Afghanistan’s community-driven development is on track despite challenges

'Experiences and Expectations for Community-Driven Development’ is a joint research study commissioned by SCA, ACBAR[1], and IWA[2] to assess the progress of the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (CCAP)[3] which is the first phase of the broader Citizens Charter National Priority Programme (CCNPP)[4].

The findings of the study indicate that the CCAP has so far made good progress towards achieving its targets. The project has been well-received by communities and they consider it a meaningful intervention for community empowerment and improving the conditions of their life. The project has improved institutional cooperation and coordination among ministries involved. It has resulted in certain positive social changes. For example, it provided a platform for women to play a role in the development of their communities, despite challenges such as insecurity, cultural norms, and in-sufficient education opportunities.

The study also highlights challenges such as a volatile security situation, insufficient coordination among communities and government representatives, etc which has affected the project implementation to some extent. Similarly, traditional norms and practices undermining women’s meaningful participation is still visible in certain parts of the country according to the report.

The study recommends that the experiences and lessons learned in phase 1 should be utilized in the design and implementation of the upcoming two phases. The report also provides specific recommendations to all relevant stakeholders for the improvement and better implementation of the Citizens Charter programme.

SCA acknowledges community-driven development as one of the key approaches for inclusive development and poverty reduction. SCA believes that this report and other similar initiatives are helpful for evidence-based advocacy and improving the quality of development projects and activities in Afghanistan.

This report has been prepared by ATR Consulting, in Kabul, Afghanistan, the views and recommendations presented in this report are those of SCA, ACBAR, and IWA. 

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[1] ACBAR (Agency Coordination Body for Afghan Relief and Development) is an Afghan independent body bringing together 154 National and International NGOs working in Afghanistan. Its mission is to provide an efficient platform for members to carry out effective humanitarian and development activities in Afghanistan.

[2] IWA (Integrity Watch Afghanistan) is a national NGO that works to promote transparency, accountability and bring cases of corruption under the spotlight. Research, Advocacy, and Community-based Monitoring are their working tools.

[3] CCAP is the first phase of CCNPP. A prominent feature of CCAP is the construction of infrastructure designed to help communities attain certain minimum service standards: clean drinking water, electricity, road access, small-scale irrigation infrastructure, waste management, etc. This is the “hard components” of the programme, implemented by the government.

[4] CCNPP is a model for community engagement that aims to bridge the gap between the government and the people by providing mechanisms for citizens to make their voices heard and to take part in decisions affecting the future development of their communities