Syndicate content

National Solidarity Programme Transformed Scores of Lives in Kandahar Province

Abdul Qayum Yousufzai's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
 
The National Solidarity Programme (NSP) improved lives of millions of Afghans across rural Afghanistan. NSP's successor, the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project aims to improve the delivery of core infrastructure and social services to participating communities through strengthened development councils. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

Not so long ago, 15 years to be exact, I remember when people in the districts of Kandahar used animals to transport their agricultural harvest to the provincial center. There were a few, if any, motorable roads, and we had a limited number of health centers and schools in the province. Most of the infrastructure laid in ruins. But worst of all, the economic condition of the average Afghan was quite bad with little or no access to income, opportunities, and facilities.
 
Things have changed since 2003. While many development projects have been implemented in Kandahar Province, the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) has been one of the most popular and high impact. Running from 2003 to 2016, NSP was implemented in 16 of 17 districts and set up 1,952 Community Development Councils (CDCs), which implemented over 3,300 projects.
 
In Kandahar, communities are very conservative, and, overall, the province is highly traditional. When the program was launched, people in Kandahar were not interested in establishing CDCs through holding elections at the village level.

World Bank guarantees help Pakistan get cheaper, longer term loans from international market

Enrique Blanco Armas's picture
Dasu
Photo Credit: Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA)

Compared to their investment needs, developing countries have very limited concessional financing available to them. International commercial banks are constrained in terms of the size and tenors of credits to Emerging Markets and Developing Economies. A key challenge therefore, is to channel large savings and capital into productive investments in developing countries, partly by ‘de-risking’ investments and borrowings.  Pakistan is at the forefront of these efforts, recently making use of two World Bank guarantees to access over 1 billion US dollars in two international commercial loan financings.

A $420 million IBRD Policy Based Guarantee (PBG) was approved by the World Bank Board alongside a $500 million IDA credit in June 2016. The PBG guarantee partially takes over the risk of a commercial bank’s loan to a government. The PBG and the IDA credit supported a program of reforms including the adoption of a new and more inclusive poverty line, efforts to broaden the tax base, enhanced transparency of State Owned Enterprises, improved debt management and a significant overhaul of the regulatory framework of the financial sector.  Improved access to international financing through the PBG will reduce the government’s dependence on domestic financing and free up resources for private sector investment. The guarantee also signals the World Bank’s confidence in Pakistan’s economic reforms program – a signal that is particularly important after the successful completion of the IMF program. The government used the US$420 million PBG to partly guarantee a 10-year US$700 million loan, extending tenor significantly and achieving cost savings.  

Seize the Opportunity to make Dhaka a Great, Vibrant City

Qimiao Fan's picture

The success of Dhaka, one of the megacities of the world, is critically important for the economic and social development of Bangladesh. The city's astonishing growth, from a population of 3 million in 1980 to 18 million  today, represents the promise and dreams of a better life: the hard  work and sacrifices made by all residents to seize  opportunities to lift themselves from poverty towards greater prosperity. 

 
 However, as Dhaka has grown to become one of the most densely populated cities in the world, its expansion has  been messy and uneven. Dhaka's growth has taken place without adequate planning, resulting in a city with extreme  congestion, poor liveability, and vulnerability to floods and earthquakes. Many residents, including the 3.5 million  people living in informal settlements, often lack access to basic services, infrastructure, and amenities. 
 
Unplanned and uncontrolled growth has created unprecedented congestion: the average driving speed has dropped  from 21km per hour 10 years ago to less than 7km per hour today. Continuing on current trends would result in a  further slowdown to 4km an hour — slower than the average walking speed! Congestion eats up 3.2 million working hours each day and costs the economy billions of dollars every year. Some of the most important economic benefits    from urbanisation are missed out due to this messiness, resulting in lower incomes for the city and the country.
 
These problems will not go away on their own. Dhaka's population is expected to double once again by 2035, to 35  million. Without a fundamental re-think requiring substantial planning, coordination, investments, and action, Dhaka  will never be able to deliver its full potential. Dhaka is at a crossroads in defining its future and destiny. 
 
Up to now, urban growth has mainly taken place in the northern part of Dhaka and expanded westward after the  flood of 1988, when the government built the western embankment for flood protection. This resulted in high-density  investments near the city centre, where infrastructure and social services were accessible. However, real estate investments were not coordinated with other infrastructure and transportation services. 

When Afghan refugees come home

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
When it comes to conflict and displacement, we often think about the refugees forced to flee their homes. Equally affected, however, are the ones making their way home after a trying time in exile—the returnees.

In South Asia, Afghanistan is a country experiencing a huge influx of returnees, many from Pakistan and Iran. In 2016 alone, the country welcomed 600,000 returnees. UNHCR predicts another 500,000 to 700,000 returnees by the end of 2017.

On top of that, conflict-driven displacement continues in Afghanistan. In a country of over 30 million people, there is an estimated 1-2 million of displaced population (UN-OCHA, UNHCR, IOM).

One can only imagine how much pressure the displacement crisis is putting on the cities and communities hosting refugees and returnees—starting with the challenge of providing basic services such as water and housing, let alone jobs and security.


In this video, World Bank Senior Director Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez (@Ede_WBG) and Lead Social Development Specialist Janmejay Singh will unpack the challenge and share how innovative community-driven approaches are helping to support returnees in conflict-affected Afghanistan—through Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project and other World Bank-supported activities.

زمانیکه مهاجرین افغان به خانه بر می گردند

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
زمانیکه در باره موضوعات جنگ و بیجا شدن مردم ناشی از آن صحبت میکنیم، اغلباً در بارۀ انعده مهاجرین که مجبور به فرار از وطن شده اند، فکر می کنیم. این در حالیست که معضله برگشت دوباره مهاجرین به وطن  نیز بطور مساویانه و به همان پیمانه قابل اهمیت است.

 افغانستان یگانه کشوری در حوزه جنوب اسیا است که شاهد بیشترین موج عودت کننده گان از کشورهای پاکستان و یا ایران میباشد. براساس ارقام موجود تنها در سال ۲۰۱۶ میلادی، ۶۰۰۰۰ عودت کننده به افغانستان برگشته اند. طبق پیش بینی های دفتر کمیشنری عالی سازمان ملل متحد برای مهاجرین، الی ختم سال ۲۰۱۷؛ ممکن ۵۰۰۰۰۰ الی ۷۰۰۰۰۰ عودت کننده دیگر نیز به این کشور برخواهند گشت. علاوه بر آن، هنوز هم، مردم مجبور به ترک مناطق مسکونی شان در اثر جنگ و نا امنی ها میشوند. قرارمعلومات دفاتر هماهنگی کمک های بشردوستانه ملل متحد، کمیشنری عالی سازمان ملل متحد برای مهاجرین و سازمان بین المللی مهاجرت از جمله ۳۰ میلیون نفوس افغانستان، یک الی دو میلیون آنان بیجاشده گان داخلی می باشند. 

 حالا تصور کنید که معضل بیجا شدن ناشی از جنگ و ناامنی؛ تا چه اندازه فشار را بالای شهرها و محلاتیکه میزبان عودت کننده گان اند، وارد نموده است - به خصوص از چگونگی فراهم سازی خدمات اولیه همانند آب و مسکن، تا تامین زمینه های اشتغال و مصؤنیت اجتماعی.


در این ویدیو، جان میجی سنگ، متخصص ارشد توسعۀ اجتماعی در مورد چالش ها و اینکه چگونه رویکردهای خلاقانه در سطح محلات از طریق برنامه میثاق شهروندی افغانستان و دیگر فعالیت های که از طریق بانک جهانی غرض رسیده گی به چالشها و فراهم اوری تسهیلات برای عودت کننده گان، فراهم میگردد، بحث و گفتگو نموده است.

کله چې افغان کډوال خپل هېواد ته راستنیږي

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
Also available in: English | دری
کله چې د جګړو او د هغو له کبله د خلکو د بېځایه کېدو په اړه خبرې کوو، نو زیاتره وختونه د هغو کډوالو په اړه فکر کوو، چې له خپل هېواد څخه وتلو ته اړ شوي دي. دا په داسې حال کې ده، چې هېواد ته د کډوالو د بیرته راستنیدو ستونزه هم په مساویانه او په همغه اندازه د اهمیت وړ ده.

افغانستان په سویلي اسیا کې یوازینی هېواد دی، چې له پاکستان او ایران څخه د زیات شمېر کډوالو د بیرته راستنیدو شاهد دی. د شته معلوماتو له مخې یوازې په ۲۰۱۶ ز کال کې، ۶۰۰۰۰۰ کډوال بیرته افغانستان ته راستانه شوي دي. د کډوالو په چارو کې د ملګرو ملتونو د عالي کمېشنرۍ د دفتر د معلوماتو له مخې، د ۲۰۱۷ کال تر پایه پورې به ښايې له ۵۰۰۰۰۰ څخه تر ۷۰۰۰۰۰ پورې نور کډوال هم افغانستان ته راستانه شي. سربیره پر دې، لا هم د جګړو او ناکراریو له لاسه خلک د خپلو سیمو پریښودلو ته مجبوريږي. د ملګرو ملتونو د بشر پاله مرستو د همغږۍ د ادارې، د کډوالو په چارو کې د ملګرو ملتونو د عالي کمېشنرۍ د دفتر او د کډوالو د نړیوالې ادارې د معلوماتو له مخې، د افغانستان له ۳۰ میلیون وګړو څخه له یوه نه تر دوو میلیونو پورې یې کورني بېځایه شوي وګړي دي.

اوس فکر وکړئ، چې د جګړو او ناکراریو له لاسه د بېځایه کېدو ستونزو به د بېځایه شویو پر کوربه سیمو او ښارونو باندې څومره فشار راوستی وي - په تیره بیا د لومړنیو خدماتو پر وړاندې کولو باندې لکه اوبه او سرپناه او د اشتغال او ټولنیز خوندیتوب په برخو کې.

 


په دغه ویډیو کې، د ټولنیزې پراختیا لوړپوړي کارپوه، جان میجي سنګ د افغانستان د ولسي تړون د برنامې او هغو نورو فعالیتونو له لارې، چې د نړیوال بانک له خوا تمویلیږي د سیمو پر کچه د راستنیدونکو پر وړاندې د پرتو ننګوونو او ستونزو  د نوښتګرانه حل او مرستې په اړه خبرې کړي دي.


What were your favorite entries from the Sri Lanka environment photo contest?

Tashaya Anuki Premachandra's picture

Inspired by Sri Lanka's incredible natural beauty, the World Bank organized a photo contest starting on June 21st aimed at showcasing the many talented photographers among us as well as celebrating the rich flora and fauna of Sri Lanka. We received an overwhelming response from many talented photographers, both professional and amateur, who sent us hundreds of awe-inspiring entries.

After the contest ended on June 30th, 167 entries were shortlisted. We asked you which photos were your favorites and you voted until 6PM Monday on your selections through social media. Without further ado, here are the top 10 based on your choices!

Let us know what you think in the comments below and don't forget to follow World Bank Sri Lanka on Facebook as well as the World Bank's Country Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives, @Idah_WB on Twitter

1 - Ganindu Madhawa

2 - Balamurali Ellamurugan

3 - Shehan Thiwantha

4 - Shehan Thiwantha

5 - Shehan Thiwantha

6 - Ganindu Madhawa

7 - Ganindu Madhawa

8 - Kasun De Silva

9 - Vinod Liyanage

10 -  Kasun De Silva

A path toward better health for India’s women

Parvati Singh's picture
 World Bank
In India, Members of a self-help group (SHG) like this one discuss women’s  health issues with female health workers. Credit: World Bank

A little over six years ago, Neelam Kushwaha’s first daughter was born weighing 900 gm at birth, severely underweight. Neelam went into labor while working at the local construction site in Jori village, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, India. Many people work at such local construction sites in rural areas for daily wages ranging from INR 150-280 (about $2- 4$) per day. Her daughter Manvi, was preterm, and Neelam spent months recovering from child birth complications.

Three years later, when Neelam was pregnant with her younger daughter, Sakshi, she quit wage labor and sought employment at an incense manufacturing unit established by World Bank’s Madhya Pradesh District Poverty Intervention Project (MPDPIP) in 2011. At her new role, she earned more and did not engage in labor intensive work during the final months of her pregnancy. Sakshi was born a healthy 3 kilos.

In the course of my field work supported by South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI) in 2015, I came across several similar stories.

MPDPIP’s livelihood based approach offered several opportunities towards income supplementation for women self-help groups (SHGs) and rural households through agriculture, dairy/poultry farming and local enterprises, among others.

As evident by Neelam’s experience, MPDPIP’s benefits went beyond income and spilled over into health improvement as well.

I learnt that prior to MPDPIP, childbirth in hospitals was difficult due to prohibitively high costs of travel and hospital stay. Pre-existing government schemes such as the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) offer about INR 1,400 ($20) to rural women who opt for hospital deliveries. However, this payment occurs post-partum, and pre-delivery costs have to be borne upfront by pregnant women.

Post MPDPIP, women were able to opt for hospital deliveries with greater ease due to access to credit from their SHGs. This is particularly relevant for Madhya Pradesh as it has consistently fared poorly with respect to institutional deliveries.

Update: #StoriesFromLka photo contest

Tashaya Anuki Premachandra's picture

Sri Lanka, the emerald isle, is endowed with natural beauty.  Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the island nation is replete with wondrous wildlife, magnificent landscapes and natural wonders.

Inspired by this, the World Bank in Sri Lanka organized a photo contest on 21st June, 2017. This contest, one of several organized by the Bank, is aimed at showcasing the many talented photographers among us as well as celebrating the rich flora and fauna of Sri Lanka.
 

Photo Credit: Mokshana Wijeyeratne, World Bank

We received an overwhelming response from many talented photographers, both professional and amateur, who sent us hundreds of awe-inspiring entries. The contest ended on 30th June, 2017. We have now shortlisted a total of 167 entries after removing those which had issues with reference to clarity, quality and relevance.

Now, it's time to look for the winners and we are putting you in the driver's seat. Crowdsourcing, as you know, is a very popular method of selection for online contests globally. Therefore, for this particular contest, the winner will be chosen on the basis of the number of likes that you have clicked.

Afghanistan’s energy sector leads the way for gender equality

World Bank Afghanistan's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
 Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank
Afghanistan's power utility (DABS) has recently taken steps necessary to ensure that women are involved in all business operations within the organization. Photo: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank


In Afghanistan, decades of violence, common discriminatory practices, and cultural barriers, including restrictions on mobility, have denied women job opportunities and left them severely underrepresented in all sectors of society.
 
Despite considerable achievements in the last decade, such as the national Constitution guaranteeing equal rights as well as increased enrollment in public schools and universities, achieving gender equality will require widespread social changes.
 
Yet, change is happening and Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), Afghanistan’s national power utility, is showing the way.
 
With a workforce of about 7,000, the company employs only 218 women, most of whom at a junior support level. However, under the leadership of its new CEO, DABS management has committed to promoting gender equality.
 
The Planning and Capacity Support Project of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank, is helping DABS deliver on that commitment. The project organized awareness sessions for DABS staff on gender-related issues and provided specialized training to female employees. DABS has committed to providing internships to female university graduates to ensure women can find job opportunities and fully participate in the energy sector.
 
Realizing that the majority of its female staff lacked the confidence to compete with men, DABS is facilitating access to new job opportunities for women employees and has taken steps to ensure that women are involved in all business operations within the organization.

Pages