Beginning with the invasion by the Soviet Union in 1979, Afghanistan underwent more than a quarter century of continuous conflict. Despite the extensive fighting, however, provincial and municipal officials throughout the country succeeded in overcoming a number of obstacles. With the Taliban no longer in power, for example, Afghanistan held its first democratic elections in two decades in 2004. Still, much of the country’s population continued to live in poverty, and local governments lacked the resources to provide even basic services.
In 2004, to address these remaining challenges, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided funding to ICMA to support the sustainable transformation of post-war Afghanistan by strengthening the capacity of the municipality of Kabul, the capital city, to provide essential services to its citizens. Based on the success of that program in 2004-2007, USAID granted ICMA a cooperative agreement in May 2007 for the Afghanistan Municipal Strengthening Program (AMSP). In 2008, the agency provided additional funding to expand AMSP and also awarded the USAID and ICMA Commercialization of Afghanistan Water and Sanitation Activity (CAWSA) program. Since then, USAID has selected teams on which ICMA is a key player to implement the Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations (RAMP UP), the Capacity Building and Change Management Program for the Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (CBCMP), Stability in Key Areas-West (SIKA-West), and the Irrigation and Watershed Management Program (IWMP).
Strengthening Capacity in Kabul
Under the pilot program in 2004-2007, ICMA designed and implemented improvements in infrastructure and solid waste management in Kabul. The objective of the program was to make small changes that would provide local jobs, train municipal staff, and have an immediate impact on the quality of life for citizens—improved trash collection, drainage ditch clearing, neighborhood "greening," park creation, and street maintenance.
Afghanistan Municipal Strengthening Program
Drawing on the successes in Kabul, and again with USAID funding, ICMA initiated programs to strengthen local governments in eleven provincial capitals through the Afghanistan Municipal Strengthening Program (AMSP). AMSP (2007-2010) provided technical assistance and training to city administrators and to laborers in each city in the areas of sanitation management, road rehabilitation, water management, electricity supply, park rehabilitation, and roadside "greening."
Commercialization of Afghanistan Water and Sanitation Activity
Throughout the USAID and ICMA Commercialization of Afghanistan Water and Sanitation Activity (CAWSA) program, ICMA works with local water utilities in target cities to help them prepare for eventual privatization by improving operating efficiency and financial management.
Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations
As a member of the implementation team for the Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations (RAMP UP), ICMA is working with local officials, managers, and staff in fourteen provincial capitals to increase their capacity to fulfill their responsibilities effectively, improve local service delivery, and increase local revenues.
Capacity Building and Change Management Program for MAIL
ICMA is working with a team to support the leadership of the Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) as it implements key reforms that will improve its ability to effectively plan and administer agricultural programs, which are critical to restoring the country's stability and sustainability.
Stability in Key Areas-West
SIKA-West seeks to foster stability by developing the capacity of community leaders and government officials at the provincial and district levels to reduce drivers of instability and to build citizens’ confidence that their local governments can address their basic needs.
Irrigation and Watershed Management Program
The overall goal of the Irrigation and Watershed Management Program is to expand and strengthen the capacity of the national government and community stakeholders to better manage water resources and to improve the production and productivity of the country's critical agricultural sector.