Rural Development


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DHSA’s vital work in rural development has helped uplift and empower communities across Afghanistan. Our multi-faceted work in this strategic area has included agricultural, construction, and WASH projects. As proponents of locally-led development, ensuring that the communities we work with actively participate in the development process is very important to us. 

We have implemented many projects to support agricultural development in rural Afghanistan. Some initiatives include giving fruit trees to farmers from plant nurseries operated through DHSA funding, building more roads to help farmers have better access to markets, and providing farmers with cash crops to help them increase their revenue. 

Karez is a standard irrigation method in Afghanistan using tapped groundwater for agricultural purposes. We observed that Karez water reserves in Sharistan were drying out by May to June. To address this, our team dug deep holes in the ground creating a reservoir for melted snow and rainwater. This project helped extend the life of the karez by three months so that there would be a water supply until September.  

We have implemented WASH projects in Central Afghanistan, including Bamiyan, Daikundi, and Ghazni. Moreover, the following are some other examples of our work in this areas: 

1992-2008: With funding from European Union and WFP, DHSA implemented projects related to small irrigation schemes, including protection walls, water dividers, ditches, and aqueducts in Ghazni, Bamyan, Daikundi, Samangan, Balkh, Baghlan, Kabul, Kapisa, and Parwan. 

The 1990s- early 2000s: In rural areas with no running water, Kanda, massive clay pots are used for storing rainwater. However, over time this form of storage can result in waterborne bacteria and illnesses. Therefore, we upgrade the system by adding filtration in northern Samangan and northwestern Balkh communities.

1998-2002: DHSA implemented a WFP-funded Food Assistance for Asset project in Sharistan, present-day Daikundi. Moving away from a traditional food distribution model, we wanted the community members involved in the development process. As a result, community members helped build schools and new roads in exchange for food assistance. Before this project, there was only one main road across present-day Daikundi and east to west. After the implementation of this project, 500 kilometers of newly constructed roads connected 48 of the 54 villages in Sharistan.