Cross-Regional Energy Project Helps Afghan Communities: World Bank

Kabul: At least 2.5 million afghanis (about $33,000) from CASA-CSP have been pooled with nearly 320,000 afghanis ($4,144) in community contributions to rebuild the irrigation canal in the Qala-e-Malik village in Laghman province, which is one of the hundreds of Afghan communities eligible for support of a cross-regional energy project.

The Central Asia-South Asia Electricity and Transmission Trade Project (or CASA-1000) aims to boost electricity trade between the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan in Central Asia and Afghanistan and Pakistan in South Asia. A $30 million Community Support Program (CASA-CSP) will help ensure that communities that sit alongside the new transmission lines benefit from increased access to electricity and other services.

This energy project aims to improve access to electricity in Afghanistan and raise the living standards of thousands of Afghans, the World Bank said. CASA-CSP is supported by the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, a multidoor trust fund managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.

Qala-e-Malik residents needed help to line the canal with concrete to allow water to reach the farm downstream. The decision to rebuild it was made after a series of community-driven exercises and consultations with the residents of the area in the format of the Community Development Council (CDC).

“Residents of this community are really poor and the COVID-19 pandemic has made them poorer,” says Lal Mohammad, a member of the Qala-e-Malik CDC. “With this project, the community was able to provide a solution to unemployment and our irrigation needs, ensuring our lands will bear food for our family and children for years to come,” he added.

The Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Ministry of Finance, and Afghanistan by Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the national power utility company are working to connect Afghanistan to the most ambitious energy project in the region. CASA-1000 is supported by the International Development Association, the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.

In coordination with local Afghan Community Development Councils (CDCs), the project will finance specific initiatives, such as expanding the current power grid, improving access to potable water and sanitation, and building new roads or irrigation systems.
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