HERAT -- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has launched a water supply project in Herat city aimed at creating critical jobs for locals.
The project will expand and renew the water supply system in several districts of Herat city and provide thousands of residents with access to clean drinking water, said Farid Ahmad Kakar, director of Herat's Water Supply department.
The year-long project, which was launched on March 30, costs 100 million AFN ($1.1 million). It has created more than 2,000 jobs, according to Kakar.
"The objective of the project is to create work for unemployed residents whose families are facing hunger," he said.
"The water supply system in parts of the city needed maintenance, but we did not have the budget ... in some other parts people did not have access to tap water," he added. "This project will address these problems."
All of those hired by the project managers were previously unemployed, according to Mohammad Naser Barak, an engineer for the project.
"Our main goal is to create jobs for men to save their families, especially children, from hunger," he said.
"Besides providing access to clean drinking water, the project will save thousands of Afghans from starvation by creating hundreds of jobs," he added.
The best approach to helping the needy is to launch infrastructure projects and provide jobs, said Barak.
Saving Herat families from misery
Noorullah Azizi, one of the workers hired by the project in Herat city, said that he had been unemployed for four months and was in a dire financial situation.
Unemployment has peaked in recent months after all development projects and construction work stopped, he said.
More projects like the one launched by UNICEF will provide jobs and save Afghans from "stress and misery", he added.
The project will not only create jobs for the youth and the impoverished but will also help with the development of Afghanistan, Azizi said.
Qurban Samadi, another worker for the project and the breadwinner of a family of eight, said he had not been able to work even a single day in three months.
"I am very happy to be working and to be able to find food for my children," he said.
"The more such projects are rolled out, the more Afghans will be employed and saved from suffering and misery," he added.
Samadi said he will be able to address the needs of his children thanks to the weekly wage he receives from the UNICEF effort.
Unemployment has peaked since the fall of the previous government, said Ali Haidar, another worker, adding that he had not found work even for one day over the last several months.
In the last four months, he would leave home every morning hoping to find work but would return home each night empty-handed, he said.
"I am very happy to have this one-year job," he added. "I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders."
"I suffered a lot from unemployment. It was very painful on some nights to see my children go to bed hungry," Haidari added.
The start of the project comes amid other international aid efforts aimed at mitigating the effects of Afghanistan's economic and food crises.
The humanitarian assistance provided by the international community is mostly in the form of food distributed directly to beneficiaries through NGOs and UN agencies.
Khairia, 45, a mother of five, received UN-provided food assistance Wednesday (April 6) in Herat city.
She said that she had nothing to eat at home and that the assistance will help feed her children for two or three months.
"My husband was a labourer who was killed three years ago in an explosion in Shindand district," she said. "I used to work as domestic help in houses to provide for my children, but I haven't found any work for several months."
"We desperately need help. I call on donor countries and aid agencies to help us. Afghans are poor and have lost their jobs, leaving them with nothing to eat," she added.
Support from the international community is vital, as more than 90% of Afghans live below the poverty line, said Mohammad Naser Khelwat, a sociologist in Herat city.
Thousands of Afghans would have starved to death in the past few months had the international community not provided humanitarian assistance, he said.
"The economic conditions of Afghans have really deteriorated ... almost everyone has lost his [or her] income, which has raised household poverty," he added.
"Afghans are in dire need of international assistance. Donor countries should ensure direct delivery of assistance to those in need," Khelwat said.
They should not allow any misuse of humanitarian aid, he added.
This is great news. In the current situation, Afghanistan's economy is very bad and it is getting worse day by day. This project can improve the economy of people. If this kind of project is not implemented, people will face with lots of problems. Currently, the situation of the Afghan people is dire. People do not have food. There is no job and work. Problems are too much. My opinion is that, this kind of projects are very useful for improving the economy of the people. It is also useful for the greenery of our homeland.Reply
That's really good news. May such news get increased. If such projects are implemented, it will be a sweet homeland, and Afghans will not try to go to other countries through challenging smuggling routes. Afghans are fleeing their homeland now because of the lack of jobs. There is no food for the people. If there are jobs in their land, people are not crazy to go to other countries and live a miserable life there, hear their insults and get disrespected, do hard work, and tire. I am convinced that no one will ever go to other countries if there is work in their own country. Now that the Iranians are brutally oppressing Afghans, they would not have gone there if there were work in their homeland. Someone stabs them, someone grabs them by the throat, and someone does not leave them in the parks, streets, and houses. Afghans are being humiliated in Iran, Pakistan, and some other countries. So, if such projects are increased, the government will be rebuilt, and people will be employed in their own country. Therefore, we call on the international community to launch such projects in Afghanistan. Afghans no longer want to go abroad but want to work and study at home. Afghans have never been terrorists, and they are not now. Please don't be cruel. Human dignity must be respected.Reply
I am delighted to see this news. If 50 such projects are launched, on one side, the country will be built, and on the other side, work opportunities will be created for the people. Look at the cruelties being committed against the Afghans in Iran. If America, Germany, France, China, and others would not like the youth in Afghanistan to get attracted to terrorism, they may better launch such projects. The string of friendliness between the Afghans and the rest of the world will get strengthened, and on the other side, misleading our youth will be prevented.Reply