HERAT -- The World Food Programme (WFP) has created jobs for more than 4,900 individuals on a development project launched in Kohsan district of Herat province.
The project, which began on March 1 and will take six months to complete, aims to build canals and clean streams in 72 villages in the district.
Thousands of residents of Kohsan district will benefit from the WFP project, directly through jobs and indirectly through improved access to irrigation water for their farms.
The WFP launched the project at the request of the local residents, said Bismillah Mohammadi, 54, a labourer on the project.
"For years, irrigation water could not reach agricultural lands since canals were partly destroyed or filled in Kohsan district and farmers could not cultivate their land."
"But this year, the cleaning of these canals in the wheat cultivating season will help us grow wheat on thousands of hectares of land," he said.
"The WFP's assistance is in return for work, which is very effective," Mohammadi said. "On the one hand, it helps develop the villages, and on the other, it saves thousands ... from poverty and unemployment."
The project has given residents hope, he said.
'Great support' for families
Everyone working for the WFP in Kohsan district had been unemployed for a long time and was suffering from economic problems, participants told Salaam Times.
Imammuddin, 42, a resident of Qodus Abad village, said he earns about 300 AFN ($3.40) a day working on the project, which to an extent covers his household expenses.
The project has spared him from unemployment and enabled him to provide for his family of eight, he said.
"I am a farmer, but I could not cultivate my land last year because of drought," he said. "Our economic challenges have been compounded by unemployment. I could not even provide dry bread for my kids."
"Unemployment and poverty stressed me out very much and damaged my mental health," Imammuddin said. "I am very happy that I got a job with this project."
"All of the residents of our community have work now, and from now on they can save their families from poverty," he added.
Saadullah, 35, the breadwinner of a family of six, used to work as a janitor at Herat's Customs Office but was laid off more than a year ago.
Now he works for the WFP's canal and stream cleaning project.
"I am happy that after a long period of unemployment, I found a job in my village," he said. "This project is a great support to us through which I can provide for my family for a couple of months."
"Most residents of Kohsan district suffer from unemployment and economic problems," Saadullah said. "Poverty would be eliminated if we had long-term projects that could provide employment."
"I request that international aid agencies launch more projects in villages and districts," he added.
Amanullah, 29, who is also working for the WFP project, said such projects help develop the infrastructure in villages and districts, which benefits all Afghans.
"Like me, thousands of residents of Kohsan district were suffering from unemployment, but now we are happy that we are able to work during the day and have an income," he said.
"Economically, this project is very effective for us," Amanullah said. "The salary we receive in return for our work for the project covers our household expenses."
"The implementation of such projects helps reduce the heavy burden on Afghans," he said.
Rescued from illegal migration
Kohsan district shares a border with Iran, and most of the youth in the district illegally migrate to Iran because of unemployment, according to Ahmadullah, 38, a tribal elder in Kohsan district.
"Most of the young men from our district who have gone to Iran for work are now drug addicts. They are now a burden on society and their families," he said, adding that others have been killed by Iranian border forces.
"But with the launch of the development project in the district, the youth are rescued from migration," Ahmadullah said.
"With the start of the WFP's development project in Kohsan district, thousands of locals are busy working and contributing to the development of their villages. All of them receive a salary for their work on the project, which has helped ease their economic problems."
Cleaning of canals and streams that were not operational for years enables water to reach farmland, leading to the growth and expansion of agriculture in the area, Ahmadullah said.
"We want such long-term projects so that [Afghans] will no longer have to go to Iran for work," he added.
Nazir Ahmad, 26, a resident of Kohsan district who graduated with a degree in education from Herat University three years ago, had been unemployed before starting work on the project.
He said he had decided to go to Iran in search of work, but with the start of the project, he decided not to go.
"There is no work in Afghanistan. Most who had jobs in the past are now jobless," he said. "Unemployment and poverty are difficult, and they make life tough."
"I had no option except illegal migration to Iran, and I was ready for it," Ahmad said. "But I am very happy that this project started and that I don't have to take a risky trip to Iran in search of work."
"In the absence of international aid, [Afghans] would have been forced to migrate to the neighbouring countries," he said. "The aid has helped most [residents] not to migrate."
In Afghanistan, the current government is ruling in all the provinces of Afghanistan, and security is in place throughout the country. The international organization of the United Nations and foreign organizations can freely provide humanitarian aid and implement their development projects in every province of Afghanistan. In the previous government, there was no security in most provinces of Afghanistan. The international organization of the United Nations and foreign governmental and non-governmental institutions could not apply their humanitarian aid and development projects in the provinces of Afghanistan. In the current government of Afghanistan, humanitarian aid has been provided with the people of Afghanistan. In all the provinces of Afghanistan and in every part of Afghanistan, extraordinary aid has been provided by the United Nations and other foreign institutions, and it has also implemented its development projects. There are economic problems, there was no help from the international community, the poor people of Afghanistan were suffering from severe hunger. The United Nations and foreign institutions really stood with the poor people of Afghanistan, and it has saved the people of Afghanistan from starvation.Reply
The only way for Afghans to stay in their home/country is for foreign countries to continue their aid through aid organizations. If this does not happen, many Afghans will turn to foreign countries due to a lack of work and poverty. I present this opinion when one of the topics of discussion among Afghan youth is how and in what way they leave the country due to unemployment. The young people who fled Afghanistan for other countries make disappointing statements about the brutal memories they had on their way. They describe the oppression, beating, shooting, and other unpleasantness of the soldiers of Iran and Turkey. Apart from these oppressions, when they reached the desired country and started submitting the cases, they did not have a good memory of the host countries in their statements. They say the documents are being issued late, and the claims are processed very slowly. For foreign governments that do not want to accept immigrants, it would be better to increase and speed up their cooperation with aid organizations and engage the youth of poor countries to work in their own countries. If this happens, the result will be that people will find food in their homes, their homelands will be developed, and the countries that do not accept the refugees will prevent them from leaving. If not, the stomach needs food, and when there is no food, whether the roads are difficult or easy, people will accept the risk and go there.Reply
If agreements are made with foreign companies that have assured peace in Afghanistan and that the conditions are suitable for investment, many foreign companies may invest. They will earn money, and the benefit will reach our countrymen here. Although the government is talking about signing several agreements with domestic companies in digging and extracting underground resources, I believe domestic companies have very little capital. They may be able to do very little work, but for those who have the money and work internationally, Afghanistan is an excellent place to come and earn money. It will also find workers at an easy and cheap price and promote a lot of work. In the past, there was a problem of lack of security, but now this problem is mostly solved, and it can be ensured that a person can work confidently, grow, and get busy. If the investment is made, any illegal and non-standard mining is going on here, and mines are extracted traditionally, it will be stopped. In Afghanistan, coal, chromite, limestone, and marble, which are easily mined, are extracted in large quantities and sold in raw form at a low price to neighboring countries, including Iran and Pakistan. But if there were companies here, it would have been extracted and processed in a standard way, and the profit would have reached the investors and Afghanistan itself. Still, now only Iran and Pakistan are benefiting in this field. Apart from iron, coal, etc., we have many other valuable mines still undergroReply