ICMA has been engaged in programming in Afghanistan since 2004 and is currently a partner on the Stability in Key Areas West (SIKA-West) program, which is based in the Western Afghan provinces of Herat, Badghis, Ghor, and Farah.
SIKA-West, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), seeks to foster stability by supporting local government at the district level to reduce drivers of instability and build citizens’ confidence that their local government leaders can address their basic needs.
USAID awarded the prime contract to AECOM, with ICMA as a subcontractor. SIKA-West’s key Afghan partners are the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) and the Independent Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG).
SIKA-West operates in an environment where security challenges continue to exist. Criminal activity, insurgent actions, and traditional tribal and ethnic conflicts have hindered social cohesion in the program’s target districts. Working with IDLG and MRRD, ICMA is focused on increasing the capacity of local government to address the driving factors behind insecurity, increasing citizen confidence in government leaders, and identifying and utilizing available resources from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) to address district residents’ concerns.
The program, which began in February 2012, addresses four key areas of instability and supports local government and community leaders to
- Identify and address the sources of instability affecting district communities
- Improve local governments’ ability to communicate and resolve grievances among their constituents
- Strengthen local government capacity to plan, manage, and deliver basic services in a timely manner.
ICMA’s role is to assist with program-wide capacity building and community development, under AECOM’s leadership. Program activities have included
- Working with MRRD and IDLG to design and implement community development rehabilitation projects in order to reflect improved service delivery by local governments. Examples include:
- Rural road rehabilitation, including roadwork, culverts, and bridges
- Schoolhouse rehabilitation, including interior and exterior refurbishment
- Irrigation channel rehabilitation, including concrete canals and water gates.
- Working with IDLG and MRRD to develop and implement gender mainstreaming support in order to better reflect the needs of men, women, and children in the targeted districts. Examples include:
- Public speaking, organizational, and mainstreaming training for female members of District Development Assemblies to ensure full engagement at the district level in terms of identifying mitigation activities that address community grievances
- Select vocational training (tailoring/embroidery/carpet weaving) for district women followed by support to graduates to secure employment and/or establish start-up enterprises.