development needs, and the new pavement for the road emerged as a priority intervention. The muddy road poses a challenge, in particular during the winter pours. The Citizens’ Charter covered the remaining 75 % of the project and educated the community council members in managing procurement and bookkeeping. The community paved around a kilometer of road. Proper ditches were made, too.
Photo: Lotta Valtonen
Children Welcoming
There are 241 households in the Aryana 4 community. The economy mapping revealed that 60 % of the households are poor, 34 % are middle class and 6 % are well-off. Every household has contributed to the community projects according to their means. The Citizens’ Charter has supported a road improvement project but, for example, the waste management is run independently by the community.
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Updated 12/16/2018

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