Development in Afghanistan

Security for a New Century hosted Dr. Scott Guggenheim, senior
policy advisor for AusAID’s National Program for Community Empowerment,
Indonesia, and designer of the National Solidarity Program (NSP), a
program which allows rural Afghans to create and manage their own
development projects, for a discussion on the challenges for current
and future development efforts in Afghanistan.

Founded in late
2001, the National Solidarity Project represents a unique model for
countrywide community development for the war-torn nation.  Covering
more than 20,000 villages in communities throughout Afghanistan, the
NSP has had widespread success engendering participation in civic life,
incorporating nearly all spectrums of the Afghan population – even
women, who amount for over 40 percent of NSP council members in a
historically highly paternalistic culture. 

The NSP has had
many successes in facilitating the development and construction of
tertiary infrastructure, employing a low-cost model based
simultaneously on institutional reform and streamlined fiduciary
support systems. 

While the NSP has achieved some success in
the nearly eight years of its existence, there are still a plethora of
challenges for development in Afghanistan yet to be confronted. 
Outside of the site-specific roadblocks – notably the relatively low
levels of inchoate infrastructural capacity as well as tentative
communicative structures linking the center and periphery in the
federal system – the realities of post-conflict development make the
prospects of future successes tenuous.  The need to transform the
reconstruction model writ large in order to foster a more coherent
decision-making process remains a pressing concern.

Security for a New Century is
a bipartisan study group for Congress. We meet regularly with U.S. and
international policy professionals to discuss the post-Cold War and
post-9/11 security environment. All discussions are off-the-record. It
is not an advocacy venue. Please call (202) 223-5956 for more information.

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