Last week UNOPS and the Governments of Afghanistan and Australia, through the Australian Government Aid Program, agreed to extend their joint efforts for road construction in Uruzgan, one of the most volatile southern provinces of Afghanistan.
The tripartite agreement, signed in a ceremony at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, calls for the construction of a 1.5 km Ultra Thin Reinforced Concrete Pavement road and 10 related structures, connecting the provincial capital of Trin Kot city to the north.
The project will take a labour-based approach, creating some 5,000 labour days of short term employment opportunities for local residents in Charmgar village in Trin Kot District. The new approach road will benefit a total of 12,000 people living in the catchment area, particularly those living in the adjacent villages, by reducing their travel time to the city from one hour to 20 minutes.
“The existing path is so dusty that we have difficulties taking patients to a clinic or sending children to school. This new road is vital for us to solve these problems, and we are grateful for the project, particularly because the construction work really helps the jobless,” said Abdul Raouf, representative of Charmgar village.
The project will be implemented as part of the National Rural Access Programme (NRAP), a multi-donor programme executed jointly by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) and the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) with implementation support from UNOPS.
Australia has been supporting NRAP since 2006 and has provided over USD 6.4 million for road improvements across the country, including in Uruzgan province. In 2009, under the NRAP framework, an Australian-funded project rehabilitated 5.6 km of road conditions in the villages of Safidkhar, Sofian and Aabbordeh. The work has been completed successfully, with 17,397 labor days created for the vulnerable members of communities.
The NRAP will continue to promote equitable economic growth by ensuring year-round access to basic services and facilities nation-wide, including high risk areas of the country.