Afghanistan—Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations, Regional Command West (RAMP UP West)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2011-2014

Region: Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Country: Afghanistan

Solutions: Governance Fragile States

Afghan municipalities have long suffered from underinvestment, limited support, low revenues, and weak institutional capacity. As a result, services and infrastructure in municipalities are minimal. Of the total population of urban households, only 10 percent have piped water systems; only 20 percent of households have consistent city power—and 14 percent lack any access to electricity. Inadequate sanitation services result in high rates of infant mortality. Community and social amenities are deteriorated or absent.

The Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations, Regional Command West (RAMP UP West) project helped the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) establish capable, legitimate governance at the municipal level in all four provincial capitals under ISAF Regional Command West, Herat, Farah, Chagcharan, and Qala-e-Naw. Its primary customers were municipal officials—mayors, revenue officers, engineers—and the citizens who benefit from municipal services.

RAMP UP West used a “learning by doing,” approach by helping municipalities implement visible service delivery improvement projects. Through these projects, municipal officials not only improved their capacity to deliver services themselves, but increased citizen satisfaction with, trust in, and support for the municipal government. The embedded technical advisors with municipal staff provided necessary resources and built the capacity of municipal staff to better perform their core management responsibilities, such as improving service delivery, supporting economic development, ensuring sound financial management, expanding revenues, and enhancing transparency and accountability. All programming put municipal officials in front of their citizenry, demonstrably in charge of projects and activities made possible with RAMP UP funding. Municipal officials led, directed participatory planning processes, and oversaw implementation.

Sample Activities

  • Increase the capacity of GIRoA municipal officials.
  • Improve the delivery of municipal services to citizens.
  • Boost municipal capacity to enable, support, and sustain economic growth.
  • Support citizen participation and civil society engagement including women and youth.

Select Results

  • Assisted municipalities to implement 17 key infrastructure and service delivery projects previously identified by citizens as urgent needs, including construction of sidewalks, rehabilitation of roads, bridges and drainage canals, building of Boulevards, parking lots, garbage bins and public green spaces.
  • Held workshops where 11,466 citizens attended to learn about “Roles and Responsibilities of the Municipality and Citizens.”
  • Developed Municipal Management and Capacity Building Plans for each municipality and trained so far more than 200 municipal officials in municipal finance, public administration, revenue enhancement, business registration, public relations and outreach, construction management, and public works maintenance.
  • Supported municipal officials in all four partner municipalities to hold two budget hearings each that allowed for citizen input into the budget preparation process.
  • Supported three partner municipalities to hold Youth and the Municipality Seminars bringing together 145 young people together with their government to discuss city planning and touch on key issues such as cleanliness of the city and the role youth can play in keeping the city clean.
  • Increased municipal revenues between 21 and 264 percent by identifying new resources and registering 6,790 properties and businesses.
  • Assisted in establishment of Municipal Advisory Boards to engage citizens in municipal decision-making processes. Engaged 5,200 citizens in the development of Service Delivery Improvement Plans (SDIPs) during nearly 50 sessions.
  • Established multistakeholder Economic Development Steering Committees in each partner municipality to facilitate the inclusive development of Strategic Economic Development Plans.
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