During the last week of May 2011, shopkeeper Mohammad Ewaz of Mullah Sher Akhund Ziarat, a community in District 8 of Kandahar City, was so happy with the work being accomplished by the USAID project, that he began offering tea to and ensuring the safety of the project’s laborers. Examples such as this are being repeated across the city, demonstrating widespread support among residents for this solid waste management project funded by USAID’s Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations (RAMP UP) and implemented by FAF Developments.
“For many years this street was completely blocked by decades of garbage. Cars and motorbikes couldn’t get through. Last month, municipal laborers came to clear the street. I was so happy that I offered to store their tools and ensure that no harm came to them in this dangerous part of the city,” said Moham-mad Ewaz, “I also offered them tea and water to show my gratitude.”
In another volatile area of Kandahar City, Mirwais Mina in District 7, shopkeeper Haji Gul Agha offered similar praise. The nearby trash dumpster was overflowing with years of garbage, falling into the sewage ditches causing them to clog. Haji Gul Agha explained, “People avoided my shop because there was so much garbage and sewage.” The sewage and historical garbage have now been removed, and the shopkeeper is both elated and surprised that municipal laborers are providing services to his oft neglected community on the outskirts of the city.
The visible presence of municipal services being provided in every district of Kandahar City is increasing the legitimacy of the municipal government. Eventually, the project will be placed in complete control of the local government, with appropriate mentoring and oversight to ensure its continued success after RAMP UP comes to an end.
The Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations (RAMP UP) assists governments in urban centers to in-crease the capacity of municipal officials; improve the delivery of municipal services, support economic growth initiatives, and increase own-source revenues. RAMP UP funds service deliv-ery improvements and small-scale infrastructure projects such as road paving, parks, and solid waste management.