TALOQAN -- Thousands of Takhar residents have started working on projects implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) aimed at improving infrastructure in parts of the province.
The AKF and UNOPS -- a UN organisation that provides infrastructure, procurement and project management services -- have launched a three-month initiative in two districts of Takhar to build rural roads and improve irrigation infrastructure, including canals.
More than 13,000 local residents have been hired to work on the initiative, which is funded by the World Bank.
The initiative, which was launched on March 14, includes 82 projects -- 43 in Kalfgan district and 39 in Namak Aab district, according to Azmatullah Noor Mohammad, the provincial director of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Takhar.
"These projects include the rehabilitation and gravelling of local roads in villages, the strengthening of retaining walls, and the rehabilitation and cleaning of agricultural canals, all of which costs more than 181 million AFN ($2 million)," he told Salaam Times.
"Every day, 13,551 local residents work on implementing these projects, each of whom receives 450 AFN ($5.15) per day," he said.
"Some 16,939 families in 82 villages will benefit from infrastructure services such as transportation, improved access to irrigation sources and measures to help prevent the destruction of agricultural lands caused by floods," he added.
The goal of the projects is to create short-term employment and improve basic services in Takhar villages, said Mohammad.
Multiple cash-for-work projects funded by the UN have been implemented in six other Takhar districts -- Bangi, Hazar Samowch, Baharak, Khawaja Ghar, Dasht-e-Qala and Khawaja Bahauddin, he added.
Earning a living
Many local residents working on the projects said they had been suffering from unemployment and poverty for months before the work started.
Hazartuddin, 55, a mason and a resident of Naw Abad village in Namak Aab district, Takhar province, said his income helps him cover the expenses of his household.
"Poverty and unemployment have seriously impacted my mental health. Now, I am very happy that I have a job and no longer suffer from unemployment. I can put food on the table for my family of nine," he told Salaam Times on March 14.
"Almost all residents of the district now have work, and they can earn a living to save their families from poverty and hunger," he added.
Ali Mohammad, 45, a farmer in Kalfgan district, Takhar province, and the sole breadwinner of his six-member family, told Salaam Times that he works on a canal cleaning project in his neighbourhood.
"My two-season agricultural land has been dry from the lack of proper irrigation systems. I am happy that I am now working and cleaning the irrigation canal to irrigate not only my land but also other farmers' lands," he said on March 14.
Ali Mohammad, who owns two acres of land, said his harvests would double with sufficient irrigation water.
"Irrigation water did not reach our farmlands for many years because most canals in our district were partially destroyed or filled with debris and the farmers could not cultivate their lands," he added.
"Cleaning canals and streams that have not been utilised for years will provide a gateway for water to ... reach agricultural lands that will lead to the growth and expansion of the agriculture sector in the district," he added.
Takhar residents have welcomed the funding and implementation of local development projects by humanitarian organisations.
"Implementing the development projects will help improve infrastructure in villages and districts. These interventions are crucial to the public because they can help it earn a living and support its families," said Sayed Halim Ferotan, 62, a tribal elder in Takhar province.
"The projects are economically effective and important for our people because through the projects, they can earn enough money to cover their families' expenses," he told Salaam Times.
"I urge international organisations to consider supporting more projects in the villages and districts of Takhar province. Few projects have been implemented in the province because of the war and recent insecurities," he added.
"Some of the projects that were built earlier ... in the centre and districts of Takhar have been damaged by the conflict. Therefore, we call on relief organisations to support the rehabilitation of projects similar to the ones they are now implementing," he said.
The NGOs have mostly started to take good action now. They now give food to people in exchange for work. Once, they used to give cash or materials. In my opinion, it was not the right way. This is a good step for the development of the country. With this, on one side, the people will be provided with sustenance; on the other, construction will take place. Another positive aspect of giving wheat and other food items in exchange for work is saving people from hunger and starvation. In any case, one person should not be a burden on another's shoulders. People have to work and earn food.Reply
The people of Afghanistan warmly welcome the United Nations' development projects. I ask international organizations to support as many of these development projects as possible inside Afghanistan. Afghan people are in great need of this type of development projects. 13,000 poor people of Takhar province, most of whom did not have any kind of work, have been employed in this development project of the United Nations. These 13,000 people find a loaf of bread for their families by understanding this project. This is a great help that the United Nations provides to the people of Afghanistan. With the completion of this project, the people of Takhar province may strengthen their economy because their dry lands will be irrigated. Farmers may harvest the crops of two seasons from their lands, and that is why there are many changes in the lives of these farmers of Takhar province.Reply
According to the TRT report, NATO's military budget will raise $1.17 trillion in 2022. Of this amount, $821 billion were paid by the United States, $67.7 billion by Britain, $60.9 billion by Germany, and the rest by other NATO member countries. The point is, if this large amount of money had been spent on humanity's prosperity, well-being, and scientific development, the world would be much safer and happier. The world has become a battleground of superpowers and is going through a terrible situation. A year before his death, Albert Einstein wrote to his close and former friend Linus Pauling, "I don't know how the third World War will happen, but I know that in the fourth World War, people will fight each other with sticks and stones." Zahir AmarReply
The good news is that international organizations continue their Afghanistan activities. And even better things will happen if more foreign organizations and investors come into this peaceful environment and invest their capital here, turning short-term jobs into long-term ones, and people always do their missions. They will get their earnings, and the laborers working with them also benefit. Afghanistan has gone through years of war; now it is time for the international community to listen to good news and visit Afghanistan instead of hearing information about gunpowder and bombs. Every day I read the news and reports of such small works and see that the country is being built with them and people are busy working. We don't want a lot of money, just a little bit, as our daily life can go ahead and our country can be developed so that we can be self-sufficient, we will not be harmed, and we will not allow others to cause us destruction.Reply
Alhamdulillah, It is good news that the other residents of the global village are still helping the war-torn people in Afghanistan. Afghans have suffered from the wars of the past few decades. In Afghanistan, housing is limited, people are poor, and families are large. Such projects help people. It does not help, but it helps with help. On the one hand, people get jobs immediately. On the other hand, the land's crops are growing with it. We are deeply grateful to the United Nations agencies, the United States, Japan, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Aga Khan Foundation, and all other organizations that help Afghans. May God grant that one day Afghans also be able to help the people of other countries in the same way. If the war ends in our homeland, I am sure that, God willing, Afghans will soon stand on their own feet, and then Afghans will also have the ability to provide help to other poor countries. May Allah have mercy on the whole world and all His creatures. Ameen.Reply